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Our 10 Most Popular Instagram Posts of 2019 (Plus My Unexpected Feelings)


photo by sara ligorria-tramp

This is a larger conversation. Truly. Chasing “likes” is never a good thing as a creative—OR A PERSON. It’s like chasing “cool,” or worse, chasing “youth.” It’s the opposite of authenticity and wreaks of try-hard. So I haven’t chased likes, cool or youth, but maybe I’ve also not really put it all out there. I’ve focused my time here, on the blog where you guys know me and I feel frankly comfortable and safe. But the Instagram platform is the trickiest despite my perceived success. People ask me all the time what the key to social media success is and besides the most overused words of 2019, “authenticity” and ” unique,” which aren’t wrong, I truly don’t know. Our “likes” are down, and I don’t really know why (though if you follow other “influencers,” you’ll hear the same thing across the board in the same sentence as “algorithm”). I think I lost my voice (because I wasn’t writing enough) and created too much perfect looking content. It isn’t personal enough. I’m listening and lord knows I love “a note.”

The thing is, that  I can do personal. It’s actually all I want to do, but writing a personal post, getting the tone right, making sure I’m neither too flippant, sarcastic nor sentimental/cheesy takes me a long time, at least for me. I think I’ve been phoning it in, hoping that a nice shot of me setting down a plate in a pretty room would garner that thumb-stopping double tap. But it doesn’t anymore. Very few things do.

So next year isn’t about chasing those things. It’s about simply making space and time for more conversations that I want to have. I have to create space to write to you. Full stop.

So you want to see what our top 10 Instagrams from the year are, here you go. They aren’t my original images (thus the introspection) but they are VERY GOOD:

#10: This kitchen by Alyssa Kapito Interiors.


#9: This kitchen via House and Leisure.


#8: The mountain house kitchen (and the inside of the drawers).

Emily Henderson Mountain House Kitchen Lores10
photo by sara liggoria-tramp

#7: The Portland project mudroom pantry.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Mudroom134
photo by sara liggoria-tramp

#6: YET ANOTHER KITCHEN, this time designed by Jean Stoffer Design.


#5: The media room bar from the Portland project.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Media Room19
photo by sara liggoria-tramp

#4: This killer dining room/arched window.

Img Ad20239858a6 1

#3: The accent wall heard around the interwebs, by Molly Britt.

Image House Beautiful Design Molly Decorating Dining Room Accent Walls Are Cool Again Get Them Right Glamorous Wall

#2: This black-and-white breakfast room gallery wall (so good).

Gallery Wall Dining Room

#1: Diane Keaton #TBT.

Emily Henderson Diane Keaton

I recognize that only 4 of the top 10 are my work (besides with a celebrity) and for that, I’m pretty bummed. I know that producing incredible design work takes so much time, but I have to ask myself why some of my other projects that we posted throughout the year didn’t garner more of your love, or “likes.”

I’m re-asessing so much right now and into this new year and I’d honestly LOVE your feedback. I’m moving back to my roots, with far more personal, casual, colorful spaces full of approachable meaning and FUN. 

But listen, I’m not a kitchen. 🙂 So, who knows how I’ll do…

Fin Mark


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I think you need to give yourself a break (meant kindly!). I sometimes specifically ‘like’ your posts with others’ work, because I like to see what you like, instead of just seeing your own projects. I appreciate your design perspective, whether it’s ‘here’s what I did’, or ‘this is beautiful but not mine or not for me’. A ‘like’ on someone else’s work that you’ve shared is still a like of your voice/perspective/whatever.
Happy new year 🙂


Yes! i was going to share the same sentiment, Gwen said it very well – i love to see what you have gleaned and deem worthy of comment, so it’s still YOU that i’m hitting like about, your content shared and your perspective on it! Forget algorithms (as if that were possible!), You’re my filter Lady!!!!


Moving backwards is never a good idea, but I confess that I like the Emily Henderson blog and Instagram account of a few years ago. I love what you do, but I preferred it when there were fewer blog posts and they had more significant content. I liked it when you had 3-5 blog post per week. The more there are the less I tend to pay attention. I’m sure there are others who feel differently but I’m also sure that has effected how many times I like something.


My favorite posts were all the ones of your mountain house! I will say when there are a lot of emails I know I don’t have time to read them all so I just randomly read as opposed to when there’s fewer I feel like I don’t want to miss one. You do great work though! Try not to be so hard on yourself.

Sarah Alexanian



I 100% agree with Lorrie. Maybe less quantity, more quality. Your voice/introspection/commentary is part of what sets you apart from other “influencers.” I’d love to see more of that!


Yeah I’m an Em superfan, so subconsciously I may not like your work because I know it inside out and love it so much. Sorry that screws with your engagement. I also want to give love to the people you feature as a way to be generous to them.




I’ve noticed my general viewing of your content matches up with what you’re noticing. I’m far less engaged. Like others have said, the fashion stuff just isn’t why we all came here. There are other people doing fashion – you are awesome at design. The fashion posts that are you/useful are a when you do a huge collection of items and break them down (like trying 15 pairs of on trend boots). Enabling posts. For what it’s worth, the ads on your blog have always been beyond clunky. It keeps me from reading more often. I also think it cheapens the appearance of your website. Somehow other sites manage to have a nicer and less distracting ad experience. Finally, your content…. it’s always great. But it used to be far more “teaching” type content. I’ve learned SO MUCH from you. Your posts have helped me remodel four kitchens, ten bathrooms… move things around, design it all. Content like, if your house is over X years old, use real marble has been vital. Like fashion, there are lots of pictures Of pretty and unapproachable design. Yours is trending this way. You excel at enabling us to be better. I would love… Read more »

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Jared M

As an avid male reader of your blog and follower on Instagram, here are my thoughts: 1) Instagram seems to have increased the ratio of ads to posts. I find myself scrolling faster and liking less because 40% of my feed is ads. 2) I don’t believe people weed out the IG accounts they follow nearly as often as they delete Facebook friends. The number of accounts I follow has increased as bloggers I like (you, for example), post about different artists or designers. The more content I see, the less likely I am to like posts. More specifically to your blog/IG: 1) I find that your content has had an increasing number of women’s fashion related posts, which I can’t relate to. I find myself checking the blog 3-4 times/week vs every day like I used to. 2) I’d really like to see more interesting projects. The Paris inspired bedroom and the barn that you did stick out as my favorites because they were so different from the typical EH look. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of your work, but there can be a bit of sameness to the projects (color palette, accessories, etc). 3) I loooove… Read more »


I second this. Instagram is an increasingly sucky user experience. I spend less time there and engage less in what I do see. Especially since I prefer to read your blog. The Insta pics are nice and necessary but it’s just not the medium that best highlights the thinking and context of your projects. I realize monetizing makes Insta impossible to ignore. I’d be interested to see a FaceBook moderated group where we could share pics and topics with you and your other readers. Would be interesting to see what that’s like anyway. RunnersWorld moderates a few groups for runners with LOTS of members. Anyway, not sure if leveraging FB would drive Insta traffic or “likes” but I do think the opportunity to engage meaningfully is missing from Insta. I wouldn’t trust the lack or, or presence, of likes personally.

Karen T.

I agree. Instagram has changed and so has the user experience. I also tend to “like” posts less because of the change in the flow as well as the ads. I love personal insta posts, the flea market shopping, anything before and after, and anything budget or organizational that maybe feels aspirational but still within reach. And I definitely think you should be kind to yourself–I know that “likes” drive your revenue but it’s never personal. Love you, love the blog. 🙂


I agree with all of your comments! Specific to the fashion posts, I don’t need yet another platform where someone is telling me to buy more.


I agree with all of Jared’s points. Instagram has changed a lot since Facebook acquired it and I also find myself scrolling through it faster due to all of the ads. I, also, am not interested in the fashion posts so completely ignore those. I follow you for the unique design posts and would love to see more of those. I love your voice and the unique flavor that you add to a design space!

Zach Mitchell

I 100% agree with Jared on this one–both on the ad frequency and the Facebook comparison. I’ve recently begun paring down the number of instagram accounts that I follow (and curating it to mostly design content), and as I’ve unfollowed accounts, others are popping up in my feed that leave me thinking — “when did I even start following this person? who is this?” *unfollow*

I personally don’t mind the women’s fashion posts, though. I still find it interesting, even if it’s not directly relevant to me, but I definitely understand his perspective.

You made a comment at the end of the post regarding the frequency of kitchens on this list, and I think that’s something to consider. Kitchens are such complicated projects with so many factors to consider. I think many people feel overwhelmed by kitchens and, therefore, welcome as much inspiration as they can get in the department.

You’re doing great! Stay true to yourself and the masses will follow. xoxo


I totally agree with all of those comments- except I’m female.. lol. Those were my favorite projects too. I used to love the different rooms and looks. I can’t relate to the fashion and I check less often too. I used sit down with my coffee and read every day. I learned so much about design. I just don’t relate so much to the other stuff. I feel like it’s less about design and relating to 25-35 year olds. I still love the design posts and love the pictures above because they are all eye candy!


i also agree to all of these points—especially the love of thrifting (finds and tips!), unique design perspectives, and the darn fashion posts. i do feel like the affiliate stuff is taking over, and while i do resonate strongly with emily’s design style, i don’t at all with her wardrobe selections. which is totally ok, but it does cause me to scroll over posts and skip stories. also, i agree 100% with sameness—i follow a lot of designers on IG and everyone’s projects are starting to blend together. same materials (hello, loloi rugs), color palettes, camera angles. even their 2019 gift guides were the same stuff (hello, yeti mug). finally, while i love following along with major reno projects, for me sometimes it’s just too much content about the same house stretched over months. just two cents from a longtime reader/follower. 🙂


I agree with Jared. I don’t always see your posts on Instagram and I like them when I do when they catch my attention or relate to me…like the mountain home and Portland. Some of the others aren’t as memorable for me personally, but I can find elements to love of every design. I love your designs and have followed you since Design Star in some capacity. I check the blog everyday, but there isn’t always something there for me to read or see. I’m a gay man that doesn’t wear women’s fashion or have a family. It’s great for your readers that are women with family, but there’s just nothing there for me sometimes. I loved the mountain house and Portland as well. Those were major projects that made a huge impact on me. I still reference them and share them with friends. Some of the smaller stuff are relatable like a living room or something, but I want to see bigger. The smaller projects are like my own home that I’d bored with for my house. I love your inspiration! I was really excited about your holiday posts for the mountain home and your Tudor, but it didn’t… Read more »


I agree with Josh…I also get the feeling of posts seeming more gift buying/fashion and less design orientated recently and I tend to tune out of those because they’re just not for me either (straight/female!). I love the big design/transformation posts and I die for flea market finds. Like others have said though, instagram has changed and I mostly scroll to view and not necessarily ‘like’, however much I might like what I see.

Be kind to yourself though, your blog is one I’ve followed for almost 10 years now while others have slipped away…so for a lot of us you’re doing an awful lot right, even if the ‘likes’ maybe don’t fully reflect that.


I too agree with Jared. So many adds to scroll through to read your content and I tend to close before liking anything. I am also not a fan of people trying on clothes, especially to that terrible music that I’ve heard is all you can choose on Instagram. I like seeing your designs and getting tips from you. I also think Instagram may have run its course. I tend to go on much less often now because everything is a constant sales pitch.


I have recently discovered your work and I love it! For what it’s worth, I begun reading your blog because I was seeking design advice from a credible source, not a “lifestyle” blog that claims to be a “one size fits” all or a “jack of all trades”. The non design posts have left me feeling underwhelmed that this too will become another “trying to be everything to everyone blog.“ Truth is none of us can be everything to everyone and that is more than ok. It’s great because we can all shine in our own respective specialties. I’m guessing you started this because you love it. So therefore maybe go back to that? It’s probably easier said than done but it’s worth a consideration? I share all of this with kindness in my heart hoping you will find your path with many loyal readers following along. As far as IG…I would maybe pivot from sharing and featuring others’ work. I know this sounds selfish but as a reader I find it confusing trying to keep up with whose content it really is. Be true to yourself and everything will fall into place. Best wishes 🙂


I’m a LONG-time reader, but I agree with the point about maybe there being a little too much on the blog last year that’s not design focused but instead, more lifestyle. I’m 45 (wait, maybe I’m 46 already?), and I admit I feel kind of old scrolling through the fashion posts and others focused on the younger team members (although they all seem lovely and talented!). As for Instagram, I actually feel that I have been sucked into spending way too much time on it lately, leaving me less time for blogs in general. I guess I like seeing the breadth of photo snapshots from so many different designers (though I rarely ever click to “like”) as well as spending time watching (sort of) real-time renovations like the ones by Chris Loves Julia, Yellowbrick Home and Jenny Komenda. I hope that’s helpful. I’m still a loyal reader. Happy new year!


Ditto! I have a habit of only “liking” very few things, even with personal friends. This does not mean I don’t enjoy what you are doing. Having said that I am VERY glad you are going to be going back to your roots. I whole heartily agree with maybe less is more

Regarding the fashion posts, I 100% agree that I can do without them. I feel like they started out with you just occasionally letting us know what you had actually been wearing and buying – from diverse and often less known brands. But recently it’s just been totally sponsored Nordstrom posts. Not into it.


The fashion posts are so not my thing. I have fashion bloggers/influencers I follow for fashion, but I follow *your* blog for the design related (and Emily-authored) content. Also, with all the kindness in the world, this year it seemed like the Mountain House project languished for a while. It was like the Monopoly game that just wouldn’t end. The end result was absolutely beautiful, but it felt like there were way more posts apologizing for/griping about being past deadline and over budget than there were posts about the final content.


I second the point about the more bloggers i follow (which I enjoy) the less likely I am to “like a post.” I also agree that there are way too many Ads on IG, it makes me less inclined to really take in the real posts and appreciate the work because so many of them are just Ads.

In far as what I enjoy, I really like your round ups, design tips, and when you show your design process such as the post you did on debating what to do in your living room with the built in’s in the back of the room. While I enjoy seeing finished projects I also like to see “real life” snaps where toys are on the ground, the room isn’t staged etc.


I agree with the points about not liking the fashion posts. I think once in awhile it’s fine but there was a sharp increase in those posts this year. There are a lot of fashion blogs out there and I prefer to come to your blog for design guidance.

I also feel a bit of content glut. You guys have SO much content now and I’m sure some people like the 2x a day posts but for me it’s just overwhelming. I think I was much more plugged in and invested when there were 4 posts a week. I would actually take my time to read every single one and I used a lot of that guidance in my own home remodel.


Your stuff this year was fantastic! I love that you share both your own work and work that inspires you. I’m glad you are not putting too much stock in “likes” though I also realize it’s one of the best ways you can measure engagement with your audience. Keep doing what you and your team love doing and feel good about, Emily! The mountain house, your Portland project, your Christmas decorations (and re-dos), your soups, your beautiful writing about your family, your team’s more budget-friendly renovations–it is all such great content. I’ve been following you for many years and will for years to come as I appreciate your innovative style, willingness to take risks and be transparent about mixed results, your voice and your team. Keep it up in 2020!!!!!!


Ditto this post in its entirety !!


Hi! I personally don’t love the reposting of other people’s work, so I tend to “like” those less – so maybe this isn’t the feedback you need! But on Instagram, I much prefer seeing your own work/life, and save the inspiration pics from others for Pinterest or a blog post (I feel like I’ve seen all of those non-EHD pics above a million places this year!). Like one of your other recent posts, I agree that “weird Emily” is sometimes missing – love seeing your personality more, flea market posts, unique design/diy ideas, etc, as that has always been what makes you special. Honestly there are a million places we can go to see a fancy kitchen, but only one where we can see your vision and personality so I prefer that! I know you’ve grown over time and no longer need to DIY/thrift and have bigger budgets, but sometimes that removes some of the personality of that makes sense – every designer has their brass faucets and fireclay tile these days and while absolutely beautiful, not that unique. That’s why I loved some of your choices in the mountain house, as it felt a little like weird Emily in… Read more »


It looks like the most-liked posts also tend to have some sort of wow-factor architectural feature (that arched window! the inset accent wall! the brick kitchen floors!) that really stand out and are memorable. Even now, I always remember the massive brass fireplace hood from SSS design at Mandy Moore’s house, or the tiles on your patio. These things will definitely catch your eye mid-scroll, mostly because they’re huge risks and look totally different—hence, a risky choice for a designer 🙂 It’s a tough place to be!

Maybe just take more photos with celebrities? 🙂

Morgan Molitor

I love how real, raw and honest you always are! I can hear your voice every time I read a post on the gram and it makes me smile and usually always laugh. And I do have to say, I really miss your political posts… haha!! But it’s probably because I’m on the same page as you.


I rarely like anything on Instagram. And while I find that most bloggers are heavily using stories to share their content I, personally, love reading YOUR voice written out on a post with a real life picture. You share so so many beautiful, inspiring images, and not very many ‘unstyled’ real life shots. Maybe the balance of more of your voice with more of real life will feel natural and get more attention. I know it would draw more of mine. When I read the blog I am 100% more likely to read a post I’m not interested in IF the byline is your name. Your voice is why we’re all here, but writing a blog and an instagram post every day, or multiple times a day, is likely a lot. So maybe just more balance and use of your voice. You’ve been my interior design and styling teacher for years. I love to and want to continue learning from you. Thank you for all you do.


I don’t often hit like, even though I like things. It’s just not my habit. And i sometimes feel like liking one thing will cause a “why that one and not the other one,” rather than being positive. The fact that you get eyeballs is enough, The “likes” are a red herring. If people stop following you maybe start worrying, but please know that there are lots of us non-likers who actually love what you do.


Ditto, instead of hitting “like,” I use Instagram to link to the blog articles. I read your articles daily and “like” often. So, the “likes” aren’t a barometer of my engagement. I think it’s great that you continue to be open to feedback and ways to grow, but too much may stifle you. I most appreciated the article on your desire to get back to “weird Emily.” I also like the diversity of voices from your staff in terms of sexual orientation and class. As a Black reader, I’ve appreciated those blogs that have had a more political or reflective angle in terms of our cultural moment (e.g. your blog experience at a GOOP retreat). I hope you continue to speak from your voice and support space for others to do so.


Same—I click through from Insta to read this blog every day; I never click “like”. I only “like” my friends’ real-life photos, no other content.

Rachel S

Agreed. I don’t think I’ve ever “liked” a post that was put up by someone I don’t know personally but it doesn’t mean I’m not engaged in the content.


Im not on Instagram, but follow the blog daily. The only social media platform i use is fb, and even there I rarely ‘like’ any non- family things. I like the idea of remaining more anonymous online (I know. That’s actually not possible), so I tend not to leave a trail of likes in my wake… My point is – online engagement looks different for everyone and the reasons ppl have for NOT engaging might not be related at all to the content they are seeing.

Julie P

I’m in the same boat as J. I’ve found Insta and Pinterest are now so full of ads they’re unenjoyable, sort of like broadcast TV. I use FB but only ever like friends personal pics. I come visit your blog every morning, like clockwork, sometimes before the online local newspaper. 🙂 I think you’re in a really tough spot – you need your team to drive the blog, but your audience wants YOU. Though I’m starting to feel really fondly of Emily Bowser with her unique AND a funny voice and reno reveals of her house. I really like the posts where your team shows their apartments and houses. These people have the same problems I do – working with what I’ve got, limited budget etc. And when they write with flair I love it! I feel like you could do tagteam posts about the flea, or shopping at one of the LA vintage stores where you go with your team member and they do some writing and you do some writing. (I also agree that I’m not nuts about the fashion posts. I like you writing about your style, when that’s on your body so that’s ok, but not… Read more »


I think you already know this from comments you’ve made in previous posts, but a lot of your styling this year was extremely minimal, light, and airy. That can sometimes get lost in the scrolling on instagram – most of the posts that were popular on instagram this year have intense color, moody lighting, and styling that gives a sense of life (including both of the Portland house pics above!). Those are the stop-and-stare types of pictures. Also, when I see the 15th instagram post about the mountain house, I may still like the look, but because they’re all cohesive and similar style, they become predictable. That doesnt mean I didn’t love the journey and the overall product and even a lot of specifics about it, but it doesnt get the likes from the people who solely follow on instagram to see pretty pictures rather than to follow your design journey. Dont be too discouraged that some of your spotlights on other designers’ work were so popular – you spotlighted those because they were captivating for you too, and that’s probably each designer’s A+++ shot – you’re comparing someone else’s highlight to your full portfolio, which is the problem of… Read more »


TBH, a lot of Instagram users on the younger side (I’m in my early 20s) are probably coming across your posts from searches for other things—in this instance, I imagine it’s hashtags like kitchens, blue paint, green paint, etc. Those searches might not even be on Instagram! (For example, I was looking at a certain fireclay tile shape by googling it, and came across a gorgeous white kitchen by @hommeboys that had it installed, posted to their Instagram. Which I know follow religiously, haha.) I think a lot of Instagram users don’t actually care (sorry!!!!!!) about who made something, and care more about how it looks. Maybe this is helpful, maybe not, just another perspective!! I think the blog is where the heart is, so worry less about Instagram engagement 🙂


My morning routine before work is to read the few great remaining blogs and then maybe I get to Instagram over lunch. By the time I do that, any images that were in your blog I’ve already seen so I don’t bother to like. Sorry. Maybe I should rethink that.

There are very few designers that I like every post on Instagram. Tommy Smythe is the exception. His posts usually have nothing to do with his design work or TV set experiences and instead focus on architecture wherever he is. His narrative is always irreverent and fun.

I also find the square format on Instagram counter to design ideas. Too much is left out of the view and viewing on my phone probably doesn’t help.


This is my experience as well. I read the blog every day (and have for years and years) and by the time I get to Instagram I’ve already seen everything so I don’t end up hitting like. I do want to be more intentional about liking posts because it means so much for the accounts I love to follow.

You’re doing amazing work every single day! Thank you for opening up your life and work to us ❤️


Me too! Same pictures on Instagram and the blog so Ive already seen them.


I am not sure how the instagram algorithm works, but here is what I find myself doing more of lately; I do tend to scroll faster as Jared mentioned, if I am really wowed by something I comment and often forget to like for some reason. Instagram is by far my favorite social media content, however whack it might be, but I think I tend to use it for a quick browse and then look at the blog content if I am looking for more info. And maybe this has been “encouraged” by stories and the quick “swipe up”. I feel like your blog content is some of the best out there.


That must feel like so much pressure, Emily. I find it fascinating that these are your top ‘likes.’ And as per usual, I’m analyzing this by looking at what our society is going through at the moment (this is what I do :). It seems that these are more ‘escapist’ photos and the fact that they are mostly kitchens, the heart of the home, it seems that we crave a little more heart, and perhaps beauty, in our lives. There’s so much instability in the world – environmental issues, political disasters, depression, etc, etc. I personally go from reading the news to needing a break on your blog and others similar. When I scroll through my news feed on instagram, I get a serious news article about something terrible happening in the world and then I see a beautiful image of a home I would love to be in (I happen to follow several kitchen-oriented influencers myself as a matter of fact) and this seems to be a good place to pause and ‘like.’ I can imagine others might be reacting the same. That being said, my most favorite posts of yours are the designs for those in need (that… Read more »


I have the same experience here – I go from terrible news stories to Emily’s wonderful, funny, peppy, and inspiring blog in the mornings. Re:kitchen posts, I think amazing kitchens are the most unattainable and therefore most inspiring content. Also, like someone else said, they are hard to design, so there’s a lot of image searching for them! As far as likes, I’m just one person, but I don’t actually use the like button except for a few friends posts. For all design content, I save all the images I like. Does insta measure how many images get saved? That’s my true barometer of what I like. Otherwise it’s lost forever in the scroll. I love your blog Emily – yours is the only design blog I check everyday, and I access it through insta because it’s so convenient to swipe up. I hope not having as many likes doesn’t cause you any issues, because like someone else said, people use insta differently, and the way Insta measures success right now may not reflect how users actually prefer to use it. Like all things with technology, they evolve over time, and this has everything to do with the tech and… Read more »


I agree with the comments below, it’s true I had “like” less in the pass year, but read all your blog post every week/day. Look at your link and use your website as a reference for my own Reno and design. Love number too, but maybe just “likes” isn’t an accurate way to analyse Your followers. Happy new year!


English isn’t my first language but I want to share my thoughts as I like your blog / insta a lot. When I don’t have time for Instagram (2 small kids, hubby and a fulltime job) and therefore didn’t “like” your last 2 or 3 posts, your posts are shown closer to the end of my feed. If I don’t have time to check my whole feed (reasons seen above) for a couple days I am likely to miss your posts completely and then they are put further back or at the very end of my feed. But this is just Instagram. There was plenty of great content this year. What I personally like most is when you mix flea market/ vintage / thrifted things with high end furniture. I get that this is harder for your reader to replicate and it’s not possible to link to it (and gain a few percent of the price if I buy it from there) But it makes you unique because you are so good at it. I like to learn from you, to develop an “eye” of what weird stuff I may find on flea markets could look good in my own… Read more »


Who cares about likes and Instagram? This is the best blog out there. I’ve learned so much about design and how to cultivate my own style from you guys.


The only Instagram posts I “like” are from close friends or people who really nail a statement I feel strongly about and make me want to pump my fist and say, “YES!”
That and, of course, Nachoflay. 😉


Cheer up miss piggy. Is there another designer who even had two of the top ten posts. you are so rad and four top tens is an A plus girlie!


I love, love, love your blog. I think I’m addicted!

I chose to let Instagram go, simply because snapshot bites don’t do it for me.

I prefer your sharing of quality, going ‘deeper’. That’s why the blog is a better fit for me.

I actually miss your social commentary posts, like the ‘Why Trump’ conversation. It made me challenge my own thinking and consider the views of people I thought were nuts to vote for him. It opened my mind. I still think he’s a complete nut job, but I paused tothink, because of your considered post. Thank you…I think it will stay with me forever.

What’s the possibility that Insta starts to fade as people shift from quantity to quality? Maybe blogs themselves have a resurgence?

What struck me about most of those images, is that there’s a rustic, natural, imperfection in them, like a lived in-ness, a worn rug, an imperfect wall, uneven floor. Maybe getting back in touch with “weird” is just what you need?

I think your intuitive sense of direction for2020 is the right direction, indeed.


It may be that most of your IG followers follow your blog, so if they’ve already seen it, they just scroll through. Not sure it’s worth the time or cost of setting up the perfect photographic conditions to try and get more likes. But tbh I love Insta and never “like” anything, ha! If I really love it, I mark it for reference.
I enjoy your blog, especially when you post. But you have great contributors, too. Still, I am happy when it’s you writing/sharing.


I agree–I follow the blog religiously. I love it! Love the content (including the fashion posts!), and I love your voice. But Instagram just feels redundant of the blog content. It sometimes reminds me to check the blog if I haven’t gotten to it yet, but otherwise I scroll through posts and skip through stories. Honestly, it mostly feels like an ad for the blog. I’m not against that, but it explains why I don’t really engage.


I never “Like” posts that are basically just ads unless I REALLY like what is being offered. This applies to all the Instagram accounts I follow, not just yours so nothing personal. I’m also not into the fashion posts on insta or the blog, so I skip those. All other posts I generally do like, so I “Like” them. Also, you post a lot on insta. Maybe less is more?

With all that said, I really enjoy your blog and want to thank you for all the hard work that goes into it. Happy New Year!


I would guess the main reason some of your top posts “aren’t yours” is because Instagram and the algorithm is all about cross pollination. It bumps you up in the feed if you collaborate.
I am so excited to see your personality shine in 2020. All the very best!


I don’t “like” almost anything on fb Or insta except pics of my BFF’s kids or political posts from my depressed friend who needs to know she is not alone. Likes are definitely not a reliable indicator of what I find interesting or amazing. You are rocking it and I enjoy all of your posts, not just a certain “type”. You are genuine and true and your personality is half of the appeal of your work. Xo


I’m 50 and … wait for it … not on IG, Twitter and rarely post on my FB account. But I’m also in the middle of a major home remodel and yours is one of the blogs that I read every day. I much prefer blogs over social media because I want more than bite-sized chunks of content and I don’t care much about the latest trends. This may make me an unusual reader for you but I’ve been around since your Design Star days and absolutely love what you and your team do!


Love your stuff and have followed you for almost 10 years. I think the mountain house lost me a bit. Didn’t feel like EHD (colorsssss) but I could appreciate your palette evolving and the property called for it. But it was too many posts, behind the scenes, decision making for a project that I didn’t connect with. Maybe the mountain house was 2018?! But I felt my peribal engagement in clicking through to the blog go down. You are a wonderful person in the interwebs. A business owner, a woman, a mom, a great designer. I just like hearing from you. It doesn’t have to be profound.


Emily, I am a huge fan and you are doing awesome being authentic in your posts! I follow you often and think the content is great. The biggest problem is that I am not an algorithm friendly follower. I am lazy, I do not double tap, or comment. It doesn’t mean I don’t love what you are putting out there I simply do not “do” what Instagram says is popular. 2020 should be filled with you being you, like you’ve always been!!


I find myself interacting with your stories far more than photos in the feed (I think as someone else mentioned, the sameness in the photos keeps me scrolling pretty fast. My brain already knows the mountain house so it glosses over). I love your stories and I think you do a great job of setting up the day’s blog post, so I usually head over to read straight from stories.
While it’s cliche, I do think the authenticity factor is high in the accounts I engage with most (and therefore get higher placement in my feed). My animal brain wants a story to follow, so even if it’s not all personal posts, kids, food or fashion—maybe if we’re getting a peek into the EHD office or getting a few plot lines going with different team members or projects at any given time, I, personally, would eat it right up.
Instagram is a weird place, but I think if you’re having fun, we feel that and have more fun with you.


Agree with this 100%. I also like the little videos with styling tips you’ve posted in the feed lately.

The stories seem to either (1) be complementary to blog posts (versus the same images) or (2) personal content that highlights your personality.

Like an earlier commenter, most of my IG feed is design content these days, so it takes a lot for me to like a pretty room since I see so many of them.

Hope that helps, but I’m sure it’s hard to figure out what works best when the algorithm is such a black box. You’re doing great!


I’m a former marketer (now FT mom) and I’m seeing a lot of shift in my own behavior online that echoes what others are saying above. The design tweaks on Instagram have made leaving likes feel less “necessary” for the user and I to am doing more fast scrolls that I often abandon partway because I find intagram’s algorithm tiring. Honestly I’m mostly on Instagram for Instastories and will often ignore the rest of the platform because the algorithm irritates me so much, not that Instagram cares, because they’re all about serving up ads now. I know there are many posts I miss from people but I do always search yours out because I love what you have to say, we’re a similar demographic (southern California mom of young kids, etc) and I think your design is fun. I also like hearing from your team but I get what you’re saying about losing your own voice in the process. If you have any questions for me, feel free to reach out. Happy to just chat.


Me too. I hate the algorithm and find that liking stuff messes with what I get to see. Why “chronological” isn’t allowed to be a choice is beyond me but that’s why I don’t engage.
One other thing is that I’m increasingly suspicious and annoyed by affiliate practices (as a current marketer I say that). The number of gift guides on blogs this holiday season was obnoxious. Nobody has an original thought any more…

I’ve been scrolling through the comments and have agreed with points made by lots of people but I am choosing to reply to this one and comment because I am in complete agreement about my IG feed vs IG stories. I religiously watch my IG stories, and will eagerly check a few times a day when people who I really like may have posted another progress update — like when Daniel Kanter was renovating his friend’s kitchen recently on a very tight budget, or when Chris Loves Julia posts about their totally over the top remodel and there is almost nothing similar about those two projects. With my feed I’ll half-heartedly scroll a through a few images and quit. I also rarely post a photo to my feed anymore, but tend to share through stories. I think for the most part people are still off-the-cuff and spontaneous with IG stories and that’s what seems authentic.

And since a few people have mentioned Facebook groups I would resoundingly vote no on that option. I hate FB and log on less than once a month and will not follow anyone except actual friends IRL there.


I think you have done a wonderful job this year, really spectacular! Did I read read 47 reveals this year? Come on people that’s an enormous amount of work, creativity and effort. You have much to be proud of.


Hi! First of all, I love you, your work, and the awesome team you’ve created. It’s clear that your team works hard in an engaging, collaborative workplace, and that is so so important to me as a woman in my 30s who wants to be in spaces that builds people up. Kudos! As I already said, I love your work. Like, a lot. I check your IG multiple times a day and I always find it interesting and beautiful, but not always relatable. In 2020, I’m hoping for more realistic projects. Many can’t afford to renovate much less redecorate an entire home (like the Mt Project and Portland Project) — but we could be looking for inspiration on how to create a beautiful vignette in our homes, how to take an accent wall up a notch, how to edit down our belongings in a purposeful way, and how to be happy in spaces (without buying more things). I love the stories when someone from your team shows their homes, because that’s more realistic – but often times, they’re still borrowing furniture/art because of their connections, or doing some insane DIY project because they’re skilled AF goddesses. You seem to have… Read more »


Emily, I “met” you on Design Star all those years ago and immediately loved your fun & easy style and voice. You have inspired me to just add a little something here or there or rearrange a room to upgrade my own home’s style factor. That’s what I love most about you. You’re my design BFF! As for content, I do have some likes and dislikes. My biggest likes: antiquing/flea finds & local shopping (in LA or when traveling), MOTO (your team’s projects are def relatable), Design Agony, how you incorporate your Target collections into your own home, the things you and your team love posts, building a room on different budgets, and collections of great chairs/sofas/lamps etc… My biggest dislikes: fashion posts (Nope—I can see your style in photos, but I don’t care where you bought any clothing), current event/political commentary (UGH—not why I’m here), other designers’ work (why? I like YOUR style), gift lists (DEF not why I’m here), anything that screams Influencer (SO tired of that word. It’s pushy and try hard. Just be YOU!) As for IG, I’m mid 50s so I really don’t care about “liking” stuff. I will watch IG stories as long as… Read more »


Though I am in a different age segment than Tricia, I also laud your efforts for the team and work culture you have developed and I, too, would love creative fodder and inspiration for the less whole house encompassing projects. Sometimes a space by space or room by room beautification is less daunting—both financially and psychologically. As an aside, I recently saw the collaboration you did with Niki Brantmark and Samsung and adored that project!

Like so many of your audience, I love your work, but judiciously reserve the “likes” and they are usually for the cuteness in the animal world and sometimes small children!


I agree with Tricia, as she articulates so beautifully what I love about your blog! I am not a big fan of IG, and I rarely check my feed. I love your blog for the detail, the furniture/decor links, and for the design decision process. I personally LOVED the Portland Project and the Mountain House project updates (in that order), since I felt that I LEARNED so much about the design process. I like Emily Bowser’s remodel, small “makeovers”, and the design decisions of your personal home. This year, your blog was not as strong for me, since I felt there was too much fashion and fluff and less design “lessons”. It was fine, but I was not as addicted. I also like to hear more from you than from your staff. They are all so talented, but I like to see you involved in the project or see your designs (well, I really like the designs/style/voices of Orlando and Brady). Please do not see all of this as criticism; I just want to become addicted again! Thank you for all that you give to us!!


I rarely look at my Instagram feed anymore. I’m mostly in stories as they’re more fun and used to have less ads.


I think on insta- people “like” when you share the work of other it feels like a good friend and women helping women.

Jordan G

I think these comments are all valid. Social media must be so tricky to have as a big part of your business because it changes so much and you’re basically at the mercy of each platform’s algorithms/quirks. They change something and we see your work less, but it doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate it. I will say this: The only Instagram content I felt like I was glued to this year, and they were happening simultaneously, was the kitchen renos of Chris Loves Julia and Jenny Komenda. Those projects really played out over Instastories, and I found myself sitting down with wine after putting my toddlers to sleep and watching those stories like one would watch a TV show. I looked forward to it and sought it out. I’m not sure how the Instastories engagement is measured but I can honestly say I didn’t really “like” their posts – I just went straight to the stories and consumed it like something that I had saved in my DVR. What was so enjoyable about it? I guess it’s just interesting to watch decisions and mistakes and thought processes play out in real time. That’s probably a big part of why we… Read more »


I agree with Jordan, Jenny Komenda’s insta stories was the most engaged I’ve been on insta this year. Also I’ve been re-engaging with Sarah Richardson as she has started posting mini videos to her website about whatever she’s up to, 4 projects on the go at the moment and I am checking daily to see when another one is posted, the behind the scenes, on the job, real design life stuff has me hooked. And I use likes as a way of referencing something I want to come back to like Pinterest (even though insta has made the “posts I’ve liked” button impossible to find!). So what images I like might not be “liked”bc I have no future specific need for them (also I know I can find them again, if needed on your website). Love you design, all of it, and love your team’s work and voices too, you hired them and we trust you. Oh and I LOVE fashion and think you have a amazing and unique style but maybe just want you to tag in your clothes on a post rather than do detailed fashion blogs. Can’t wait to see what 2020 brings us from EHD

Agree, love Jenny Komenda’s really honest IG stories this year and have been watching all of Sarah Richardson’s YouTube project updates!


For me I LOVE before and afters. Would love to see you take on another flip project (maybe something easier than the Portland project) where we can see great before and afters. I also do not care for outfit posts, I follow plenty of fashion bloggers to get inspiration from them and prefer when interior design bloggers don’t try to sell me their favorite skincare or clothing.

Michelle Gage

People LOVE their kitchens!! My living room was beloved last year – until I did my kitchen this year and it blew UP! I think a kitchen is just hard to compete with in general.

I love seeing original content from the people I follow (especially designers like YOU with an incredible style). I save inspiration for Pinterest or larger brands that feature shots that has their product in it. As a designer and design viewer, I treat Instagram as a mini portfolio. I want to see what you’re DOING – even if it’s a progress shot. There’s a lot of “regram” accounts out there – I think those who will make it for the long haul and get authentic engagement are those who put out original content – like yourself, which is done in a fun and quirky way, unlike what the masses are doing.


I can’t imagine the quick changing pace of a social media-based business. Personally, I got bored with it recently. The perfect house scene Instagram shot, the insta stories that are less process and more “click on this 16 times and maybe you’ll click on the blog post, pretty please” But honestly, I feel like that from every blog I previously read daily. I feel like everything has turned into advertising or “comment and like this post or we won’t make a gazillion dollars!” And I don’t mean any of this to sound rude, but it’s just the world Instagram and blogging have combined to create. Blogging world used to feel real, and cool. And now it’s like flipping through a magazine. Sometimes an article is cool but rarely do you want to email the author: Love this! The only place I genuinely tune in regularly is Cup of Jo and that’s because 1. It’s written by writers. (You have a voice, Emily, but I don’t know the others voice yet and it got muddled) 2. Regular series posts 3. Always feels less of an ad, even in their sponsored post. It’s magical that they can do that, I know. So… Read more »

Megan Lec

I really identify with this comment and some others have posted. I’ve been a follower for many years and I find myself maybe left out of the direction of the blog lately. Your projects are definitely aspirational but it’s hard to take cues from a project that features very expensive furniture or full remodels. The MOTOs are some of my favorites, but even those have focused heavily on partnerships and gifted furniture. On Instagram what I like most is posts with your kiddos or “real” moments. I rarely like posts other than my close friends are something that really strikes me as important, poignant, etc.


Emily, I read your blog every day and get directly from the blog all of “your” content and designs. I don’t stop to read the Instagram posts with content I’ve already read on the blog, so probably wouldn’t “like” those. Maybe I should! But that may be part of why you are seeing likes for images of other designers’ work. Don’t be too hard on yourself—you produce loads of blog content when some of the other designers I read are cutting back. Keep up the great work and happy new year!

Zoe P

I’ve always found your feed less engaging on instagram because I’m such an involved blog reader. I go to the blog almost every morning so being served that content again isn’t the most exciting. My favorite is getting behind the scenes access to you and your team in stories—that’s where the authenticity is! In general I find myself watching more stories and caring less about the feed at all. I know that stories are very difficult to measure, but I’d be curious if you were seeing an increase in engagement there over the feed itself.


So I’m not sure if you realize but when you go to read your articles directly from Instagram you can’t zoom in on things. So what I do is I see the Instagram post about the blog being up and then I go to a regular browser to read the article so that I can zoom in on things better. I do not then go back to Instagram to make sure that I’ve liked your Instagram post about the article even if I Love the article. A lot of us started following you for the blog and even if we love you on Instagram, it’s not the primary place we are engaging with your content. Whereas, someone who is a more casual follower of yours is more likely to give a quick like to a pretty kitchen that you’ve posted whether or not it is yours. That might be something to keep in mind.


Agree with others that Instagram has gotten clogged with ads and also the fashion posts, which I enjoy, make the design element of your page feel less core. And sometimes I do get tired of being marketed to. I wanted to add that I also feel a shift to a younger demographic through the posts of your team. Also fun, but I am in an older and more established demographic, and I don’t see as much content for people like me. When you have saved money to splurge on your forever home, what do you do? Especially if you’ve gone through the hard yards of younger day renovations and have leftover fear of making mistakes and wasting money? I think the key is to stay focused on the psychological aspects underpinning the design process, as well as the amazing tactics you do so well.

You’ve done great work! Love coming to your blog.


Agree with Kathy. The blog does seem to now focus on design for younger people in tiny spaces. Pretty. But I can tell you what I will see –blue sofa, white walls, a dark painted feature wall/nook, spare decorations, very small night stands and painted cabinets in the kitchen.

I am in the same demo as Kathy and have the same PTSD from expensive mistakes in the past. Portland house was refreshing (but the posts way too spaced out) because the finishes and decor were higher end.

TBH I stopped following you on Insta after your political comments. Your blog content is a beautiful oasis from life.


LOVE that pic of you and Diane Keaton! I love her! Love her quirkiness and free-ness and idgaf-ness! Don’t question your posts for likes, you create beautiful content. Keep being YOU!

PS. when you figure out the “likes” thing let us know. LOL!


I “like” everything you post to support you. So while I don’t know why others skip adding a like, my guess is that they appreciate seeing something fresh, and they may have already seen a space that you did prior to that post. I also think that the number of likes for the other posts speaks to your design eye as you can identify beautiful spaces designed by others too. I don’t think it is a reflection of the quality of your work. I don’t give out likes to just anyone. EHD is very talented, innovative, and inspiring. I can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2020!


Yes, agreeing with others, please let up on yourself. For example, you can think about the “use case” for an Instagram image. Many times people are distracted, scrolling, not deep into the image and its context. So simple peaceful wonderful living spaces won’t get as many likes as concentrated images with a huge visual punch, all complex textures and herringbone tiles etc. Your work is more livable, but maybe doesn’t fit as many layers into the Instaframe – maybe that’s why your likes are for kitchens and bars and cupboards, the extra layers of your work are about usability, livability, not aesthetics alone.

And to be fair, maybe Diane Keaton is feeling sad that she doesn’t get as many likes unless she’s with you;).

Paige Cassandra Flamm

You do a great job, and I love following your account! I appreciate your personal posts, along with the work you share from others as well!


Paula Gooding

I read everyone of your posts and because I m so regular I don’t even think to hit the “like” icon. I like all what you do. I’ ll bet a lot of your readers are the same. I wouldn’t overthink this…..follow your natural evolution don’t play to the ratings.


I wish I could get more of you but less of instagram at the same time. Instagram is going the same way as Facebook – too many ads and far less posts from my ‘people’. I am actively trying to decrease my time spent on the platform by deleting the app for a week at a time. That said, I’m still on Pinterest!! It’s still my go to for inspiration. I’m also still spending as much time online, just in different places. Maybe it’s time to start looking for the next social ‘thing’?

In terms of your content, I’m always looking for kids design/storage ideas. How’s your playroom holding up after a few months use?


I don’t think it’s you, I think it’s Instagram that’s the problem. I’d love to get more content from you but have less interaction with instagram. It’s changed for the worse. Way too many ads and far less access to posts from my ‘people’, just like Facebook. I am deleting the apps for a few days at a time just to get a break from it.

In terms of your content, I love the mountain house project. I live in the UK and it’s more in tune with my climate and aesthetic (that said I also love your English Tudor home too). Also kids design and storage. How’s the playroom holding up after a few months wear?

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