Our design agony posts are extremely near and dear to us. We LOVE getting to have a more personal connection to you all, getting to answer your exact questions, and helping you tackle your most troubling design issues. I mean room layouts are tricky, knowing what to do with a blank wall can feel like a graduate-level algebra question, and sometimes a second opinion can put you at total ease. We know that last one to be VERY true because y’all you have been just as much as a support to us in helping make some very important design decisions as hopefully, we have been to you. SO it was a top priority for when we created the EHD Insider Community that a “Design Agony” section was included so any member could upload a photo and ask the community for help. And let’s just say it might be the best part. Everyone has such great and insightful advice and knowing there is a place to ask, “Hey, is this rug a good fit for my living room” or “Any suggestions for my fireplace reno mishap” or “What is missing from making this room look awesome??” is pretty freaking great. But to be fair we may be partial:)
So with their permission, we wanted to take a handful of the agonies our Insiders posted that are pretty darn universal. Let’s jump right in…
I want to start with my old friend, Martha. Ok, so sadly we don’t “formally” know each other and hang out with wine, chatting design into the wee hours of the morning. That’s what normal friends do, right? BUT if you head to our ShowEmYourDIY: Kitchen Edition you will see her wonderful kitchen remodel where a light facelift made a HUGE difference. This time though she was inspired by our headboard sconce trend post and DIY’ed one herself. It looks awesome!
But she is now stuck with the ever baffling question of “What do I put above my bed??” This is actually a question we get all. the. time. so if you need some examples here and here. But let’s talk about Martha specifically. Here is here bedroom and question:
How wonderful is this?! Now in terms of the art question, one Insider was curious about the depth of the ledge which Martha replied was only one inch…so not an ideal depth for an art ledge. Another reader thought that something like the MQuan beaded wall piece that Em has used in the past would look great (and it for sure could) BUT Martha wants something a little calmer in texture so here is what Julie (and then seconded by Bowser) recommend:
The point Julie made about balancing out the “grid” look of the headboard with a single large scale is a winning match. One reader recommended this awesome print that we love and could be a perfect pick. However, Martha wants something that’s unique to her… so vintage is on her mind. We think that’s a great idea since buying vintage is for most of us, our design love language. I also personally think a large scale horizontal textile (vintage or not) could look awesome and also cozy:)
Next up is a window treatment dissatisfaction…
Buying window treatments can be intimating and when you aren’t in love with what you bought is SUCH a letdown. But despite Emilie feeling blah about her relaxed roman shades, we think that they are totally great. The Insiders had a ton of great ideas. Some of which included trying normal curtains, faux panels, a patterned roman shade, rotating the bed to be in front of the windows, etc. But we think her lackluster feelings are coming from a lack of texture and decor in general. By adding in a furniture set up like the one below (one of my all-time favorite EHD rooms) between the middle and far-right window, Emilie would bring in a ton of visual interest which would take that pressure off of the shades to fill that visual hole.
Or simply hanging some large framed art pieces or a large wall hanging would also bring in that dimension without the need for more furniture. Lastly, we agree with another Insiders suggestion to try the bench at the foot of the bed🙂
Next is the search for “the right” coffee table.
We also know from experience that coffee tables are something people want advice about. Luckily we have a great post with a graphic explaining all the coffee table rules! But let’s look at this real-life agony.
Katie has a medium-sized living room where all of her furniture pieces are more or less rectangles (including her rug). Now adding another rectangle (the coffee table) is going to make her living room feel a little too one-note. One thought, a round coffee table! Wait, not so fast. A round coffee table could work but to give us our “2/3rds the width of the sofa” rule, the size of the round coffee table might be way too big for the size living room. Fine, I’ll stop holding out…
The winner is OVAL! And it wasn’t just Emily that thought so. Every Insider was in agreement. Oval coffee tables are just power players. They give you the width and surface area of a rectangle coffee table but the soft (and usually contrasting) shape of a round or sculptural coffee table. Heck, one of Emily’s all-time favorite and kid-friendly coffee table is an oval.
Side note: This agony has a happy ending! Katie took Emily’s/everyone’s advice and bought a glass top oval coffee table and loves it!
Shall we tackle a layout agony? I think now is the perfect time.
Oh, the sweet sweet frustration of designing for a modern life in an old beautiful home. Our wonderful Insider, Mallory is having a time with her dining room/WFH office that she shares with her husband. Honestly, we get it because this is NOT a straight forward, “try this and all of your design dreams will come true.” But the good news is her vintage home is awesome and where there’s a will there’s a design solution.
So now that you’ve read Mallory’s plea for help there were a lot of suggestions. One that a bunch of Insiders liked was the idea of a banquette to get the table off of the wall (just like Arlyn did in her dining room). BUT as I said before this space really needs to function as an office for the foreseeable future.
One reader had the idea to install two floor to ceiling shelving units (which she could DIY if she’s up for it). I also loved this idea because she mentioned that the constant disorganization and clutter is driving her nuts. I think this is a great option but to not overwhelm the space AND avoid covering the floor vent, they are going to need to be pretty shallow.
So after taking in all of the suggestions, she came back to the Design Agony Group Chat with this mockup below.
So pretty right?! Now I think these are the best two options (and suggestions from Insiders) if she installs the bookcases:
- Install bookcases with a banquette in between and arrange the dining table parallel to the banquette.
- Leave space for a banquette between the bookcases for the future and for the time being rotate dining table so that it’s perpendicular to the wall (and lives where the banquette eventually will. This gives the both of you space to work and have comfortable work chairs across from each other.
Mallory, you HAVE to post the finished photos on the Show & Tell section of the community site when you are all done!
Let’s go back to the classic “but what style lamp would work best” agony…
Rachel, we understand what it feels like to be uninspired so we are here to help! We agree that while that lamp is very cute, we think that something more modern and contrasting will give you what you want. Also, we sure do love that Rebecca Atwood fabric😉 I will love Em’s old bed for the rest of time. Ok back to the table lamp problem.
First, let’s see what the Insiders recommended…
I like all of these! Actually number #1 is surprisingly pulling at my heartstrings. Plus it has a USB portal. WHAT?
But on the other hand, I do think that something modern, sculptural, and dark will give Rachel the fun playful mix and match style she is looking for.
I wish I could pick a favorite but I can’t. Why I think any of them would look sick is because they will all provide a bold but neutral moment and their delicate frames will contrast the bulkier furniture and decor that are already in the room.
Now I hate to even dare let these words pass through my lips but fall isn’t that far away. And while a mudroom isn’t something my southern California upbringing required (no snow and light rain), clearly the rest of the country HIGHLY values a solid mudroom. Emily’s first mudroom was in Portland and she learned a lot. So when Lilly asked the community’s must-have mudroom essentials, Emily and the rest of the group jumped in to help.
Here is the list:
- Good solid hooks
- A sink! (nice-to-have)
- Water hog mats
- Cubbies for sure!
- Broom closet (nice-to-have)
- Area for pet bowls (if you have pets:))
Do any of you have any other items you’d like to add to the list??
Ok, now this last one is more of a fun Ask The Audience for Emily’s friend because it’s fun and it was quite the split vote on the community…
So what is your vote: Keep the wallpaper or strip it ASAP! Cast your vote in the comments:)
Alright well that’s enough agonies for today. HA! Just kidding we never tire of helping solve the world’s design questions. I hope that some of these helped with your own agonies or at least you were comforted that there isn’t one person on the planet who is designing their home and isn’t stumped by AT LEAST something.
And was this all just a sneaky ploy to get you curious again about the wonders of the EHD Insider Community?? I’ll never tell! But seriously it’s SO awesome to have a huge group of design-loving people to dump your questions on. It’s basically design therapy. If you want to check it out and haven’t head HERE and if you want to read about why we chose to great it head HERE. Happy Wednesday!
Love you, mean it and wear a mask.
Opening Image Credits: Photo by Veronica Crawford | From: Our LA Playroom Update With Solutions That Work For Us + Another DIY Fail