My New Office

Big new project to show you, folks. Remember, when i was going to have this room be my dining room?

Well. This was obviously the VERY ‘BEFORE’ picture. Nothing was styled. I hated the wall color (for me), i don’t like that table anymore (its going to be our outdoor dining table now), plus we needed another office (Brian is using the back one for now, but we might switch, who knows) instead of a dining room.  We have a little nook that brian and i can eat at, so a dining room wasn’t the priority. I mean, who are we kidding, we eat in front of the TV like the rest of America, whilst watching (or rewatching) Friday Night Lights. 

So first off, we needed to paint it a better color, a more ‘me’ color. Low and behold it is Sherwin Williams’ National Painting Week this week. They asked me to participate (to paint something of my choice a color of my choice) and it seemed like the perfect excuse to paint the dining room, er, office an fancy, nay, dreamy, color.

I’ve always wanted a navy room, truly. But it takes balls to paint a room that dark.  Now that we have 10 rooms in our house (don’t get too excited, i counted every single possible thing that one could ever pretend to count as a ‘room), so i figured i could go for it. 

Navy, like any color really, can be hard to find the right ‘one’.  It can go really dark and look almost black if there isn’t enough light in the room.  But i was feeling risky….although let it be known that painting is the easiest and least risky thing you can do to your house besides rearranging furniture.  You can ALWAYS paint over it.  It’s normally a $25 – $50 investment (plus your time and effort).  So don’t be so precious, its just paint, and even the pros mess up the color all the time.  

 I like navys that have a lot of green in them, as opposed to more red (which goes more purple).  See how ‘indigo’ which is usually my favorite color is slightly more purple than ‘loyal blue’? And loyal blue matched my sofa and dining chairs perfectly so the whole house started to flow together.

It’s like the exact color. 

So i chose LOYAL BLUE, by Sherwin Williams.  Here we go:


I emptied her out.  Wow, i should be embarassed to show that picture, but its all changing.

My supplies. Nothing too surprising here.  Roller, brush, tray, paint, blue tape (and yes, HGTV has a line of everything which i happen to like because its blue and pretty).  

When i opened the can i was scared.  But things always always, always dry darker (i kept chanting that during the first coat…its gonna dry darker…its gonna dry darker….)

OH and


Flat paint reflects the light the least, so it looks the most sophistacated to me.  Don’t get me wrong, i love a high gloss, but my years working as a stylist taught me that flat is always better for pictures than any sort of eggshell, satin, semi or high gloss.  It soaks up color and light more and creates less reflection problems.  Flat is also good because if you scuff it up you can just touch it up with the paint and not show brush strokes whereas if you use satin and you touch it up you’ll see the ‘new’ brush strokes. (For bathrooms always use semi though because its more durable and can withstand moisture better). 

See? proof that i did it.  But Mr. Orlando did help me. Because he’s my friend (who i pay to help me).

We taped off the room (i’m a terrible cutter), and hit the first coat;  me with the roller and Orlando with the brush. 

What a brave man to wear a white tee-shirt and good shorts.  It’s almost as if he didn’t have blue paint splattered in his hair for the next four days like i did.  (never hire me to paint your house, i’m the woyst).

The first coat was up and i was totally terrified. It was looking VERY smurfy to me.  Like smurfy mcsmurferston.  I like royal blue in pictures, but it has to be a very good/perfect royal blue to be in my house.  But the first coat (especially with a color underneath) is never the true color.  So we let it dry, had some sushi, played with Bearcat, watched The New Girl and then came back 2 hours later.  And note, its always important to wear a cute vintage scarf whilst doing any project.  There’s a secret for you. 

Better. So much better. And after a second coat?

Hello, Mr. Beautiful Loyal Blue.

Man, i was soooo relieved.  It turned out to be a really, really good color.  Way more ‘me’ than the other green and not smurfy at all.

But then there was the issue of that not so beautiful floor.  Yes, it was a very productive day.  

Ikea flooring. Not easy, not hard. But that’s a whole nother story. Worth every penny ($150) and the 5 hours it took.  

And here she is folks, my new office:

TA DA!!  Oh she is dark and cozy and 1 trillion times better than it was last week.  

The blue turned out perfect.  When the light hits it it goes lighter and where the light doesn’t its all dark and moody, but still really happy.  That painting is from the flea market years ago and that brass sculpture is actually The artemide tangle light that i sold (sold out) on Open Sky.


That fern is a Maiden Hair that i was talking about yesterday.  Incredibly pretty, if i do say so myself.  The paintings i’ve had forever, the sculpture is a random art student sculpture (I have a thing for heads). 

The desk is from a thrift store, its vintage. The fern is an Australian fern, mate. The golden egg was a recent purchase by Scott at the Rose Bowl from my favorite vendor and then i snagged it for the shoot….BECAUSE ITS A GOLDEN EGG!!!!!

Those are my shelves where i hoard all my pretty things – soon to be traded out for less beautiful office-y things. 

The hand chair i got from Round Top antique festival last year.  The green chair i scored from a thrift store recently for $60 (perfect upholstery) and the cat i got from the bronx 7 years ago. That is General Meow, my other cat, Bearcat’s sister. She is normally fairly elusive and prefers to remain anonymous on the blog (hence the overcompensation by me for the Bear). She has the body of a lightbulb.



Oh and the arc table lamp is from the flea market for $100, but Dwell makes a new version.  Disregard the terrible chord styling. It’s hard to take pictures and style at the same time…..

The creepy painting of a girl in the background also from the Rose Bowl. It’s Brian’s favorite. He just can’t get enough of it.  (Read:  it makes him very uncomfortable but he can’t deny that the color palette is perfect). 

The blue tape dispenser and the pens are from Poppin, the gold mug is vintage and belongs to my heart.

Kelly green and this color of navy, with white and gold accents is pretty much my color palette. I own it. It’s patented, reserved for me.  

So to recap.  Here’s a quick before with the slightly suburban shade of green:

Vast improvement, no?  This room makes me incredibly happy. 

Check out Cassandra’s ‘National Painting Week’ makeover on her blog, Coco and Kelley from yesterday, too.

Tomorrow Morgan, from The Brick House, is painting something yellow in celebration of the holiday. That’s all i know and all i can say, but i’m excited to see it.  

It’s kinda always painting week in my book, but it seemed like an extra good excuse to make it happen.  

So how do you feel about ‘Loyal Blue’ (Sherwin Williams)?


**And yes, this is a sponsored post, but every word, photograph, and opinion are my own. :)


  1. Oh wow, holy moly, I'm love with that color! What a perfect blue.

  2. Kimberly

    Loving the blue. It makes me want to redo my office immediately. After that first coat I have to admit I was kind of "what was she thinking" but after the second coat it's clear that there was a method to your madness. I really love it and I love the styling. Wish I bought that light now from Opensky. I see how fab it can be.

  3. WOW. Stunning. I can't even believe it's the same room! Amazing, amazing job. I am so inspired!!! Coincidentally, I am about to paint my kitchen a similar blue and I almost couldn't sleep last night because I was so excited envisioning it. :)

  4. LOVE IT! It looks like a completely different room compared to the green version. You make me want to paint everything navy blue. That is not a complaint.

  5. Lisa

    Emily- this transformation is fantastic!! The color you selected is wonderful with all of your furnishings. Question: did you actually remove the quarterround on the baseboards to install the flooring and then re-install the quarterround? The transition from the new flooring to the baseboards/quarterrounds looks seamless, and I don't understand you accomplished this without removing the quarterround?

  6. Kate

    I LOVE how the room goes from formal dining room (best intentions!) to office…cracks me up! That's exactly what I would do…:>) It's gorgeous!! When does Secrets Of A Stylist come back! Whose house can I egg to make this happen!!!!???

  7. Lynne

    I love your new office! I just love your style because it is so interesting! I'm eclectic/vintage style and the reason I like it is because most everything has a story. "designer" rooms where the coffee table,end tables, tv cabinet all match bore me to tears. I love the collected look. I love your show on hgtv! When I saw you on design star I really didn't think you would win. I just don't think that show really showcased your amazing talent until the very last challenge. Glad you won. I hope hgtv realizes that you are unique and a lot of us out here want to watch what you do! So glad I found your blog so I can get a dose of you whenever I want. I think you should do a book with lots of great photos of your work!

  8. Mary

    Very loverly Em! Hope you're having fun with your cute new house! XXOO

  9. Amazing. I love your "patented" color palette and I want this whole room in my home. I've lusted over (ok that's extreme) photos of your blue tufted sofa forever now. Good to know that exact color comes in a paint can, too.

  10. Emily P

    I'm a navy blue girl, too, but haven't had the guts/opportunity to paint the walls something that drastic yet. Although I did use the same loyal blue to paint an old dresser. I love the color, and hope that I can use it even more when I move places this year. Thanks for sharing the progress on your house…I've been thinking about your headboard and can't wait to see how it turns out!

  11. Wow! This color is so rich and beautiful! I adore the mood of this room! I would work in here all day long!

  12. Emily Henderson

    Thanks guys, so much. @lisa NO, i didn't remove the quarter round. If i owned the house i probably would have. But frankly this is just a '2 year update' that the owner will sadly probably get rid of afterwards. I didn't want to rip it up just to put it back in, but it actually looks totally fine. If you look up close you'll see flaws, but you have to really look. Thanks!

  13. Logan

    Yowza! That paint color is hot. SO FUN!

  14. Boomer

    It's perfect – warm, inviting and very calm…

  15. Yay Emily it looks fabulous I adore it…painted my Small powder room with a version of this and I LOOOOVVVEE it :)

  16. Emily, my goodness I love this room. LOVE!

  17. Lynn

    Wow. Absolutely LOOOOOOVE that color. I think I just found my new guestroom shade. Thanks!

  18. Kendryn

    I am so impressed that you didn't have to use any primer and the paint gave that much coverage! I will definitely refer to this blog for this paint brand when doing my kitchen in the upcoming months! That navy color is so rich and your office turned out amazing!

  19. I love that shade of blue! The room is amazing!

  20. Sunnie

    It's so pretty, it hurts my feelings.

  21. I feel great about Loyal Blue. One wall of my son's room is dark blue. I was kind of scared of it at first, but it turned out pretty nice.

    Do you know what you needed to do to make me like you even more? Tell me that you appreciate "Friday Night Lights." That's it. Easy, yes?

  22. mel

    Love the new look. I know it was sponsored by a competitor, but I'm surprised whenever I see people having to paint two coats unnecessarily. Behr paint and primer in one is amazing and would have done the job in one coat with maybe a few touch up areas. It's the ultimate time saver. And Home Depot has their competitors' color formulas in their database. Win-win. Why would anyone use anything else?

  23. scott

    what a total transformation!!!! that room looks incredible in that color! ive been waiting to find the right blue to paint my powder room and i think I've just found it!!!!!! thanks emily for sharing, this really looks amazing! can't wait for you to do another room!!!

  24. jeri

    I Love that greek style blue! What a brilliant pop of color. I would never think to paint a room that color but you have opened my eyes to how great it can look, thanks Emily.

  25. Sam


  26. Danielle

    Gorgeous! I love deeper colors and am always trying to talk people into them. The big fear seems to be that it will make the room 'feel/look smaller' – news flash, the walls don't actually move when you paint them! But I usually save the snark and just say it feels cozier. Thanks for the never-ending inspiration!

  27. What a transformation! It looks fabulous. They Loyal Blue really was a perfect choice!

  28. Katy

    If my office looked like that, I might actually get some work done! Instead, I am a lowly grad student working in a room that used to be a bathroom (I have marble walls and a toilet hookup hidden behind my desk, but at least I have a window) in a building that used to be a hospital. Color me jealous of your new inspiring space!

  29. Sarah

    I LOVE that color blue. It's so happy but moody at the same time. I have almost the same color in my dining room as an accent wall and I love it.

  30. Lauren

    You rule. So does Orlando. Not that I would expect anything less, but the color and the office are glorious. Now please stop teasing me with that sofa. The most perfect sofa ever. When are you gonna get started on that furniture line?! Please!

  31. Lovely! You picked the color I would have picked from the palette you shared, so I think you made an excellent choice! (Bosporus being my second choice – I also am drawn to greener blues.) Your office looks great – very you – and I desperately want to steal your green chair.

  32. Bonnie

    Omg lovveee the blu! It's so crisp against all of the white built-ins/windows. B-E-A-utiful, makes me want to take the leap and paint my own apartment!

  33. HelpSavePluto

    So, one I looked at the paint swatches and attempted to guess which color you chose. I knew you'd choose Loyal Blue. BAM! Two, I need a gold mug. KTHANKSBYE.

  34. Lovely! I credit you with my newfound love of brassy/gold accents! I have a navy accent wall (veering more towards Commodore up there) and I've been toying with painting the whole room… this gives me the needed kick in the pants.

    Also, do you have a book/plan on publishing a book? I really think you should, your styling and images are always lovely!

  35. Jessica

    Love the color and the whole room looks great!

  36. Tina

    That room looks crazy amazing! Makes me want to repaint my whole apartment.
    p.s. How did you get Scott to move to LA?? ;)

  37. Lesley

    Office looks lovely! Do you have room somewhere else to put up a large folding table for dinner parties? Also, can you tell us where the shades are from?

  38. Margarita

    Gorg! Can you also tell us what kind of Ikea flooring you purchased?

  39. Love the colour Emily, the whole room looks amazing! Those windows are such a fabulous shape and it made the world of difference when you removed those blinds + let the light in. Incredible transformation!

  40. Ian

    Love it!!! Such a good room now! Perfect paint color

  41. WOW, A-mazing! You never cease to amaze me and I absolutely love this room. Wow!

  42. Lori

    I am designing my new Dining Room and I am going to use this paint color for the walls! I need your advice. I want a pop of color and don't know which one I should use. Navy Walls w/ White Wainscoting on lower half, Tan Carpet, Rect Mahogany Table, White Windsor Chairs, Brass 2 Tier Drum Pendant (Urban Outfitter), Large Brass Sunburst Mirror. I have 2 end Chairs that I will paint either White, Kelly Green, or Yellow. Also for Curtains Kelly Green, or Gray Velvet Drapes w/ a Brass Rod??

  43. Gina

    LOVE that color blue. Navy is one of my favorite colors, and I'm obsessed with it as a paint color. The room looks amazing!

  44. Robyn

    What an amazing transformation – love it!

  45. Looks freakin' amazing! Good job!

  46. Kit

    Gorgeous, gorgeous!

  47. regina

    holy cow, what a beautiful lamp. you have such a keen eye for style. this blue is powerful, cool choice. when can you come over and paint my office???ha!

  48. Dang girl, you always get it right! I just love your style, and especially your new office! Love navy- I just need to get the guts to paint a room with it.

  49. siiiiiigh. so beautiful. i'd never leave a room like that. now then. which room in my house shall i paint?! ;)

  50. Cheryl

    Loyal Blue served you, so well! I've been considering painting my front door, inside and out, in navy (I share your love of navy). You recommend flat for walls. For a front door, what do you think for the side that faces inside our house — glossy? might be good that it reflects light in the entryway. glossy outside too? would love to know your take, Emily.

  51. Sarah

    I am SOO in love with this. I had to use that same photo of your sofa for one of my own color inspirations. The office looks AMAZING.

  52. beautiful, just beautiful. the color is perfect, such an amazing transformation. you're a genius!

  53. laurielulu

    That is a truly stunning transformation. Brilliant to turn that room into an office, I would hate to 'waste' such a divine room for an under used dining space.

    Wish I had a friend like Orlando…….

  54. Nuit

    oh Emily!!!!! I am so like In shock!!! this is AWESOME!!!!

  55. Emily I love it! It look so sophisticated. Two weeks ago we repainted our home office/guess room. I will share the link with you once I post about it.
    I have yet to take decent pictures. I was brave enough to create an accent wall, and not only a regular accent wall, a "chevron" accent wall. I love how it came out. Painting is super fun for me even tough it took me all day. From priming (we had a green similar to the one you just changed too) to painting and then creating the chevron stripes. But it was all worth it.

  56. It looks so amazing!! I used SW Revel
    Blue in my little boy's nursery, and I love your color better! I have an end table that needs exactly that color! Good pick!

  57. Hi,

    This is jonesdrumanThis blog was simply great post byb you. I really appreciate your blog. Really awesome blog I would like to know more about this. Please give some ideas about your blog. Thanks…………………………………….

    desk chairs

  58. Love it! We ran into the same problem when we painted our basement royal blue (we used Benjamin Moore Marine Blue) and definitely had the same "smurf" moment where we were super concerned about the color choice. Luckily it ended up darkening and looking beautiful, just like yours!

  59. Adriane

    In LURVE with this blue paint! You've inspired me to try a shade of this on my front door. I think mixed with the greenery of the country it would give it some oomph. Thanks!

  60. elz

    Bananas! I love the new room. It's so amazingly great. I have to agree; the painting's colors are perfect, but it is kind of creepy.

  61. vel

    Gorgeous room!!!! a lot better than the ol' dining (sorry) :-)!

  62. You are such a glamazon! I adore your new office darling! Love all of the touches especially the dome lighting!

  63. Hi,Very nice blog.Every man and woman need furniture in her/his house.Furniture is the best item to create beautiful our house.
    design Büromöbel

  64. Kelly

    Okay, so you said the other room would be for a little alien if the "invasion" was about to begin. Does this mean your office moved to make way for a little bambino??? :)

  65. Maggie O

    Hello Mr. Beautiful Loyal Blue (in bold) is the best reveal line ever! So fitting! Seriously, that color is great and I hear you – navies are really hard – can be too dark and if they veer just off from what you were hoping. . .uh oh. But this is perfect. And I really like this in flat, but I personally like a little sheen on my own walls. Eggshell, satin, semi, I've used them all – I like shiny, I like reflection, it just make me so happy. You get yours from gold accents, I get mine from paint – you just never know.

  66. Beautiful! We just changed our office from a navy blue to a blush pink, and now you have me lusting for another blue room! Gorgeous.

  67. Kevin

    We also have one of those hand chairs. They are so funny. I'm thinking about painting ours gold.

  68. Carrie

    Love it love it love it love it! The color is absolutely perfect and I adore the shade of green of the upholstered chair against the blue wall. I wanted that light from Open Sky but couldn't bring myself to spend the $$$$. Sad to see it is now sold out! :(

  69. Mrs. D.

    I noticed you had a kitchen light in the ceiling but you aren't showing if you replaced it or not. Please tell me you replaced it, please.

  70. Jean

    I guess I have " balls" because I am painting my kitchen cabinets navy. Love your room Emily. Thanks. I feel very confident.
    Question, is flooring laminate or engineered wood?

  71. mosey

    gosh it's beautiful. i really wish you could style my living room for me. It's feeling hopeless.

  72. Lyann

    What a great blue color. It goes great with the white in the room. Amazing.

  73. Desi

    amazing. emily you are so damn talented.

  74. Rebecca

    Love the blue office. I've been so into blues lately. I want to paint my dining room the Loyal blue but will it be too dark with having only 1 window in the room? I noticed you have 3 windows.

  75. Love, love, love your office. Love the color, love the art and I love the arc lamp so much I have one (actually 2!) as well! One of my all time fave finds. Now if only I had all those other fab pieces…….(sigh).

  76. I don't know if you see comments that arrive five months after the post goes up, but I wanted to let you know that I just painted my bedroom this color because I was so obsessed with it in your office. It took me FOUR coats and three gallons, but it was totally worth it (it didn't feel that way during the process, but now that it's done–gorgeous!). I don't have the amazing molding and built-ins that you have, but even with the normal white trim, it's a beautiful contrast. Thank you for introducing me to this color! I think I'd probably have made this mistake of going too purple if it wasn't for you.

    ALSO, I realized after I'd ordered fabric for my curtains that you used the same one in your guest bedroom (the Tommy Bahama palms, which, btw, is available on for $11/yard if you ever want to make another panel). I loved that room when you posted it, but to be honest, I had completely forgotten about the curtain, so that was an unintentional copy, but a copy nonetheless. Basically, my bedroom is an homage to Emily Henderson. I hope you're flattered and not completely weirded out. ;)

  77. WOW. Stunning. I can't even believe it's the same room! Amazing, amazing job. I am so inspired!!! Coincidentally, I am about to paint my kitchen a similar blue and I almost couldn't sleep last night because I was so excited envisioning it. :)

  78. I love fern trees – but I've had terrible luck getting them to grow indoors.

  79. Pingback: Sneak Peek into a DIY | Emily Henderson

  80. Pingback: Our Studio Progress | Emily Henderson

  81. Pingback: Letting Go of Initial Design Ideas | story 3o4