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How To Make A Boring Room Look Better With These 4 Elements (And They’re All On Sale Right Now)

Color. Texture. Pattern. Shape. They’re the earth, air, fire, and water of design – you kiiiinda need all four if you want your home to feel balanced, collected, and finished. Today, I’m breaking down four classic EHD vignettes – you know, explaining why they work – while also sharing a few of my favorite now-on-sale pieces, so you can capture the same look and feel in your own home. READY TO GET STARTED?

Shape

styled by emily bowser | photo by bethany nauert | from: all your living room styling questions answered (plus some furniture & decor reviews)

Let’s kick this off by really breaking down the elements in this vignette, yeah?

Shape: OH MY. That graphic side table is kiiiinda the star of the show, don’t you think? It’s bold, but not overwhelming. I love how the round pillow breaks up the corner of this sofa while speaking to the circular opening, too – it makes this living room feel a lot more intentional and thoughtful.

Color: A little goes a long way here! Look again – the main furniture and decor pieces in this shot are all totally neutral (though honestly, I think I could make a pretty compelling argument that rust and sage can be neutral, too!). Spreading your shades around evenly is key as well as having that color pop a little – see how the terra-cotta color is peppered in on the tabletop, the sofa, in the books, in the rug AND adds that color depth? It feels balanced, finished, and fun.

Texture: Glass, metal, wood, ceramics, mohair (that throw is SO luxe, and also linked below – it’s worth it, even when it’s not on sale, IMO), linen, boucle…it all just looks so great when it’s layered together, you know? Even if color really isn’t your thing, having lots of textures will add visual interest and warmth!

Pattern: YOU CAN’T GO WRONG WITH A BROKEN STRIPE. This is my favorite print for those who are a little wary of entering the whole “mix-and-match” pattern arena – just pop in a thin stripe, like Bowser did above, and you’re golden. High-end pattern mixing, NO STRESS REQUIRED.

To that end, here are 9 of my favorite shaped pieces – from decor to furniture, so there’s something for every price point! – that’ll really make your room sing. All pieces in this post are from Lulu & Georgia, because they’re (a.) an awesome resource for all things home and (b.) a brand who chose to kick off their Memorial Day sale early, which means that I got to spend some time last week perusing and searching for the best deals to pass on to you. 🙂 LET’S SHOP NOW, yeah?

  1. Apolline Curio Cabinet: Timeless, classic, and a little more impactful than your standard rectangle-shaped cabinet.
  2. Chloe Burl Wood Console Table: SHOWSTOPPER. Burl is the perfect wood for this piece – the shape draws you in, and the burl keeps you staring.
  3. Match Cloche: I’m buying this for myself today! There’s something fun and unexpected about the scale of a fireplace cloche, don’t you think?
  4. Anabella Nightstand: It’s a bestseller for a reason! Those splayed legs infuse this classic nightstand with a LOT of character.
  5. Jimema Chandelier: This Mouille-style fixture can edge up your space while drawing your eye upwards. (Check out Lea’s basement for more styling inspiration!)
  6. Dame Dining Chair: These are VERY on-trend, but the neutral finish will keep them feeling relevant for years to come.
  7. Light + Ladder Kala Vase: Light + Ladder is one of my favorite makers right now – she really embodies the whole “own less, own well” idea and she’s made it her mission to good design accessible for all. BIG FAN.
  8. Brooke 3-Drawer Dresser: I mean…y’all have seen my dresser. You know how I feel about a waterfall edge! This one’s high-impact without sacrificing storage.
  9. Corso Side Table: Total chameleon – an organic modern shape that could also play well in rooms that lean a little more space-age or postmodern.

Color

As EHD’s resident fan of color (or at least like, loud color – the other gals are a little more discerning with their preferred palettes :)), I wanted to break down one of my all-time favorite vignettes next… (PS. Anyone else also start reading the blog around this time? This was one of the first reveals I saw!)

Color: When it comes to jumping-off points, those windows are a freakin’ DREAM. Take a peek at their palette, throw in a rug with hits of pink and blue to ground the space, grab a blush pouf, add a graphic pillow with a pop of orange, and hang some soft pastel sheers to bring it all together – DONE.

Texture: Mixing metallics, rattan, and leather is one of my all-time favorite combinations – it’s a little luxe and glam without being too over-the-top. (I think it’s one of Em’s favorite combos, too, judging by Birdie’s OG nursery – I’m filled with throwbacks today, y’all!)

Pattern: When you’re working with this much color, it’s okay to take it easy on the pattern! A rug and one accent pillow is more than enough to keep your eye moving through the space.

Shape: And, well, I mean…what here doesn’t have a cool shape? When you have a big statement piece of architecture – like these traditional gridded windows, aka straight line central – it’s kind of fun to play up the contrast by leaning into curvier, non-traditional pieces.

  1. Aimee Mohair Throw: This is the mohair throw from above – I love it in this chartreuse-y mustard, but it comes in a ton of saturated color options.
  2. Fabienne Sofa: This rich color punches up a classic shape.
  3. Calabria Vase: When you have a vessel that makes this much of a statement, you can keep the rest of your decor simple.
  4. Lockwood Bed: Classic bed, beautiful velvet. What else could you need? (Maybe some style inspiration? See how Julie styled out this same bed right here!)
  5. Morris & Co. Strawberry Thief Wallpaper: If it’s good enough for Sara, it’s MORE than good enough for me. (And if you’re a fellow design nerd, I wrote about Strawberry Thief’s history right here!)
  6. Sabine Velvet Bolster Pillow: It’s a great (and affordable!) pick to flank both ends of a sofa, but I love it as a lumbar on a bed. Perfect finishing touch AND lots of colors available.
  7. Feathers’ Wall Art: If this color palette seems familiar, it’s because we just reviewed it above!!! Here’s your jumping off point.
  8. Charlotte Velvet Pillow: This navy is SO deep and luxe. You should see it in the light – it’s really simple and special.
  9. Monroe Velvet Round Pillow: You saw this styled out above, too. Great scale, great feel, and holds up well over time. Highly recommend.

Texture

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house reveal: our light filled neutral & textural living room

The Mountain House is a veritable masterclass on texture. If you’re also a lover of a neutral interior, being intentional the materials in your home will be key to keeping your place from feeling flat and boring. Let’s break it down real quick, yeah?

Texture: A leather chair, lacquered teak end table, plush rug, thick blanket, and 3-material coffee table keep your eyes bouncing around this space. It feels dynamic and exciting, even without a ton of stuff. There aren’t a ton of repeating textures in this room, either – every piece gets its own chance to shine.
Pattern: Still, a few quiet patterns keep things interesting. The striped throw and pillow echo the staircase in the rear, and the Moroccan-style rug adds some really quiet movement.
Shape: Outside of the rug, everything in this shot has a little bit of a special twist: the low, clean-lined 1970s sofa paired with the gnarled and organic table; the chunky postmodern chair; the curved floor lamp and geometric vessels. If those are still a little too out-there for ya, never fear – an oval coffee table is also a great way to bring a fresher, more unexpected shape into your home.
Color: There’s something to be said for such a tight and refined color palette, you know? Sometimes, a few well-arranged branch clippings in an exciting vessel is the only finishing touch you need to make your place sing.

  1. Maleena Rug: The carved linework on this one makes for an INCREDIBLE high-low texture. (The styled shots on the site are stunning!)
  2. Thomas Bina Olivia Coffee Table: I mean…this is the iconic EHD coffee table, guys. It deserves the hype.
  3. Dacey Hamper: Laundry’s a little easier when you’re tossing your clothes in something this chic.
  4. Sayan Pendant Light: The design impact:price ratio on this is already great – grabbing it on sale is a total steal.
  5. Nomad Rug: Élan Byrd’s entire collection is a slam dunk. This rug is a standout to me, though – it’s calming, modern, and the hand-knotted wool texture is even better in person.
  6. Sydney Dining Chair (Set Of 2): Ash wood AND boucle on one chair – what more can you ask for?
  7. Hannah Sideboard: This natural cane sideboard just feels warm, don’t you think? (It also comes with black exterior paneling, if you’re looking for something with a bit more visual weight.)
  8. Almarine Chain Décor: What can I say – I’m a sucker for a good chain 🙂 This one’s marble (chic!) and the price tag blew me away – it was about 25% of what I had anticipated.
  9. Beehive Pendant Light: So fresh, breezy, light, and relaxed. If your style leans coastal or organic, this is a great option.

Pattern

Last – but certainly not least! – we gotta take a second to talk about pattern (another favorite of mine!). I know that pattern mixing can be a little (or, uh, a lot) intimidating, so let’s take a harder look at what makes this work.

Pattern: First – and this may be my most helpful tip – it’s okay to repeat patterns if the scale of the piece is different! Example A: Take a peek at that striped lumbar in the front. Now, take a peek at the fifth pillow back – it’s the same pattern, just with a different shape (square vs. lumbar) and a different orientation (horizontal instead of vertical). If you’re still feeling nervous, you can check out Jess’ masterful explanation of how to mixing and match pattern right here.

Shape: Decor-wise, we’re pretty square here (just different sizes). Our variation is coming from the furniture – check out that wishbone leg on the dining table, the gentle slope of the chair back, and the curve of the light fixture. Even the dimension of the window seat provides some interesting shapes and visual interest, which is neat.

Color: When in doubt, pull your palette from nature! You ever notice how most windows are blown out in interior shots, but how these windows *aren’t* blown out? It’s so we can see the harmony between the inside and outside – there’s something really serene about “bringing the outdoors in” in such a doable way, you know?

Texture: I mean, glass. Metal. WOOD FOR DAYS. The leather bench cushion, the woven pillows, the ceramics on the table – it’s so balanced and lovely.

Ready for our final roundup?

  1.  Benita Rug: Julie recently pulled this rug for an upcoming EHD reveal – stay tuned to see if it made the final cut! 🙂
  2. Irregular Checkerboard Bolster Pillow: The irregular pattern here puts a fresh spin on a classic motif. (Sarah Sherman Samuel is the master of the checkerboard, y’all.)
  3. Adara Headboard: A clean pinstripe makes a great backdrop for some calm, neutral bedding and some sweet layered pillows.
  4. Vyolet Accent Chair: A dreamy blend of traditionally masculine (the dark stripe) and feminine (the sweet shape) design elements. HUGE FAN. (Plus, check out those cute turned legs!!!)
  5. Malou Wallpaper: This little swatch doesn’t do it justice – this is a GREAT wallpaper for those looking to bring in movement without a ton of color. (I say this as someone who spends way too much time looking at/writing about wallpaper.)
  6. Irregular Dots Pillow: A texture AND pattern home run – this pillow is warm and special.
  7. Uma Rug: One of the reviews said it best: “A perfectly neutral non-neutral.” I love the taupe for quiet impact, but it comes in a black grid too (you know, if you’re looking for some more “umph” :)).
  8. Stonewalk Pillow: Another gem from the Élan Byrd collection! When mixing and matching pillows, you can’t go wrong with 2 solid pieces and a patterned lumbar.
  9. Elulia Throw: A classic stripe in a works-anywhere color? SIGN ME UP. This throw is versatile, comfortable, and the other piece I’ll personally be grabbing from the sale today.

ALRIGHT, GANG. Today was a mix of my two favorite things: writing about sales (your girl loves a deal – pulling together our holiday sale round up posts is one of my favorite parts of my job!) AND writing about why things work. I had a lot of fun combining the two, but what say you??? Any interest in more in-depth product roundups like this, or should we just keep it to the big sale list posts? (I can take your feedback, I promise!) LET’S CHAT ABOUT IT, PLEASE. xx

Opening Image Credit: via Lulu And Georgia

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Jenni
1 month ago

I love these four elements. When I look at these pictures, I also see a lot of good use of contrast and balance. There are also plants in every picture, and for me that’s been a game changer in terms of making my space feel more alive.

yep. that faux stained glass window picture is one of my favorite EHD design moments ever. that is what made me start following! it’s all the colors and textures i love.

Kj
1 month ago

If anyone is in Portland, there are still tickets to Emily’s book signing (if you already have a book, I think you can contact Rejuvenation for a discount code for your ticket): https://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/products/ticketed-event-book-emily-henderson-portland-store-5-26-22

Julie Roth
1 month ago

I need help picking rugs for an open floor plan home! Would love a post on styling for essentially three rooms you can see all at once. Currently we have Persian rugs in the dining room and living room and a striped runner in the kitchen. How matchy matchy do they need to be or how un-matchy matchy should they be? Can I use different main colors to define each room, or should they be the same? Help!

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Julie Roth

I like non-matchy-matchy with colours that nod to each other.
Matchy-matchy looks a bit try-hard.

Sarah
1 month ago

I need advice on how to furnish/outfit a whole house without overspending (because it’s temporary). Anyone have good ideas? In a city so there’s craiglist, ikea, etc. Curious how others have approached this.

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Sarah

Facebook Marketplace….Buy Nothing Group…

Amanda
1 month ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Estate sales, second-hand furniture stores (my personal fav), vintage shops, rummage sales now that it’s summer!!!

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Sarah

I’ve had a lot of success with FB Marketplace, Nextdoor Finds, and Craigslist. Recently, I joined the FB Buy Nothing group in my neighborhood, and there are frequently good furnishing options (but you need to win the name draw). Also, if you like a particular item, especially from IKEA, you can search that item in the various platforms and get it for even cheaper. Finally, IKEA just started a secondhand option. It looks like it’s available at select locations: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/customer-service/services/buyback-pubfeb6cc00

Sheila
1 month ago

Great post! When I saw the opening photo, I expected to be told how to use a rug, lighting, pillow and accent chair and rolled my eyes. I should have known a Caitlin post would be much more meaty! Pattern is hardest for me. I dress myself and my rooms almost entirely in solids, with jewelry (for me) and art (for the rooms) to add punch. I’ll work on going beyond a few patterned pillows!

Amanda
1 month ago
Reply to  Sheila

same – solids are so easy! but i LOVE a good pattern and how it punches up a room

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Sheila

I cannot do plain bed linens. I’ve tried, but it’s too boring.
I always go for a nature-based pattern, but not too floral (like Sienna’s room makeover linen).
Elsewhere, I still like pattern and colour, but walls are all the same colour throughout my house.

Kristi
1 month ago

I had a personal a ha moment recently while choosing colors to paint my neutral walls. What I hate about these neutral rooms (white walls) that have prevailed lately is this: everything feels equal, equal weight in the decor. Nothing stands out much. The decor works in the worst kind of union to me. I notice nothing, nothing shouts out at me. They sing in prefect harmony. For my new walls I plan to play with color saturation. Light colored walls with deeper colored furniture. It’s a playful dialogue, not perfectly still waters. Can’t wait to get out of neutrality and feel something again in my homes decor.

Lane
1 month ago
Reply to  Kristi

Yes. I have the same problem.

Susan from FOAS
1 month ago

What is the source for the blue rug in the first photo at the top of the article, please?

Kj
1 month ago

It’s the DUA-4 INDIGO by Lemieux Et Cie https://www.momeni.com/collections/duar/products/dua-4-indigo

kcarlson
1 month ago

Was this sponsored by Lulu & Georgia?

1 month ago

Wow, it’s really beautiful. Such decoration makes the apartment much cleaner and brighter

1 month ago

Interiors that are well-designed can really lift your spirits and make you feel good. This is why it’s critical to have your home interiors professionally planned. You’ll discover exactly what you need with Design Ideas: inspirational and informative articles to help you get started on your journey to designing the living room of your dreams.

Karen Luke
1 month ago

What is the source for the side chair in the very first photo? It has an arrow pointing to it indicating “#4” and then isn’t mentioned again in the piece. Thanks in advance!

kelly johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Karen Luke

I second the motion! Where?

1 month ago

wonderful shape outs and looks good. thank you

1 month ago

it’s really awesome idea’s and waiting for more

1 month ago

what your telling with us is it’s really true thing and waiting for more ideas

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