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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
Emily Henderson Flash Makeover Opener 11

Last week, we did our first ever surprise flash makeover and it was probably the most fun and fulfilling day in YEARS. It wasn’t about pillows and lamps. No, it was about creating a moment that, hopefully, will have a lasting positive effect on a family. I believe that the state of your home reflects and affects the state of your mental health. When mine is in not pulled together or in disarray, guess what—so is my brain. I cry more often. I’m more impatient with my kids, which makes me more ashamed and full of disappointment and guilt. Alternatively, when it looks beautiful, clean, cohesive and stylish, I live through life with more ease and joy, and that gets carried into your relationships and your career.

That was our wish for Liz, a single mom of 4: a moment, a week, a month or a year where she can breathe and feel proud. You can read the post for details or watch the video of the surprise and makeover which is VERY FUN, I promise.

It was like Extreme Makeover, “indie-styling” edition. It was half of my team (5 of us), with Brian shooting the video and only 7 hours of design time. It was run-n-gun with no experienced TV producer to make sure it actually worked or flowed, BUT IT DID. My experience with makeover shows came into play and between Brian, myself and my awesome team, we produced this pretty darn seamlessly.

Emily Henderson Flash Makeover 6 Emily Henderson Flash Makeover 7

The back story: Last month, we threw the flash makeover idea out there on social media, asking people to nominate anyone in the LA area that could really use a holiday spirit boost. Amanda wrote in and told us about her friend Liz who was “the hardest working person I know.” A single mom of 4, a hairdresser in Castaic who worked so so so so so hard to take care of her kids, give them what they needed and was insanely busy driving them around to a million activities.

There are no resources or time left for herself or her house at the end of the day. I can’t imagine the emotional, physical and financial responsibility it would be to take care of four kids—an 8-year-old, two 10-year-old twin boys and a 16-year-old girl. BY YOURSELF.

I seriously think that single mothers deserve their own holiday.

So two weeks ago, Velinda from the design team snuck into her house (with the help of Liz’s friend Amanda), took measurements and pictures and assessed the pieces in person. Here’s what the space looked like before:

Emily Henderson Flash Makeover Side By Side Before 2

When I first saw the photos, I remember thinking that Liz had done a decent job! Considering she had four kids to tend to, she had things going in the right direction with a great sofa, bookshelves, TV unit etc. But there is always room for extra love, styling and organization, and that’s really what we intended on doing.

So, we put forth a plan to tackle the living room and dining room, using a lot of what she already had, then bringing in some new pieces to zhuzh it up and take it to the next level. Put that finishing flair on the space we know Liz wanted (she’s a reader!), but just didn’t have the means to manage.

They had an elderly dog who had just passed away and he had badly soiled the carpet. We couldn’t do this makeover without replacing the carpet. Full stop. It’s a decent expense that wasn’t in Liz’s budget, and we knew it would be a transformation she needed.

Emily Henderson Flash Makeover Side By Side Before 3

The rest of the room could use updating and styling: the coffee table was fine, but could it be better? The TV console was fine, but could it be better?

Emily Henderson Flash Makeover Side By Side Before 1

For the dining area, there were some chairs that needed some love, a ceiling fan that was dating the space, curtains that made it feel smaller, but the table was totally fine.

So then we (Brady, Velinda, Emily B. and myself) came up with the design plan. We then “shopped” from my storage unit (like some pillows from The Citizenry project from last year), I shopped the flea market, we ordered a ton online and at the end, did a big shop at some affordable major retailers. No sponsors and nothing gifted. We wanted it to be fast and budget oriented, which meant we wanted to do this one on our own.


We surprised Liz at 7:40 am, after ensuring that she would be dressed and ready. Hilariously, Amanda spied on her all morning and even followed her to school and watched her drop off her kids but she lost her on the way back and we didn’t know her status. Typically if this were a real show, there would be producers making sure people were in place, but we didn’t have that so there was DEFINITELY a 10-minute period where Liz was unaccounted for and we were like is she coming home? What if she went to work early? What if she had a Target run? What if today was the day she decided to drive to six flags and ride the roller coasters by herself?

But then we snuck into the neighborhood and saw her car…


She was shocked, overwhelmed and so sweet. It’s really, really weird to have a bunch of people (some with cameras) crashing your house with oddly huge smiles on their faces, staring at you. She was so lovely and excited and gave us carte blanche to do whatever we wanted with the space. The only thing she loved was the sailor painting (a family heirloom), which we loved, too. Other than that we knew we’d keep the sofa, but had freedom with the rest of the pieces.


We finished around 3, feeling pretty darn good. She had picked up her kids and they were all waiting for us at Amanda’s for us to text. They came back, nervous but were so cute and excited and frankly VERY well-mannered. I made them pinky swear that they wouldn’t look through the window. They closed their eyes until we had them inside the room and we dramatically counted ONE, TWO, THREE before they opened their eyes and saw their new space.

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As you can imagine, it’s really weird to see your home done differently, with a couple people with small but still weird cameras on your face. It’s more than shock—it’s kind of an out-of-body experience, I’m sure.

But strangely I was used to that from Secrets From A Stylist where people would mostly just stare and look around for a while (editing showed immediate screams, but that rarely happened).

I’m not sure what was more moving: a mom tearing up because her life just got a bit easier as her pride for her home ballooned, or her 10-year-old son trying to wipe his happy tears away before we could see them.

We were moved, and I cry just thinking about it.

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The carpet made the biggest difference, obviously. We had it coordinated earlier in the week and chose a pretty and fresh neutral. After realizing the amount of wear and tear it will likely get, we actually left her a huge navy blue rug to go under her sofa. It looked SO much better without it so we didn’t shoot it, but I was like “I can’t leave this mom of four with a light carpet” and we had the rug as an option anyway.

We kept the color palette pretty muted and calm—a lot of cool tones and added some vintage wood pieces to give it some soul.

We printed out photos of her family and framed them in our favorite IKEA frames, which made her cry. I wish the wood versions had been in stock (or do they not make them anymore?) to help warm them up, but maybe having it all white keeps it really simple, and with less contrast, the room will feel less busy.

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The curtains were switched out for affordable readymade Roman shades. If these had been a natural texture or a light gray that probably would have looked even better but the white versions fit our needs of fast, affordable and simple.

We restyled the bookshelves with less stuff and put a lot of the more colorful books in the bins to help it feel cleaner. We used a lot of the pieces she already had, just edited them down and then we framed a lot more of her family photos.

Emily Henderson Flash Makeover 10

The desk area was streamlined with a white desk, two storage drawer units and a tall cabinet for their printer and more storage. Some of the kids; art was sprinkled in which made it feel personal and homey. We had that piece of art leftover from The Citizenry in my storage unit so we nabbed it and it found a pretty home on that wall.

Emily Henderson Flash Makeover 11

We added floating shelves to add more storage and display more family photos and art.

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In the dining room, we kept the table but switched out the chairs. Now we didn’t want to spend too much on new chairs that were upholstered, so we bought four IKEA chairs and then I had two of my dining chairs left over (they were plastic wrapped in my garage) that we thought could be the head chairs. I wanted to give her the option of comfort or the older kids who do homework there. I think the six matching black chairs might have looked better, but speaking from someone who likes to be comfortable, I think that the two king chairs look good.

Emily Henderson Flash Makeover 2

We replaced her big rectangular mirror for a round one, knowing that the space really needed a mirror for light over there.

We hung her sailor art, but took off the frame which felt both too big for that space, but also a little dark and dated. It brightened it up a lot. The rug made a huge difference and hopefully, the fact that it’s dark in a flat weave will be enough to stay clean under the dining table. I’m on the fence about rugs under dining tables, but it just really made this space feel so much happier and more inviting.

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My team did SUCH an amazing job. We were done early and even able to take all the after photos before Liz and her family came home.

Let’s look at some side-by-sides so you can see the full impact of our small changes:

Living Room:

Emily Henderson Flash Makeover Reveal Side By Side 5 Emily Henderson Flash Makeover Reveal Side By Side 31

TV & Storage:

Emily Henderson Flash Makeover Reveal Side By Side 41

Desk Area:

Emily Henderson Flash Makeover Reveal Side By Side 21

Dining Room:

Emily Henderson Flash Makeover Reveal Side By Side 11

A huge thanks to Amanda, Liz and her family for letting us raid their house for the day. While, of course, they are so grateful for everything we did, it’s actually such a gift that we get to use our platform, resources and experience to help someone who needs it. I’m not saying that facetiously; imagine if what you did could easily change someone else’s lives? The kids were so happy and proud, swearing to NEVER wear shoes in their house. Liz said that she had never had people over because she was embarrassed and now she was going to throw a holiday party. House-pride is intrinsically tied in with your self-confidence and really hope that we helped give Liz and her kids the big boost in both that they deserved.

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Hopefully, we can keep doing these for obvious reasons: it’s what we want, what families want and hopefully you guys enjoyed it. I know that I am always inspired by people paying it forward and it reminds me to, so that was another goal. We have this platform and “influence,” we HAVE to use it for good. If you live in LA and know of a family that deserves a surprise makeover, then please nominate them by emailing info and photos of the space to giveback@emilyhendersondesign.com. Because we like the idea of it being a surprise, if YOU personally feel like you deserve a styling boost, have a friend nominate you!

If you are into these surprise makeovers, please share it—the more viewers and readers who engage or like this will help us determine how many resources we can dedicate to these, because that’s all we really want. Feel Good Flash Makeover FOREVER. 🙂

  1. LOVE IT!!! Beautifully done! Please more of that!

  2. This brought tears to my eyes and the smiles on those cute kids’ faces are priceless. I also loved seeing a design that fit this family’s needs in a more “typical” (vs. aspirational) home setting. Yay Team EHD!!

    1. Ditto!

    2. This, exactly!!! Loved this!

    3. Same feeling! What a wonderful way to make this family’s holidays extra special!

  3. So wonderful! Great job EHD team! I understand exactly how you feel – when my house is in a good place, I am in a good place. What an incredible gift you were able to give.

  4. It looks beautiful! I’d love to see more of this!
    Your houses for editorial content and readers’ houses for real life content, you know? 😉

    1. That’s a great way to put it! xx

  5. Oh, my… this makes my heart happy! Such a lovely, thoughtful transformation. (This is one of my favorite posts ever!)

  6. This is awesome! I can’t believe you pulled everything together so quickly. And selfishly I love seeing modest makeovers thrown in the mix, because that’s what I hope to achieve in my home.

    1. I was thinking the same thing!

    2. Yes, its super helpful for me to see makeovers that combine items from many sources, especially heavy on the Ikea/affordable end. It’s also relatable in the sense that major walls/tiling/renovations weren’t used. I would love more of these quick makeovers.

    3. I agree! Love your content all the time, but sometimes it’s not always accessible. I loved seeing a makeover that was budget friendly and, quite frankly, not sponsored. I COMPLETELY understand you are running a business and need sponsored content, but it’s always very interesting to once in a while see what can happen with a modest budget. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Yes, yes, YES!! This is what it’s all about!! Please keep these makeovers up-it’s so wonderful to see a single Mom and kids touched by the generosity and love of others. Speaking from experience, it gives hope in an often exhausting life. Well done Emily and team, well done!

  8. Fantastic! And heart warming. More more more of these please! I’m sure it will become one of your most popular series ever 🙂

  9. i absolutely love this. please do many more of these. on top of the feel good aspect, it’s so nice to see changes that average not-rich people can make. great ideas here.
    ALSO, i loved the sailor picture in the “befores”, but taking off the frame really did make it feel fresher, and i LOVE how well it coordinates with the dining room rug. so good! and that desk area update….amazing. ack! this was so good.

  10. Wowza! The space looks great. The bright white frames and shades look great as-is yet I appreciate the commentary about alternative good options. The dining room rug is awesome there and the desk area looks really useable.

  11. Hands down, this is one of my favorite posts ever. I love the affordable makeover element, but really it’s all about that family. I teared up thinking about how much that meant to them. More PLEASE!

  12. One of my favorite posts to date…and I’ve been around since Design ⭐️!!!! I love everything about this!

  13. This is beautiful and so touching. Yet another reason you guys are my fave. Keep doing these amazing things, guys! Love love love.

  14. What a fun makeover! I loved reading about this family and your willingness to lend a helping hand. I hope you are able to continue to do these.

  15. I love this. Such a great transformation and way to give back.

  16. Source for the Roman shades? Always looking for ready made Roman shades!!!

  17. LOVE THIS! This is one of the most fun things I’ve seen on EHD in a while. <3

  18. Beautiful! Most of us aren’t able to achieve the beautiful high cost makeovers you usually execute. Why they are inspiring and certainly aspirational, it’s so great to see a “real” makeover! Keep up the great work!

  19. Love this! Thank you!

  20. Hi there

    I’m a fan of your s and love your design! We just bought a 1925 bungalow in Portland and have a small budget to pull it together before we move in. We are in need of ready made Roman shades for some of the windows. Do you have a good source? We closed escrow yesterday, floors are being refinished this week but need window treatments for move in after Xmas. Thanks!!!!

    1. We’ll link them up! I think they were just from amazon, but as soon as we get into the office we’ll link them for you guys. Congrats on the house!

    2. PB Teen and Pottery Barn. I’ve used them many times. So good.

    3. Hi Jon! Here is the link to the Romans we used: https://rstyle.me/n/ddnwwisdhw

      Congratulations on your new home and good luck!!

  21. Love this post, Emily! Great job to you and your team. I also love the honest assessments (e.g., wish the frames were wood) throughout the post. It’s refreshing to see you work within a limited budget and make the imperfect work.

  22. I love this so much. So many happy tears over here! I loved seeing the behind the scenes on Instagram as well! And agree with others that the more affordable, work with what you got tips are really helpful. More of this, please!

  23. Looks wonderful! I love seeing makeovers that are obtainable for me. Did you paint the walls for this makeover?
    The carpet and the shades are a game-changer.

    1. We didn’t paint! you know what we did – Michael, bless his heart, washed them with a rag and soap and we were shocked at how much fresher they looked!!

      1. AHA! I was curious about this too. He washed the walls–fantastic!

  24. This is my favorite post so far this year!

  25. Wow! I love this!! This content feels so relatable! Sure, I love to view your beautifully done spaces using high-end design pieces that my wallet can only dream about. I also love to see what you and your team can do using a more budget-conscious mindset. I also love, love, love what you did for this well-deserving woman!

  26. Yes to everything!!! I 100% agree that I’m a better mom/person/wife when there is less clutter in my house and the dishes are put away. This was such an amazing gift to give this shero and her family.

  27. Favorite post by I’ve read from you by FAR (in a long time)! Keep them coming!!!

  28. Favorite post by FAR for me in a long time!! Please keep thingsbliek this coming! Loved it!

  29. Tearing up at work reading this. I can only imagine the joy this brought her and her kids. Love this makeover so much and the messaging behind it, it truly was a reminder for me to give back, especially this holiday season.

    1. Thank you! and i’m so glad that it inspired you to give back. I know that I follow Kristin Bell and she gives back a lot, and every time I see her giving back and i’m like ‘ooh, i want to do that more’. So hopefully it just puts the idea in people’s brains.

  30. This is so great! I love that you kept many of the bigger pieces, but still completely transformed the room. And you can just tell from Liz and the kids’ face that you elevated their living space in the best way possible!

    Please please please do more makeovers like this! Such an awesome way to give back and connect with your (wider) community! 🙂

  31. This was wonderful! No huge changes but you can tell by their smiles (all of them, what a beautiful family), that they are so happy.

  32. The more of these the merrier. Loved this.

  33. Awesome job! What a precious gift for that family. Keep spreading joy!

  34. I love all the content you create, but this is one of my favorite posts! Keep them coming!

  35. I LOVE this post! What a fantastic idea. Seriously, I love looking at aspirational photos but this was just as exciting, I kept going back and forth between the photos before realizing you had comparison shots at the end. The fact that you replaced the carpet after the family lost their pet was such a thoughtful gift. I would love to see more posts like this.

  36. I have never commented before, but had to for this. It was awesome – I loved it and would love to see more!

  37. Best post of the year!! Love, love,love. Such a beautiful family.

  38. It’s so nice to see and read about this kind of makeover! There are no more shows like this anymore and I miss it!

  39. I loooooove this so much! Not only did you help a deserving family, it’s great content that focuses on re-using and styling what you have. So much design feels all about trashing everything and buying a bunch of new (or new vintage) stuff. I love seeing how older things can be displayed in new ways on a budget. Keep up the great work!

  40. Can you do this every day? I love it!

  41. Love this! Wish i could figure out how to update my house in one day!! Where do you get the bench in the living room??

  42. This is so great! I love the desk area the most. It looks so much more cohesive now. She really did have great ideas before, you guys just kicked it up a notch.

  43. All these onions I am cutting over here…

  44. So pretty and I also would love more of this content.

    For rugs under dining tables, especially with children, I strongly prefer a natural fiber rug with a ribbon around the edge. They are not comfortable under foot, but you aren’t really walking on it anyway. It warms up the space and spills are easily wiped up and they are inexpensive.

  45. Amazing!! So inspiring! Where can I find the round mirror in the dining room?

  46. Beautiful! What a wonderful way to share. 💜💙💚💛🧡❤️

  47. I love it!! I know you shopped your storage space, but would you do a “Get the Look” and share sources for some of the items you did buy? Also, the new carpet looks great!!

  48. Love this.

    More of these, please!

  49. I love this! Home design can feel frivolous sometimes, but you’re so right about the link to self-image and being in a good mental/emotional state. I hope this gives their family the boost they deserve.

  50. This is incredible! I just love you and your team for doing this! I’m kind of emotional after watching this video but I want you to know that things like this are what we need as a society and country and we rarely see it: strangers who have something they can contribute giving something to people who are struggling. What an amazing country we would be if we all lived this way. Thanks so much for doing this guys!

  51. Love this in every way! More please!!! Any chance you can share sources? This is a new favorite makeover in more ways than one 🙂

  52. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! And, I loved that it was really only a “tweak” on the ideas she already had.

  53. This is so great! I loved seeing a lower-cost makeover that used a lot of her existing furniture. Will you add links to the things that can be purchased? I’m particularly interested in the desk — I’ve been looking for a streamlined desk with lots of storage.

    1. I’m pretty sure that the drawer units of the desk are from Ikea, I’ve bought a similar piece for my own place. I’d imagine that the top of the desk is also from Ikea, just resting on top of the two drawer units. Hope that helps!

      1. they are ikea. we were rushing to get it up, but we’ll go back and link! sorry about that 🙂

  54. More! More! More! This made me tear up and the space is so beautiful. Bravo!

  55. Such a fun and feel-good post. Love it!!!

  56. So inspiring! Could you link some of the pieces that you used? Would love to know about the shades and that bench under the window especially!

    1. + 1 looking for the bench source. Love the post!

      1. Such a great feel-good post! I am looking for bench source as well.

  57. Love this! It would go against my instinct to pull longer curtains in exchange for Roman blinds (or no treatments in the dining room).

    What made you go this route? Are there certain spaces where long curtains don’t work as well?

  58. This is beautiful, by far one of my favorite features you have done to date. Please keep these up! Let us readers know if there’s any way to help! Maybe a slush fund to give the family a little boost? There are many of us out here that don’t have your talent or influence that would love to share in this!

    1. I was thinking local followers could help if they put a call out for good condition pieces that could be used in these makeovers. If I were local, I’d rather give a piece of furniture away for something like this than deal with buy/sell/trade listings for the measly profit. Eventually, her stash of stuff in storage is going to run out and LA-local followers could help her team refill it!

      1. I agree! We just moved I have some cute pieces that I had to replace because they won’t fit or aren’t quite right in the new space. I’d totally donate them for something like this!

        1. thats a great idea. how’d we manage it is another story but yes, a GREAT idea. xx

  59. Beautiful! I would LOVE to hear more about Emily Henderson approved carpet!!

  60. This practical little makeover has so much heart. I love that she now wants to host a holiday party — I think you’re so correct about house pride adding up to so much more than just a pretty home, it’s self esteem, a feeling of calm and organization, and joy at home. Please do more of these!

  61. Completely fabulous! Would love the source for everything you bought.

  62. What a fantastic use of your skills and platform. Plus, the rooms look gorgeous!

  63. This is my favorite thing ever! Why am I crying? Because I’m looking at those kids faces…

  64. This is so great! PLEASE do more of these! One tiny piece of feedback – I was uncomfortable at the beginning of this video thinking of this woman who had no idea you were coming and basically had no choice but to let you take over her space. Could she have said no??? It’s not like this was a fake reality show where the people actually sign up to have their space re-done.

    After I watched the video I scrolled down and read the part where you wrote “[she] gave us carte blanche to do whatever we wanted with the space. The only thing she loved was the sailor painting (a family heirloom), which we loved, too. Other than that we knew we’d keep the sofa, but had freedom with the rest of the pieces.” I wish some of those discussions between you and her had been shown at the beginning of the video (like 15-20 seconds worth). I would have felt more comfortable watching the rest of the video knowing that she was on board and knowing what her boundaries were.

    The rest of the post & video were super great!!!

    1. I totally understand that. she knew she was nominated, but she thought she hadn’t won. so i knew she wanted it. the element of surprise was so key for both of us. xx

      1. This is great to know. Maybe even adding something that says the person must have consented to be nominated? Being surprised to have won is a great happy thing, whereas being surprised that it’s happening at all can be more of a shock than a surprise. Really great work.

  65. Can you provide a link/source for the carpet? This made me rethink my adversion to carpet! Looks great!

    1. Really really cool to do something like this. I can not even imagine being a solo mom of 4.

      P.S. I love that you have holes in your socks 🙂

      1. Ha! Celebrities…they’re just like us! (wait, did the hole get cropped out of the still shot?! that would be sad)

    2. Yes, please! We have carpet in our bedrooms that we are wanting to replace. Thanks!

  66. Love this!!! Such useful information for those with limited budgets + feel good vibes = a winwin!

  67. YES YES YES!!!! This is so heartwarming and why we all come to read your blog! Great job and this family totally deserved this!

  68. Beautiful job on this makeover and on a budget!! Not only is the content heartwarming, I love seeing how well you can pull something together on a budget!!!

  69. Please do more of these. I LOVE the fact that this was a single mom. This made my day! Thank y’all!

  70. this was brilliant! very moving and so lovely to see what you can accomplish in a ‘real’ home. really enjoyed this! please do more!!!

  71. This is lovely! I would also love to know where the rug is from, if not from your storage!

    1. the dining rug is from ikea 🙂

  72. Love love love. And this is why you’re my favorite.

  73. I’m not crying, you’re crying!

    Seriously, I started crying as soon as she opened the door. This is one of my favorite posts of yours ever, from the intentions to the real life design decisions to the alternative things you could have done. Would love a follow up get the look post (and kind of like that you didn’t include any of it in this one!)…and also a great designer for my own home who knows how to do just this haha. Lately I’ve been feeling like the only way to make my home look put together is to spend a lot of money on beautiful expensive new items, and this reminded me that’s not the case!

  74. Such a sweet family! I love the changes you made.
    I asked a lot of questions about the carpet on instagram, and you def answered all those questions here. I also like the subtitles on the video–very helpful.
    I love the family’s reaction–as you said, on *that* tv station, the family is always like, “Woo hoo!”–screaming in a way that to me is not authentic.
    So one question that kept nagging me is, WHERE did you get your sweater? I love it. I loved your whole outfit and thought you looked great, as did your whole team.

  75. This is WONDERFUL. What a beautiful gift for Christmas time. So kind of you all!

  76. Love this so much! Thank you for sharing!

  77. This is so wonderful! It is incredible what you were able to achieve in one day but it also feels obtainable and inspiring for us non-decorator decorators.

    Such a great idea!

  78. What a gift! Is it humanly possible to watch this video without crying? Well done!

  79. I LOVE this!!!!! What a wonderful way to give back and use your platform for good. The rooms turned out so bright and happy! I can’t stop tearing up. More of these would be amazing!

  80. Love it! It’s also a great way to show readers more “attainable” looks again. Reading this inspires me to make some small easy changes in my house

  81. Emily Henderson!
    You were put on this earth to do THIS!!!!
    Please don’t stop!


  83. Love everything about this! Exactly what design is about – helping people live better. It’s why I’m an interior designer too. Thank you for taking the time and expense to transform this space – it’s clearly means so much to this deserving family!

  84. I love everything about this makeover – the fact that it makes such a difference for a deserving family, the design itself, the affordability for us to recreate, and that it made you and your team so happy. Please do more of this!

  85. It’s pretty fun to see what you guys can do without a budget (or minimal anyway, plus some pretty sweet gifts from Emily’s stash), but since these makeovers are gonna be a regular thing now 🙂 I think it’d be great to incorporate some of the sponsored/gifted content….why should just the already wealthy benefit from Frigidaire, Article, Kohler, etc.? It’s just something to consider in the future. This was so heartwarming – – cheers and happy holidays to you and your team!

  86. Emily, please make this a regular feature! It doesn’t have to be deserving people (although that would be great), just working/middle class people in the LA area using items that are easily accessible (Target, Craigslist, Ikea, etc.). Even better if they give you $1k, 2k, $5k and you talk about how best to spend it. You could even walk them through it like a mini Secrets of a Stylist (which I really miss). Obviously, not with as much post production as an HGTV show but my point is I’d love more of this to balance out the high end stuff you do like the Mt. House and your house. That mix would make me a regular reader again.

  87. I loved this blog!! Just loved it! Very unexpected and it was lovely to see what you can do with someone’s space! Wish you could do this in Northern CA!!

  88. Love this SO much! Followed the entire process with such anticipation and joy for this well-deserving mama and her precious family. Please do more of these! Thank you for using your platform for good. Way to go, EHD team…and happy holidays.

  89. Not only did you do something really cool for someone who deserved it, I absolutely adore these re-dos on a budget. I have LONG enjoyed reading your blog and following your work, but as things get much higher end with $100,000+ kitchens and $25,000+ bathrooms, it has become less doable for your longtime readers / fans. I love the variety!

  90. While I obviously don’t know you personally, my heart feels happy for you. You took a moment to pause over the summer, to reflect on priorities, and then set out to do exactly what you wanted! What a fulfilling project for everyone involved; you, this well-deserving mama and all of us readers!

    Can you please provide coffee table source? I’m inspired to add this affordable piece to my home. Thanks so much!

  91. Oh, forgot to ask – will you share sources? I love the dining room rug and the roman shades.

  92. Great job, everyone! It is so touching that you can do what you love and have such a positive impact on your neighbors while you do it. All the best to you and I know the family loves their new spaces!

  93. Brought tears to my eyes sitting here at work reading this. MORE OF THIS!!!!! Well done. This was very enjoyable to read, great inspo shots, I will go back up and pin a bunch. I love this. Great job, great style, great inspo and great heart.

  94. Such a great feel good post! I don’t have a family to nominate, but maybe you could pick one who lost everything in the recent CA fires and doesn’t have the means to refurnish their new home?


  95. Love this series!!!! What a wonderful team you lead! Keep more of these coming – they’re my absolute favorite! Love seeing improvements people can quickly and easily make in their own home (while on a budget). Myself included 🙂

  96. I am here for this! Would love to see a round-up of the pieces you sourced and used, and would be so happy to see more of these in the future. As another commenter put it, your homes for inspirational content and reader homes for real life content!

  97. Love this! Will you be sharing sources?

  98. LOVED this sweet makeover! I am wiping away some tears. Would love to see more makeovers like this in the future! Emily and team, thanks for putting some more kindness into our world!

  99. This is soooo awesome!!! I cried. As a single mom with 2 kids now grown, making where ever we lived “home” was my priority. Keep doing this, it is amazing, you and your team are amazing. What you did just completely transformed that beautiful families’ life!

  100. I just have to add to the wellspring of people saying they loved this content. I love it. Love it. Love it. I keep choking back tears just thinking about it. I hope you do lots more content like this. 🙂

  101. I love EVERYTHING about this! The “real-life” aspect of it is relevant to so many of us, and obviously it’s extremely heart-warming to see. I would love to see more of this mixed in with your editorial content!!

  102. Beautiful! Love this – not only are you spreading good vibes and helping people out, but it helps readers with “real” houses like this understand what changes can make big impacts in their space!! yasss

    1. Tears to my eyes! And just in time for Christmas! More of these and go Emily and team!!!!

  103. Lovely! Useful and relatable- more please!

  104. Loved this post, great job! So happy that they are happy!

  105. Looks so amazing!! The new carpet made SUCH a difference! Curious if you also painted?

  106. All the feels! Love the concept and how everything turned out. Amazing job team EHD! And excellent video, Brian.

  107. Great work! I really enjoy interior design makeover posts. I’d love to see more of them in the future!

  108. This was amazing! Way to go Emily and team!

  109. Can you link to the pillows and blankets? I have this couch and am looking for the perfect combo. Love these!

    1. Where is the sofa from?? I love it!!

  110. I love this concept SO much. Please do more of these. It’s a win for someone deserving and a win for your readers to get tips on easy, inexpensive ways to freshen a space. And if you’re ever in Louisville, Kentucky……. 🙂

  111. Amazing! I totally cried. I’d love to see more like this!

  112. This is amazing! Definitely should do more of these. I’m sure to make it a regular feature there are many readers who would help in some way

  113. Way to live your values. What a joyful post. Thank you.

  114. love this! where did you get the lazy susan on the dining room table?

  115. How wonderful! I loved this…yes, please keep the happiness and service going.

  116. This is amazing! Can you do a “get the look”?

  117. Absolutely fun to read and see the outcome. The family looks so excited and proud. Way to go guys!!!

  118. The ultimate win-win post. I love seeing a (deserving) reader so happy and I personally love seeing how quickly a space can be updated and upgraded without 2 years and an endless budget. Also, there’s something about fresh eyes in your own space that can have such an impact in seeing possibilities for improvement where you, as the dweller, just can’t. Thank you for doing this. Also, those are some seriously cute kids!!

  119. I agree… single moms deserve their own holiday! What an amazing gift for her and her sons.

  120. I love it so much! So lovely and it seems so doable.

  121. LOVE THIS POST!!! SO inspiring to see you guys help someone freshen up their space, love the speed and affordability of the resources you used, and loved the outcome! So doable and great ideas for “average budgets.” Would LOVE To see more!!

  122. Love this so, so much. What an incredible gift to be able to give – you changed this family’s life bringing more peace and joy into their home. Seems like a much better reflection of how awesome they seem to be. Thanks for doing this, for sharing it… and please do more like this 🙂 I’ve been following since Design Star and this is one of my favorite posts in a long time! xo

  123. Love it, well done! 🙂 Inspiring on a super realistic level.

  124. Yes! Keep doing these! Love love love 💕

  125. You guys are amazing! Nicely done.

  126. Tears in my eyes. I’m so happy for them! She is a rock star for raising these kids on her own. I have young boys, and the part mentioning that the 10-year-old boy got tears in his eyes really got to me. His tender heart is so sweet.

    It’s also so nice (for me, more of a low-budget shopper) to see these realistic and money-saving design decisions (IKEA chairs, reusing certain things)!! I also like seeing how small changes and details (like hiding office supplies in a closed cabinet, removing the frame from a picture) make a difference. I plan to use this post for inspiration!

  127. Could there be a better way for you and your team to share your gift? I don’t think so. Bravo!!

  128. LOVE posts like this!

  129. Keep this us TEAM! I know it takes a lot of effort and coordination but this type of love and service to another human being is what makes the world go round!

  130. Love this so much! Hope you will do more of them. For me it would represent the best of EHD. ❤️❤️

  131. I saw requests for sources of the Roman shades and carpet, but will you link sources for EVERYTHING?! Like, can you make a “Get the Look” for these Flash Makeovers, too? As everyone keeps mentioning, it’s so nice to see options from ‘more affordable’ retailers. I wanna click and buy from all of THOSE links!

  132. So cool. It’s so amazing what a few small changes can do.

  133. love it! would love more of these! they add a nice flavor when combines with all the other great, interesting things you do!

  134. I love this! I hope you do more of these quicker makeovers along with the dreamy houses! ❤️

  135. I loved this so much!

  136. This is wonderful. Kudos, team!

  137. This is so so fantastic! I love the before and after, but what is even better is the gift you all gave to this adorable family. So amazing.

    In addition to lots more of these (I would even donate to this as a cause), how about a post where Sara shares tips on how to photograph interiors? Obviously, we are not going to be professional photographers, but it would be so great to know how to take some decent photos for small interior projects on small budgets to share with #showemyourstyle…

  138. Love the floor lamps – so much better than the one she had before (which I also am guilty of having!) Can you link those?

  139. I hope this becomes a series! My favorite post I’ve read on here in quite a while!!! 🙂

  140. i never comment on posts really anywhere, but i just want to say how much i love this content. i also really love that it wasn’t sponsored. (I know that everyone runs a business and sponsored content is the name of the game) but its so refreshing to see your honest real-life design on a budget without the influence of a brand. i love the family’s reaction and that they already had a clean and organized space that could use a little something extra. not the typical made for tv super dramatic makeover. I also loved the commentary about what you did, why you did it, and how you kinda wish you did some things different but why you didn’t. I learned a lot, smiled a lot, and cried a little. Thank you!

  141. what a wonderful post.!! Amazing to see this real life makeover.

  142. AWESOME job….YES please keep doing these flash makeovers…I LOVED watching on IG (especially Live, that was fun)…I waited in anticipation to read the blog when ready…like a little early xmas present to me 🙂 Thank you and keep up the good work!

  143. Yay! This is so wonderful. I love that you use your platform and resources in this way. More flash makeovers please! Her home looks beautiful!

  144. crying eye emoji and heart eyes emoji

  145. LOVE THIS! Totally crying, YES.

    Also I too would love a Get the Look round-up—dying to know source for dining room ceiling fan. All the fans in my house look like the Before picture!

  146. This is fantastic! Keep them coming!!!

  147. I really didn’t think there would be too many situations where reading this blog would leave me happy (or otherwise) crying at my desk at work (maybe the tree posts?!? And definitely some sweet ones about your marriage or love for your kids — okay maybe I’m just emotional) but the makeover last year made me full-on weep and this one has me so so so happy too!!! Emily (and team) — thank you so much for modeling the kind of behavior you want to see in the world, and for using the things that come so naturally to you to do so much good. I’ve been a daily reader for something like 5+ years now and have loved watching your work and style evolve, but seeing this pictures is such a good reminder of how good of a person you are and how talented you and your team are and what a huge difference it makes in people’s lives!!! I am such a firm believer in your space reflecting how you feel, and I love this makeover so much. PLEASE, more of this!!!!! I love it! I will comment 50 times about it! (not really, but seriously — I love it that much) Thank you guys so much for this.

  148. Well, shoot. This was just the best. Please keep these coming! They are inspiring, attainable, and moving. High fives all around.

  149. Slightly sad you guys weren’t able to put in baseboard since my eye kept being drawn to that although I know that might have been a bigger project. This is so lovely and looks amazing! I remember how much Emily agonized over those dining chairs for her own home so it’s particularly heartwarming to see them gifted here. Shocked that the dining rug is IKEA—it looks so good here! Very curious about the living room rug and what it looked like. Great work, team!

  150. This was a wonderful post and I love what you did to the space and I love what you did for the family. I am glad it was not sponsored and you used your extra pieces and shopped for it. Beautiful post!

  151. I found you….a few years ago I watched you on TLC, back in Europe (I am not an American) and now we are living in China and found your blog. Glad to see you again….I know how to fold towels because of you. Thank you and keep the good work going! Merry Christmas! 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

  152. Great!

  153. I loved this post. What I really enjoy too is your voice and down to earth nature (ie not leaving a mom of 4 with a white rug but giving her the her big navy one to add under th sofa). Your style is gorgeous and I’ve never seen a picture I didn’t like!

  154. Would love to get some links to the things you bought from big-box stores to steal ideas from the look (plus then we could literally be supporting the makeovers, too)

  155. Love the story. Love the content. Love the makeover. Love. Love. Love.

  156. I love this! I love the heart behind it and I agree with others… MORE of this please!

  157. You’ve got a big heart to go with your big talent! Love this!

  158. You’ve got a big heart to go with your big talent! Love this!

  159. That was my favorite design post of the year!! I agree that the condition of your residence can really make such a difference in your mood. Well done!

    1. I felt the lightness of heart in the family and it made me realize how simple transformations can deeply affect our lives. The space we are in definitely affects the mood. Emily & Team — you guys are heroes with huge hearts. Yay!

  160. This was amazing! Loved everything!

  161. Oh this is SO good!! I cried from beginning to end—love, love, loved it. PLEASE do more of these whenever you can! 🙂 Bless you, Emily & your entire team! (And this marvelous family & Amanda, too!)

  162. This is the best!!! Love what y’all did 💙

  163. Fantastic. This was so fun to read about and watch. What a great gift you have given and even more importantly, what a great example to all of us on how to use our specific talents to help others. Each of us have unique gifts and we can make the world a better place, like Emily and her team did, by using our talents/gifts to help others. Loved this article so much.

  164. This is my favorite! Please, please keep doing these. Show me your houses and these flash makeovers!

  165. This was so great! And I enjoyed the design. I really wish we could see what the couch would look like with the area rug under it. Every room should have a rug.

  166. Love this SO much! Not just the physical transformation of the space, which is is beautiful and so thoughtfully done, but that you did this for this deserving, hardworking mom and her sweet kids. Like so many others I watched the video reveal with tears streaming. You’re a good egg, Emily Von Henderson. Please do more of these. So good!

  167. I am absolutely honored and feel so blessed for being chosen for the makeover. I can’t thank Emily H. , Velinda, Emily B., Michael, Grace, Brian, and Steve enough for their hardwork, time, and impeccable design. And last but not least my dear friend Amanda.
    If you read the blog post, Emily talks about your surroundings as it relates to mental health. I struggled for many years from depression, as raising my four children on my own was overwhelming. Amanda knew that I (and in extension my children) needed that extra push to feel good inside our home. Much like the before pictures, my mental state felt broken, stained, and disheveled. I have worked diligently this past year to create positive change in my mental wellbeing. Exercise, eating well, and meditation was the beginning of the positive behaviors that changed my life for the better. But…by far the most important wellness idea came from my lovely Amanda. She introduced me to Hygge. It is best translated as a feeling of warmth and coziness. We practice it regularly. We make time for each other to talk over a cup of tea. The impact of our time together raised my spirits and helped me break through my depression. Now the after shots of my home, finally reflects how I feel on the inside. Having this makeover ties together the huge change in my life. I have a space that the kids and I feel comfortable and happy to walk into everyday.
    Having a clean organized space is inspiring. Not everyone receives the amazing gift of a professional design team to come fix up their home. However, I do encourage others to do as Emily stated and pass along this great feeling. Find a friend that needs a hand. Make a fun day of organizing, looking at all the past bad choices in design, laugh, purge, and have some Hygge.

    1. Congratulations on winning this competition! Emily and her team did an amazing job and it is such a happy outcome, when you really needed it! I know it was just a quick video but your children look like such sweet, delightful kids. Friends like Amanda are also treasures. I am so thrilled that you and the kids and Amanda have each other, and that your space is now a wonderful place to spend time.

    2. Congratulations on your huge, hard work for your wellness and for your family! Thanks for what you are investing into your beautiful children (our future). Thanks for being open and sharing and being an inspiration. You deserve so much!
      Thanks, Amanda and Emily and team for this BIG gift! I’m touched and inspired. Thanks, kids, for taking your socks off. Ha!

  168. These types of makeovers are my fave! For a while my sister was doing this for people in her community, and she called it “room to breathe”. More please!

  169. Bravo. Love this so much. Beautiful and so meaningful!

  170. Yes! This is exactly what I’ve been craving.
    Love the portrait without its frame

  171. So so wonderful!!!!! Keep up the beautiful SOUL-FULL work.

  172. Wow, job well done team EHD! Like a lot of others, I super appreciate these kinds of make-overs. I understand the need for and appeal of the higher-end design content, but this is accessible and helpful for so many of us. I know you often do budget “get the look” type posts, but to see it all come together in an actual, modest living space using some pre-existing pieces is helpful in a way a staged shoot or mood board isn’t for some reason. You all did a beautiful job!

    P.S. Velinda, I was team no-bangs, but they look really great on you!

  173. I loved the transformation that you and your team were able to make! ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL ✨You were really a blessing to this hard working single mom and her kiddos. I really hope that you guys can get sponsors and funding to keep this thing going ♥️

  174. Great job! I love this please do it again.

  175. Crying at work at 8am! For the best reasons possible. Awesome job, amazing work, love seeing the subtle changes you chose to make, that ended up making such a huge impact in photos and in real life!

  176. Love love love. Seeing realistic changes that we can all make, using sources that we can afford, is priceless. I love your house and the mountain house and the portland project etc for aesthetic value, but love having this in the mix for practical purposes. A request, though – can you edit the before pictures the same way you edit the afters? I believe that the afters have more light, but could it really be THAT much more to make it look like an entirely different couch? I’d love to see a more realistic comparison in the before and afters. Keep being awesome, EHD team!

    1. I totally agree with this. The space looks so great and I appreciate all the small changes (taking the sailor out of the frame! makes all the difference!) But the way-different lighting is tricking my brain into thinking the house now has the most luxurious feature of them all: abundant natural light.

  177. LOVE!!!!! Do more of these please!! This is so special and really such a big part of what makes the world go round!!

  178. I’m a long time reader and this is absolutely my favourite kind of post! So many reasons: the joy it brings to a sweet family in need, the budget-friendly design, satisfying before/after shots and short project timeline. Great job and thank you so much for your awesome blog. xox

  179. Amazing! Made me cry and so happy for this deserving mom and grateful for you team and their generosity. All the best! Xo

  180. Love the new desk chair! Was this a budget find? Can you share where it’s from please?!

  181. Gosh, this is wonderful. Love seeing things I can use in my house right away!

  182. I love this! It’s so sweet that you’re able to help a very busy mom who doesn’t have time to spare for her home. I also love seeing the huge impact that such small, manageable changes can have!

  183. Please can you link the lamps and the bench, as well as the vase in dining room? Thank you!

  184. Love this!! What a great space for this family!
    And thanks for the good reminder to always pay it forward. 🙂

  185. I loved this so much! Please do more! Echoing what others have said about how relatable it is… and it just made me feel good to watch! The cabinet next to the desk – is there a source for it? Love that idea for hiding the printer… whenever I see desks on IG I wonder where all the ugly but necessary cords and printers and wi-fi routers are hidden. I also really love her sofa! Great job, your team should be proud!!

  186. Love it! So generous of you and your team to share your talents and resources! Happy Holidays! Keep it up!

  187. It was very nice to see how genuinely thrilled you were, Emily, at this transformation. One of the things I usually don’t like about so many filmed “makeovers” is the judgement of the person’s “before,” and you had none of that here. Just genuine excitement to do something nice. Well done.

  188. This is so wonderful…and I know it’s gratifying for you to give a family a boost with a lovely home. Nice job.

  189. I never comment but follow along and I have to say this is my favorite post!! As a much smaller influencer, I still believe it’s part of our jobs to make a difference and to give to others. The fact that you are using your platform to do makeovers like this is amazing and makes me like EHD even more. Keep them coming in 2019!! Cheers!

  190. Well done, all! I’m glad this made you and Liz so happy, because that might mean more makeovers and post like this, which obviously make your readers happy.

    Off topic but SO important: that sweater! Orange with striped sleeves. Love love love love love and is it available or is it a custom one-off bit of perfection?

  191. I just watched this on my “lunch break” at work and it made me sooooo happy! Keep doing these! I love the mission, but I also loved seeing truly affordable pieces styled out so well!

  192. MORE OF THIS!!!

  193. Yay! This post made me so happy. Cheers to you and your team, Emily! Please keep doing these posts!!!!

  194. YES!!! I love everything about this makeover – the fact that it was a surprise for a deserving mom, the budget-friendliness of it, and how beautiful everything looks with small changes. Fantastic! Please do more of these!

    Also, can you please do a post on choosing wall-to-wall carpet when you have to? I like the look of what you chose here, and I’m in a situation that requires wall-to-wall, even though I’d prefer something else. Thank you!

  195. IKEA is having production issues with the wooden frames, I was told they may be restocked on the New Year or maybe never. Sigh, such a good inexpensive option.

  196. What a beautiful family! And what a lovely thing to do. Love the design and love that your team is putting more goodness out into the world.

  197. Just another person logging on to say that this is fantastic! I can’t wait to see more of these in the future. I echo many of the other comments here about how relatable these makeovers are for our own homes. I can’t wait to use this as inspiration. Most importantly, I am so thrilled for her!

  198. I have followed you for YEARS, not creepy promise, but I’ve followed your work and career since Secrets of a Stylist and especially love this post! I never ever comment on blogs but I had to let you know that I think this is awesome and would love to see more projects and content like this 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  199. Makeovers are cool. A WOW transformation moment that we know you’re capable of. But I was most moved by the meaningful things you did like add captain chairs for comfort, admitting you thought all black would be more appealing visually and leaving a blue rug for the living room to reduce mess stress.
    Secondly I can’t believe the difference it made getting the curtains off the floor. In the before picture you can’t even see the available depth and adding that bench works so well.

  200. This is my favorite post ever! You and your team did such a wonderful job for this sweet family. I would LOVE to see more like this, in addition to the lovely, aspirational design you’re so well known for.

  201. This is awesome. Yes please. Do more of this! Plus it’s totally relate-able — I love your Mountain house and the Portland House, but let’s be honest — my home looks more like this one 🙂

  202. Looks amazing, I just really wish there was a link to those lamps.

  203. Oh man, so powerful! Also brought tears to my eyes. Such a great thing you guys did. Time to do a new show… “Feel Good, flash makeover.”

  204. Amazing! I’m looking to spruce up my living room and dining room on a budget and you’ve given me some great ideas. Plus I love that you did this for a single mom. Gives me all the feels. Just now discovering your blog/site. Where have you been all my life?? Xoxo

  205. This is so good! In a previous post by Orlando, when referring to the makeovers he was doing in his parents home, he touched on how much waste can be created with home renos and keeping up with design trends. I love that you were able to keep useable and meaningful pieces and source from your own storage locker and the flea market as well.
    At a time of year that is so loaded with expectations, I am so thrilled to see you and your team giving back to someone who wasn’t asking for anything. So inspiring! My cup has been filled!
    Also, we’ll done Brian… the person behind the camera often goes unnoticed (although Emily always sings your praises).

  206. Love this so much! This made me cry when I saw it in Instagram Stories. Please do more of these! Also, will you be sharing a more detailed source post? And happy holidays Emily!

  207. What a lovely thing to do. It’s so refreshing to see people doing good, heartfelt things for others. Bravo.

  208. I LOVE wall-to-wall carpet! There. I said it…

  209. So beautiful and a million and one great ideas! Excellent job!!!

  210. I love this so much more than any of the other updates or makeovers you’ve done just because I know this was all for a hard working mama and her family to enjoy. I shop at target much more than I ever did prior to reading some makeovers on your blog where you raved about the generosity of target as a company and overall how much the company cares about people. I want to support companies who support giving back and help others give back and ultimately make paying it forward a little more contagious. I hope other companies start donating product for things like this rather than just giving it away to another blogger or paying some blogger to promote the product. The best marketing is genuine generosity to someone or something without the primary purpose being product promotion. I’m far more inclined to buy and support companies and their merchandise when I see it shown in a makeover Or something similar to this with giving back as the primary goal, not selling the product. Just my two sense… Emily, thank you for being one of the few who give back and help others whenever possible. Keep doing you, girl.

  211. This is so great!!! I loved that the designers used most of what the homeowner already had and simply refreshed a few points in the home. Bravo!

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