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Design Mistakes: Not Having A Plan

I find that there are two kinds of people in the world – people who don’t ever design their house because of style paralysis and fear – (not wanting to make a mistake), and others, like myself, who fall so hard for something that it clouds all judgement and triggers are pulled emotionally before a proper plan is in tact. This design mistake post is for the latter: for those of you (myself included at times) who suffer from ‘shopping without a plan.’

Don’t worry, throughout this post I’ll help you through what specifically to avoid and of course how to come up with a plan so that you aren’t a repeat offender. This post is for you, as well as me. It’s more like Design Therapy: Community Edition. Should that be a new series???

Let me be clear – it’s not like I plan EVERYTHING. In fact if you did then that room is far more likely to turn out generic – you need room for passion purchases and weird vintage things, for sure.

I like planning things to some extent – the dreaming up phase of a project is certainly the most fun. But just having a rough plan or a mood board doesn’t mean that you are going to make the right decision/s. While I advise all the time to ‘pick a color palette and shop/style within that palette for a guaranteed cohesive look’ that doesn’t mean that the things you’ll purchase are right for your particular space. So here are the specific mistakes you can make (and I’ve made) if you don’t have a plan:

Mistake #1: Buying without measuring. HA. I’m a professional at making this mistake. This usually has to do with vintage finds – I stumble upon something amazing and my love for it and the immediacy of the purchase actually inhibits my brain from analyzing the piece at face value. Let’s take this pine dresser, for instance:

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Here’s how this bad purchase specifically went down – we were in escrow in the new house and I was so excited/impatient to start shopping for that new english country style, but I had no right doing that yet, as we still had an entire renovation to finish. I didn’t know what room would be our master or what the dimensions of the unsaid room was. Oh, but I wouldn’t let that stop me from a beautiful piece. Don’t be ridiculous. I would forge on as the intrepid consumer that I am! Even worse, instead of shopping on foot, I jumped on Craigslist during the kid’s Saturday nap-time (every week) which is where this guy came from. It’s like I was so desperate to do damage, to consume, and at the time wasn’t going to the flea market on Sundays but I NEEDED my fix to buy vintage for our new house. So, I fell in love with this dresser’s pretty wood and simple detailing and barely looked at dimensions.  My serotonin sky-rocketed, a rush that propelled me to email them, insisting I was the right person for their beloved piece, and then swiftly had Brady run over to pay for it and then booked a dude to go pick it up. I didn’t even look at it in person. I’m pretty sure that I have a shopping addiction but purchases like this really solidify that fear. I get such a rush from finding a beautiful vintage piece that I don’t stop for ten minutes to make sure it will even fit through the door (which actually happened – more on that below). Then of course after I expressed my interested in this piece the lady was like – I have 5 beautiful 100 year old pine pieces and I was like ‘antique pine!! yes!! I need more!!’.

Idiot. Don’t do that. That dresser didn’t fit through our bedroom door. It had to be taken apart to get in and without us knowing that, then also taken apart to be removed. It was not the right size and shape for the room either. It’s stunning and thank God it wasn’t a fortune ($500) but still a waste of money (I fortunately just sold it for slightly less once we moved it out of the room). Big mistake. HUGE.

Mistake #2: Buying without having an intended location. In my case I’d like to introduce you to this cute vintage velvet chair, also from my bad, addictive boyfriend, CRAIG(slist).

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The shape! The scale! It’s great, right? It is special, for sure.

It was $125 so I hoarded it with the intent to reupholster and throw it “anywhere”. But as I was pulling the house together it just didn’t have a proper place. The living room wanted a pair of lower chairs and a chaise in the corner. The kid’s rooms need more cozy comfort. Our bedroom doesn’t have room for an accent chair (although now I’m wondering if we need one?). The point is you should have an IDEA of where a major piece of furniture should go before you buy and then hoard it. Especially if it needs work. Don’t worry, I sold it so it’s fine, but I was silly to buy it in the first place without even knowing where it was going to go. You can buy art, accessories, and textiles if you don’t know where they are going to go because they are easier to mix in and smaller, but don’t take a risk on a larger, more expensive piece of furniture unless you can picture exactly where it will go and it is part of your plan.

Mistake #3: Buying without consulting other people. Here’s a lame/funny stylist joke – how many stylist does it take to screw in a light bulb? Answer: I don’t know, what do you think?


Stylists are notoriously indecisive and need options and opinions. Permanent decisions are not our forte and opinions are our addiction. I think for the most part this serves us positively. Every person in my life has good taste or ideas (or both) and when it comes to major decisions I rely on them to not only ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ but bring up alternatives, worst case scenarios, things I haven’t thought of, and remind me of practical life issues or aesthetic problems. I have no ego when it comes to input (as you clearly know) and because of that consulting other people at times has saved me from even more mistakes. If you are pulling triggers and are unsure of your decision – please ask your best friends. They know you, your style, and your house and family.

Mistake #4: Buying to check the box. Otherwise known as – you are desperate to have a sofa to sit on so without feeling inspired you go to a major retailer and haphazardly purchase some major pieces that you haven’t fully measured or even considered in your space. I’ve definitely done this but it’s not my biggest problem, although I know it’s definitely one of many of yours. Most recently I bought these Target chairs to see if they would work…

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I love them, and we needed somewhere to sit but they weren’t right as they were too busy and felt disjointed from the kitchen. Luckily I’ve used them in a million shoots and my friend inherited them. Sometimes you just need a place to sit, but if you can stave off your desperation for a while you’ll probably make a better decision and have less regrets.

Mistake #5: Painting first. Now I’ve always said that choosing the wrong paint really isn’t a big deal and repainting is WAY less daunting than you think. Sometimes, especially if you are renovating your contractor asks for a paint color and it’s ok to not choose the perfect one. White would make it easy, but you might repaint anyway.

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For instance at first we painted Birdie’s a light pink – which is super hard to see in this photo, but trust me that it overwhelmed the room and instantly made me angry.

A dark blue was selected for the family room … and you know how that turned out. Emily Henerson_Design Mistake_Not Having a Plan_7

IF you can wait to choose your paint, then paint last because there are a million paint colors to choose from whereas there aren’t a million rugs, sofas, pieces of art, fabric, etc. When we create a design plan it is never around a paint color – it’s around a vibe, inspiration, or conversation piece.

Mistake #6: Buying before you live in a space and really knowing how you’ll use it.


I fell in love with that sofa and bought it. But what it did to this room is make it more formal and stiff than I wanted it to be. We rarely sat on it or hung out in there.

When I staged it I put this huge comfy sectional there and man did it change the whole vibe of the room. I thought that I wanted this room to be more formal, but once it was really designed for comfort I realize that we would have spent so much more time in there.


#7. Not having a jumping off point for a room. Typically when I design a room I find something – a piece of furniture, a rug, a wallpaper – SOMETHING to help guide the design and get my heart racing.


The last 5 months of thinking about this room has been so annoying to me because I just haven’t felt inspired (obviously it’s not styled, those are just things I was playing with). I didn’t think I could do wallpaper because the walls are textured, the ceiling is sloped and there is wallpaper in the shared bathroom, but it didn’t stop me from doing it in Birdie’s room.  I liked it much more after it was painted blue and we put beadboard up, but still…Thank goodness I didn’t make any purchases except that awesome glider. All of the pieces were leftover from other spaces. I would create a mood board, searching for inspiration and it always looked boring. Always.

Well, as of yesterday we chose a wallpaper (check my insta-story before it expires) and immediately my heart raced. Now, not every room needs to have your heart racing, but a kids room is a place to do something really exciting, not just have it be pulled together.

I know it’s really easy to say ‘have a plan!’ without helping you figure out how to create that plan, so the quick order of how we design a room is this: pin like crazy, see what those pins have in common, create a color palette that you love, then start a mood board with products in that style and color palette (you don’t have to know photoshop, I do it in keynote as I don’t know photoshop and it works – and then someone from my team makes it look really pretty in photoshop for the blog). Before you make major furniture purchases make sure that the board is exciting, cohesive, and balanced visually. If you already have a piece of furniture and want to incorporate it in, ‘google image’ something similar and throw that on the board (that’s what I did with Charlie’s Heywood Wakefield dresser -which is officially for sale since I just ordered a new gorgeous one from Rejuvenation that I’m freaking out about). Once you feel great about the board then make sure that all the sizes, scales, and locations will work in your room. THEN start purchasing. Know that even after you make your purchases things will change and shift once you get them into the room, but taking the time to create a plan will really reduce the design regrets and mistakes (like all of the above).

Good luck, folks. And if I’m missing any big ‘lack of planning’ mistakes or if you have any really fun horror stories, do tell …

Photos by Tessa Neustadt and Sara Tramp

In case you want to know what else we think everyone is doing wrong check out these design mistakes: The Generic Sofa Roundup | Rugs That Are Too Small | Painting A Small, Dark Room White | Bad Wood FinishesHow To Hang Curtains | How To Hang Art Correctly | Generic Art | Who Pays For Design Mistakes | My Biggest Design Mistakes -And What You Can Learn From Them | When to Hire vs. DIY


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402 thoughts on “Design Mistakes: Not Having A Plan

  1. I’m a little confused. This is what you do for a living and you’ve already painted your sons room 2x and are now wallpapering, painted your daughters room 2x and then wallpapered it, have swapped in 10 different rugs and sofas in the living room and family room, didn’t realize that an open plan family room would make it difficult for the room to feel cozy, bought furniture that wouldn’t fit in a space multiple times, couldn’t figure out a simple dining room table or chairs, got the curtains wrong for Birdie’s room, got the blinds wrong in your own master bedroom, etc. etc. I just don’t get how this many mistakes–and I’m sure I’m missing some–would inspire confidence in you as a decorator. From a reader perspective, it’s great to see you try and fail and try again, and, of course, it makes for more blog posts. But it makes me seriously question your ability as a design professional. I felt the same way when I saw Ginny’s post on the house you guys are doing where like 5 different couches and 5 different were brought in. Doesn’t a design professional usually know how things will look and narrow it down to one or two options. In the case of your house, I know you’re rushing to meet deadlines, but it just doesn’t seem like a professional should be making this insanely large amount of (often costly!) mistakes.

    1. Whoa! It’s her house, she’s entitled to make as many design changes as she likes until she’s happy with it. Chill on the negativity!

      1. she can make as many mistakes as she wants. that’s not the point. i love emily and have been reading for a long time i just don’t get how as a professional this level of mistakes happens almost constantly with every aspect of the home.

        1. If you “love” Emily, try being kind and respectful. As a “stylist”/”home decorator”/”professional”etc., she is essentially an artist. This is her craft. Sometimes physical adjustments are part of the artistic process. (& not to sink to your rude level, but what do you know anyway?? Are you a professional designer? Just saying 😉 — good vibes and comments only – hate is unnecessary)

    2. Wow, way harsh. I loved Emily’s post, it’s totally relatable. She is a design professional which means the standards are much, much higher. I think it just shows her passion for getting it right and I appreciate the honesty that even as a professional, it’s hard to get it right the very first time.

      1. Also? Can we just agree — reader’s honor — that if a massively critical comment is truly necessary, at least wait until a few other comments come in before posting it?? I can only imagine that after posting a pretty vulnerable, but very helpful entry, the last “first thing” the author wants to read in response is some disparaging missive that will probably color all the other comments coming in, and will probably haunt the author for the rest of the day. ! Just cool it for a few…and *maybe* while waiting to post, we might just decide it’s not really necessary after all…or at least we can word it more graciously…
        Deal? Deal

    3. I would imagine it’s a combination of a couple of things, mainly rushing to get things done for photoshoots and being more willing to to try different things because it’s for her own home. When someone is paying you, you spend a lot more time nailing down the details; when it’s your own home, you might be more willing to see how it looks.

    4. From reading the blog for a long time, I think Emily tends to take more purchasing risks on her home than she does with client work. There are processes involved in client work that keep impulsive purchases or decisions—basically what these mistakes come down to—from happening. There’s the sourcing, the team discussion, mock-ups, proposals, client discussion, and finally, a decision (likely more steps if custom work is involved). I see a pretty clear distinction from EHS Design and EHS-at-home.

      1. good point. i do think there’s a distinction between a designer designing their own home vs. that of a client. but the posts about the most recent house they’ve been doing has the same issue. 6 different sofas brought in…..7 different rugs tried out. isn’t it the decorators job to narrow it down/know what’ll work well and not subject a homeowner to 6 different couches?

        1. I think it’s very short sighted to expect perfection just because someone is a professional. Any big job/project will always require rounds of edits. Do you not make mistakes in whatever area of expertise you’re in? How else would someone learn and grow?

        2. But as a homeowner, I want to see all my options. I don’t expect a designer to say – here is the best option. I want a curated and guided path of options. 6 couches is far better than 100 couches. Plus what looks good on paper is so different than in person.

          So maybe you as a homeowner want a living room in a box. However, I want to work with my designer to have them translate my style mixed in with my preferences. “Right” is subjective in the design world.

          1. Amen! How fun it would be to work with this designer and her team. I’d insist on a big chat, while cuddling toddlers and puppies, on a minimum of six sofas before deciding which sofa felt like home. Looking right is one thing, feeling right is another.

        3. As a professional decorator, I’d like to point out that EDH’s clients are not paying for 7 rugs in succession, thinking it’s THE rug every time, while the team says ‘oops!’ over and over. These are options borrowed with the express purpose of trying them
          out and returning what isn’t good. You probably have been putting clothes on your own body for years, but you try on jeans before buying, right? This is a really normal part of the industry, standard enough to have its own lingo (vendors will say a piece is ‘out on spec’).

          1. EHD. Sorry. Pretty sure autocorrect should have picked that up given how often I read the blog (always), but Siri and I both remain imperfect…

        4. It’s more about the final product than the process…emily has eclectic and moder tastes worn vintage leanings . That combo means you like a huge variety of styles and it’s a never ending buffet of options in the world. There is always something else better or just different enough. It’s hard to know if you’ll prefer a modern, vintage, soft, surprising, classic, ironic, contemporary style most, or all of the above! eclectic is the hardest style to nail down.

        5. The easiest place to experiment is in your own home.
          So I don’t understand why she WOULDN’T try out a bunch of options?
          ART isn’t about slapping down and getting it perfect, sometimes art is about the mood and feel

        1. Just reading all the comments …Sunny side: seems everyone pretty much came to your rescue 🙂 So don’t listen to the haters ~ you be you ❤️

    5. I think plenty of designers play around with their own property to ensure that when it comes to the client they don’t make a mistake! They take risks on our behalf to discover what works and looks good. And all the before and after photos of Emily’s clients places’ have shown a big improvement.

      There are certain design rules but there’s no magic formula that makes everything immediately perfect every time. If there was, the rooms would look generic and uninteresting and we wouldn’t be following this blog as we would all know how effortlessly.

      I think the difference is that if I make a “mistake” – like buy that beautiful dresser in the bedroom – I would somehow try and make it work or learn to enjoy it for the anomaly it is. Emily doesn’t have that luxury as she has to be perfect for this blog and magazine / Target photo shoots with the added pressure of a global audience judging the outcome!

      Luckily for us she is sharing her playground and the process with us.

    6. I think that the photos of ideas gone wrong actually help the reader. Planning is good, but not foolproof. Learning from mistakes and making the change instead of living unhappily is part of the process. If you hire someone they give you three options. That helps people make a decision. But having access to zillions of resources makes it hard for both designers and ‘regular’ people to focus. Overall the planning strategies are great. (I personally fall victim to falling in love with small tables for which there is no space. 🙂

      1. Emily is fearless in showing us her process. That takes courage because so many professionals rarely describe the warts and all of their process, all you usually see is the smooth and shiny botoxed surface. Emily does describe her true process and that is what I learn from.

        It is her house. She is an artist. The house is her canvas. If she wants to scrap off a section of paint on her canvas and start all over again it is her business and that is what artists do. We should all be so lucky to have such a passionate professional work for us like she does. Much better than the generic design we see so much of these days. Also, if I had a crew and the resources she does I would be doing the exact same thing.

    7. As a designer the most difficult decisions to be made are always the personal ones. You have so many things to choose from and are inundated daily with more, more, more. As a designer most of us also carry a passion for the process and are driven to act on that passion. Working with more limitations can be much easier, making decisions faster and easier to make. So, client work almost always falls into that structured category of budget, taste and/or site/building limitations. Working for yourself is plain hard!
      Emily is so transparent with how this design process works and so generous with her time and opinion. You would do yourself a favor and learn from her as opposed to criticizing her. Professionals in other walks of life almost always ask opinions of others when the question is subjective. You just don’t always get to hear the background noise.
      I am always amazed that people go out of their way to post such negative opinions. I just want to thank Emily and team for all the fabulous nitty gritty info. I for one have learned loads from you!

      1. I, too, am beyond grateful to EHD and have learned sooooo much from them and their candid successes and failures.

      2. I second this comment. Anyone in the design community knows that designing for yourself is the toughest job of all.

      3. Yes yes yes. All of the yes. I’ve learned so much from reading Emily’s process posts.

    8. To some extent it makes sense that we all have regrets about some purchases, but most people who have nice homes just course correct over time. For example, I don’t see a reason why white blinds that go with the frame color of the window could ever be wrong. So many people buy these $30-60 blinds at HomeDepot and they live with those because they cannot afford anything more expensive. They try to put nicer curtains on and curtains draw the eye, while white blinds become part of the window and not a decoration. Easy formula to follow. Similarly when it comes to sofas, beds, etc. The scale and comfort of the furniture is a priority, everything else can be styled. As long as people avoid dark colors, and keep some consistency in their choices, it’s really easy to style almost any room.
      Wall colors are tricky, but there are safe/neutral/toned down options. Everything else about the room relies on decorations and art anyway.

      1. I agree with others that making bold choices and trying things out in ones own home is great, because she can then bring something new to the client. But honestly I don’t see that dresser or other things to be mistakes. The dresser looks nice and can always be styled/arranged so that it fits the room, provided someone wants to add more things into the room as opposed to having just a few items there. Sofa is a completely a different story. You first must know what’s the purpose of the room, and then buy a sofa that will serve the purpose. A soft and deep sofa for family to relax is fine, but it may not be comfortable for guests. But that’s just basics everyone is supposed to know.

      2. Yes, but “white blinds that go with the frame color of the window” is not what we come here for. Think of someone who runs to keep reasonably fit as opposed to an elite athlete. When we turn on the telly to watch the Olympics, we want to see the elite athlete; when I surf here, I want to see someone push the envelope, combine things in a fresh, new way… surprise me, excite me…

    9. One of the things I love about this blog is that Emily openly admits her mistakes and not-so-great decisions. No one in any profession is perfect. As a designer myself, I can especially attest to that. Getting something just right takes revisions and editing. I think it’s awesome that she shares the good and the bad, so that hopefully we can learn from her. I’m sure a lot more editing and experimentation goes on in her own home than in others’; it’s her canvas to be creative and try new things. If you stop learning, you stop living, and part of learning is making mistakes.

    10. I agree with Molly– feel free to make as many design mistakes as you want (if it’s your own house), Mistakes always happen, but I’m assuming she has far less mistakes made with her actual clients.

      But Lex, you bring up an interesting point…is the rushing to meet deadlines, and/or trying to push out more blog content, the catalyst for these mistakes?

      Emily, I would love to hear your thoughts if you think that the desire to make blog content has imposed on your ability to be more thorough/patient in your design decision making. I’m only asking because I’m about to do a blog series on some home improvements I’m making, and I’m so anxious to get content out, that I sometimes feel like I’m rushing my design process. And unfortunately, I don’t have the financial ability to re-do something if I don’t like it, so this is a good reminder for me to slow down.

    11. I’m confused as to why you felt compelled to be quite so rude on a stranger’s blog that no one is forcing you to read or agree with, let alone hire EHD as a designer. I just don’t understand the compulsion to be rude on the internet. Don’t think she’s a good designer? Think she’s incompetent at her job? Just stop reading. Good news – you don’t have to hire her and it hasn’t cost you or anyone you know any money. I certainly can’t afford to make this many changes in direction/plan but she can so good for her. It’s not my money so it doesn’t affect me.

    12. My thoughts: I think the frequent changes are due in large part to obligations to shoot a particular space within a specific timeframe. I think those obligations lend themselves to impulsive decisions that work for the moment but not in the long term.

      I personally would like to see less of Emily’s house for the time being (a few months) I think there is a lot of pressure to have perfection and it allows us to be way more judgmental about the process overall. I would like to see some of these photo shoots and sponsorship obligations completed in client or even local readers’ homes (if possible). I think it would give Emily a break. A moment to pause and really focus on her home and it’s aesthetic, without having to please anyone could have such a positive impact.

      Lastly, I wonder if some of the indecisiveness is not related to the decision to style this home “English Country”. I’m not sure what that design aesthetic is or what Emily’s idea of English Country is either. I do suspect, however, that it is playing a major role in a lot of the changes that keep happening as well. Emily’s style in my humble opinion has been an eclectic, modern-boho, California style. She’s trying something new and sometimes it takes a while to perfect things when we’re trying something different

      1. Jennifer, your first sentence is definitely the truth. But its honestly fine and I enjoy it. Sure, selling furniture is annoying afterwards but it is also part of my reality. Creating content for a living also creates faster and more decision making but also a lot of good comes out of it, or lessons i’ve learned. I could keep those lessons to myself, but why when I have a big audience to impart them to.

        1. I agree and I personally enjoy your being open. My reply was coming from this place: I perceived your post as a response to commenters on another site ( which I will not name) and Lex’s comment specifically as coming from someone from that site as well. I felt that you were trying to explain yourself to these people. My thoughts were if you were feeling the need to do that then I wanted you to step back a bit so you didn’t feel obligated to respond to them. There is room for constructive criticism and then there is just criticism for the sake of having something to say. Commenters on that site often lean towards the latter. I hope my comment didn’t offend because I follow you on multiple platforms and love what you do

        2. Please keep the lessons coming! My home has gone from cookie cutter to polished eclectic because I’ve learned so much from reading your blog these past few years and I’m grateful!!!

    13. I agree with you 100%, Lex. To everyone coming to Emily’s defense, the point Lex is making is that Emily is supposed to be a PROFESSIONAL designer! These are mistakes that anyone who claims to be a professional shouldn’t be making, especially to the extent they have been with this house. I find it embarrassing to watch.

      1. I’m curious as to whether Lexi and the critics in this thread are actually designers or stylists (or have assisted them directly.) The first time I assisted on a photo shoot, I was surprised by how many options you needed for ONE thing, such as a vase or plate, and how much of the job was just tweaking, tweaking and more tweaking until you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more combination of ways to style something. Like Emily said, there is a TON of nuance in making something look good, especially for photos. They may make it look easy, but it’s usually not. There’s a reason Emily is so successful at what she does, and trial and error (yes, MISTAKES), only makes designers (and pretty much anyone) better at what they do. And Emily, like most good designers, is probably way more of a perfectionist about the way a space looks than 99% of people, so if she wasn’t admitting some of her styling choices were mistakes, I wonder how many people would even notice….

      2. I’m a professional interior designer, my own business is relatively new but I’ve been in the field and working for other designers and design firms for over 5 years. If I had to guess, I think you probably watch too much HGTV, where all of the hard work, mistakes and revisions are done off screen. Real, good, lasting, thoughtful design does not happen on the first try or overnight. When working with a client, your designer is your advocate – helping you to make the right decisions based on their own experience. They’ve gone through the expense of trying new things and testing out processes so that you don’t have to. Most designers, myself included, would never share the mistakes we’ve made in our homes to get to the picture perfect spaces we create for our clients. This post is brave, helpful, funny, true and inspiring for anyone with an interest in design.

      3. Wow! You have no clue what goes into designing a space. You cant be safe and always to the same thing. As a designer there is always pressure with your own home to be extra creative and with new design ideas. I am an interior designer and currently renovating my own home and it has to be the toughest project I have ever worked on as I feel the pressure of what to pick and what will other people say. Your comments are truly hurtful as she has opened up her house and family. Nothing is worse then negativity.

      4. Dear the home grrl (?) you can’t seriously think that someone in creative job should not make mistakes. How do you think new ideas evolve if you are not allowed to make mistakes? You can’t always play it safe when you are supposed to create something new. I think Emily is very much a PROFESSIONAL designer and her content is very helpful for her readers. Maybe you should go follow some other designer with only pretty pictures and learn nothing about design?

      5. I think anyone who is a professional ANYTHING still makes “mistakes”.
        Kudos to Emily for admitting them, and still having vulnerability to share them with her readers.

    14. I appreciate all comments, certainly. But this negative one warrants a response. I consider most of my job documenting my design process for you, instead of just revealing these perfectly styled out rooms at the end. I consider my house my laboratory and I take risks all the time, because yes I need to create content in order to keep the blog moving – but also because its fun. I give myself full right to try things and fail and then tell you ‘hey, don’t do this, i did and it didn’t work’. Sure, we have design clients and if I were constantly trying to bag more of them then I would keep certain mistakes from the public. But I have a particularly unique job and I know based on years of feedback that you guys appreciate honesty and transparency both in my design and life. I also have a really easy platform to resell furniture so I take more liberties than I would recommend to an average home designer . What you do need to realize is that designing a house is very nuanced with every room and every personality being its own set of challenges. I’m friends with a lot of designers and trust me, mistakes are made they just may not tell millions of people. Now when it comes to client work every decision goes through the design team as well as the client, with approvals needed on all sides before moving forward. This is why it takes so much longer to pull together a clients home – because we micro-manage the process to ensure as few mistakes as possible. I don’t use their home as a style laboratory and I only take risks as far as they allow us to. If readers lose confidence in me because I admit my risks and mistakes and try to help others to avoid them, then that is just an unfortunate outcome of these posts. I appreciate all the commenters that support these posts because yes, if you didn’t I certainly wouldn’t write them. It’s not like these posts are particularly fun to write, but my hope is that they would be useful to others. In short – The sheer amount of decisions I make every day is 10,000 times more than the average person, simply because I have so many projects. The few bad decisions made are a very very small portion to the good. Documenting those daily successful decisions doesn’t sound like the most entertaining blog post – like ‘today I chose the perfect profile of quarter round moulding for uneven baseboard in the basement!’ I save those more for reveal posts so you can see my work, as it came together rather well. But helping you avoid the mistakes I do make seems like worthwhile information. If y’all aren’t into those posts then certainly come back for the good reveal posts where you see the good done and can avoid learning about the process or the
      bad 🙂

      1. Emily – your book and your blog are the only reasons I’ve been able to take some of the things I’ve loved online and in magazines and replicate them in my own home. The negative comments are completely missing the point of your approach- which is about making design accessible. Given how many design blogs simply post pictures of homes with maybe a link to buy the stuff in them, I really appreciate you taking the time to create posts I can learn from!

      2. Posts like this one are 100% why I love this blog and your IG stories so much. I always feel like I should rush into design but then it doesn’t look right. seeing the work and struggles to get it right makes me feel more confident in my own abilities because you’re showing that it’s ok to make mistakes!

      3. Emily, please continue to write posts like this one! I relate to EVERYTHING in this post! Thank you for always being so honest and real!

        1. I agree, I love the posts! What a relief to know that stylists struggle with design decisions. It is wrong to tear someone down and question their craft, when the whole goal of the post was to encourage readers to be ok with making mistakes. This kind of post is positive and helps people. I work in healthcare and trust me even the most skilled make mistakes and learn. Without mistakes there is never growth. And for goodness sakes she is creating content! So to those negative posters, go back to watching HGTV where everything is just SUPER!!! I love it!!! OMG!!!

      4. Lovely reply Emily but I don’t think you have anything to explain. You’re doing beautiful, inspired work & we appreciate you sharing so much with us! Thank you. Keep up the great work!

      5. Amen, Emily! I love these posts and I do learn a lot from them. Thanks for your “honesty and transparency”! Don’t listen to the negativity.

      6. Please keep documenting your mistakes. Real Living is a popular Australian interiors magazine that recently started a monthly segment from the perspective of interior designers and stylists discussing the mistakes they made in their own homes for the audience to learn from. Our own homes are the one place we allow ourselves mistakes because its where we take the biggest risks.

      7. Thank you!!!! Because of your transparency and sharing your learning process, I don’t get so wigged out because I move the furniture around in a room five times. Or buy things that don’t work. I say, “Well, Emily does it.” This isn’t waving a magic wand or seeing perfection in a crystal ball. You show the process, the struggles, the wins, the learning, and that has been important to me.

      8. I love seeing your process- it makes me feel so much better about the way I agonize over decisions and it’s so helpful to see what works and doesn’t. Thanks for being open with us!

      9. I wouldn’t say any of the choices are “bad” or mistakes even… It’s all part of the process. You are figuring out as you go and taking a risk is always better than playing it safe. You may discover something genius in fact which you would miss if it was all so calculated. Thank you for sharing with us!

    15. She’s not a surgeon. Designers/stylists/artists need to be able to experiment, make mistakes and PLAY. I can’t afford to do as much of this in my own home because I don’t have the money, it would drive my husband crazy, and I would never get around to selling items I don’t end up using, but I’m not a designer! I have followed design blogs for about a decade and there seems to come a point with every blog (I’m thinking of YHL in particular ) when the comments just get deeply critical. I really hope this isn’t happening here. DESIGN IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!

      1. totally agree! Emily makes design FUN! I LOVE that suddenly she decided to wallpaper her sons room. That is why I look forward to her stories more than other peoples. Im vicariously living through her designs. lol.

    16. As someone who is a completely different type of a designer, I will say this — often times good design is a result of trial and error. Sometimes the best solutions were originally mistakes. And good things take patience. And hey, trying things out is half the fun! Emily has resources that most of us don’t, so she can afford these luxuries and we benefit by watching.

      Keep it up, Emily! I personally love the realism. Social media has way too many people thinking things just happen like magic with the snap of a finger. This, right here, is reality.

    17. I don’t think this is unusual. I’ve seen designers tweak spaces over and over. It’s a process and you never actually know if something will work until you try it. Also, Emily is a human being and maybe she changed her mind about what she was wanting the room to feel/look like. It happens. I personally like knowing pro’s make mistakes too.

    18. I think Emily’s creative process is very experimental and non-linear, and now she has the resources to experiment with 5 rugs and 6 sofas. I think it’s very cool that we get to this peek behind the curtains.

    19. I will say I think this is closer to how it actually is to have a designer work with a customer. (She’s still a designer – you don’t need a degree to use that term – the term ‘decorator’ seems a little purposely harsh and outdated – as someone with a degree in design I have the utmost confidence saying that)

      I work as a graphic designer in advertising and the amount of rounds we go through with the client is unbelievable. Add in something specific to be designed around (in Emily’s case, rooms and spaces) and I can’t even imagine.

      Even Nate Berkus (IMO the king of design) on his new show is constantly changing things, trying to figure things out, and switching out 3 sofas or chaises to figure out what works best.

      I for one am super excited for the design robot that needs to be invented who can make the correct choice the 1st time, and nail it, while not looking generic!

      1. Actually Ele, you do need a degree and a license to practice as an interior designer in some states. Also, while it may be a less popular title these days, I don’t think ‘decorator’ is harsh. I do see why professionals may prefer “designer” though, as it seems to cover a broader scope of work. My state requires licensing, so legally I practice as a decorator – despite the fact that I just designed a house from the foundation to the rooftop. Honestly, I do the same job, it just says decorator on my state forms and does not say interior design on my business agreements.

        1. To use the term “Designer” you don’t need accreditation. Just because shes not an AIA Interior Designer, does not mean she is not still a Designer. (I did know that most states require that). My point is that Lex seemed like they were purposefully trying to talk down to Emily by calling her a “decorator”, just to be ugly and rude.

    20. I actually find it rather humbling and extremely helpful that Emily, being the majorly successful designer she is, shared her paint “faux pas”.
      In doing so she saved many others costly time and reasources.
      We should applaud Emily for being so honest and open about her design processes unlike many other big designers who keep the secrets to themselves.

    21. I find the multiple changes/choices fun and sort of normal for design blogs. Remember that designers’ own homes are kind of their own canvases. So the rooms will change and evolve multiple times over the years. I think Emily only lived in her last house a few years and yet it went through a bazillion changes. It’s fun to watch.

    22. Lex – You obviously haven’t bothered to watch any of Emily’s TV shows or taken the time to read her book. If you had, you’d know how talented (and nice) she is. I won’t make any further comments about your post because (unlike you) I don’t want to be rude. Have a nice day.

    23. Wow, you are an ass. Seriously. Emily was very kind in her response. Like it was mentioned in other comments, Emily is letting us in on the process. It is as if an artist said “hey, I am going to show you my sketch pad before I paint my master piece”. See for example:

      In the famous words of Bob Ross, ‘those aren’t mistake those are birds”. And you Lex need to understand the process of making and creating beautiful things.

    24. I think that’s what makes her an amazing designer. She could just put whatever in a room and say it looks good and a client will think it looks good because they may not have a sense of style. The fact that she tries things out and changes things to make it just right is part of the design process, you can’t design a perfect space overnight. Yes, you can go to Target and pick up a bunch of cute pieces to style a room and it would look amazing, but then it’s no longer a though out, well designed room.

      And the fact that Emily is sharing her mistakes with us makes her more relatable and it’s such a an inspiring quality for a well known designer.

    25. Wow, snaps in z-formation.

      I actually LOVE to see the process that Emily has. And actually I get why she’s constantly tweaking – because this is what she does! It’s really refreshing because I find it truly authentic. Unlike every other Instagram blogger, she doesn’t drive into the trends of chevron and farmhouse wood and is much more thoughtful about it. There is something really nice about not being perfect and being super transparent about it. Could I live this way? No. Because I would go crazy. But this is what Emily’s passion slash job is and so I expect that this.

      If I hired a designer, I would ABSOLUTELY expect many options to try out. Just like a clothing stylist, they have to see it in the space (or on your body if we’re going with the analogy) to make sure it works. Seeing it in store or online is vastly different when you see it in space. Depends on the lighting, the other furniture, etc. We know that Emily’s house has some unique lines. Has some different spaces unlike a box of a house. And how many of us have bought a top or piece that we have regretted later? Or that time that my husband choose the paint color and we ended up with a full on turquoise bathroom? Yeah, we had to paint that over. I think we see it more here because it is supercharged as Emily has a lot of projects going on but personally that’s why I’m here to read it and enjoy it.

    26. Seriously. What is your problem?? This is her house not a client’s. I’m glad I’m not you. Take a Prozac or a handful of xanax and chill.

    27. Lex, your comment shows how completely oblivious you are to the process of decorating a space. People try something and see and if they don’t like something once it’s in a space, they try again with something else until they get the room look they want. A plan in concept can be very different than it’s execution in a space. That’s the process for everyone, professionals, too. Next time, before you fire off a snarky email that you try and disguise as a “I’m confused, just wondering” email, get a clue as to what you’re talking about. Because what has happened, predictably, is that instead of you casting an unflattering light over Emily, you are the one who looks like an ignorant ass.

      1. hi ginny. lex here. i didn’t send an email so i’m not sure what you’re talking about. cool move calling a commenter an “ignorant ass” very professional.

        1. Ha. Pointing out that Ginny used the term ’email’ instead of ‘blog comment’ confirms that you, Lex, are a troll. The inaccurate terminology doesn’t take away from her good point and we certainly knew what she meant. Clearly, considering your original comment, professional conduct has nothing to do with this. If you don’t like what Emily is saying stop reading.

          I personally, wouldn’t have made some of the design decisions Emily made but then, hindsight is a bitch.

    28. I work for a company that produces stop-motion animated films. We have a building full of some of the best set designers, production designers, artists, animators, etc. in the world. These people are highly trained and highly skilled, and if you think for one second that all of this means they hit the nail on the head perfectly each time, you are crazy. Art is a process. Design is a process. Beauty comes from the failures. You think writers submit their first drafts for publish? You think architects never make amendments to their blueprints? You think fashion designers don’t make last minute tweaks to garments?

      Emily – thanks for keeping it real and showing us the behind the scenes.

      1. Exactly ! If you are an Artist ,Designer, Writer… that’s the way the creative people roll ! If you ( the negative commentators) were in any type of creative field you would get this!

      2. My additional $.02 from an earlier comment and in agreement with Jocelyn. Years ago I worked for a very famous person known for their design acumen, featured in design magazines internationally and big time house flipper, widely respected in a sphere where everyone can afford the best. That person would have whole newly constructed and designed rooms ripped out if they were not to their satisfaction and constantly swapped out furniture and believe me they were working with a world class design team. Heck, they would even take my opinion and I was but a lowly assistant. It takes a village. We are lucky enough to get an idea of the inner workings of a very specific village here. Emily’s process is industry standard, particularly when you have the means.

    29. I am also reminded of the T. Roosevelt quote that brilliant Brené Brown is known for referencing when talking about the courage to be vulnerable and take chances vs the critic on the outside looking in. It takes a secure, mature, courageous person to admit mistakes and try to help others as a result. I admire you, Emily.
      “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

    30. It’s simple. Her love for design. That’s why. I think it’s fun. I would if I could, switch things up to get it just right. If anything she’s sharpening her tool so to speak for clients and for us who follow her.

    31. My interior designer brought 4 trucks of furniture she borrowed from her dealers and we tested out tons of shapes, sizes, configurations in every room before we settled on a theme. Most of it was educational (what sizes work, what flow works, what wood finishes don’t work) … in the end I bought 1 thing from all the trucks, but otherwise the point was to experiment in one very costly day what would work best.
      Emily just does it very publicly, but many interior designers would require 1 year from start to finish. So let’s just enjoy the ride, eh?

    32. My guess is designing for your own house is very different then designing for a client. Thx em for this post. I totally relate to it!!!

    33. as someone pursuing a career as an interior stylist, i know my taste for my personal space changes all the time. just a few months ago i was drawn to this one thing…and now i’m across the board liking another. when it’s your own home you take more liberties/chances and have room to play. sure mistakes in measuring might be read as an issue coming from a professional but i know from watching home design tv shows and reading other blogs mistakes happen all the time! to err is human.

      i did wonder why emily knocked “40 holes” in the wall instead of laying out the artwork on the floor first. to each her own.

    34. Damn girl! Haven’t you ever made a mistake? Like your comment for instance? We’ve all had those days riddled with errors, personally and professionally, days in which we measure wrong or don’t measure at all, days when we make snarky comments with the intention of cutting someone down, but there can be such grace in acknowledging a misstep and changing course with poise and mindfulness (hint, hint 😉

    35. Super negative and not cool! Designing takes courage. Creativity means taking risks. Anyone can turn out a cookie cutter room. But something imaginative like Emily requires a little experimenting and flexibility

    36. Hey Lex,

      Design aside, in all of life there is a rule. The rule dictates, that in order for there to be many fabulous successes, there will be some failure. For every personal bungle Em shares, there are a dozen more strengths and successes in her portfolio that profoundly overshadow mistakes…. By embracing risk and failure as the excellent teachers they are, Emily cheers us on to express ourselves without fear of the outcome. Brilliance and error are not mutually exclusive… in fact I believe they are best friends, who get married and have babies named delight, discovery & passion.

      1. THIS COMMENT I love! Meeting harshness with harshness is not cool, and that’s what’s going on in most of these posts. This one (Ashley’s) is constructive and substantive. Part of Emily’s much-vaunted transparency must include a thick skin in regards to negative comments. Instead, everyone’s making a mountain out of a molehill and giving so much undeserved energy to Lex’s comment.

    37. I don’t think “mistake” or calling out that she did something “wrong” when she just simply made changes and decided to go in a different direction. In your own house, there is no concern to make a client happy, it is only yourself. And you may use trial and error many times to find “the best option”, which asserts that the options that came before it were not wrong, they just weren’t the most desired. I’m sure if you changed your perspective to see design as ART rather than SCIENCE, you wouldn’t be so judgemental on her personal design choices.

    38. Have you ever been to an art exhibition at a museum…for instance George Seurat where you might see twenty of the same painting where an artist changes things in each rendering before he creates his large masterpiece. That’s why some paintings are expensive. An artist may paint something 50 times before he creates the ONE. Just food for

    39. I feel like most of these commenters who think this is a mean comment should consider the difference between negative and neutral. I find Alex’s comment to be neutral and invite some discussion and education- and that’s exactly what has happen! Plus a whole bunch of shaming and name calling. Lex expressed concerns- if you are one of the commenters who feel the initial comment was mean and jumped down let’s throats with name calling then you should look in the mirror.

      As many people have already pointed out Emily’s work for her home and blog is not a typical client or project management style used by many designers. Readers should also realize the breadth of professions and expertise grouped under the title ‘designer.’ Furthermore Emily is a Stulist. She is not a trained interior designer or interior architect- though she has moved toward those roles. She is not technically trained in the building industry. She is a visual creative who built a lucrative and impressive career and brand on adapting existing spaces. Finishes are on the technical edge of decorators and stylists. Choosing fittings, moving walls (and everything in walls), or even doing planning drawings is beyond these professions. They focus on other important spatial aspects that are fungible. Trying options is the norm- though in my experience the paint contractor will supply several large scale paint samples for final selection rather than the entire room being painted multiple times. But again this is content fueled blogville not normal life!!!


      I don’t think she was overly nasty. There is a difference between vitriolic baiting and curious criticism. She brings up some valid points and questions from the perspective of a reader that isn’t in the field. Frankly, some of the responses to LEX have been worse in tone.

      Many commenters gave good answers and ultimately Emily gave a good explanation for herself. I feel that is what LEX was asking for, some clarification. However, telling someone they are having a bad day, they need to eat ice cream or they are allowed good vibes only, basically intimidates people from leaving any criticism or question in their comments. Being critical is not always the same thing as being negative. Being challenged is how we grow and have interesting conversation.

      That said, it isn’t always easy to make something and put it out into the world to be judged. So, yes, some of LEX’s questions could have been framed a little more softly. Perhaps in a tone you’d use as a guest in someone’s home, such as, “I never realized designers experimented so much. Is this common in the industry?” Still, I’d rather read some probing inquiries than a stream of rainbow sprinkled idolatry.

      1. YES. This is what I’ve been thinking about but you have so succinctly expressed.

    41. Being a designer myself I am ALWAYS changing things….. the first time around usually looks just fine to most people however, I always want to push the boundaries, take more risks. I’m not striving for just fine. That’s why everyone loves this blog. You’re not going to get that layered, unique look the first time around. Emily is working toward perfection every single time and she won’t settle!

    42. Transparency that Emily shared is real life stuff. Think of this like that famous line about needing to spend 10,000 hours practicing a skill or craft before its fluid & “perfect.”

      In my job, I don’t get things exactly right every time. In my conversations with people, I can stumble.

      Diet & exercise of my life…nope, not perfect- calibration and moderation every day.

      Finding the perfect hair color, handbag, bathing suit, bra, jeans…its all wrong until its joyful and makes your heart sing.

      Its all about daring greatly, trying again and again and like understanding batting averages or records of athletes—-they get BACK on that horse & do it again.

      I’m greatful to read that mistakes are read, by real humans, who create a place to live an authentic life.

      Cheers to second chances,

    43. I actually agree with first commenter. This seems like design Schizophrenia. And designers are famous for saying buy what you love, you will find a place for it! As a design professional, my first reaction is always, “have you measured”! I have saved thousands of dollars for clients this way.

    44. I think you’re missing the point. A home is not a mood board. Something can look great on paper but the light in the room, it’s uses etc can alter a design concept. Also the post is headed up ‘not having a plan’ she is teaching you to have a plan. If you don’t like how she designs and styles a room stop following her

    45. This was one of my favorite posts ever. Confidence in Emily I have from the results she shows. More importantly, this piece gave me confidence in myself.

    46. I love that Emily is honest and that I can relate to her. I’ve made a few regrettable design mistakes in my home as well and her post was about helping all of us avoid these costly mistakes. I’ve learned so much from you Emily! Please keep it up! We love you!

    47. Most of the time I am a thoughtful person. But Lex, you sound like a real bitch. ??‍♀️

    48. As a professional designer (professionally trained), there are a couple things that I feel many of these comments don’t consider: 1) Emily could have just as easily titled this, “Design Decisions that Looked Pretty Good but Didn’t Feel Quite Right to Me”. She called them mistakes because SHE feels they are mistakes. A lot of the stuff she used actually looked pretty good in the space, but design is a highly intuitive and personal process. The best designer is one that tweaks things to a point of perfection. Some designers may claim to nail it the first time, but they may also not be providing the quality that Emily seeks. Design like so many other skills that produce something–you are never quite done, your end product can always be tweaked, and at some point you just have to call it finished. That point of finishing totally depends on the personality of the designer. 2) Is it not the least bit unusual for a designer to go through this process in her own home. We spend so much time planning for other people that it’s very easy to want to skip that process for ourselves. I can totally relate to the excitement of the new home and the slippery Craigslist slope. We LOVE houses and we LOVE design and that excitement in our own lives can lead to impulsive decisions. Design is also so tightly linked to personal style which is so incredibly personal and seemingly difficult to define when you are bombarded with imagery and . You have to answer existential questions like, “who am I?”, “who does my house want to be?”, “how does this house reflect who I am and who my family is?”, “how do I want people to feel here?”, and more practical ones like “realistically how many people need to sit on this sofa?” and “will my kids destroy this fabric?”. Then you have to reconcile those answers and somehow meld them together into something that feels honest and authentic and functional. It is so much easier to define someone else’s style and lifestyle from the outside looking in than it is to define those things for yourself–isn’t that partially why you hire a designer? To reflect those ideas and feelings back to you and create a framework for you to make a decision? “Mistakes” made in our own home doesn’t mean we’re crappy designers, it means we’re growing. I really appreciate that Emily is honest about her own process, and that she pumps out beautiful imagery and information-packed content on a regular basis for my enjoyment.

    49. Apparently you’re perfect so maybe you should just stick to following others who pretend to be as well. I for one appreciate honesty and realness, not the illusion of perfection.

    50. These aren’t “mistakes.” Good design in any field is “iterative.” Options are given, layouts are edited, tweaked. This is a visual field, and Emily’s strength as a blogger has always been that she shows us her process, not just the final “HGTV” result. That requires “iteration” in the design process. You think it’s a mistake because you aren’t a designer.

    51. I’m an engineer working very closely with architects and designers. The number of revisions that happen during the design process would make your head SPIN. It is not a linear path AT ALL. It’s full of overlooked details, and owners changing their minds, and realizing something doesn’t work once you flesh out the details, and tweaking until it’s right and there’s no time left. And then realizing it’s literally NEVER PERFECT and fixing things during construction. If you’re looking for a highlight reel, those design blogs are all over the Internet. I get that no owner wants to see the mistakes and revisions before a finished product, but unless YOURE looking to hire her, why the sass? Emily’s blog is my favorite because it ISN’T a highlight reel. It shows the true process and gives confidence to ordinary people who are trying to make their spaces work for them.

    52. Hey Lex! I’m a shoe designer and draw lots sketches, order lots of prototypes and even more samples. Not every shoe makes the cut, but you can’t really be sure until you see the physical sku in front of you. I’m sure Emily’s process is much the same, and probably yours too (assuming you work in a creative field and have the authority to criticize an artist’s process)!

    53. This!
      As an ad designer my clients are welcome to ask for tweaks, its their business and they’re paying me. But when designing for myself, sh*t gets done because I spent a whole lotta money learning what works.Emily is a talented stylist and not a designer, hence mistakes.

      And below, the person who said that ‘interior designer’ is an outdated term, that’s an insult to those that are, and its actually doing Emily a disservice by holding her to those standards.

  2. Those cheeks on baby birdie are too chubby to handle! Everyday I marvel at your design prowess, Emily, but I am always completely undone by how ridiculously adorable Elliot and Charlie are.

  3. We are at the tail-end of a major five month reno (it….will….end), and I have continually restrained myself from buying ANYTHING that’s not tied to the construction. It’s been hard, but seeing the finished space is crucial (not to mention I want to take my time decorating, that’s the fun part!). I have been on the hunt for sure, and have dedicated one tab from of my 10-tab reno spreadsheet for furniture/decor ideas so when the time comes, I already have a starting point.

    1. Oh my gosh, that’s what I came here to say! I have the other problem, haha! I spent a weekend day in an antique market, wishing Emily and her team were with me to say, “Oh just go for it!!” 🙂

  4. Question about this, that’s only related to furniture purchasing adjacently. When you laid out your living room in your current house and placed the junction boxes/sconces are you still happy with their placement? Did you/do you feel restricted to find specific pieces that fit under the sconces which in turn seems like may be dictating the scale, style and placement of artwork on top of that furniture? I’m wondering about this as I decide where to place sconces in my living room and want to know if there’s anything I should look out for.

    1. We placed them without art in mind – on purpose. We wanted them to look right in the space instead of placing them where it would be convenient to decorate. That being said it has made hanging art more of a challenge, but we are figuring it out and its looking good (did you see my insta-story about it?). We also chose sconces that were big and traditional so we wanted them placed in the exact spot that looked original. Make sense?

      1. Thank you for your response! Yes, totally makes sense. I love following your insta-stories, and watched very closely your recent one about hanging art all over the house and saw you deliberating around changing the art around/under the sconces. That’s actually what prompted the question, especially since it’s relevant to me right now. I definitely like how you’ve been handling it, and agree that the sconce placement sans furniture looks fantastic. Good to hear that you don’t feel restricted and that you are still happy with their placement. Very helpful, thank you!
        Also, I LOVE these posts, find them incredibly useful, and appreciate that it’s not easy to put yourself out there for others to judge. (I’m a chef and may work is judged many times over every day.) Keep up the amazing work!
        In reference to the below comments about the price point being relatable/un-relatable; it’s YOUR house! Please don’t feel pressured to select product that is less expensive or less exciting simply to please a portion of your audience. You do plenty of posts with budget options in mind. I’m here, and I think a large portion of your reader audience is here to see you take risks and create beautiful content in your own home with your own budget. It’s inspirational, aspirational, and just plain refreshing!

  5. I read your blog cause I think you are one of the best designers out there, but I sort of miss the girl who agonized over spending 700 on an amazing, possibly life changing, vintage navy sofa. I think there is some good advice here, but most of us can’t afford to redesign a room from the ground up. If I spent 500 on a dresser I would have to make it work. I find this issue with all the blogs I read, they started so good, then the cash flow increased and I can no longer relate.
    I actually enjoyed Brad’s makeovers the most because of this…and his amazing style.
    I also have to wonder if blogs actually push us to consume. I will always read you, but I wonder if you have lost touch with how normal folk live and spend. I get where you are trying to prevent me from wasting my money on mistakes, but honestly I just have to make them work, and I think that pushes my creativity…being poor and foolish that is.

    1. Me too.
      I love you Emily. I can’t not relate. It’s not aspirational, it’s depressing.

      1. We really try to give different price points and styles. I mix vintage, big box and custom with a couple splurges but a lot of Target. I really try to listen to you and hear what price point and what content you want. In the survey you guys said you want both – budget and high end aspirational so we really try to do both. Usually I do something special and splurgey in a room, but the rest of the room is full of vintage or Target. Some rooms less so and some more-so. Anyway, point is that this is good feedback as we never want anyone to feel anything but empowered and confidant after leaving this site 🙂

        1. Emily, I can’t believe I discovered this blog only this year. We are in the midst of buying our first house after living in an apartment for years. I’m so excited to decorate and have a more grown up house. We need everything! Ive been going nuts on Pinterest and your blog and have been so inspired and I’m so happy that I read this post. I feel like I am rushing things and have to tell myself to slow down and take my time. I did buy my first vintage dresser and am nervous it will not be enough dresser space that I need and will not be able to match it to something else if I need another dresser. We move the end of June and all I’m settling on for now are the beds and the sectional (hoping I picked the right size for the room). I’m going to go back now and look at all my pins and see what common theme I have going on as you advised. Love your style and your posts. Thank you!!

        2. Perhaps in order to resolve this issue, you could certainly keep the high-end pieces but also add a pop up window or suggestions for low-budget equivalents of the piece, like things you would find at a big box store that would work just as well or even look similar in the room. Forgive me if this has already been done, I’m a fan of your Instagram and have just learned of this blog. I love what you do!

    2. I see where you’re coming from, but I love that there’s still lots of product round ups with different price ranges AND affordable Target pieces featured.

      I can’t afford 90% of the stuff in Emily’s house, but I totally find it inspiring!

      1. Sarah, but who wants to replace their furniture with target or ikea if they can afford something a little better? I think most people will prefer to make that 700 dresser work as opposed to replacing with 300 furniture. Not to say cheap furniture is bad or ugly, sometimes one will make a choice to buy it even when they can afford something else. However, most people don’t have the luxury to return something unless it’s broken and they can get a full refund. There are some instances when furniture is making someone really miserable and paying a 15% restocking fee makes perfect sense. But most of us don’t have a luxury to second guess every decision.

      2. I love those posts too!! I actually refer back to them when shopping for a flush mount or a bathroom vanity. I always skip to the cheapest section, but there are always good options I wouldn’t have found on my own.
        I also like the whole room plans broken down for different budgets. Who wouldn’t want a professionally designed room for a budget price? However, these are sometimes deceptive as it will list the price for art over your sofa at the smallest (8 by 10) size available , or the price for a scatter rug when you need a room size rug. Still read and enjoy them though.

        1. Oh shoot, that should NOT be the case (with the budget rooms). I’ll make sure that isn’t happening because at first we were super careful about making sure that the size of the art was big enough and the price was accurate. Sorry!!

    3. Hi Katy, I agree with what you’re saying and think that blogs along with all forms of media definitely push us to consume more but on the flipside I think blogs like Emily’s for most of us “normal folk” are definitely more inspirational rather than something we could actually afford. I’ve definitely bought some pieces I’ve seen on Emily’s blog (but they were all Target) haha but I love her design aesthetic and this blog has definitely opened my eyes design wise.

      I may not have anywhere near Emily’s budget but I’ve made similar mistakes. Buying dining chairs on Craigslist impulsively because I was so desperate to get rid of the ones I had and now like you said I’m “making it work” because I can’t afford to make another change but I also took that as a valuable learning lesson. I appreciate the points in this blog post because I do think they can be applied to any budget and lifestyle. 🙂

      That said, more blog posts dedicated to only budget-friendly design ideas would be great to see! However, I totally get that beautiful furniture that’s well made doesn’t come cheap so I”m not hating, just a reality of my current lifestyle/budget doesn’t allow for that kind of investment (hopefully one day it will!)

      1. Thanks, Kasia! Happy to create more budget friendly posts – such good feedback. And regarding the consumption situation – I really only want people to buy what they are shopping for or what they need. So when we do Patio furniture posts i’m not saying nor would I want you to scrap everything you have and buy all new stuff. However if you are in the market and need some patio furniture in which to sit, then that’s where we would come in and help narrow down the choices to what we love so you feel more confidant with your choices and indeed create less consumption and waste. We try and promote ideas as much as products and while things like my farmhouse dining room table are extremely expensive, my hope is that with more time many of you can find the same thing for like 1/10th the price because you don’t live in LA where the cost of anything antique is astronomical. I put pricing to be transparent but my hope is that the ideas and the ‘look’ is actually approachable and something that you guys feel you can replicate if you like it. Does that make sense? Ugh. its gloomy in LA and these comments are stressing me out!!! 🙂

        1. Emily thanks so much for taking the time to answer all these, you’re awesome! (DON’T STRESS!) For sure, regardless of exposure from whatever form of media it may be (TV, magazines, blogs, etc.,) consumption is ultimately an individuals choice. No one is forcing us to buy anything and I definitely try to shop for only what I need (especially when it comes to furniture, clothes/shoes are another story ;P) I do love having narrowed down lists and as a writer/blogger myself know just how damn hard it is to scour the entire giant internet to find things so I very much appreciate those roundups! I love reading this site daily and will continue to come back for design inspo always 🙂

          P.S. You did inspire me to finally pull the trigger on your beloved Rachel Comey mules after months of deliberations! But I blame the consumption of those gorg leather shoes all on me ;P ;P ;P hehe

        2. Don’t stress out Emily. You have great taste and I try to visually take in your ideas as inspiration only and occasionally have bought Target items I wouldn’t have found if you hadn’t posted them, but it does feel like suddenly you are under tremendous pressure to be creating content constantly which as a person who bought a 1913 craftsman in LA 3 years ago and have spent all my money on a roof and foundation repairs and nothing cosmetically fun, at times lately it feels hard to relate. I am probably just jealous you have the resources to constantly buy stuff and hire workers to do work so I should probably look inward as to why your blog has started to make me feel inadequate lol!! My feelings aren’t your problem but I have caught myself feeling like I can’t relate at times. I feel like Someone like Manhattan Nest feels more relateable, but I only started feeling that way when I became a homeowner and budgeting and diy and serious repairs are more real for the average person. As a renter I viewed blogs very differently because I didn’t have so many things to worry about. I agree with some of I buy a $500 dresser unfortunately I am living with it. But I do think this mistakes post is great. I am guilty of buying to check things off my list, although I research options for months, I often choose budget friendly and then end up hating it because it’s not the right color or size. I appreciate you listening to the feedback.

        3. Emily, the fact is: We all come here, to your site, because we l.o.v.e. to see what CAN be done, whether it fits our personal budgets, or not. Sometimes, it’s so high-end, it isn’t reality for many, but if we keep our eyes open, we can find something similar that we can replicate at a fraction of the cost.
          I think we’ve watched some areas with loads of changes in this house, because, (maybe?), you’re fixated on the English thing, which isn’t actually the style of the house.
          I like your “weird” choices, because we generally can’t afford to take chances like you can and it shows what is possible in awkward spaces, that would most likely totally stump someone else.
          It’s also refreshing that you don’t edit people’s comments when they aren’t purely flattering, like some sites do. I think the kitchen island and the chaise lounge are way “out there” and really don’t work. You let me say that and it doesn’t phase you since you have confidence that you know what you’re doing; especially in YOUR OWN house. Your mistakes can save us in so many ways as well as your brilliant solutions can help us guide our own decorating decisions. Kudos for sharing the errors along with the polished stuff.
          I live in a house that is similar to yours in many ways; Spanish influence, craft influence, etc. and it CAN take the English furniture. Just not too much, or it would get off track. I think that once you start to inject some quirkiness into this house, it will seem more YOU than it does yet. We’re all watching and learning and returning again and again….because you’re a design hero and an inspiration!! Simple. 🙂

      2. Kasia, your point about the blog being more inspirational than practical makes a lot of sense to me. It’s like fashion—I still enjoy flipping through magazines and looking at pretty pictures of high end fashion on Pinterest, despite not being able to afford any of it. In fact, I buy about 90% of my clothes/shoes/accessories from Goodwill and other secondhand stores, but the high end images help me understand my own preferences and style a little better and give me ideas for pulling outfits together.

        I think it’s pretty natural for bloggers with excellent design sense, charismatic personalities, good content, and luck (all like Emily) to have and use increasing budgets over time in their major projects (and just as natural for new bloggers with more realistic budgets to keep popping up). In that sense, I think the EHD team is actually admirably conscientious about catering to those looking for more affordable solutions/ideas, especially with the roundups that organize options into different price categories and the 3-budget posts. And of course, all the posts offering general design advice like where to hang curtains or how to plan a gallery wall are relevant for anyone.

        All that said, one type of budget-friendly post that I wouldn’t mind seeing again on occasion are the trolling Craigslist ones. I look forward to reading this blog every day, but I used to get extra excited on those days! I never purchased any of the items, but as someone who buys most furniture on Craigslist, it was really helpful for me to read about the potential that Emily would see in a piece, what she would offer price-wise, what the risks might be, etc. Emily—I don’t know if you stopped creating those posts because it was no longer do-able for you or because you felt they weren’t popular/interesting posts, but if it was the latter reason….well, just know that you have one interested reader here! 🙂

        1. Exactly what Sydney said! I have a tiny design budget but a love for colorful style. I’d love help in seeing the potential of old, imperfect, but affordable things.

        2. Ooo yes I loved yhe trolling Craigslist posts, I had forgotten those!

    4. $500 is a lot of money but a $500 dresser is a bargain and if it can be re-sold for even a bit less, it’s not a huge deal.

      I think you bring up a good point about different tolerance levels for mistakes. But if you are someone who is picky about how a piece of furniture looks, you might need to make a choice: either stick with something you bought but don’t really like in the space or swap it out. You could buy something cheaper so that mistakes are less costly. But if I did that I would feel like I was setting myself up to create a space I didn’t love and that wouldn’t last many seasons. Both trend-wise and durability wise.

      Also speaking as someone who has inherited a lot of nice furniture that isn’t sized right for my place. I’ve kept almost all of it for a long time, only editing out a few pieces, because I’m budget conscious. If I had the time to gift, sell, or reupholster it ($$$), I would in a second.

    5. I know what you mean. I’ve been thinking about this lately, mostly when I read blogs that used to be more DIY and have now gone more upscale, designing rooms from the ground up without having to work anything in or makeshift anything to fit. It’s almost like part of the aspirational quality is lost, because people aren’t necessarily aspiring to buy a bunch of Rejuvenation and Candelabra pieces, because if they could do that then their rooms would probably look pretty awesome (you could literally copy a catalog shot) but instead people are attracted to the ‘make it work’ aspect of design blogs. Making a room look beautiful with minimal money and lots of creative hodgepodge is the real task, the thing I think blog readers really like, and the thing that makes certain design blog talent stand out.

      1. I agree with Katy and Caroline. Less consuming, more ‘real life’, please. I love your family-life stories, those are really relatable. I like looking at the ‘design’ posts, but hate all the ’round-ups’. “Buy this, buy that.” Even clothes now. There is already so much of that.

        1. I’m just chiming in to say that I love round-up posts. I know a tremendous amount of effort and time goes into creating them and they are SO useful when you’re in the market for a new piece of furniture.

    6. I agree. Particularly in Charlie’s room while I can see it being cute with wallpaper, he’s almost 4 now and the pattern they picked looks like something he will for sure be grown out of by the time he’s 6 or 7 (and I would guess costs a few thousand dollars for paper plus installation). Wallpaper is meant to last so much longer than two years, and the responsible thing to do as a designer and a consumer is to select a wallpaper that you want to live with for years to come.

      1. Hmmm.. i actually think it will last til he’s 10! it’s a whimsical midevil knight and horse situation … but who knows. Brian and I talked about it and he thinks it has years and years of longevity but maybe you are right. For now, he LOVES it, though. ALthough we found out today that it is a 8-12 lead time which won’t make it for the shoot…. So we may decorate it as is and then if we still feel like adding the paper later then consider it 🙂

        1. My 13 year old would still love it. Go for it because you can. Can’t wait to see it!

        2. Where is the new wallpaper for Charlie’s room pictured .. would love to see it

    7. “I also have to wonder if blogs actually push us to consume.” Well, yes, that is why Target and other advertisers are paying for advertising and for the relationship. It’s not just the sponsored posts – the whole idea of designing your outdoor space, brunch, cocktail hour, shelf is supposed to be aspirational, make you feel insufficient, and get you spending money in new areas to ‘keep up’.

      1. Maybe it says more about the individual, regarding the push to consume? Sponsored posts are about the product. We are bombarded with “but this” everywhere we look.. It’s up to us to filter, not Emily.

    8. Hey Katy, you’re saying exactly what I thought. I find it very hard to relate to some of this. Buying a $500 piece of furniture and have it be no big deal to chug it later, or repainting an entire room twice… those things sound time-consuming, incredibly expensive and a general nightmare.

      Lots of the rooms and ideas shown here are inspiring and fun, but it’s this exact tone that makes me feel uneasy about this site at times.

      1. Hmmm. I see what you are saying, although I sold the dresser and lost very little. I’m saying it is a bummer which is why i’m warning people to avoid my mistakes but I’m so sorry if the tone feels flippant and Its definitely something i’ll process and adjust. Thank you 🙂 Oh and re consumption – as I said above I really don’t want you to purchase something unless you need it. If you are in the market for a sofa/coffee table combo which a lot of you are, hopefully yesterdays post helped, but if you aren’t then please don’t buy a sofa/coffee table just to get a new one 🙂

        1. Seems like you aren’t really too worried about the negative implications of consumption or consumerism at all!

          “It’s like I was so desperate to do damage, to consume, and at the time wasn’t going to the flea market on Sundays but I NEEDED my fix to buy vintage for our new house. So, I fell in love with this dresser’s pretty wood and simple detailing and barely looked at dimensions. My serotonin sky-rocketed, a rush that propelled me to email them, insisting I was the right person for their beloved piece, and then swiftly had Brady run over to pay for it and then booked a dude to go pick it up. I didn’t even look at it in person. I’m pretty sure that I have a shopping addiction but purchases like this really solidify that fear. I get such a rush from finding a beautiful vintage piece that I don’t stop for ten minutes to make sure it will even fit through the door (which actually happened – more on that below). Then of course after I expressed my interested in this piece the lady was like – I have 5 beautiful 100 year old pine pieces and I was like ‘antique pine!! yes!! I need more!!”


          1. Jen, you obviously don’t read Emily on a regular basis…this is an example of her sarcasm and self deprecating humor! She’s not being flippant about spending and wasting! I’m not being mean, but there are plenty of other blogs and bloggers that will meet your needs. There’s no reason to pick on Emily and expect her to be something she is not.

          2. I’m so glad someone else pointed this disgusting section out! Emily – I’ve been a huge fan for years, but that post made you look like a hack. There is nothing professional in your approach or execution here, calling it ‘bravery’ is a little much. Its really just being a shopping addict.

          3. Should Emily be worried?? She isn’t responsible for our neediness or feelings of less-than and keep-up-with-the-Jones’. We are responsible for what our self-esteem is. Time to adult-up here.

        2. I must be missing something here… I love to try things in a space. If it doesn’t work, we acknowledge it doesn’t work, and sell it! We moved 4 times in 5 years. Two of those moves were cross-country. If it was going to cost us more to move it than it was worth, we sold it. Craigslist & sites similar are the BEST. I kind of hate to admit this, but I have (many, many times) sold items for more than I bought them for!! In the end, stuff is just stuff. Who cares. It is the family & how you live in a space that makes it a home. I can’t understand why people would take the time to first read, then comment, on something that they can’t relate to in one way or another, or don’t like! Find something that you can relate to, and go embrace that! Emily, love what you do- keep up the awesome work!

        3. I have a ton of respect for how you handled all of this feedback Emily. I don’t think your blog encourages consumption (although I do get tired of seeing so much Target product). There is reader responsibility here too: if you do a coffee table round up, but I am happy with my coffee table, I skip that post, because I don’t want to be tempted into new ideas that won’t serve me right now. No big deal! You do a post about the design process and I read every word because it helps me think differently, inspires me in my creative process. Totally worthwhile but no consumption involved!

        4. I think it should be recognised, by readers and you I guess (I think someone mentioned YHL) that by bringing us readers into your life so much, we feel we ‘know’ you and can therefore feel very personally when you do or say something we don’t agree with. I know I have to remind myself sometimes that a particular blogger is not my friend and my exasperation in their choices is not valid.
          I agreed with some of what Lex said and Jess above. I’m wondering if it is because, whilst you are being very open, it seems to come across a little defensively, so is not out in the best way. I can completely relate to buying a load of furniture for a new house before even moving in and then finding that it doesn’t fit (literally or aesthetically) but you have, as you said, a whole avenue of ways to deal with it that I don’t. So when you write about selling that, buying three more, getting two further on spec etc all in one sentence, it sometimes comes across to me as flippant and occasionally flaky. And when something is backordered but you need to make a deadline so you do the whole thing two or three times, I think maybe you are trying very hard not to sound all designer-y, so rush through describing that. And that can again sound so far out of our wheelhouse as readers that it comes across badly. Although I completely appreciate that you are trying your best to make everyone happy, which is an impossibility! ?
          I wonder if there is a better way to allow us to recognise that it was a measured decision as part of your multiple roles (designer, brand ambassador etc) rather than a panicked decision in the heat of the moment? Of course you will make those sorts of decisions, we all do. But I don’t like to feel that those are the only types of decisions being made. I think that fact that you are doing this in your home(s) is part of the difficulty, as you are doing things that are both very relatable and completely unrelatable to the normal reader at the same time.
          Sorry, I’m finding it difficult to explain exactly what I mean and I’m trying to do so kindly, because this post did frustrate me somewhat but I enjoy reading your blog and don’t want you to stop! I think you have so much energy and so much going on all the time, that it is easy for us to forget that energy in writing style does not mean you’re making decisions willy nilly all the time.

          1. I know this comment is late, but I hope Emily and her people are still reading. I don’t get why people care if they can relate all of the time. Would I read a blog that I can completely relate to?? A blog about a woman who can only afford to buy a furniture piece a couple of times per year and who on occasion buys a smaller decorative item from Target or Crate and Barrel? No. That would be boring. There would be like 10 posts per year. People, we come here because this blog contains “the ultimate,” while also serving up a heavy side dish of relateable and budget-friendly. I WANT to see aspirational things sometimes instead of only relateable and “real-life” things. I think some people have forgotten what this blog is. It’s not and never has been a DIY, budget-friendly blog exclusively. Emily, love what you do. Keep it coming.

      2. But….

        The whole point of this post was to learn from her mistakes so we don’t make the same ones… wait to paint… make sure a piece of furniture is the proper scale before buying… I’m a little confused as to why you are all hating on her mistakes. THEY WERE MISTAKES. Lucky for us, she made them. So now we can try to avoid making them. (And enough about the dresser…she sold it for $$ and was able to post about it which is $$ so… enough!)

        No need to pile on, guys. Also, this has never been a DIY blog. Sometimes there’s a little of that, but it’s a design blog. Draw inspiration from it, laugh at the jokes, or just don’t read it.

        I for one love your blog, Emily! It’s my first stop of the day as soon as I get my coffee. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and know that most of your readers love it too, but for whatever reason negativity snowballs more than positivity.

    9. A lot of time I find the fun in searching for copy cat pieces. It’s awesome to be able to purchase the target pieces and incorporate them in my home. But if I try and purchase everything off of my Pinterest boards, it’s just not gonna happen. But I can find something close/affordable and most times I like it more. Emily inspired of course.

      1. I think some maybe all these mistakes are time based. It’s great to show readers a before and after but I think the integrity and solidity of Emily’s past homes was the result of time. The pieces were actually collected. Rooms didn’t come together in a day or weekend. They grew. They evolved. They were collected!!! Designers say this or that will look collected but that is the shabby chic equivalent of an actual antique with actual wear. It might be a decent substitute for a photo but in real life you know…you can feel the real ness. There is no way to fake “I organically collected pieces I love. Welcome to my personalized and complimentary home.” In five years once Emily has time to live with and evolve the home it will naturally feel more like her HOME. Right now it feels like a stage set for consumables. Also- I think the inability to afford multiple pieces at once forces the slow hand approach. All the easy access to sponsored items and big budgets does not help you be patient.

        1. So many clever and articulate readers here. I agree with this comment 100%.

          “Right now it feels like a stage set for consumables” THIS!!! Yes.

    10. I don’t care so much about the budged friendly posts. I don’t expect Emily to design me a room for free, I find it very satisfying when I do the work my self, finding that perfect piece in my (very) low budged or making it my self.
      I’m here for her inpirational content, no matter what the price of the piece is. I feel like those posts with tons of different dinner tables in many price points can be very overwhelming. I know some of the readers need these posts and are enjoying them. I just hope she doesn’t feel like she needs to fill her blog with budged design plans when some of her readers, like my self, are not that into those.

      1. I quite agree. I’m here for the ideas, not the sources (mostly). My home is full of vintage/thrifted/inherited items because a) it’s what I can afford and b) it’s better quality (and it’s more interesting!). I’m not that interested in low-end, mass-produced furniture that will probably fall apart after a year or two. So, I generally skip the “get the look” sources. But Emily is creating a variety of posts so that everyone in her very large audience gets something they like and want.

        I will say that interior/fashion “taste-makers” in general have a pretty skewed idea of what is “budget.” Last time I checked, the median family income in the US is about $70k. A $1500 sofa isn’t necessarily out of reach for that family, but it’s definitely a big purchase and, therefore, a big decision. For instance, there’s a bed at RH I’ve wanted for years but I just can’t seem to pull the trigger because it’s a LOT of money. I have the cash but I can’t really afford to spend that kind of money on something I don’t absolutely need. Ya feel me?

    11. In all honesty, I didn’t know this was a budget friendly type blog. I looooove looking at Emily’s creations and processes (ALL THAT BLUE!!! Swoooon!) but no way I could afford anything in Emily’s house. Definitely an aspirational and inspiration blog from my budget’s perspective.

      I grew up in a family that didn’t buy a new sofa for 20 years. Gran recovered when Mum got tired of the design (original scratchy plaid, then denim, then white, then to the trash!!) and it was held up with encyclopedias when the feet cracked from over use haha! So seeing someone spend a few thousand dollars on one piece just makes my heart stop. It may be because I’m still a student and the result of the above family upbringing and recycling values.

      I get that it isn’t what the blog is about and there are blogs out there catering to that particular sector. I do love the blog and hope one day I can afford a 1/5 of what Emily can do!

  6. Can u please
    Tell me the color of green paint in Charlie’s room, version 1.0? Thank you!

    1. Hi S, this is unsolicited but I just painted my son’s room in a color that looks exactly like Charlie’s. It was Benjamin Moore Bunker Hill Green and it’s lovely, perfect for a little boy.

  7. Great advice! For #4 (buying to check a box), if you HAVE to because you need a sofa or whatever, go as cheap as possible. Check Craigslist or Freecycle (although my bed bug phobia keeps me personally from getting upholstered stuff on those sites) or go for low-end things from Target, Ikea, or even Walmart. That will give you something to use while you find what you like, and depending where you live, you can probably get at least a few bucks back selling it online when you are done (or pass it on to someone else who just needs a placeholder).

  8. I love re-design , re-painting. I started doing that as a kid in my little wallpapered bedroom.

    Now as an adult, I love that about myself. ALWAYS…. rethinking things, design, myself, and situations( people too, lol)

    P.s I agree ,on having an inspiration before diving in head first.

    Emily keep doing you!!!


  9. Lol well perhaps not a complete horror story but I was seized by inspiration of needing to change my living room even though I had just done so two years ago. It was beautiful traditional with a chesterfield style sofa and windsor chairs. Enter the Chindi rug. Sold the traditional furniture so I could have the rug and then had an empty living room with ONLY A RUG for a while. Lesson learned: know what is replacing the pieces you are getting rid of unless you are ok with empty space for who knows how long:p I’ve finally found the mid century accent chairs and brass coffee table, but it was sure dodgy for a bit there.

  10. I found this post refreshingly honest and am glad I’m not the only one with this issue. As a designer myself, I can totally relate to this when it comes to my own home. My home is a place where I can experiment and see what speaks to me. There’s only so much you can do and visualize on the computer. You have to really see how things turn out in person before you can say yay or nay.

    Also, as a designer, I get bored of things easily so if I come across a new piece, I find excitement in redesigning or tweaking a space for it. Although, I don’t have the same budget or sponsorship as you, my husband always groans when I want to repaint a room (ha!), I have been guilty of buying furniture because “it’s just so amazing” or “it’s one of a kind” and saying to myself, and my husband, I’ll make it work! Few months later, I didn’t make it work and then I’m left trying to sell it. Ha!

  11. I really appreciate this post, and its honesty. I think the mistakes are part of the process, and as long as they can be easily fixed like paint and furniture, then you’re happier with the end result because of the process.

    I did not love the wallpaper for your son’s room, mostly because I think it will limit artwork options, and at least for my little kid art on his wall has changed as his . Plus too much patterned wallpaper overall in the house maybe?

    1. Oops cut off. Meant to say for my kid the art on his wall has changed as his tastes have changed and I think its great for kids to express themselves that way.

      1. That could be true! UGH. i just want to LOVE that room and feel excited … the wallpaper has a 8-12 week lead time so we’ll see if we pull that trigger.

        1. I get that you want to be excited about the room, but wallpaper can end up being an all-to-easy-to-reach-for design crutch / cureall to get the room to a more “complete” and “cute” place presto-chango. IMHO there’s already a lot of dense patterned wallpaper going on. As for the drama on this thread, I see both sides (and agree that the original post was likely a direct response to some snarking on other sites) however I believe she is making a good faith effort at self reflection and transparency – and it’s that “peek behind the scenes” that keeps us all coming back to see how the design sausage is made – thanks Emily! Also, let’s give Emily props for not deleting some of the less-than-deftly-worded comments – you better believe most bloggers would be taking those down and hiding their head in the sand/barcart.

        2. I loved the post and as one who finally does have more budget and a forever home, the posts and roundups are totally helpful!

          The one thing I’ve watched Emily do multiple times that makes me sad is rush or change or force decisions for a photoshoot. Gah! Don’t do it again in Charlie’s room! In your last house we watched you rush to “finish” rooms for photos only to see you undo each design over the next few months. Isn’t the point of photographing your house to see how you actually love and use the space? Instead choices get made “for the photoshoot” that don’t last or aren’t really right for the space but photograph well. That makes me sad for you!

    2. I sometimes wonder, too, how much wallpaper is too much wallpaper. While I love this wallpaper, and would love to see it in the room, there is wallpaper in the bathroom (with intricate pattern) next to it. With wallpaper being so expensive, and an investment, I wonder about that decision. Nevertheless, Im still excited to see the room come together!

  12. Wow. This may be your next-most-controversial-post Emily! Some not so nice, keep it to yourself comments so far….

    When I was a child I continually moved my furniture around in my room – and now I do that with my whole house. I like changing and moving the style around me as I change and evolve as a person. It should never end! I liked this post!

  13. My problem is planning forever and never executing. Compounded by the fact that I’m a professional urban planner, which involves 20-30 year city-making timelines, this is a problem. I’ll have my mortgage paid off and still planning what the rooms should look like.

    1. I guess I missed the controversial aspect of this post when I made my comment above. On that topic, design is an iterative process (urban design, graphic design, landscape design, interior design…). My iterations just come on paper (or Pinterest!) and it takes me forever to pull the trigger.

  14. Thanks for your honesty This has happened to so many of us. Sadly due to cost/time and disruption you tend to have to live with it. With experience, you learn to take your time especially with bigger purchases. Buying a sofa can take me 4-6 months before I am 100% happy that this is the one! I recently helped a friend fit out her new but empty apartment and spent a whole day just measuring. Then days…weeks sourcing. Absolutely everything fitted because we measured and if we saw something a chair, table or chest – the first question was size/scale and only then did we move onto colour and design. I think as consumers there is so much choice not just on the high street, but the internet and even available for order from other countries too. This makes shopping exciting but also very difficult too.

  15. I would add something about hoarding a few vintage items here and there. The way you style homes to feel so collected is based on your knack for integrating new and old together so seamlessly. I helped my mom put together a “grandma nursery” for her first grandchild on the way and it was easy because you don’t really put too much vintage items in a nursery (durable, clean, safety reasons) but when it comes to decorating her living room we are at a stand still. I keep telling her to go shop and splurge on some vintage finds she is obsessed with but she wants me to PLAN. You can’t really plan for vintage. Having a few hoarded items makes it easier to integrate into a space later on.

    1. “You can’t really plan for vintage.” I love that! I love to go antiquing and vintage shopping. My husband always asks me what I am looking for and I always respond, “treasures.” Antique and vintage items create the magic, but it is really hard to plan and mistakes happen. My basement is full of benches and chairs and lamps. Most of them circulate back into use as my kids get older and their rooms change or I move things around. It is so fun!

      1. Yes! Totally agree on shopping for treasures! My husband says the same thing. You just need to wander a bit until you find something that makes your heart “lurch.” I think those are the pieces Emily is talking about when she says she bases a room around them!

  16. I appreciate your willingness to share your design mistakes because I learn so much as a result! I also grew up in an English Tudor with textured walls and sloping ceilings, so I especially enjoying seeing what you’re doing with the bedrooms.

    When it comes to planning, Pinterest is my preferred way to save images although I still have folders of photos torn from magazines over the years. My advice is to note in the caption of each pin what specifically you like about that image. For example, is it a particular piece of furniture, the color scheme, or the types of fabrics used? My wedding planner gave me this advice for wedding-related pins and it was game changing. When referring back months later and/or sharing the pins with my vendors, it was clear what aspect of each image was part of my vision.

    My husband and I also used a spreadsheet to keep track of possible furniture purchases when we were designing our home. We organized by item type (i.e. one list for beds, another for bedside tables), and added columns for price, dimensions, and other notes. Spreadsheets don’t sound exciting, but they helped us compare and contrast different options while not losing sight of practical considerations.

    xx Jean

  17. Design Therapy series! Yes please! Loving your dedication to get it right and how willing you are to go to other’s for their opinions. Its a dangerous place to get to when you think you can do it all on your own and I love being in a community that gets excited together about design!

  18. ugh to all of the negative comments. I have to say I love your pull the triger attitude. I am actually someone that falls in the earlier catergory of paralizing fear to buy anything and then I’m just living in a white box with an ikea dresser.
    Following your blog has made me realize you can never know until you see an item in the space. This has allowed me to pull the trigger on items in my home that I now absolutely love. You have insipired a love for thrifting in me and allowed me to always remember if it just doesn’t work out I can just sell it on craigslist or to a friend.
    Your design sensiblities are so unlike many out there, you are at the forfront of trends and thats because you are constantly trying many different options that have never been done before, and because of that you end up having a lot more “mistakes” as you say. Keep on buying the antique pine and painting the walls 3 times.

  19. Thanks so much for this post, Emily! Do you have any tips for people who suffer from design paralysis?! I bought a house eight months ago and having a terrible time making any design decisions and questioning everything I have done to the point that I’m afraid I’m going to need to repaint because furniture/rugs/accessories may not look right with the colors I’ve chosen!

  20. Here’s the thing that Emily does, that other blogs/designers/stylists don’t. She opens the door into the entire process. As a decorator myself, these things often happen. When you see a gorgeous photo shoot of a client home in a mag, it’s been decorated, staged, styled, rearranged, etc. The people rarely live in the spaces the way they look. As Emily mentioned with that sofa in her old house… It’s amazing, but it wasn’t right (I agree). In theory, in a mood board it might look great, and maybe a client would love it, or she’d love it for a client, but it didn’t feel right for her.
    Also, please keep in mind that designers without unlimited funds from clients, often have to make things fit into a “budget box” as we call it. You’d love to have the perfect sofa for them, but that sofa is $5000 more than they can afford, so you put the best sofa they can afford, with the best etc., etc. they can afford, and guess what, it doesn’t always work out perfectly, and you have to change it up a few times. I might style a bookshelf three times before it feels right, and even then, it might not feel as good as I think it can be, but we were working with client’s own items, or were only able to add a few things to existing vignettes.
    Emily just lets us all know the process isn’t as perfect as the photos look.

    Think about all the jobs people have where mistakes happen behind the scenes. A web site crashing that was made by the best programmers, an infection at a hospital, accounting errors by your tax accountant or bookkeeper. We’re all pros, and there are probably a lot of mistakes that aren’t published for the world to see. This is the only blog I read every single day because EHS is real, forthright, and amazing!

    1. THank you so much, Jennifer. You just made me 50% less nauseous 🙂 xxxxxxxxxx Cheers to knowing that perfection doesn’t exist and anything close to it still was full of mistakes along the way. xx

    2. My sentiment exactly. Also- in reality a lot of these “mistakes” aren’t actually mistakes – they just didn’t feel right to Emily. With design, there is no right way. It’s all about how it feels to the person living in the space which is why it’s so subjective.

    3. Or someone hands out the wrong envelope at the Oscars… these things happen to everyone!

  21. to people commenting about the cost of furniture–please keep in mind that Emily’s in California. When you go to an antique store, a thrift store, or search Craigslist, how much is furniture in *your* area?

    to people commenting about professionals making mistakes–how would you respond to a famous chef posting about a new recipe s/he came up with, tried at home, and didn’t work out quite as hoped?

    Thanks for giving tours of your lab, Emily. Science (or design or whatever) is more than just reading the finalized publications, and I appreciate that you explain the processes rather than give us static, boring (even if beautiful) before-and-afters.

    1. As someone who reads food blogs: I would 100% have a similar response if the chef/blogger put out a brownie recipe, sponsored by Ghiradelli, and told me how amazing it was and that she was going to make this brownie recipe every week for the rest of her life. Then, literally weeks later, she posted a new brownie recipe and waxed poetic about how *this* is the one, and the other one just didn’t feel right to her, and she’s going to love this brownie recipe forever. Turns out, a month later, she’s all like, “Guys, I have to admit… I don’t ever want to see another brownie again. I’m obsessed with this cookie recipe that’s so much better than Brownie A or Brownie B!” A little ridiculous, but I think the comparison is sound.

  22. Loved this post. I definitely play around and change my mind a lot in my own home and agonize over the style and design. There are just so many great options and we can always get what we want due to space, design or functionality restrictions. I have a garage and closets full of things I intend to use at some point but when I acquired them they just didn’t quite fit or have the look I thought they would…or I changed direction.

  23. As a designer, I want to respond to the negative comments – sure she’s made mistakes and changers things but the reality is: that’s how it works. I am an architect and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone “back to the drawing board” on projects, either through our own mistake or a client changing their mind. Most designers (my firm included) like to only show the pretty, finished prodict but the reality is that design is messy. I’m in the middle of redesigning a project because it came in $225k over-budget. We underestimated some costs, the client added more to the project than we thought, and labor/material costs ended up a bit higher than intended. Does that make me a crappy designer? No. The truth is, in any profession you will find people making mistakes and learning from them. Teachers make lesson plans that don’t teach what they need to. Accountants make errors filing taxes. Doctors make errors during surgery. Contractors build things that don’t match the drawings. Most of just aren’t brave enough to admit those mistakes.

    1. Thank you, Emily. Have designers relate and tell their own story I think helps everyone to know what being a designer and artist really is like. Successful design requires risks and mistakes, without those we are all just generic. thank you xx

  24. Hi Emily!

    Love this post and LOVE reading your blog daily. 🙂

    By chance, do you happen to remember where the light blue/grey couch is from? (In the photo from your original home.)

    We just purchased our first home so I am so excited to look back through your blog for design inspiration!!

  25. While we’re on the topic of planning, I just wanted to share this super timely post from Chris Loves Julia about a 3D modeling service called Modsy:

    The renderings are INCREDIBLE and I feel like they could solve a lot of issues that are being discussed here!

    Also, Emily, I think your response to those doubting your talent as professional is so perfect and on point. I for one love the humor, honesty, and authenticity you bring to everything you do, including posts like this one.

    1. Thank you 🙂 and its funny because the original intent of this post was to do a roundup at the end of really good design apps that could help people, but I ran out of time and then forgot about it (we had a different post scheduled for today but the sponsor pushed it off so I scrambled to finish!) but that would be a great add to helping people. Checking out that service now! xx

      1. My name is Zoe and another Zoe said exactly what I wanted to say! I LOVED this post and was nodding my head and laughing the entire time, because I have done exactly the same things you discussed in my own home. I didn’t think for once about you being a professional designer and having to get it right – I mean, obviously life is different at home versus at work? Anyway. As I was reading it, I was thinking of Modsy bc of CLJ’s post! You and Modsy need to partner! And Modsy truly seems like a godsend for people that don’t have time to do a lot of the work that goes into experimenting in our homes. You’ve said it yourself a bunch – you don’t know how people ever work on their homes with full time jobs. That said, while I can’t wait to try Modsy for myself, I want to tell you to stay away because the blog would be boring if we couldn’t see all these good switch-ups 😉

        Once I saw your insta-stories I was totally curious about the controversial nature of this post. When I was reading the post, all I could think was …what in the world is controversial here? But, of course I am only one opinion. The thing I think you should take away from all of this is the interaction on your blog! How amazing that so many people care to comment…and it was just that one initial comment that set it off!!! You should be so proud of that – even the super negative ones. The amount of engagement is like blog heaven, it would seem. The internet is a wonderful thing! 🙂

        A couple other things that have been on my mind generally, and since I’m sharing, might as well keep sharing.

        1) Separate from this post, it does feel like bloggers are being gifted more and more lovely things. Not specific to you, just generally. Maybe it’s because of things like ORC, or more direct to consumer companies that need to showcase their work, or the fact that bloggers are amazing content companies, so why not use them as an ad agency. Either way, the ONLY thing I care about is transparency. And the more transparency the better. You are good about this. Although, fwiw, if you say something is sponsored I assume a product has been gifted to you 100%. I assume that if you have ANY Target product in your house it is 100% gifted – so if you bought Target chairs, you bought them and were 100% reimbursed as part of your partnership agreement with them. Anyway, those are my assumptions, right or wrong.

        2) When bloggers are gifted something, here is how I think about it. It’s income. Let’s say a blogger has $25k of gifted items in their home. It would be like a non-blogger’s salary increased $25k (and they spent said $25k on furnishings). For regulatory reasons, I know that is controversial for me to say publicly in a comment. Blogging is your job, you deserve to make income from it, some of that income comes in-kind. If you didn’t get gifted a bunch of stuff, you would/should just raise your sponsorship rates so that you earned a salary commeasurate with the work and expense that goes into creating the content.

        If you have made it to the end of this comment, know that I love reading your blog and am amazed and inspired at the bosslady that you are and the business you have developed. GO YOU.

  26. Lighten up, People!! You do You !!! I love and admire the process and inspiration !!

  27. Your post was therapeutic indeed and had some valuable reminders that I wish I had learned in theory rather than in practice! One time I was trying to get a wagon on Craigslist and realized I had put that cart before those horses as I absolutely had no (none, nada) need for it – but loved the possibility of its use. I yelled, “whoa” on that one, but I could avoided a little embarrassment had I read this article back then. (Everyone who has not learned the things yet that she shared, pay attention!:)) Anyway, thanks for telling us about your “wagon” experiences and leading us onward ho! ?

  28. Wow, I can’t understand all the negative comments, have you never read a stylists or designers blog before. Their home is their laboratory to try different ideas that clients would never try. Sometimes they don’t work out sometimes they do,
    come on people. Emily is letting you in on the process this home is completely different than her last. I happen to enjoy all of posts and tours because you never know exactly how something is going to work until you try it.

  29. Thank you so much for this post! It’s just what I needed to slow my own roll.

    My husband and I are in escrow for our first home and it’s taking all my self-control not to buy, buy, buy, because I’m so eager to decorate and design the space. My gut has been telling me to take my time and live in the space for awhile before we buy anything new so your first-hand experiences and advice is so helpful!

  30. Hi Em, I’m just weighing in as another reader who appreciates your honesty and willingness to share the great as well as the “mistakes.” I learn so much from you and your team. Please continue to “do you” and don’t be discouraged by the negative comments.

  31. I love these posts. What I need for any field I’m interested in–design, organization, competition dog obedience–is the process. I love me a beautiful room, an organized drawer, or a flashy heeling dog, but to get there myself I need to know what you were thinking along the way; what worked, what didn’t, and, most importantly, WHY.
    So keep them coming.

  32. I love interior design/home decorating so I’m constantly switching things up in my own home whether it be rugs, furniture, paint etc. (I think I’ve painted my bedroom 5 dif. colors over the past few years haha) Sometimes its because it doesn’t work scale/color wise or sometimes its because you change your mind. So I really appreciated this post because it helps me to realize that even professionals go through a process of trying different things out before they choose something. Thank you Emily for being so open with your design process!

  33. Watching you admit to mistakes gave me to confidence to admit we used the wrong rug in our home and sell it and get one I loved more…the problem is the new one isn’t perfect either ?? can I just have your family room rug ???

  34. I think that being a designer is an art, not a science, and so tweaking designs and ideas totally makes sense to me. I would be amazed at the idea that a modern room would just be ‘finished’ without little changes here and there.

    Also, for those who can’t imagine buying furniture and then not being able to use it, this is one of the best things about consignment stores and Craigslist. I think it is totally normal to buy an item, decide it isn’t quite right and sell it for something new. I am not a professional designer or a millionaire, but buying and selling furniture is pretty easy and–at least in major cities–very common.

  35. I love this post!! It’s so refreshing to know that even the pros make mistakes every now and then, too 🙂 Thanks for starting the candid conversation! P.S. I just watched your Insta Story, and wanted to say that I definitely feel like you share PLENTY of budget-friendly tips on your blog…Are people blind?! You rule. End of story.

  36. Emily, I read your blog daily and while I’m not a design blogger at all (food blogger, actually), I find these posts REALLY educational. I’m about to go down the route of a kitchen renovation and I have no idea what I’m doing but totally know all at the same time (if that makes sense).

    It doesn’t make any sense for me to hire a kitchen designer because I know what I want but since I’ve never done it before, there’s bound to be mistakes. I’ve read all your kitchen posts and more to prepare myself. It’s like school for me. So thank you.


  37. I never comment on blog posts, but I felt compelled to today. Emily, please don’t stop these blog posts because of some internet bully. I find these posts super relatable and I love knowing that even professional designers make mistakes too. If I just wanted to see pretty finished pictures I would pursue Pinterest all day instead of coming here to learn about the process. While, I love the pretty pictures, I find the process behind the pretty pictures super helpful. I love that you mix vintage, budget, and expensive pieces.

  38. These “Design Mistakes” posts are some of my favorites and here’s why–we all make them. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional or not. It’s great to know that even the pros struggle with a space or a vignette sometimes! More than that, I think it’s hella cool how humbling it is to know you can learn from these mistakes. Think about it–it’s way harder to design your house than a client’s house. WAY harder. Either way, it’s all about changing things up until you are happy with them. Live and let live, ya’ll. Have a glass of wine.

  39. I really liked this post. It reminds me to keep trying different things in my house, I don’t have to love an idea that I thought I would love. I’m not a designer and get stuck thinking once I fix up a room once it should be ‘perfect.’ Your website shows me that people who actually know what they are doing and have a good eye for style keep adjusting and trying new things until they get it right.

    Now I’m inspired to go and move that picture that I hate hanging on the bedroom wall without my husband noticing the giant hole I put in the wall……….

  40. Emily, I read through all the comments and just want to say that my husband and I have always decorated on a very tight budget (like some pieces at IKEA are too expensive budget) but we still learn so so much from you design and this new house is no exception. I love that you are trying out a different style and honouring the period of the new house. Every time we move to a new apartment we go through these types of changes in style and scale. Granted, we are not able to change things nearly as quickly as you and we are not able to afford most of what you purchase for your home but we still learn so much. Good design principles apply at any budget and to any style. Thank you so much for showing your work, being vulnerable and teaching me so much on the way!

  41. I cannot get over these mean comments! This blog and design in general are meant to be a fun escape from the harsh realities of life. It’s not like you are a surgeon switching around your heart and liver every month. GEEZ! Keep on keeping on.

  42. I’m 100% confused. How can someone storm in here saying you shouldn’t make mistakes as a designer. Literally your title “Perfection is boring; Let’s get weird.” That is what I expect when I read your posts and watch your stories. No one is perfect, if a designer said that they would make a room perfect for me, no mistakes – I don’t know if I would trust them. Mistakes make people human and if people can own up to mistakes then the world would be a better place.

    I don’t own a home now, just a baby apartment, but have already made countless mistakes. I will be bookmarking this and reference it when I do own a home- no need to make the same mistake twice.

    Thanks for all that you do, opening up your home to millions and trying to make us all a little bit more styled.

    Go have some wine, its National Wine Day- you and all your mistakes deserve it.

  43. I just saw your instagram story, so came to the blog to see what all the hubbub (is that a word) was about. I got sidetracked by all the photos, but will go back now and read the content. Anyway, can i just say your house is so AMAZING!!! I mean seriously it is just dreamy! I have taken more screenshots of your insta stories than i have pics of my own kids lol but seriously whatever you are doing…just keep doing it!!! youaremydesignhero

  44. I am a growing designer and this has been one of my favorite posts to read. It’s one thing to see finished spaces and to learn from those, but since my job is to create and not copy, let me tell you how INVALUABLE it is to see exactly what affect a taller dresser vs. a shorter dresser, one size of artwork vs another, or one paint color vs. a wallpaper has on the same room. Even when I (rarely!!!) don’t agree with the final outcome, I am learning from this blog. Where else could I get this case-study sort of education, at no cost, and in the comfort of my own home with my Mossimo t-shirt dress tucked into my pajama pants?? I feel hugely blessed to have finally found your piece of the internet. Emily you are not only an inspiration, but also my teacher. Thank you for all you do and share. From one mistake maker to another, cheers on making such fabulous spaces and good luck with the remainder of your house.

  45. Man! This was such an amazing post. It is so well timed for me, since we are getting ready to move. I get excited about certain pieces and jump the gun. This time around I haven’t purchased a thing. I’m going to take your advice and get a feel for how we live in each space. Thanks a bunch!!!!!

  46. Emily, I love your transparency. I recently made it a point to only follow designers and photographers who actually connect with their audience. I remember when I was starting up my photography business I reached out to countless photographers who were a few steps ahead of me in the process, and not one of them answered my questions. It was as if I was asking for them to hand over their first born child. I was struggling, and needed help. And then I found an incredible photographer online (jasmine starr) who do a lot of what you do–peel back the layers of the process, as well as the insecurities within the profession. She shared the good, the bad, and the ugly. And she never took herself too personal. To this point, these are the reasons why so many of us from many different economic backgrounds can relate to you! People sometimes don’t realize that your links to good sources can lead to even more great sources, and more inspiration, and soon enough your first link has created an entire idea for a room! Thank you for giving me something to think about, and for reminding me that those who peel back those layers are the best type of humans.

  47. I am an apparel designer and when it came to designing and making my own wedding dress and made a million changes, swapped out sleeves at least 7 times, changed the beading detail, etc. I think when it’s your job you know what perfection looks like and you enjoy the journey of getting there. It’s not a hurry and be done kind of thing

  48. p.s. We just recently finished a kitchen remodel, and within a few months discovered a leak in the island faucet. Long story short, the entire island had to be ripped out. I decided the day after it was pulled out that i wanted to turn the entire island so that it was running the opposite direction. Plumbing had to be moved, which required jackhammering up part of the floor etc. my point is that sometimes you just change your mind. Now just to keep it real…my husband was not exactly thrilled with my request, but he totally got over it and not only that…he admitted that it looks and functions so much better now:)

  49. So I know the title of this post is “Design Mistakes”, but really this just seems like a case of an amazing designer having fun with decorating her home. I don’t feel Emily is being flippant with her purchases, or “chucking” what doesn’t work.

    I’ve worked on tons of events and we constantly overbuy for decor items because it’s hard to always know exactly what you are going to need. Just because an amazing piece doesn’t quite work in your space or making the room feel the way you want, doesn’t mean that purchase was a mistake. Creating a home is all about trial and error; finding what fits and functions for you life.

    Emily, I love your blog, and am always envious of those beautiful vintage pieces you find 🙂 you go girl!

  50. Personally, I’d like to thank you for all of the experimenting. It has given me the confidence to actually start decorating the house we moved into about a year and a half ago. Having a plan is great, but it can take a lot of time when you have a million other things going on. In reading things like this and watching your insta-stories, I have gotten so much more comfortable with trying new things I wouldn’t have considered and being okay with it if they don’t work out. 1. most times you can return it and 2. you can find ways to use it somewhere else in the house.

    I don’t blame you for being a little bruised. That was a particularly blunt comment to start the day with.

  51. So many people have *thankfully* already defended you with logic and how the creative industry works. I’m a graphic designer and thankfully when I make choices and decisions I can command z them and go back to the start and the only cost associated is my time. Sadly, not for you. Anyway, no nausea…

    The reason I’m writing though about a thought regarding content that might pacify the aspirational and the ‘make it work’ side. When something doesn’t work (take the dresser in your room for example) before it goes away to the proverbial farm…could you do your best to style it out and ‘make it work’ and show how if you were to have kept it you would have treated it? So if it’s not long enough, how you styled a chair next to it to balance it or hung a certain style of art to compensate etc. That way it gives readers a sense of how they can repair ‘issues’ with their own things but you aren’t ‘forced’ into keeping things you don’t want in your house to appease the masses. And then sell it on and get what you want…

    Also, I totally understand you can get in multiple rugs to try (and should). I’ve worked in styling and it would be a sad product if you couldn’t try things out. We can with clothing, we can with small decor items, we can with lamps etc. The thing that gets me the most though when I’ve done bigger decorating projects (like a whole house at once) was rugs and a few other big ticket things. NOTHING seems to be carried in store anymore so you have to order. I measured things, I photoshopped and there is only so much you can do and then it comes and you’re like, ‘oh. right. no.’ I ended up shoving some random West Elm rugs around in various sad places because hauling an 8×10 rug to the post office and shipping that sucker back was a no go (it wouldn’t fit in the car either). I don’t know what the solution is, but I guess it’s more just misery company knowing that it happens?! I really want a new giant rug for the living room, but ugh, if it doesn’t work I’m going to cry.

  52. I’m not really understanding all the negative comments. I appreciate Emily’s honesty and this post has helped me identify some of my own mistakes. She’s obviously taking more risks in the design of her own homes than she would in her client’s homes. I’ve never seen anything she’s styled that I didn’t like, so I wouldn’t judge her design abilities on her personal regrets when styling her own homes.

  53. Loved this post!!!! I am no designer but have made several of these mistakes. Seeing the piece you love but we’re not looking for but have to have because it’s so cool ( many times). Changing a paint color in the same room to get it just right in every light that comes in the room in a weeks time, sunrise, sunset, cloudy day, sunny day, daylight, lamp light….(many times). Not living in space first. Actually never did this but have told friends to live in first and figure how you will live in space. And regarding the comment you have priced people out of blog??? DIsagree. Example the patio tile is out of my price point but I can appreciate and you have this as your business. AND you designed it with target items (went to check out myself last night and like them all). The custom sofa is not more than pottery barn, restoration, and Ethan Allen. AND it was you that just introduced me to amazing deals at Rugs USA. ($42 runner). Keep up great work and who are these people that throw shade???? There are millions of other blogs, why not just pick another to follow instead of being critical in a nasty way.

  54. Lets be honest…EVERY ‘mistake’ that Emily has made would be like winning the BONAZA for anyone else! Even her ‘mistakes’ are all very on point. As a designer myself, there is an amount of ‘tactile design’ that needs to happen to really know if its working….I think the biggest mistake of this post today is calling these mistakes… rephrase to ‘options’ and we’ve got a whole new perspective!

    Keep showing us those ‘options’ Emily…

  55. Emily,
    Don’t let these negative comments get to you. People are so quick to judge these days, when they’re comfortable behind their screens.
    As an aspiring designer myself, who is remodeling our own home I have made so many decisions in a short period of time and several of them ended up being mistakes- some of them costly, some of them time consuming. Mistakes are part of the process – no one is perfect 100% of the time, and occasionally those mistakes even turn out to be a good thing. You are no less of a professional because you use your own home to try things out, and you are brave for sharing the ups and downs with us! I honestly find it refreshing in a world of perfect-plastic photos and interiors.
    I think you offer a great balance of budget/vintage/splurge worthy items and spaces. I personally would rather spend my money and time on one or two pieces that are special and unique versus have a room full of budget generic items, but that is just me and a lot of people don’t agree with that view.
    In the end, it all just comes down to different perspectives, and I hope we all can realize that however you view the importance of interior design (and the process that is involved!) that it is okay! There is no need for judgement here, we are all different! If we all grew up rearranging furniture a thousand times, driving our moms crazy, it’d be a really boring world! 🙂

  56. Emily, you are fabulous!

    If people react “negatively” to your posts, it means you are doing something right! Your having fun designing your home, and you should! Screw the haters, your blog posts are super informative and useful. To me it just demonstrates your willing to try and test things, it’s the only way break what’s already been done!

  57. Emily, I never comment, but I had to tell you that you seem like such a delight! I don’t even care much about home design (eek, sorry!) and you are still one of my favorite bloggers. Your Instastories makes me smile all the time (especially those late night ones!) I also got my grandma hooked on your blog and she LOVES you! As Dory would say, “just keep swimming” and forget any negativity. Congrats on all your success!

  58. I love these tips! We remodeled the home we bought last year and each room takes time and tweaks that sometimes require new furniture which when its budget appropriate. I love that’s you are showing a very realistic renovation that happens in stages with much thought and sometimes impulse purchases! My purchases are much less expensive but still impact my budget and when I get it wrong it can be frustrating.

    I think the fact that you don’t get it right in your own home only shows that your human like the rest of us. I always enjoy the insta-stories and look forward to more content!

  59. I LOVE seeing all your choices and “failures” (which I don’t think are failures)….your blog has always been the “secrets” behind the styling, right?! And I feel like it just shows that sometimes what looks good on a plan doesn’t feel good in real life, which only the homeowner (which is now you) can decide that. I don’t always love all your choices but I love seeing all that you try and your process behind your choice!!!

  60. I suffer massive descision paralysis but now I’m far more likely to ‘buy and try’ pieces to see how they fit in our apartment… thanks Emily!

  61. This was so helpful for me! I have been trying to plan out our living/dining room for our new house and have just been all over the place, and wasn’t sure where exactly to start. It was helpful to read about the process you go through!

  62. THANK YOU for this post. It’s so refreshing to hear that it really is a process and something that has to be planned and thought out even for a processional. We recently bought a house and have felt the paralysis you mention. It’s especially hard when blogs and lifestyle journals make everything look so easy and beautiful. And easy. Anyway. THANK YOU for taking chances and sharing your experiences even the ones that didn’t quite work. In the few months I’ve been reading, I’ve enjoyed your frankness. Does help take the plunge on making my own pins and mood boards a reality !

  63. Love love love this blog post! I am currently a design assistant for a firm in NYC and constantly question my design aesthetic and capabilities. You’re extremely real which I believe is a honorable characteristic to have as an interior designer. Your insta stories give me life and I love seeing your projects in your house unfold. I hope to eventually be able to become 1/2 the interior designer and total bad ass as you. Keep crushing emily!!

  64. I work for a company that produces stop-motion animated films. We have a building full of some of the best set designers, production designers, artists, animators, etc. in the world. These people are highly trained and highly skilled, and if you think for one second that all of this means they hit the nail on the head perfectly each time, you are crazy. Art is a process. Design is a process. Beauty comes from the failures. You think writers submit their first drafts for publish? You think architects never make amendments to their blueprints? You think fashion designers don’t make last minute tweaks to garments?

    Emily – thanks for keeping it real and showing us the behind the scenes.

  65. Design is a process. End of story. Thankfully Emily is willing to share her process with us, good or bad. If you’re not interested in the process then move along.

  66. I’m commenting in response to your Instagram stories. I was not upset by the post and am thankful someone is making the mistakes and sharing them before I do! I also feel you are entitled to blog about whatever price point you wish. While you have showed a lot of Target options as a more economical option (which is great), I think I personally would like to see more small business items that are also in a lower price point. I find that while the Target prices are cheap, the quality is not there, and I’d rather pay a tiny bit more for quality and supporting a small company. Maybe this is happening and I’m missing it, but I think could be a good edition to everything else you are doing.

  67. emily, i’m sure i’m the last person you want to hear from. sorry for being a bitter earlier. i had a bad experience a few years ago with a decorator who overcharged 3x by continuing to repaint and re-wallpaper, bought things she said could be returned then made me eat the bill, etc. etc. so maybe i had a ptsd flashback when i saw all the stuff about you doing stuff similarly, but it’s a totally different situation. it’s your home! it’s the place where you can experiment and learn! seems like so many readers are learning a lot here. don’t let me get in the way.

  68. Emily I love your style and your willingness to share your home and your design wins and the “maybe not so much” (I can’t call them losses-that’s just wrong in my book.We learn so much when we try and then try again. And my attic can attest to that!!
    I love that you incorporate Target with high end-I get inspiration from that. Keep doing you!
    People don’t we have enough devicevness in this country without ugly comments on a design blog?

  69. Wow! Some people are so free to speak unkind things from behind the keyboard. Emily, you are so talented and relatable. Most people obviously aren’t buying furniture everyday, but you have created a huge platform of ideas and great products in all price ranges that I use as a reference when I am looking for a piece. And I love seeing the process.
    My home was featured in Country Living magazine, and the stylist mailed so many rugs and items to the house “just to try”. It’s so easy to look at the finished product and assume everything was done in 30 minutes, just like the tv shows! Keep up the good work. Xoxo

  70. Wow, who would have thought that this was going to be such a controversial post!?! I feel like people have lost some perspective when it comes to bloggers and when it comes to commenting on blog posts. First, if you wouldn’t say it to their face, then don’t write it in a comment just because you have anonymity. Second, Emily is human and therefore not perfect. Yes, she makes mistakes, even in her professional life, just like everyone else on the planet! That doesn’t make her unprofessional, that makes her human. I’ve made many mistakes in my profession, but thankfully no one documented them and then posted them on a blog for the world to critique. I love that Emily is honest about not being perfect, in her marriage, parenting, job, etc. because portraying a perfect life would not be relatable to readers. Emily, thank you for being vulnerable and admitting that you do indeed make mistakes! You do you, I’ll definitely keep reading.

  71. I’m surprised this post has been so controversial! I find it so refreshing Emily is willing to share her creative process, and all the effort it takes to pull together a fantastic design. Keep doing what you’re doing Emily, I love seeing all the posts and Insta stories about your house!! I’m not interested in following some design robot who only S hows the “perfect” after. I love the messy in between, because that’s where the magic is!!

  72. Okay. Emily your home kills me. It’s literally a DREAM and I love everything about it and I love you and your family! There is literally no else on earth that could compel me to watch an hour long fb tour of their house!!

    Everyone back off. Emily is the queen and we are lucky to get a peak into
    her dreamy design world!

  73. Ok, I’m going WAY back, here- I remember on Design Star episode 1 (?) you said you start off a design concept by staring at a room for a long time. I love that and find I do that too! Not sure what that has to do with the post but it reminded me somehow; maybe the planning part 😉 I love seeing the process here and on InstaStories. You feel like a little bit older, (I’m 33) much wiser friend who’s going through this all and teaching me. It feels very personal. I also don’t expect as people grow in their career and means that they won’t start investing in better, more expensive stuff on occasion. Anyway, sorry for the ramble, it’s getting out of hand. Hope you enjoy a great weekend!

  74. All I can say is WOAH. These comments. I love this post. One mistake I make frequently is the scale of pieces. Especially vintage. I fall in love and say I’ll make it work but often I end up having to flip the pieces. Usually I am able to find a buyer to recoup the cost, but sometimes I am not, and sometimes I end up living with a not-so-right piece for a bit until I find a new buyer or decide it is worth the investment to switch it out. Thanks for being so real. Also — I loved the stylist joke. Keep doing you and adapting to whatever is true to you! Or, you know, just give up and call it quits because you’ve had to repaint your walls. HA! xoxoxo

  75. As an artist and interior designer I concur that our homes are put canvases and laboratories. We take more risks with our own spaces and we have successes and failures. All designers have failures but just don’t share those with the world. I appreciate Emily’s honesty and ability to keep it real. That’s what sets her apart from the pack.

    1. Wow, I skimmed thru the posts and thought most were not negative. I have to get to watching baseball so can’t read them all. Have a glass of wine and keep doing your thing. Most of us love it!

  76. Ha! I came to the comments section after Emily posted on her Insta-story that things were getting crazy. I wouldn’t have expected it from a post with this content.

    To comment on the people upset about how much money is being spent – Emily, you definitely do a magical job mixing in big box store things with your vintage and custom pieces. I do appreciate it. I admit, I may get a little jealous of your sweet couches and wish I had the money for the perfect chair in the corner, but this isn’t only your house you are working on, it’s your business. So I look at what I like about your couch, or whatever item it may be, and know what to look for when I’m in the market for something for myself – within my own budget.

    Other bloggers show the before and afters, you show the whole mess in the middle. Your content is what has me come to your page daily.

    Lastly, if a room I designed was going to be published in a magazine or regularly involved in my daily posts, I probably would change it a million times until I was super pleased with it too.

    Don’t let the criticism change your methods. Your posts are varied (budgets included), interesting and well thought.

  77. This was super helpful, especially the part where you said you can buy things like art without a specific spot in mind, but don’t do that for furniture.

    I have two design mistakes to add (although I have more because I’m a disaster).

    1. If you buy something like a headboard or vintage picture frames that requires work from you (like paintent or staining), give yourself a deadline. I’ve had two headboards that have needed painted for 7 years and 3 years respectively.

    2. Consider your life stage before making a bigger purchase. Both my mom and mother-in-law kept getting onto us about how our couch (a hand-me-down from MIL) wasn’t very nice, so we felt pressure didn’t to buy a new one, even though we didn’t really have the money for it. So we bought a sectional from Value City that seems to have been made by drunk iguanas. But the worst part is that we bought it when we had a one-year-old and I was pregnant again. So the couch was destroyed about two weeks are purchasing it when we should’ve just made do until our kids were old enough to be less disgusting.

  78. Emily, I don’t really have time to read through all the comments, but I just have to pipe in here and say “thank you” for being brutally honest and transparent. I find your blog incredibly inspiring and I am glad to hear that no one–not even the fabulous Miss Emily–gets it perfect the first time.

    I’ve lived in the same house for 20+ years and the number of times I have painted my dining room is embarrassing. I’m glad I’m not the only one who second guesses when it comes to wall color.

    Can’t wait for the big reveal!

    1. Loved this post…..still laughing! Perhaps, it’s because I can TOTALLY relate!! My home is my lab too….This has been my M.O. for years….I have made so many unintentional flea market purchases (some of which worked out and many of which did not), painted rooms countless times, changed sofas, rugs, dining tables, etc….all in pursuit of the ‘perfect room’. I always joke with friends that I’m just genetically wired to do this! 🙂 I have loved interior design since I was a kid, and fortunately, I was able to start a Home Staging Company 8 years ago, which has proved to be a good solution when I need to switch things up! 🙂 You’re a real inspiration to me, and I think your posts are valuable and have saved me so much time, especially your round-ups on furniture, rugs, accessories, paint colors, etc.

  79. Emily, love your IG account, your blog, this post and how honest and candid and down to earth you are. In a world where we are always striving for perfection it’s refreshing to hear about mistakes. Please continue to be you exactly the way you are and keep sharing it all with us.

  80. Sweet Emily, I can’t tell you how inspiring following you is and how helpful your transparency of the process is. Please don’t change what you’re doing! there are obviously so many more of us who enjoy it, than the few haters who are just gonna hate ?. as a very young designer, following you has been greatly influential in my career! So thank you for being amazing. Blessing to you and your sweet family ?

  81. You’re my hero Emily! Thanks for sharing yourself and your home. You have made such a difference in my life from all the way across the country. Even as I type this it seems a little dramatic but it’s so true. Your willingness to be transparent & human is what makes your creative approach applicable for people. I’m about to buy a farmhouse built in 1824 and you are a huge reason why I feel like I can tackle it and still be a good mom in the chaos of it. Thanks for being you Emily!

  82. I loved the post and really appreciate your transparency. Glad to know I am not the only one. I feel like there is a good mixture of high and low in your blog. I also think that so much of reading a blog is about inspiration and not copying everything. I want some high end items or vintage pieces that keep it from looking like an IKEA showroom. Great job Emily! This is my very favorite design blog, and you are one of my favorite designers.

  83. I really enjoyed reading this post and eagerly went to the comments to read about others mistakes…but of course that is not what the comments were today. Reading these comments was upsetting to me. 1. Because many comments were horribly rude and even seemed like personal attacks 2. Because it is obvious from the comments that many readers, even those defending you, don’t really understand what creative work is like. As an artist, designer, and art teacher this saddens me.

    Creative pursuits require risk taking, thinking outside the box, and embracing the possibility of mistake — that “mistake” may just be the avenue you need to follow. Most people who have creative careers must also work with the needs and desires of clients or patrons in mind. This means offering options, opinions, experience when creating — and always being willing to scrap what has been created and trying another avenue.

    Emily, I do wonder if you had titled this “A Peek Into the Process” if some of these comments would have been different. Please also remember that not all clients, or blog readers, are worth having if it means moving away from what you know you do best.

  84. My husband and I just read through this and said “this is totally US!” We are constantly making decisions too quickly, buying things without a space in mind, and everything else. But that’s kind of what makes design fun! Loved this post. Thank you for keeping it real!

  85. I saw your Insta-story about the comments and I think that you need to do “you”. The home is for you and your family and, while you are creating content for channels and your blog for revenue, at the end of the day its yours to live in and figure out. I think it’s 100% human and relatable to make purchase decisions that you later regret and have some trouble figuring out certain rooms. Hell, if you get a room “finished” and then a few months later just aren’t feeling it and decide to change everything about it – go for it! I think realistically you’ll have more design “mistakes” than the average person because you’re constantly balancing your style and wants with what you think readers might enjoy. On top of that, you should get to enjoy designing your new home and the process of figuring out what works and what doesn’t. If you mood board every room, bring all the things in, and have “perfection” you’ll be itching for the process of trying out a bunch of different things to find that sweet spot of collected items that sing together. I think the process you go through designing your house is completely different than when you design for clients, and I don’t think it reflects poorly on your as a designer.

    As far as the budget-friendly aspect goes, you invest a lot into your home because it’s your job and also because it’s what you enjoy and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think it’s natural to spend more on items the longer you have a home because you aren’t buying things all the time to fill up space but are upgrading items that you already have. Plus, you make a conscious effort to do budget-relatable posts like styling your patio in multiple ways.

  86. I love this post so much. I’m just starting out in design and taking risks is so scary! What you’re showing here is it’s normal to not get it quite right the first time and so just try again and again! Love your style and its eclectic yet traditional vibe. Your honesty as a designer and how real you are with 2 small kids, being practical and yet stylish – It’s seriously so good! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  87. I wonder if the disconnect with your readers regarding budget friendly options is because most of the new content is in your own home? Clearly, you want to purchase pieces that are high quality and special for your own home, Emily- no one would argue that you shouldn’t do that, BUT I think since the majority of the blog is based around your personal home and life right now, you have little room in the finished design for more budget friendly pieces. When it’s Target then it feels slightly unappealing because, sure you make the pieces look great, but what you are essentially saying by getting rid of most of the Target pieces after each shoot (except for the patio, and a random rug and pillow here and there), is “Look how good I can make this look…but it’s still not good enough for someone with better taste.” I know that is likely not how you feel, and I don’t mean to put words in your mouth, but that’s the way those budget Target posts come off. I would much rather see posts in other people’s homes that KEEP the Target styled rooms. Sylvia’s home was a great example of this. I know fully redoing an entire home with donated items isn’t a viable option all the time, but surely you could find creative ways to use Target and other budget pieces in people’s homes. I think there is a goldmine of content (and yes, potential for customers to click affiliate links and purchase, because more people could afford those linked items!!) that your team could tap in to. I am 31 years old, and we just closed on a lot to build our dream house. It will be modern with a nod to Eichler homes, and I have a love for vintage, for good design, and live in Portland where everyone and their brother has a perfectly styled house. But! I will certainly be reusing some IKEA pieces, bring over my dresser that I wish I could replace because we have to allot that money to a bathroom sink, keep our current living room furniture because we have two kids and can’t pay to reupholster a dream vintage sofa with kid-proof fabric. I would LOVE to see ideas of low to mid-range designs staged in houses that will use the room as you set it up when they leave. I don’t think Im alone in this, and I think it would give you and your home breathing room to grow into what works best for YOUR family, and not just for content.

    1. “When it’s Target then it feels slightly unappealing because, sure you make the pieces look great, but what you are essentially saying by getting rid of most of the Target pieces after each shoot (except for the patio, and a random rug and pillow here and there), is “Look how good I can make this look…but it’s still not good enough for someone with better taste.” I know that is likely not how you feel, and I don’t mean to put words in your mouth, but that’s the way those budget Target posts come off.”

      This EXACTLY. I couldn’t put my finger on why exactly the target posts bothered me so much- I thought it was maybe because I’m not a huge fan of sponsored posts in general- but it’s exactly this.

      1. And to clarify, I don’t mind sponsored posts, I think if a blogger has worked to create a huge audience and a brand is interested in them as a conduit for more business, then wonderful!! Emily and team do a great job incorporating sponsored or gifted items into projects, it’s just the Target overhaul posts that specifically bother me. Again, NOT because they are all from Target, but because it seems like trying to sell me on something that’s not what you’d choose to begin with. I am sure a LOT of people would be thrilled with Target in their home, and I’ve certainly purchased items Emily has featured. It’s kind of like if a fashion magazine editor tried to overhaul her entire closet with Forever21 and Target clothing for a weekend or something. Like, we KNOW that’s not your personal taste, show us your high end and aspirational personal closet (or home in Emily’s case), because that’s fun to look at and good for you! IN ADDITION to that, show us budget in someone else’s closet (home) so we can see it in real life.
        I hope this makes sense! I sincerely mean it when I say good for Emily for having access to higher end home items, clearly her and her team work hard, have good taste, and should be able to purchase what suits their tastes.

    2. This!

      When it’s Target then it feels slightly unappealing because, sure you make the pieces look great, but what you are essentially saying by getting rid of most of the Target pieces after each shoot (except for the patio, and a random rug and pillow here and there), is “Look how good I can make this look…but it’s still not good enough

    3. Thanks for putting this into words! I couldn’t figure out what was bothering me, but that’s it.

      Emily, I love your work so much, but I just can’t fathom the (to me) huge sums of money spent every time you swap these spaces. And often the high cost isn’t in the furniture, but the accessories, pillows, glassware, etc. Ironically, I don’t need to buy new furniture, but I do like to buy the occasional Target accessory, but those are often the items that are most quickly replaced (for example, in the House Beautiful shoot).

  88. Hi, Emily! Another excellent blog post- thank you! I have been fangirling for years and really admire your transparency and honesty. And omg the way you’ve incorporated Target decor into your home has been so inspirational to me lately! My only two cents is that you continue to do what you think is best for your home and your family and try not to let all the white noise from us pressure you into changing your insanely chic style. Because at the end of the day you’re still the Captain. We’re just along for the ride! 🙂

  89. The negative comments really took me aback, but I’m glad to see that the majority of comments are positive.

    In a perfect world, blog readers would not come to the internet believing all the posts are about them. “I can’t relate to this at all.” Sure you can. But, you have to stop making it about you. Make it about the blog-writer’s (etc.) life experience. Watch and learn, watch the bloggers and pick up a useful nugget of information here and there. I’m sure there’s SOMETHING to learn. Watch your real-life people, family, community and pick up useful nuggets of information from them. There are bits and pieces of information to gather EVERYWHERE when you actively set out to find them.

    When you sit back and expect all the information to fall right into your lap and for the entire world to be 100% tailor-made for you, you’re going to miss SO MUCH.

    (The collective you. I’m not speaking to any one specific person.)

  90. Emily, no one is losing confidence in you for talking about mistakes! Black-and-white thinkers are short on curiosity and manners and they cannot tolerate ambiguity. No need to defend yourself or your lovely post. Now let’s get back to “let’s get weird” – where all the fun, creativity and possibility is going on!

  91. I found this post super relatable, and for someone who would love to get in the interior design business it is refreshing to see even the pros go through this.

  92. Loved this post! Thank you for being so honest. I really can’t believe people are getting this worked up about this post (I had second hand embarrasment reading some of the negative comments). I have no problem with the higher end pieces & materials you use for your home, why not if you can afford them? They last longer, are better quality, are beautiful (those tiles…) And you do a great job of mixing high & low, mentioning Target options in almost every post. I got stessed out reading these comments! I mean so many orher things going on today to get for real mad at not an interior design blog post. Have a big glass of wine on that beautiful patio & just do you. Looking forward to the next post!

  93. In response to the comments that Emily is out of touch and unrealatble because she can afford to change things I’d like to explain that this is life. I would hope that through your professions you grow and not stay in the same spot. The idea is to be successful and with success comes more money and opportunities. You can’t begrudge someone who’s hard work has paid off. If you had the money and opportunity to do that in your own home wouldn’t you? I would! I just remodeled and made quite a few mistakes that will take me time and money to redo. But I’m not going to just live with something forever because of it. It’s my home and I want it to be comfortable and I want to feel proud of it. I suspect Emily feels that way about her home. She can do it much faster then I can but I cannot begrudge her because of that. Her mistakes make me feel much better about what I’ve done and I find it quite relatable and real of her to share those experiences as a reader. I love the Roosevelt quote someone posted, it totally sounds like Emily.

  94. Emily, I’m a 24 year old new homeowner decorating on a VERY tight budget and need you to know I love what you’re doing! I read your blog and insta post religiously and when I saw your insta story it made me so sad to hear you were getting so much negativity! I live in Baltimore where I can thrift on pennies to dollar of your LA life… but I really value the inspiration and tips to make sure I’m not buying just because I can afford it. I’m a grad student/ nanny and my boyfriend is a teacher so often even your Target content is ‘aspirational’ price-wise for me! But I so appreciate the range of budgets and styles that you include, gives me a great jumping off point! Never stop posting about your process! It’s why I LOVE your blog!

    1. Emily, I have heard that when someone says something nice about us we listen and then let it go, but if someone says something mean it sticks and we repeat it in our minds a thousand times. A few people have said mean things today, but many many more have said nice things. I hope that when you are laying in bed tonight trying to get to sleep you are not repeating the mean things a thousand times to yourself. Try to think of all the good comments! And keep sharing your immense talent! Our world needs good people like you who aren’t afraid to create beauty!

  95. I love this post so much. Thanks for being so inspiring and honest. Of COURSE everyone makes mistakes and everything is a process- I appreciate you giving us a chance to contemplate some of the tips/mistakes you have learned from- so very helpful! I also disagree with what others have said- I find your style refreshing and approachable and I love LOVE that you shop on Craigslist!! I get major side-eye from people when I tell them I furnished our whole house with STEALS found from my good friend Craig(list)- until they see the stuff and are shocked! Thanks for making me feel validated!

  96. Emily, you are an AMAZING designer and I am so thankful for the way you share your process. I never comment but felt compelled to this time because the negative comments are absolutely rediculous. Please don’t waste your time worrying about that foolishness. I know many designers and their process is similar. Frankly I wouldn’t call these mistakes, and I think you’re being humble in doing so. It’s all part of the process and what makes it so interesting! I wouldn’t be a reader if all you shared was the final product. Keep on doing what you’re doing! Xoxo

  97. I love what you said about painting. I always feel so pressed to first paint that usually by the time I am done painting or maybe just get one coat on the walls I end up changing my mind about the color and then the whole look of the room (and what I want to put in it). I made it through one coat of paint on our THREE stories of steps + spindles before I decided that maybe I “should have just left it white to begin with”. I always feel pressure to paint and THEN design the room.

    1. I should mention that I am the world’s slowest painter because 1. I usually only paint when I am crazy pregnant and highly motivated and 2. If I don’t finish the room I then have one more tiny person to take care of and all non feeding/surviving/diaper changes go to the wayside until I get pregnant again 😉

  98. Please don’t change your blog, I just watched your insta story it made me sad, I have been reading your blog since your hgtv show. Unfortunately you have not known that until now, because of so many negative comments. I want you to know there is nothing wrong with your blog I find you very inspiring so please don’t change. If people aren’t able to translate what you have and do to there budget. I’m sorry for there lack of imagination.

  99. I love this post! I found it super relatable and helpful. I, too, am addicted to the thrill of a vintage find on Craig’s List and am guilty of buying a sofa (that I’ve grown to hate), just so we’d have somewhere to sit 🙂

    Emily, is there a post or video where you tell your story and how you got started in styling/design and found your path? I would love to know more about your journey to becoming a kick ass designer (and you definitely are – don’t let bitter Lex or anyone else tell you otherwise!)


  100. Loved the post! I was also heartened to read all the comments giving examples of how many other professionals reflect and revise their work accordingly. As a teacher I continually work with my students to foster this type of growth mindset (and carry this out in my own practice) and I think it is great to read so many people valuing the process.

    I totally get some commenters appeals for more ‘make it work’ moments but for me, this is NOT why I come to THIS blog. I read this blog to see the process and inner workings (and gasp! the ‘mistakes’) to get an amazing room (hello the courtyard!) not the process to get an ‘sort of okay’ space.

    Same goes for me with price issue — I come here to be inspired (and I am, thank you!) and not to be able to afford everything that is mentioned.

  101. This is a blog, not a portfolio. Don’t come here expecting to see only amazing reveals: the whole point it so be able to peak at Emily’s process and learn a ton.

    For me Emily’s “””mistakes””” (I don’t even consider them mistakes, I’d be happy with all those “mistakes” at my home!) gives me the opportunity to see different options for the same room, which I love, especially being one of those with “style paralysis”.

    And then, regarding those who get depressed for not being able to afford what they see on Emily’s home… really??? First, there are a TON of (amazing) things from Target and vintage finds, and second… you don’t NEED to purchase anything from here! Just pull ideas to make your home your own (and with your own budget). I’m from Argentina, so I wouldn’t be able to buy ANYTHING from this blog (or any of the other american design blogs I read), even if I could afford it… and I don’t see that’s any reason for me to complain or to love this blog any less. Of course I’d love an Argentinian version of the roundups or the other “we show you many options” posts, but even without having local sources, I find inspiration and ideas to look for in local vendors (for example, after drooling for Orcondo’s living room’s chandelier since I first saw it, last week I finally found a similar – much simpler – version of it).

  102. I really like that you (Emily Henderson) take so many risks and can be kind of impulsive – particularly in your own home. I think it’s fun!

    Besides, when you hit it out of the park, you really hit it out of the park – in my own home, I would never ever go for the patio tile you chose – too risky. But I love your new patio tile – I think it’s gorgeous! That was a risk that paid off! Who cares if you buy the wrong piece of furniture and have to re-sell it, or paint something the wrong colour and need to re-paint? Sheesh! (I’m over 30 and in a city where there is lots of demand for cool stuff on Craigslist, so re-selling is not a big deal).

    And also, renovating is hard. People act like they could do it easier, but I think it’s because they haven’t been through it. A major renovation is stressful – I’ve been through lots of stressful things, and a major renovation is right up there… (the kind of renovation where they open a wall and tell you to fix the electrical it’s going to cost $8,000 more than you budgeted, and you’re already close to being maxed out.) You’re doing great, considering the stress you’re probably under.

    I also think you do a great mix of low and high prices too. I know some people are saying: “do more low cost stuff”, but I like some of the high cost stuff, and also how transparent you are about the true costs of everything. I don’t want to shop at Target allllll the time, you know? I like the aspirational!

    Keep going! Don’t let the comments section get you down!

  103. “Style paralysis and fear” Hey, that’s ME!!! There are others out there? Can I just tell you how therapeutic it is knowing that. Thank you. Seriously, Thank you!

  104. Don’t know if you’re still reading these (part of me hopes you’ve been encouraged by the many, many positive responses and put the post away for good), but in case you are, let me add my encouragement to the mix. I too work in a business where my contributions to the world are open to public comment. I’m a reporter, and I spend a lot of time and effort on my work, eventually sending it off to the slaughtered and picked apart by the many, many people who think they could either do my job better, say awful things about my subjects, or generally think I’m a liar (the media! the conspiracy!). It pains me, and I get to come home and be private person who reads fun, insightful design blogs. You have to be public and private melded into one, and I honestly don’t know how you do it! I know how badly you are probably wanting to rip into some of these comments and explain the hundreds of ways people are totally. missing. the. point. But you don’t. You are kind, you take constructive criticism with grace, and you never lose your cool. Brava, lady. I hope somewhere you are opening a wine bottle and letting your frustrations fly to the people who love you and who get it. The internet is the best and the worst. Thanks for navigating it and putting out lovely, good things instead of negativity.

  105. So thankful for this post. It encourages me that I am not the only person who tries & learns from what flops. Creating and crafting: it’s beautiful mess.

  106. Great post, Emily. After reading the comments, I have some advice: dont give too much thought to the loud negative voices. As you gain a wider audience, you are going to be the target of more and more snark and venom. I’d hate to see it put on a damper on the obvious joy and excitement you get from creating beautiful spaces. Don’t let all the Negative Nellies (or Lexis) affect you. The vast majority of us are here because we love your unique way of walking us through the design process. We love your fresh eye, your fun voice, and your openness.

  107. I’ve loved your style since I first saw you on Design stars! Failures are the only way people learn. Keep doing what you do best!!!!!!!!!!

  108. I’m definately not interested in reading about how perfect a designer thinks they are. I love that Emily is real. She has amazing taste and won’t be lazy when it comes to curating a space. Sure it would be easier to be safe and take less risks, but that’s a little boring. And golly it’s fun to enjoy your own house as your playground. I love watching and brainstorming right along.

  109. I’ve got to say I RARELY EVER comment on Em’s posts…like EVER but today I was compelled. Like her, I am a designer and stylist…not nearly as big or popular, but an artist just the same. And like her I use my home as a canvas to create. I am a total risk taker when it comes to my home. I have very little fear and have made a crap ton of moves that left me thinking “what the heck was I thinking” and “boy my bank accounts about to kill me over this one”. But the difference is these are not the types of mistakes I make with clients. The process is different. The accountability certainly is. Im accountable to myself and my personal tribe if a wake up at 2 am with the wild hair to paint my walls black because I just have a feeling about it. (True story) These aren’t the types of things you do with a client space. But you will certainly come up with design plans that may have to be tweaked several times before the client gives it the thumbs up. As a blogger/designer my motto is transparency. I want you to know what bad decision “this” or “that” was because it’s part of the process and it’s very very real. I think so much of what we see is implied perfection and THAT is the thing that drives people to paralyzation when it comes to making decisions about their own spaces. They are scared that their space won’t turn out “good enough” or “perfect enough.” They don’t allow themselves to make those mistakes because they think we don’t make any. I do love that Emily opens herself up to us in that way. It’s huge. Honestly…it’s important. It’s important for people to know that you CAN make mistakes and you probably WILL, but it also means you are on a path to creating something you will love in the end of you keep pushing through and learn from it.

  110. Ellen Degeneres and I would like to weigh in. 😉 “When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” – Ellen DeGeneres

    Also, I’m learning not to pay attention to know-it-alls who clearly don’t and Debbie downers (unless played by Rachel Dratch).

    I love that you put it all out there and show us the work that comes before the final reveal.

  111. So I have a residential design associates and I always feel fear to design other people spaces the fear that I don’t accomplish what they want! But to be honest I’m no where professional but my house is exactly as I like it and want it and imagined it! I make slow progress so I don’t overwhelm myself with too many spaces at a time and and turn our beautiful! I guess because you are rushy person as I noticed from your I sta story that you have too many designs that crosses your mind at a second that would make it hard to get the right thing the first time! I don’t think that’s everyone though! Although I’m not questioning your ability to design because I love most of your decorations

  112. Can I just say, seriously, DON’T TRY TO PLEASE ALL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME
    You literally can’t!

  113. I just wanted to add- designers are people too, with their own personalities. Are there designers who are more methodical in their approach and who might make fewer impulse purchases? Sure! I know this is such a cliche, but I finally took the Myers-Briggs personality test about a year ago, and finding out that I’m an ENFP made me realize that I should stop beating myself up for not being good with details and always being late and for being the kind of person who will execute five different projects on the weekend and not really clean up after any of them. (I do have to eventually– #adulting). When it occurred to me that this is simply part of my personality, and that my personality also brings with it my warmth, creativity, risk-taking, and dynamism, I felt somehow liberated. I secretly suspect that Emily is also an ENFP, but whatever her personality “type,” we ALL bring both the strengths and weaknesses of our personality type toward our job, and we wouldn’t be so good at the things we’re good at without the things that we’re bad at, too. 🙂 These posts are really interesting, because they give us so many different ways to see each room!

  114. 1) I thought this post was really helpful. I love your honesty. Nothing reaches excellence without mistakes along the way. I judge myself harshly when I make the wrong decor decisions. I see amazing homes on Pinterest and Instagram and think that if they can do it perfectly then I should be able to as well, forgetting that those homes are at the end stage where as I’m still on the journey. It’s wonderful to see you on the journey, making the mistakes rather than giving a flick of a magic wand and turning a mess into a perfect room every time, leaving the rest of us to get downcast about our lack of magic.

    2) I think what counts as budget varies depending on location. You talk about how pricey antiques are but, here in the UK, I can get antiques for cheap and it’s things like huge, new rugs that cost the earth.

    3) I really don’t mean this to come across as critical – it’s a suggestion. You do talk a fair amount about Birdie and Charlie’s meltdowns and how hard they are. They are still little children and little children’s behaviour is often linked to how secure they feel in their environment. They had the upheaval of the house move and since then their home has changed an awful lot including their own bedrooms. It’s not a very secure environment from that perspective (even if they find it exciting at the time, most small children struggle with change on some level). I know you have Charlie’s room to work on in the next few weeks but my suggestion would be to finish their rooms and not touch them for a long time and to be at least a bit careful about how many drastic changes there are to spaces that Charlie and Elliot spend a lot of time in. I’d bet that if you do that you’ll see fewer meltdowns. I know child advice can be inflammatory but I thought it was worth mentioning.

    4) I’d also love to see a design paralysis post. I’m more that type.

    5) Keep being real. Keep creating beauty. Keep helping people love their homes more. Keep loving those babies. Keep enjoying what you’re doing. Otherwise what’s the point of it all anyway? 🙂

  115. This is such an interesting perspective.. it’s not easy to do up a place and she has pointed out correctly that you need to understand your space before purchasing. Lovely blog post ?

    1. Whoa! Anyone that equates being a professional with not making mistakes is way off base. I totally appreciate seeing the good, bad and the ugly – it’s helpful and relatable.
      The fact that you open yourself up to this is what I love the most and what sets you apart. It’s the reason I buy your books and have narrowed my blog reading to a special few!!!
      Keep up the great work. Make as many changes as you want/need and keep writing about it all. It’s a process and we are simply along for the ride. Also…that patio tho!!! Those roses!!!! Everything. Anytime you doubt yourself walk out to your patio space. BEYOND PERFECT!!!!! Take that for being a professional. ?

  116. Hi Emily,
    Adding one more drop to the good-vibes-thankful-for-your-transparency-bucket!

    Also wanted to make a couple content suggestions/asks. For those of us who make mistakes and don’t have a platform or clients to re-sell to, would love a roundup of resources/ideas for re-selling or repurposing items we decide against. I kind of hate the fancy RH Modern chairs we got six months ago and can’t stomach replacing them until I have sold them. Craigslist tends to be so downmarket that I’m not sure where to go to recoup some of the cost.

    Another broader comment – I greatly appreciate how you take reader comments and feedback seriously and I’d love to see more of that communicated directly in blog posts and on insta. Joanna Goddard does a great job of this – including anecdotes, recommendations, and feedback in subsequent posts. So many have talked about here how they take inspiration from your work and translate it to their own homes and I’d love to read more of those examples (without necessarily having to monitor every comment section myself). Thanks so much!

  117. H8rs gonna h8 h8 h8 h8 h8. I’m more of a design-paralysis person, so this post wasn’t really for me, but GOSH do I LOVE how you are honest about design mistakes! I love that you make mistakes, and try new things til you love it because if I’m going to make an investment influenced by a room of yours I love (which I personally love to do!), I love knowing that you’ve tried every option and this was the best! If you feel mediocre about your finished product, how in the world am I going to make my room look not horrible??

    People–this is her JOB. How many times do you redo and refine things at work to make them polished and perfect? Would you say you’re not a professional because you had to revise a strategy or redo a presentation? What makes you a professional is that you can SEE that something doesn’t work and FIND a solution to that problem.

    Also, on affordability, I love how you incorporate Target and vintage–that’s what makes it affordable. Yes, some specific pieces like your custom bed in the old house aren’t attainable…that’s fine! Your roundups always have affordable options, most makeovers give affordable alternatives if it’s something super custom/expensive.

    Also, the renovation isn’t going to be affordable, especially on the timeline of a blog where your house is your content . 99% of DIY blogs are working with houses that just need a coat of paint or crown moulding to get the look they want. Emily was looking to change the layout of her historic house to make it liveable but appropriate. That is going to be hard and expensive, and most people aren’t up for that investment (and that’s fine!)

    TL;DR: I love you Emily, never change.

  118. Thank you Emily for your design inspiration AND your graciousness in response to the criticism.

    You have inspired me to take risks in my own home and the result is a space that relfects our lifestyle and personalities. What has been very freeing is knowing that “perfection” is imperfect. It takes trial, and editing, and rethinking if something doesn’t work. We get enough unattainable perfection in places like Pinterest, HGTV, etc. You tell us how to get to that place. Thank you!

    And I ❤ your Target collaborations!

  119. That last paragraph was golden. Thanks for this, Emily. It’s so thought out and insightful (like all your posts).

  120. What a great post. This is (one of the many reasons) why I adore you. I find sharing mistakes to be so darn refreshing as let’s be honest – we learn so much more from our mistakes than our successes – no?
    I’ve made so many of these and this post is just in time to help save/remind me of how to level-headedly go about finishing my tricky living room and baby girls nursery! Thank you as always for sharing and being you.

  121. I loved this post. I often scan blogs for pretty pictures and inspiration but this one in particular I read all the way through. The creative process is notable, not just the final product… and really LIVING in the home you are designing, with kids who are also evolving and growing is dynamic and challenging and WORTHY. I just finished reading “My Life in France” by Julia Child. Its the process, the process, the process that BECOMES the perfection and the sparkle… it was a joy to read… if you haven’t yet, pick it up, its perfect for a long weekend, and a tonic of inspiration and fun. A real master is open to play and fail and play some more… and it ALL becomes the magic. xo – b

  122. I saw your Instastory and for what it’s worth here are my thoughts. I love your blog and always have. I don’t understand at ALL why yesterday’s post was so controversial, but I guess people (like me!) feel compelled to weigh in with their thoughts, no matter how petty. Anyhoo, I think that lately maybe we’re on a little bit of overload of your house?

    First, I think we’ve got your house pretty fully covered at this point and it would be nice to get a little bit of variety. For one, a variety of styles would be nice for those of us that aren’t in an English Tudor. I love seeing the work you do for clients, or your team, and that way we get to see NEW materials, new challenges, new budgets, etc. Or I’m sure many of us (like me!) would volunteer our homes if you want to donate some of your service!

    Second, you seem to be doing well (or better than the rest of us plebes, at least) and your house is filled with beautiful (mostly expensive) pieces that are unattainable for most. And while you certainly use a lot of target things, those things never seem to stick around. It’s used for “content” and then it’s gone, replaced by something nicer that you’re actually going to use. So it comes across as a little “I’m too good for this stuff, but you guys should buy it because Target pays me a lot.”

    So, as to your questions, for me personally, I would prefer that you continue posting aspirational rather than purely affordable design, because I think most people come here for inspiration for that day when hopefully we can afford to have nicer things. I like to see the the affordable/attainable stuff peppered in so that can actually start to execute on some of your ideas, but it would be nice to see a wider variety of affordable stuff and not just All-Target-All-The-Time. By now we’ve all purchased the white dipped canister, the blue diptych prints, the pink vases, the black wicker chairs, etc. Let’s move on with our lives!

    Gah, I didn’t intend for this to be this long and you’re off for the weekend so probably not even reading! But in sum, thank you for sharing your skills with us and enduring the ramblings of a bunch of anonymous internet trolls. And thank you for continually improving your blog, even if it means mulling through a bunch of mainly nonconstructive criticism. Our houses all look better for it! Happy long weekend!

  123. Thank you for being vulnerable in this post. I think you do great work and have an amazing eye / mind for design. Keep it up!

  124. Long-time reader, first-time commenter. Please don’t change your blog or get dragged down by others. Your blog is one of the few design blogs I read because it’s authentic. You lay it out all there: the mistakes, the budget… I appreciate that nothing is a mystery and that you cater to a wide variety of styles.

  125. I doubt anyone is still reading at this point but just in case you are Emily I just wanted to let you know that as a work at home mom I’m really inspired by you. I love how you bring us into your home, messes and all, with Birdie on one hip! and show us how you do your job. I love your style and appreciate your advice, but more than anything I return to the blog to see a great person, kicking ass at her job and raising a family at the same time. Keep up the good work!

  126. I appreciate seeing the different options. If designing is your profession and your passion, you probably won’t ever be satisfied with the first thing you do (I am a lawyer and a translator, and ALWAYS change things in contracts I draft and in translations I do, after looking through them again and again – it’s a bit perfectionist, but that’s what I am striving for). Also, most of us non-designers would probably live with a choice that we don’t love, but if you are a designer and it makes you cringe every morning you enter the room, then change is the answer. Love your blog and your honesty. It’s refreshing that you share “the good, the bad and the ugly”. Thank you.

  127. Ughh why do some people have to go and ruin all the fun. PLEASE DON’T CHANGE YOUR BLOG IT IS PERFECT! The only design blog I faithfully log onto everyday. Do people think they are the only audience out there? It’s okay to not totally love one post -you post every single day, and the content is different and fun…you’re not rounding up other work by other designers which is what a lot of design blogs do…you’re showing us the process, you’re creating inspiration, you’re being real all the time. I definitely needed this post because I am always making mistakes and while I maybe have to live with some of them I know it won’t be long until Emily gives me some inspo on how I can!

    Also the comment about affordability makes no sense to me. You offer so many affordable options on everything! You rep TARGET for gosh sakes! you do craigslist and flea markets! sorry folks it doesn’t get much cheaper than that. When I was in my 20’s I too bought everything from ikea and Homegoods. Now I’m in my 30’s and I can shop at better places, why should you continue filling your home with ikea because that’s all some people can afford? I’m sorry but I get really irritated when people act like it’s all about them which is precisely what these negative comments are. Ikea has an awesome catalog if people need cheap inspiration. Check it out!

    1. I’m a real estate stager – untrained and unlicensed in design (i spent 15 years as a lawyer & needed to use the other side of my brain). some of my best design training has come from your blog, which i’ve read for years. and a lot of my confidence to jump into this field 3 years ago was your reply to one of my comments about being afraid without formal training: “you’ll make tons of mistakes and nobody will die”. i still say it to myself all the time. thank you – for making mistakes and telling us all about them. i now have a thriving business that allows me to spend more time with my 6-year old daughter. oh, and i’m currently on the 3rd sofa in the house i’m installing today. i planned. but the 1st two didn’t look good. i feel better about myself when i do my best. and nobody died.

  128. Long time fan, first time commenter here. Thank you for always being transparent, sharing costs, mistakes, the whole lot. I get frustrated with some other blogs I follow because I can’t quickly find out if it’s something I can do/afford or not. Also, as a homeowner I would love multiple options brought in to my house, no matter how they fit on paper, so I can truly see and decide. Finally, as a professional (not in the design field) we all plan and then walk forward and a good number of times it’s still trial and error. We can’t foresee all that will go wrong without actually trying. Thank you for always showing the process and I really hope this doesn’t make you hold back on sharing the entire process. Thanks for being you, Emily!

  129. Do you have any tips on how to style master bedrooms? We currently have a big heavy brown leather king bed, and buying a new bed isn’t in the budget. I don’t want to keep trying to paint the bedroom or trying a million different bedding colors and prints

  130. As a new, first-time homeowner, Words cannot express how much I appreciate this post!! Typically I have a pretty good eye for pulling a room together but, man!, I feel like I have had bomb after bomb in my new place. I’ve lost confidence and become gun-shy. Reading this post helps SO MUCH! It’s a process and we don’t have to get it right the first or even seventh try. Thank you, Emily, for sharing everything here!

  131. Emily –
    Wow! I am so grateful to live during a time when resources like your blog exist. I have the opportunity to gather information and design tips from an experienced, uber talented, designer 2,000 miles away at NO COST!! *Thank you* for taking the time to share your process in such an authentic and transparent way.

    Hug your little ones and enjoy the weekend. You rock!!!

  132. Emily,

    As a long time ready I’ve really enjoyed watching you, your style and budget grow.

    I do miss the Craig lists posts and more budget friendly posts but I feel like there are phases and right now your new home is the biggest thing so I am happy to wait it out.

    I feel you you do a great job of making inspirination/budgets/makeovers/sponsered posts. I love your real life and parenting posts too.

    Keep on x

  133. This post was so helpful Emily. Just saw your Insta-story about the negative comments and had to see what it was all about.
    We’re in the process of doing a reno and I’ve already bought a sink off of Craigslist that doesn’t fit and I almost bought a mirror at Restoration Hardware outlet yesterday just because the price was right and I thought I’ll just make it work.
    Going to keep all your advice in mind moving forward. Wish I could fly you to NJ to help me with all my decisions.

  134. I loved this post- as a new designer it’s nice to read that we all have some of the same shopping impulses, paint color woes, and I mean I think this will fit design mistakes! The creative process is a fun but never perfect one! Thank you for sharing! I love seeing your weekly projects! I also don’t think people
    Realize how critical, excited and overwhelmeing a designers personal house is. It’s our job to make things look pulled together and pretty for others- when it’s for ourselves we either give it too much thought or way to little thought. Who cares if you painted your sons rooms multiple colors? You also have the resources to do so- as a designer you love so many things for so many reasons. I think designing your own home is one of the best & most challenging things you’ll do!

  135. Hi, I just saw your insta-story and I want to send all the love and support I can to you right now! You’re intention here was noble and I am sorry to see negative comments. I own my own design firm and this is an incredibly rough business. No design is perfect because every client is different and ultimately–unknowable. That’s why we are hired. But it is impossible to read minds, know exactly how a concept will turn out in real life, anticipate every pitfall and problem, control things that are out of our control etc. And of course, our own spaces are maddeningly difficult to design. Any designer knows that the Cobbler’s daughter doesn’t have any shoes for a reason! We see way too much product to make choosing easy and know that another incredible option is just around the corner at an upcoming HPMKT. Please know that all of your fellow designers are with you in spirit! ANDDDD I think the content is VERY budget friendly. People don’t know all the $400/yd fabric we see, etc. Hang in there Emily! Thanks for making yourself vulnerable and don’t let anyone bring you down. <3

  136. Emily, thank you so much for these wise words. Failing is definitely part of the process and I’m glad to see that even the most seasoned pro does it too. I will now force my husband to read this since he gets so bugged with me for buying, not liking and reselling. “See honey, Emily Henderson does it.” Although, it may backfire. “I thought you were supposed to have a spot in mind before you bought that.” Anyway – I look at stuff you did 8 years ago and I STILL love it! Right is right and may be worth the trial and error sometimes. But now I’ll try to do that constructively.
    For you. Not for my husband, but for you.

    1. Haha I would do ALL my styling for Emily too. Not so much our husbands. Definitely for Queen Emily though. Lol!

  137. Oh wow thank you for this blog! Good Lord this is precisely what I do. ALL THE TIME. I think so much of the challenge lies in being a creative, because that also means having millions of ideas that all need a little bit of a trial run befire nutting out what works the most. And it also means falling in love with marvelous pieces and gobbling them up like we do icecream when on a diet. Whoopsie ?? I LOVE this post, it is super usefule, thank you so much for sharing this with us!!

    1. There were two negative comments but the way you responded to them was so out of hand. Calling them bullies or trolls seems so extreme, as does signing off early. It seems like that person was trying and failing st giving constructive criticism. How you personally feel is one thing and commenting should be sufficient. Instagram Storying, adding it to the best days post and then signing off early to recover all seems a bit much. Be professional about it and take it in stride. If you have millions of readers accept that this is just one or two. The way you and Ginny engaged made it seem like the commenter was right.

        1. Ugh ??Did you feel so self-satisfied and superior when you hit ‘send?’ Hope you felt as smug as you sounded and it was worth it!

      1. Totally thinking the same thing, BZ. Two negative comments and a thousand “You’re perfect just the way you are!” responses. I almost think the sheer number of cheerleading responses made the critical comments more painful…

      2. Totally thinking the same thing, BZ. Two negative comments and hundreds of “You’re perfect just the way you are!” responses. I almost think the sheer number of cheerleading responses made the critical comments more painful…

  138. Emily, I read your blog and have stopped reading others BECAUSE of this honesty, vulnerability, and realness. And I learned a lot from this post – I am guilty of buying a shitty ikea couch just because I needed a place to sit, and now I hate it. I also have done nothing in my apartment since then because I’ve been so horrified of making other bad purchases – but this post has helped me a lot to avoid those mistakes in the future. So – thank you <3

  139. I think part of this issue is viewing every option that isn’t right as a “mistake”. Sometimes things don’t work and it isn’t until you can see them in the space that you realize that. I sew clothing and almost always sew a muslin or test garment on cheaper fabric, first. I can do all of my tweaking and tailoring on that garment, before cutting into the good fabric. This has saved me a LOT of headaches, not to mention money. Designers don’t have this option and have to go a different route – it is all part of the creative process, even though it’s maddening. The tenacity and energy it takes to get things right make Emily more of a professional, not less and I for one love seeing the journey and not just the “perfect” destination.

    1. “The tenacity and energy it takes to get things right make Emily more of a professional, not less…”


  140. Well this certainly blew up didn’t it?! I couldn’t help but jump in and say what a time to be alive and what a time to remind myself of how good freedom feels. I don’t have the right to tell anyone else how to live, which curtains to buy or who to love. We are all free to make our own choices peeps! I know this is just one design blog and this is just one comment thread but it somehow feels indicative of a much bigger picture. Emily is so wonderfully absolutely genuinely herself and shares with all of internet pals her faux pas as well as her great ideas and we LOVE her for it! I love everything you choose to post about Emily and I love how you used this platform to remind us to be kind and give each other a little breathing room to do our own thang! It is fun to see your life, your design and your ideas come to life through this blog and keep it comin Girl cause we are all eatin it up!!!

  141. Wait, so is Lex suggesting that Emily is a *bad* professional designer? Because it’s abundantly clear that Emily is, in fact, an EXCELLENT professional designer. I mean…. what?? Remember when she won Design Star? Have you SEEN her body of work? Read her NYT bestseller book? Watched her Target commercials? Followed her blog?? I don’t understand what we’re debating here. Anyway. Fascinating post, Emily. I look forward to more!!! XOXOXOXOXO

  142. I’m a real estate stager – untrained and unlicensed in design (i spent 15 years as a lawyer & needed to use the other side of my brain). some of my best design training has come from your blog, which i’ve read for years. and a lot of my confidence to jump into this field 3 years ago was your reply to one of my comments about being afraid without formal training: “you’ll make tons of mistakes and nobody will die”. i still say it to myself all the time. thank you – for making mistakes and telling us all about them. i now have a thriving business that allows me to spend more time with my 6-year old daughter. oh, and i’m currently on the 3rd sofa in the house i’m installing today. i planned. but the 1st two didn’t look good. i feel better about myself when i do my best. and nobody died. 🙂

  143. Don’t worry, throughout this post I’ll help you through what specifically to avoid and of course how to come up with a plan so that you aren’t a repeat offender. This post is for you, as well as me. It’s more like Design Therapy: Community Edition. Should that be a new series???

    Let me be clear – it’s not like I plan EVERYTHING. In fact if you did then that room is far more likely to turn out generic – you need room for passion purc

  144. There are some fantastic designers on the blogosphere these days. Most only give you finished pictures or a side by side before and after. Great for inspiration, but often not helpful for figuring out the whole scene. Thanks for sharing your process, how things were thought through; in doing so you are teaching, and if the reader is truly listening, then you are giving concrete tools. Why the heck are people reading the blog if they think it is “consumer-ish”? They need to get a life, not ask you to change yours. Let that go, dear Emily! That’s their problem. Do your thing, celebrate what you have accomplished and continue to support your fellow designers so fully. You are really a force of positivity, it’s what keeps me coming back to see what you’re up to. And maybe I’ll learn a thing or two, remember an idea from the blog to use later….if I feel like it. For now I’ll just take the feel-good vibe from your content. Cheers.

  145. Anyone want to youtube some Brene Brown? 🙂
    Creativity results from showing up, making mistakes, and struggling through the process in order to have a beautiful result. I would like our world to stop being Pinterest perfect. There are beautiful things because there are beautiful efforts. I am not just interested in just pinning perfection, I want to know how they got there.

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Roosevelt

    Thanks Emily for being real! Hugs!!!!!!

  146. I must say – articles you have written for your own space are always particularly interesting to me – because the questions you ask yourself, are the ones that stick with me when turning back to my own space. I love the article you wrote about the open family room – and trying to make it more livable. Its a question I continue to circle back to about my own living room – how can I make it cozier, more convenient for us to hang in.
    I also love the advice you gave about having a starting point in a room, and not the paint color. Perfect advice as we are currently starting to plan out our baby room as well. I don’t know where to start (also not knowing the sex yet), and I was going straight to the paint colors… makes me rethink it a bit.
    You are for sure a professional designer, and if I did this as a career, had a crew to help with changes – I can only imagine how much fun I would have with trial and error – your content is often its the perfect advice I can use when turning to my own space. It doesn’t mean that in our professions we should never make big mistakes, or question what we are doing. Professionally I am in education and love what I do – but does it mean that I will never question how I raise my own children, or want to double back on decisions I have made for their own education? I don’t doubt that I will.
    Keep designing on Emily – you will continue to inspire me!

  147. Blown away by the nasties! I learned more from the photos and explanation of ‘booboos’ than I ever learn from just seeing a photo of the finished project. Everyday I come here and learn something. I love the raw and real approach that Emily provides.

  148. Man, this was an exasperating read. Design, or any discipline for that matter, is a series of experiments, review, revision, improvement and change. In fact, that’s exactly how it works in my professional life and I’m a scientist. Emily documents things in a way that you actually learn what changes were made and why. Its not formulaic, its not perfect every time and why should it be? Changes or revisions are progress. They’re only called ‘mistakes’ with perspective and reflection. Personally, I have never met a human – who is genuinely good at what they do – that has ever been happy with something they’ve done first time. That only happens if you’re complacent. So EH, bring the changes. They’re thoroughly enjoyable.

  149. I have a passion for vintage chairs, Emily, so I can totally relate to Mistake #2. I also have an excellent and reasonably priced upholsterer nearby, which helps enable my chair hoarding. I have small-ish house and I have nine vintage, refurbished chairs, four of which really have no use. I have, at least, stopped buying them (and picking them out of the trash), but I can’t let go of the ones I have. That chair is AMAZING and what a great price. The only reason I am able to walk away from finds like that, at this point, is b/c I have no space left.

  150. This is one of my favorite posts I’ve read from you! I love seeing that you sometimes struggle with impulsiveness, indecisiveness, and mistakes because these are often things I struggle with too. When we bought my son’s crib, we put it together in our living room only to find it wouldn’t fit through the hallway or into his room. I’m currently having our living room repainted as I type this after impulsively painting it green when we moved in three years ago. Seeing your remodel has definitely inspired me to make changes to my own home. I admire you as a professional designer and watching your Insta Stories and seeing you change things until your completely happy with them challenges me to do the same instead of settling with things I’m not satisfied with. Especially that ugly brown master bedroom (which we have lived with for the three years since we have owned our house!) Thank you for taking risks and encouraging your readers to do the same. Showing us “the behind the scenes” instead of picturely styled rooms every time is the biggest lesson you can teach us!

  151. I think you should open a school for design. I am not a pro, though I have thought about it from time to time (I work at an ad agency) but I have learned SO MUCH about design from following your blog and reading your awesome book. So thank you Emily and your team. Your transparency about your career, your process and your highs and lows have inspired me to take risks in my own home with design and push myself more than I would have otherwise.
    And this post is yet another learning experience for us all on how to maintain grace under fire whilst dealing with negativity. You are a total badass lady boss Em!

  152. What attracted me to this blog in the first place was that Emily tells you what to do and what not..(I think the first post was how to hang curtains the wrong way and getting the right size area rug.) It was sooo helpful! I loved how she went through each detail. I love following along with all her other design projects too. It has really opened up my horizons in interior decorating. I look at furniture and accessories in a whole new light now…not to mention she is an entertaining writer.? Thanks Emily!

  153. I’ll be honest, #2 confuses me… I’ve heard from other designers that you should buy what you love and find a way to incorporate it into your space. I suppose with the point being that if you are buying things you love, that everything will sort of flow together somehow? Recently, I scored an upholstered Herman Miller molded fiberglass chair in pretty good condition and I snatched it up without thinking. I don’t know where I’m going to put it. but I saw it and loved it and something like that is certainly not a piece you see everyday, in my area especially. Isn’t there a place for this sort of impulse in design? Going with your gut, so to speak? I’m certainly NO designer but I’ve been photographing spaces for several years and there seems to be so much more heart in the spaces where there is a bit more spontaneity. Just curious on your take.

  154. Hello Emily,
    This is the second blog post I’ve read and I read all the comments on both. There is so much to say about the comments that I have nothing to say about it at all. I will say that I learned quite a bit by seeing, for example, how much better a room looked with a slightly bigger poof instead of a similar but smaller one with legs. The second photograph showed how to learn when things are balanced by shape. These examples are wonderful. I have learned from studying the photographs how to pick a rug, also. Thank you. ~Ginene

  155. Man, this post was such a relief to read. When I first started to design my home, I put pressure on myself to picture the ideal number and scale of pillows, the perfect rug, the exact pictures frames and every time I bought something home and it didn’t work, I felt like a design failure. I thought it would get better over time, but it really didn’t. Instead, the more I have gotten a feel for my style and developed a real confidence in my skill set, the more I bring home options and play with them. (I have learned to measure and work with a floor plan for the big stuff, but even then from time to time something just doesn’t work.) It has been so freeing because I spend a lot less time trying to force something to work, and I spend less money trying to “fix” something that should just be returned or sold. Thank you for the realness and vulnerability, and for being artistic enough to strive for the best look that evolves over time. Thank you for trying out design styles and ideas and being willing for a look to flop on its’ way to awesome. I love following along and learning as you go. It gives me extra permission to flop as I grow, too.

    1. Art is a creative process, sure, but 10 couches along with however many rugs were brought in and then exchanged? Never mind the paint mistakes. Emily’s wheelhouse is MCM and definitely shined in that area. To me that is her real love! But she wanted to live in Los Feliz so she decided to go in a different direction in design, which is fine. She has a design team at her finger tips, years of experience, a blog to talk about English Country Design, Google, and whatever else and yet so much indecisiveness. So much wasted time and energy especially for someone who talks about how busy she is with two toddlers, a business to run………..and whatever else she tosses in on any given day. Personally? I’d loose my mind. Why bother to ask your kid what color he’s like his room if you’re gonna change it anyway IF it doesn’t look the way you like it anyway? It is HIS room after all. Not such a big deal in the grand scheme of things, no? You had little trouble designing your first home—-because you loved it or that is how it seemed to me. I don’t dislike your new house but it just docent seem like YOU. Where is the fun and whimsy you always talk about? Also, I’m guessing we see a lot more Target than we normally would given her contract with Target and either it’s free or deeply discounted cheap stuff to begin with. I don’t dis like the blog or Emily —– I’m just tossing in my two cents.

  156. I can see why the first commentor thought they way they did because of the nature of internet posts and decor magazines. The “before/after” view tends to leave out the months and months and months of in between where decisions are made and items swapped and things tried and redone and rethought. And design tv where everything is done in 22 minutes including construction. It makes one forget that design isn’t formulaic. Designers don’t always use this one white paint in every single room because it doesn’t look the same in every single room. This particular sofa isn’t the most comfortable to every single person that sits on it. This light fixture doesn’t work in every single room. Design in a process that has no definitive end point. What worked yesterday might not work today. What didn’t work today might be perfect tomorrow. The jeans I bought 5 years ago are perfectly broken in today, but then next month I gain 25 pounds and I can’t button them. When the middle parts of design are consistently left out, the whole process part of the process, it’s easy to forget that it even exists. But thankfully, Emily and this site tries to include as much of that process as she/they can and the reality of that means that design isn’t always pretty and perfect.

  157. The reason that I keep coming back to this blog is precisely that Emily is not afraid to share her mistakes! It feels real, authentic and it inspires me by showing us all that it just takes time and a willingness not to feel defeated by our mistakes.

    Please think before posting negative comments. This is her livelihood, and she obviously cares allot about people. She seems like a lovely person, and I am inspired by her honesty.

  158. I’m sure your home will eventually turn out just the way you want it. I’m posting only to say I think you should try harder (perhaps easier said than done, but you do have a public blog) not to let negative or critical comments get to you. It’s not worth it. Consider it the not so great part of your job. People can anonymously say whatever they want. Good, bad, true, false, kind, unkind, critical, even a little mean. They can say they’re designers, decorators, clients of designers, stylists or neurosurgeons. Just cause they said it doesn’t mean it’s true. As long as your family is healthy and happy, comments don’t matter. Best wishes!

  159. Chiming in as a former everyday reader who now stops by once every couple of weeks: the recent move and associated renovation has turned me off. A lot of the posts seem to highlight a ton of spending/buying. It’s been so accelerated vs. a normal timeline and budget. This issue is further highlighted by the fact that Emily’s last home did come together more slowly, which I really enjoyed watching.

    “Budget friendly” applies to more than just furniture and decor pieces. The overall price of the work being done all at one time on Emily’s house feels so unrelatable. Right now the blog doesn’t fit with my lifestyle as a young person who has to learn to DIY and slowly accumulate items as they fit into a budget. As an example, I’m much more interested in learning about how to make the not-so-hot color of stain on the ceiling beams work for awhile than hearing about how to choose a new stain color and hire someone to re-do it right now. Design is easy when you can just swap out stuff (colors/room layouts/etc) that doesn’t look great – it’s figuring out creative solutions to those dilemmas that really interests me.

    That being said, I’ve really loved the pieces from Brady and Orlando recently and I feel they bring in more of a realistic approach. So I stop by to read those and to read posts like this (design mistakes) and skip the rest. Hope this feedback helps!!

  160. The picture with you on the computer and Ginny holding Birdie is making me chuckle. This is exactly what I seem to do when my florist business partner and I are designing. She holds my kid or vice versa. I like the real part. As far as I’m concerned, HGTV and Pinterest give a very false sense of reality that can really confuse and give people very ridiculous expectations. You’d think we’d understand that by now, but we still don’t get it. Too bad.

  161. I just came over from Insta to share some love. I love how open you are with your life here on the blog and on Instagram. Please don’t let the negativity of a few override the goodness that is your blog. I have often thought to myself how “costly” some items are and out of reach for my current budget, however I’m here for inspiration and you serve that in truckloads. Also I think it’s easy for people to forget that your home is basically your office/job and these things and updates are essential to your work. Keep up the fantastic work and I can’t wait to see more!

  162. I have a vintage/antique booth and I try nearly everything I buy at home first. If it doesn’t work, I sell it. I’m no expert but it’s all a process, you have to feel how a piece looks in your home. It’s your home, you should definitely filter and analyze everything in it.

  163. Thank you for posting this, Emily. My home has gone through various changes and reading this post gives me hope and comfort in knowing that it is okay to not get it right the first, second, etc time. I love how honest and relatable you are, thank you for that! We live in a world of perceived perfection and things that take a process–regardless of it being decor, education, and so forth–becomes something inspiring by instilling strength to move forward and to not give up.

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