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A VERY Exciting LA Update: Our Kids’ Shared Bedroom (Vintage, Pattern, Tassels and a Red Zebra Rug???)


The timing of life is just so funny. I FINALLY get around to making their shared room actually cute, and then BOOM the world says guess again. While we are living up in the mountains for the foreseeable future, the kid’s room is still underway – kinda. Julie and her boyfriend are now house-sitting (this was their situation prior) and in the name of keeping projects moving, Julie has continued the design process that was already planned (where possible). So here is a fun update post – and while I haven’t seen it in person myself, there are some new elements that I’m super excited to show you. Here is a little video of me talking “the journey” of this little room:

Now if you’ve been following along you’ll know that the theme of this room was supposed to be “GO TO SLEEP” with everything super calm and moody, not a lot of excitement or pattern. The accent color was “PLEASE SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT”. But then I did a 180 (because they finally started doing that at the ripe ages of 3 and 5) so I shifted, as it wasn’t really the need any longer. I decided to make it fun and weird and a real experience, a room where when you walked in you had a jolt of excitement. So now we have color, pattern and whimsy – but hopefully in a timeless way that can still grow with them.

The Before(s) – It’s Been a Real Journey…

Three years ago when we moved in, it looked like that – green on the bottom and what looks to be gray on top. I never liked it, it felt like school colors and dated. Obviously, that room wasn’t done in any way, and with the pressure of the Real Simple house shoot, I decided to put up beadboard on the bottom half instead, and paint the top a cute blue (which I do still like).

OMG, that’s when I had two babies in cribs. Below was the first reveal for the magazine and it was cute. I was battling what I felt was an 80’s kids bedroom vibe, and not in a cool postmodern way. I like everything in this room, but I just didn’t feel it was right.

What helped it feel modern is the blue lampshade (one of my all-time favorite lamps), the accordion sconce (still love) and the vintage side table (still love) but it still felt kinda dated to me. My mistake with doing a basic 2″ cheap beadboard and only doing 1/2 way up (more modern would have been wider – like a 3″ V-groove and going further up). The reason I didn’t do that in the first place was to save money on labor. The chair rail moulding dead-ended into the window and door frames and they had already spent so much time making those connections look seamless and good (and you can’t buy the original molding anymore). That sounds confusing but know that ripping it down and putting up higher molding and thicker molding would have looked messy where it met the door and window frames AND it would have been thicker than the baseboard so I would have had to replace the baseboard. So to try to make it work we installed the thinnest (and most basic) beadboard panels in between the base and the middle chair rail. It just ended up looking SO BORING.

There were a lot of cute elements that I wanted to keep, but when the kids moved in together I had an excuse to rethink it altogether.

The Kids Moved In Together

Beautiful. Trying to get two twin beds in here, in a way that let us still read to them at the same time (I don’t know why this was such a sticking point for us) was HARD. For a while it looked like that, above, which is a true representation of the “cobblers kids without shoes” syndrome. Obviously the other mattress usually had sheets on it – I’m not a monster. But this configuration didn’t last long because you see Birdie (who slept on the bed with bedding) is a classic “sleep thrasher” and would move horizontally in her sleep and somehow kick Charlie in the face, consistently. This did not help our “GO TO SLEEP and SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGTH” theme. No.

Down Goes The Beadboard

I realized that one of my biggest mistakes was not just embracing the beautiful ORIGINAL plaster walls and letting the architecture of the doors be a feature. Silly me. Way to over-design a space, former Emily.

So we took down the beadboard (where the green is up there) and since we had to paint anyway but I still didn’t know what direction I really wanted to go I just went to white to give it a blank slate (yes, this was a waste of time and money, but sometimes the process is just getting it back to nothing so you can really see clearly before choosing something else that would ALSO be a mistake).

Where To Go Next Stylewise??

Then I started to find my inspiration – the Eccentric English Grandma vibe, but for kids – Eccentric English Grandkid? Maybe, but it doesn’t have the same risky vibe. This image below was super exciting to me and the kids fell in love with the idea of doing this canopy.

I found the Zak and Fox fabric first and while nervous to commit said to myself, “Emily Henderson you will never get sick of a hand-embroidered blue and white broken stripe – JUST DO IT.” So I ordered the fabric and months went by before I had pulled together the rest of the room.

Finally, I had time to shop and design (I did this on Saturday mornings) and chose that green fabric from Maresca Textiles as the accent color. It was hard to not choose red. I REALLY want red in there but blue/red/white has obvious 4th of July connotations and while I love ‘Merica we don’t need that to be the theme (plus that is kinda ’80s in its own way – not patriotism, but the color scheme).

So I did what all internet famous designers do – I used bright green tape to adhere the fabric to the wall, making sure to tape out the shape of the oval headboards in FRONT of fabric (on the right). This is process, guys and if you think a drawing would give me a better idea, you are wrong. Tape is your friend and actually playing with what you have helps.

BEAUTIFUL. Time to shop, and I wanted a lot of vintage.

On one trip to a thrift store in Pasadena, I found both that rug and that quilt. Now, the rug is technically too small to be the only rug in the room but it was a GREAT deal (it was $150 for a 5’x7′) and the quilt was around the same. Of course, later I found the Pottery Barn tag on the quilt which I quickly ripped off, took a pill to erase that memory, and instead told myself the better story – that it’s a 100-year-old hand sewn primitive quilt that I unearthed at a thrift store like the treasure hunter I am. (This is not the first nor last time I’ll accidentally find something at the flea market/thrift store that I think is a 100-year-old french relic, but turns out it’s from Home Goods).

Next, I found this AMAZING mirror at MidcenturyLA (in the back of the warehouse, covered in dust) and that school desk in my neighborhood on Craigslist. I debated for almost a year what to do with that corner niche, it’s awkward and I really just wish it were a straight wall but the window doesn’t allow that (during renovation we should have done something different, but we didn’t). It seemed like such an opportunity to do something fun in that corner (a fort! a hanging chair! a climbing wall!), but ultimately Charlie said he really wanted a desk to do his homework and you don’t say no to that. My hanging chair would be cute, but I feared it wouldn’t really be used or it would be fought over (not enough space to make it a 2-seater). I kinda like how the desk comes out of the corner in a sculptural way and really engages the corner. I might decide to paint the base at a later date.

The Initial Design Plan

The mood board was starting to look good, if not a bit CRAZY but that’s just fine right now. I loved bringing in that green bookcase in there (and worked with our Maresca green fabric).

About a week before the world took a turn, we had our professional sewer, Michael Yale (is that how you say someone who sews? seems very wrong) come over and we measured exactly where this canopy would go so it would be sewn precisely. He took the fabric and got to work while Julie and I headed down to the fabric district and found like 19 different fringe options that I fell in love with for the front of the canopy. YOU GUYS I LOVE FRINGE SO MUCH. Ribbon, Trim, piping – I LOVE it.

I wanted something super playful but Julie didn’t want me to accidentally go “circus” and over design it (the usual “protect your boss from herself” role). So we found this blue fringe (not shown, see below) that I LOVE (playful but within a safe tone) and used mustard velvet piping along the side because mustard with blue is one of my absolute favorite color combos.

Meanwhile, we were leaving for the weekend (about a month ago) and I realized that the walls were too stark, too high contrast with all the bright primary colors. It was feeling more “bright poppy bloggy” and I wanted it to fee more warm old world. We needed to reduce the contrast between the white walls and the navy/red/green/yellow combo.

I had forgotten about one of my most favorite grays in the world (see this post for others) Sleigh Bells by Benjamin Moore. I used it 3-4 times in Secrets From a Stylist because it was a really lovely gray-blue, that was neither depressing nor “baby”. It’s GOOD you guys. I debated between that and Gray Owl, my other favorite for a while. We had our guys come in and paint (including the ceiling) over the weekend and when I came back we were all so happy – although the kids noted that it kinda looked like the original blue paint color, but what do they know – they are CHILDREN and clearly didn’t inherit all my perfect no-mistake design skills and taste.

What To Do With The Window Treatments??

With the canopy I knew that drapery would be too much vertical hanging fabric in this room, and yet I didn’t want another color or even fabric, so I realized that the way to go would be woven (and backed) blackout shades. “A shade goes up and down not right to left”, a direct quote from this vintage video in 2014. We are working with Decorview this year on window treatments so they came over and we chose this really simple and warm tone natural material that tied in nicely with the wicker headboards and the other wood tones in the room. We chose two wide roman shades with cream blackout lining, outside mount. But then our plan is to hand sew in magnets on the inside of the shades and then glue magnets to the wall to reduce as much light leak as possible (our window frames are too shallow to do inside mount). That sounds crazy I know but just wait – it’s going to work and I’m going to win President of the United States (or Nobel Peace Prize?) for finally figuring out how to get rid of “light leak” with outside mount roman shades. It’s a very specific platform to run on, but one that many moms can relate to.

The Bed Plan

Let’s talk headboards – These cute vintage rounded wicker ones were perfect for our weird bed situation and we found them on Chairish for $400 (if you search in person you can find less expensive, but it still felt affordable and we needed to check that box and now ‘in-person’ feels well… ). Here’s why we chose them: currently (for likely another year at least) the kids will share a bed (two twin beds pushed together) which equals a king bed. This is mostly so we can read/snuggle together as a family for the “3 minutes and only 3 minutes” of laying with them. Spoiler – it’s rarely just 3 minutes because they basically hold me hostage till they fall asleep and by then I’m asleep). It’s HIGHLY cozy, but we know it won’t last forever. So we needed headboards that could look good pushed together – which was hard. It couldn’t be full-size bed frames because the frame would add too much space between the mattresses. I loved the double oval shape and the warmth of the wicker. So right now we have them on their IKEA frames but it’s pretty low so we’ll likely get a taller base like this one that can go from a king to two twins. Then guys – GET THIS – A RUFFLED BED SKIRT. OH, THE HORROR.

I might even make some sort of hanging headboard pillow – I’ve seen these headboards actually upholstered inside the oval frame, which I’m interested in, but it isn’t necessary.

The Pretty Magical Canopy

The Canopy. Oh I’m SO EXCITED about this. Again, I wanted to lean into the ‘Eccentric English Grandma/Grandkid” style but in a really playful way for the kid’s room. So we really went for it. The broken stripe from Zak and Fox in a fabric that I would NEVER get sick of, LOVE, then combined it with the green Maresca Textiles fabric on the front (it’s olive and darker in person – looks light sage here).

Two weeks ago Julie and her boyfriend Sean installed it. We used two brass curtain rods (96″-120″ long and a 1.25″ diameter) – one was placed on the ceiling and the other is right below the curve of the wall lined up with the top of the door frame. And you bet we trimmed it out with that playful blue fringe.

Please note the mustard velvet piping along the side – and NO this is not steamed out yet, don’t worry. OMG. I haven’t seen it in person but I LOVE IT. If you guys need a great seamstress, like Michael Yale, in the Los Angeles area. He does costumes for The Late Late Show with James Corden like this one with Harry Styles and projects similar to ours but not upholstery. We absolutely loved working with him and he is beyond creative.

Before we move on, look at this fun canopy install video. Thanks again to Julie and Sean!

Where We Are Now… And What Is Left??

Okay. Here’s where we are now (thanks Julie and Sean for shooting this!). Now let’s talk about what is working and what isn’t.

Rugs: I love the layered rugs, but not sure these are it. The blue rug is a 9′ x 12′ and too big (you can’t open the door and close the door – BORING). So the options are to A. Shave the bottom of the door so it shuts or B. Get a smaller rug.

Look, you can see in that shot how the door doesn’t clear the rug. But the thing is, to clear the door a rug would have to be like 3′ from the headboard wall, which would shift it very strangely in the room. So I’m not totally sure what we’ll do. To be fair the 9′ x 12′ is too big and is basically wall to wall, so we need small anyway… stay tuned.

I love the red vintage rug, but fear that the quilt is too much with it. Obviously I could lose the red rug and just have a big grounding blue rug but I just love having that quirky red vintage rug in there. Ideally, it would be 8′ x 10′ so I might just skip the red rug altogether and then layer the red zebra rug (see mood board) near the right side of the bed to make the gap that will incur smaller. Gosh, that sounds complicated. Maybe I’ll do a whole overhead rug option post to show you what I’m talking about, with the constrictions. And yes, we talked about doing wall to wall carpet in here which I’m STILL interested in, then layering on top a pretty rug – but for that, we’d still have to shave the door a bit (people do this all the time, it sounds extreme but it’s not).

Window Treatments: Fun fact, the french rods that I love so much have a drawback – you can’t just replace the curtains easily because the rods return into the wall, there’s no bracket just a bend in the rod that connects to the wall. So our painters hung back up the curtains backwards – that’s right and since we are switching them out for shades anyway, we didn’t change them back. Those blackout shades are super affordable and good – such a cute little subtle pattern, go here if you like them. So just as a reminder those white curtains will be horizontal warm woven roman shades.

Art & Lighting: Don’t forget that above the bed we are hanging the silhouettes (or thus is the plan) from the interior curtain rod like the inspiration photo. And then I have the intention of doing an articulating or accordion sconce from the left wall and maybe putting a cute vintage clip light on the right headboard.

The Bookcase: The only storage we really need in this room is for books but finding the right bookcase was a challenge. I have a wood dresser in there, and while I don’t hate mixing woods, it is hard to do it right. I looked for something vintage or antique forever, to paint but getting it to be functional for kids’ books (tall shelves) was hard. So when I found this piece from Crate and Kids, in a moody English green I said, YES. We need green in this room to break up the red/white and blue and it engaged the corner perfectly and added so much storage. It’s more of an investment piece but I know it will transition well even into a living or family room eventually if need be.

The Mirror: Now, I hung that mirror which I TRULY LOVE, but I do fear that the red mirror and the green bookcase are competing over there. It visually feels like a lot and they both deserve a moment. Like my eye is torn which to look at first. I DON’T KNOW. Remember that the backwards white curtain will be a pretty simple woven roman shade, so that will calm that down a bit. I’m obsessed with that mirror and it has to go somewhere, but maybe behind the door next to the dresser? Dunno.

The Dresser: Speaking of the dresser, I went back to this one from Rejuvenation mostly because I like it more than the vintage Heywood Wakefield dresser. Also, that vintage one had too many drawers that made life annoying. This one is smaller in size but is actually more spacious. I have considered putting the one from our master bedroom in here instead, but it would make both clearances of the doors pretty tight – but color and style would be PERFECT and it has more storage. But then I’d have to replace that one, and meanwhile I’d have two EXTRA dressers, which just feels like dresser hoarding (although I could sell it online or give to Pen and Napkin for any of their projects).

I’m not sure what I’m going to put up there above the dresser. Part of me wants to lean the red mirror vertically with safety straps and then add a couple other pieces of art and a maybe some fabric animal heads? Make it a weird eclectic gallery wall including some of those vintage paint by numbers? Or just hang the mirror behind the door? I’ve thought about hanging it horizontally above the dresser but it’s as long as the dresser… so it might look SUPER DUMB (that’s the technical term).

The Bed: Like I said above, I like the idea of raising it a bit because those frames are too low and add a bed skirt. While I love that “handsewn-antique-definitely-NOT-Pottery Barn” quilt, it’s A LOT with the canopy fabrics and the rug so I think it has got to go. Cutest picnic blanket ever. I think I can bring in a red round velvet pillow or lumbar or a red articulating lamp to call it on the red and then keep the mirror somewhere else. I’m not sure what bedding I’ll do here. Oh, we are also switching out the ceiling light fixture to be something smaller and more modern – something that goes away more and lets the canopy be the real star.

So that’s where we are. It’s headed in such a good direction. I actually think this room will be more successful once the twin beds are separated. We designed the canopy to be wide enough to make this work with that small antique chest in the middle. I need to lock down the rug situation, lighting, bedding, art/accessories and install the roman shades. Would LOVE to know your thoughts – what are you loving, what isn’t working (besides what I’ve already outlined). Any and all questions are welcome and usually an outside perspective really helps these things. GO!

Fin Mark


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I love your concept of eccentric English grandma. I feel the proportions are off on the wall hanging somehow, though that might change once nightstands are in. In any event, can’t wait to see finished product! love the green cabinet!


Because the bed is too low

Sherrie Saag

The front part of the canopy hung down lower in the inspiration picture. It looked more balanced. Also – That’s a whole lot of big stripes!


I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!! Its wonderfull, excentric, energetic and yet also cosy and homey. I actually also really love the red mirror and the red carpet right where they are – I think the contrast between mirror and cabinet is nice but because they have spacial distance and the green is a bit more muted the contrast isn’t too stark (or christmas-y) and I love the energetic jolt and ‘history’ that rug gives to the room, especially together with that totally wonderfully bonkers canopy. Also those headbords with the canopy? ugh wooonderful! I think its heading somewhere great, don’t change toooo much 😉
Also how cute is it that Julie and her boyfriend are housesitting for you? I’m jealous! And also curious how it feels to suddenly live in a fancy ‘grown-up house’ that is also your boss’s – future post anyone? 😛
All the best,


Cute room! Your kiddos joint desire to share a room is so sweet. I like the blue rug (which you can get cut smaller and rebound) layered with another rug. While I love the concept of the canopy and the gorgeous inspiration pic, I feel like it didn’t translate well here. Maybe it needs to be less wide, with more breathing room on either side. Maybe the pattern of the interior fabric of the canopy is too bossy. Maybe the walls should have stayed a warm white. I feel like something needs to be lighter (in color) as the room feels dark (but not in a trendy moody way). I would try putting the red mirror across from the window will help to bounce light around. Wood shutters on the windows may have been a nice touch, but I think the shades might be nice as well.


Was wondering why the canopy was so wide but SMART that it’ll work when you separate the beds! Also I LOVE the quilt! It feels eccentric but still geometric, so too much—but in the right way, you know? Thank you for walking us through this!!!!! Love it.


I think you need pattern on the wall to truly knock the look out of the ballpark— the subdued grey is too stark for the whimsy of the rest of the room


Agree, with this – it needs sort of a bohemian contrast or the blue and white with grey almost looks coastal/nautical to me, then gets confusing with the other fun eclectic elements.


Yeah I agree too! Like–go more whimsy! More pattern!


Unfortunately this a no for me. I wanted to feel the eclectic, whimsy, quirky vibes but it feels like everything is just a little off, like it’s not designed. I’m not an expert so just how I feel when looking at photos.


Actually, I like it, but for you, not 2 children. There is no youthful sparkle. I don’t like themed children’s rooms. This is over decorated . I would rather see a sparse Scandinavia style with lots of room to play.

The desk is the best part and Charlie likes it. Did you ask what else he and his sister want? Remember, a 10 year old boy will not want to share with his sister.


I agree. The desk is the best part and there’s no youthful sparkle. I would also ditch the red rug. It feels like it’s fighting with the rest of the room.


” I would rather see a sparse Scandinavia style with lots of room to play.”

I hope not. Sparse Scandinavia style is as overdone and boring as it gets these days.


No more Scandinavian! I love the attempt at adding more whimsy and color. I’m so sick of boring white. I look forward to the fine tuning she has planned.


I agree, this whole design is off for me too except that great little desk nook. Unlike past EHD designs, none of these colors and patterns are within the same color family or complement each other or are balanced in arrangement (primary colors can be mixed well in a room if you really let them shine). It looks like a hodge podge of busy-looking stuff. LOVED the inspo canopy, but not a fan of the actual one. The wicker also looks pretty out of place next to the bold black & white pattern

If you want to keep the mirror, why not try putting it lower to the ground where the KIDS can use it and it wont be a freaky eye-level distraction when they’re sitting in bed?

This is exactly how I described it to a friend just now. It feels kinda sad and undesigned. I wanted to feel the whimsy too and I just didn’t get it.


I’m not into bed canopies but this one is pretty spectacular. Love the quilt on the bed. Love the corner with the book case and vintage desk. The only thing not working, I agree, are the rugs. That small pinkish (?) one especially throws everything off. And the blue one looks too big for the room.

I adore how that great red mirror reflects the bed and canopy. Looks like art!


Heading in the right direction! What a cool mood. I love that mirror in that spot playing against the green of the bookcase – although I am a little miffed by the grey seat thing underneath it? It seems a little out of place and I didn’t see it mentioned either. Otherwise gorgeous gorgeous.


I usually love your designs but I’m just not feeling this one at all. How old are your kiddos? It feels dated and mismatched, and the canopy, oh the horror. I do like the rug and the red bedspread gets two thumbs up. Perhaps it’ll come along as you said it’s not finished. Looking forward to it! Thx for sharing!


I guess my reaction is happy b/c I burst out laughing. I think I would LOVE to stay in that room on occasion, but I might twitch after a week. I love everything individually, but together I think I am experiencing some drug widely used in CA in the 60s-80s. BUT…You always do such fun stuff and I totally appreciate that. Your mountain house color scheme is more my style which is why my reaction is/was what it was. As for your kids sleeping together…LOVE it. My brother was 15 months older than me and while we didn’t sleep together, we did EVERYTHING else together. I followed him from WA state to Ohio a year later for college. To this day, me in OH and he in WA, we speak so often and aside from a pandemic keeping us apart, he’d be here in a hot second for me. I love that you are giving them what they need…a closeness with each other, and not worrying about what some might think. I am guessing they will desire nightly separation at some point, but for now their needs are being met. I still have my 22 year old son curling up… Read more »


Hmmm. I have never not LOVED anything you’ve done. But…this is incredibly perplexing to me and seems completely overthought for a kids room and oddly out of character for you. I’m actually shocked at what a visceral reaction I’m having. Almost nothing about this looks fun or whimsical or styled by the genius you are. It honestly feels kind of sad and dreary, I’m so confused. The canopy looks like the infamous ikea black/white blogger rug hung on a wall and the red quilt….is just not good. Looks so shabby chic country vibe – it just needs a Live Laugh Love accent piece. I never comment on things with negative thoughts because why hurt someone’s feelings?! And I’m no authority. At all. But this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever come across in all my years of following you and LOVING everything you do, that I just felt compelled to say so. Your kids’ rooms always embody the joy of childhood with added style and such fun and that’s why I love them so much….but this looks like the guest room at an old aunt’s house where all her old furniture went to die. I’m sorry – nothing is accomplished… Read more »


Totally agree Kelly. I stated earlier, I like lots of the parts, but Emily has decorated for Emily, not 2 very young children.


I agree. I just looks too eclectic granny and doesn’t look like like little kids live there. It looks almost like the room where you put all the stuff in your house that doesn’t have a place to go, like a junk room. That might be a bit harsh but compared to all the other rooms that I have seen on this site it just doesn’t fit.


Couldn’t have said it better myself. It looks like a guest room with random furniture thrown in that you don’t want to get rid of but you don’t want out in the living room either. Definitely not a kids room. I agree that Emily has an amazing eye but this direction of “eclectic Grandma” is really scaring me, it just feels thrown together & not professionally designed.

Liz M

Kelly – I totally agree. I usually LOVE everything Emily does. But this is a big No. I get it – ITS NOT DONE – as said a million times in this post. Maybe its time to take a step back from the canopy. Yikes. I love the headboards and the blue rug! also – not trying to be mean, just my opinion!


That horrible IKEA rug is all I see when I look at the broken stripe, too! (No offense to those who loved it in 2014, or still love it now… I just can’t stand it haha.)

It feels very “prison bars” or “punchy modern graphic” and not at all “circus” to me (circus would be red and white vertical striping??) I actually feel like this process is leading somewhere great—but that broken stripe kills the whole room for me.

For others wondering; here is that ugly rug EVERYWHERE:

Rebecca Young

I think I see where you are going with this. The feeling of the charming English kids bedroom in Goodnight Moon as inspiration, but obviously not literally with the bright green & red. I just think there’s too much contrast here with the red & white quilt and red & white canopy. Love the rugs & the dresser!


My initial thought: SHE’S BACK! This has resonated with me more than anything in a while. It does feel very “Old Emily,” which I hate saying because YAY growth!! But this is weird and exciting and risky and thought-provoking and some people are going to HATE it, and that is Emily Henderson to me 🙂


I agree! I love it so far. It’s so interesting and cozy.


This isn’t working at all. Just too much going on. Charlie’s corner is the only place that seems sane. But I know you’ll get it right! Tone down, edit and focus on relaxation, schoolwork and sleep.

I’m no expert (unlike you Emily) so take it away!


I’m surprised that you pushed the beds together with Birdie being a thrasher. 🙂 I don’t love the red rug in this room; I don’t feel like anything about it works here (although I do like the rug itself). It’s really jarring to me. I think I’d like the red mirror over the dresser and some soft, neutral art above the chair. I LOVE the mustard piping!


Good point! Won’t this make it way easier for Birdie to kick Charlie when everyone is trying to sleep?!


It is so good!! I do like the ideas of removing the red quilt and adding a red velvet pillow. I also like the idea of moving the mirror to lean above the dresser. I actually like the rugs the way they are. How often do little kids need to shut their bedroom door anyway lol. Just put a door stop so it stays open. I think moving the red quilt will make the red rug look better. I can’t wait to see it completed and with the shades!


Re: not shutting bedroom doors, please consider closing them at night for fire safety. My husband is a firefighter and has shown me many videos that demonstrate how a closed bedroom door can mean the difference between life and death in a house fire.

That said, I’m excited to see where you go with this, Emily!


Exactly what I was thinking when I read that comment! Yikes. Always close the door at night for fire safety.


I had the same problem with curtains and French rods……not the backwards part but the can’t remove curtains easily part ??. I found black metal curtain rings on Amazon that open ?. They look just like regular rings but I can open them to take the curtains down and wash them or replace them… changer!


Holy crap! I need those right NOW.



I LOVE kids rooms with two twin beds—parent question: how do they not kick each other when sharing the King? Selfishly, I will tell you what you already know: 1 adult and 2 kids can fit in a twin for story time—I’m eager to see the room as 2 twins! I love the red mirror, blue rug, and headboards—excited to see how you finish the dresser wall (a gallery sounds great!).


There is a lot going on here. I’m not sure I love this grandma vibe. The room feels dark and outdated. Maybe get rid of the tassels? The grey bench under the mirror looks a but ancient and dirty. I like Charlie’s corner! I feel like I’m having a little bit of anxiety looking at these pics. I prefer boring Charlie’s room and miss Charlie’s first nursery with that amazing wallpaper.


I love you Emily but just looking at all that fabric in the room is making me sneeze – a lot of dust catchers in there.

Audrey Critz

I love this concept, especially for a whimsical kids room. it’s hard to tell without the bed being lifted, but I feel like the wall rod could be moved down a bit and the ceiling mount pushed forward for a more dramatic sweep would help give it that canopy structure in original inspired photo. I actually love the bookcase, mirror location… would be interested to see it with no rugs as I feel like the blue rug sort of dizzies my perspective.


Agree with making the canopy a bit more dramatic! I also love the bookcase and the mirror location.

I’d lean in on the mustard — it might feel fresher, and as you noted, it’s such a great color combo. I’d probably scrap both the rugs (they’re both great but just not for this room) and look for a mustard-toned vintage one in a size that would ground (but not overwhelm) the room. Paired with some sort of small-print mustard-and-blue floral or geometric bedding, and warmer walls (a warm white would work, I think). I’m excited to see where it goes!

Sarah W

I also like the more dramatic canopy idea but no to the mustard! You almost have a split complementary color palette now but adding another color to it is just too much.


I love the idea of a mustard toned (subtle pattern maybe?) vintage rug. Shine a light on that mustard trim on the canopy. 🙂


I adore you, love your family, colleagues, designs but…I want to whisper this to you as I would a friend who is wearing an unflattering dress…this is awful. I would start over. So sorry.


Agree! Where is the fun, clean, happy vibe all of your rooms have? Yikes- wayyy to grandma for me.


Three words: Monica’s secret closet.


I love that you are taking a risk, but something here just isn’t working for me. The broken line of the canopy fabric may be too similar in scale to the diamond pattern of the quilt? Also, the rug choices feel very adult and less zany and fun. I also might have gone warmer with the wall color (less grey and more creamy white). Finally, it kind of feels like the need to design for one bed, with the expectation of it switching to two in the near future is making the scale of everything feel off. Maybe a more neutral bedspread with a bolder rug choice would help bring more balance. I like the suggestion of zebra, because I feel that this is leaning in an English safari direction. Maybe a good opportunity to add one of your favorite go tos…. a mural? Hang in there!


This is very interesting. I think elevating the bed and headboard would make the wall hanging look “right”. I love the red quilt and the mirror – and I think the quilt actually looks great with the wall hanging pattern. I think the vintage rug doesn’t really fit. The mustard piping is wonderful and I think the room would benefit from more mustard somewhere (maybe in a rug or on the window). I know you don’t want it to end up too much like a circus, but it’s a kid room and I think sometimes it’s better just to lean in. Personally, I would have painted the wall colors something bold, but I understand how that can be a costly mistake.

Maybe you shouldn’t take my advice; we just painted our bonus room a greeny-blue mid tone color and we’re going to paint my awful linoleum floor a mustard color.


Check out Kit’s room from Old Home Love.


^yes, Kit’s room is total EEG but fit for a kid!


Yup, I would go cookier. DO IT


Hmmm, yeah this does not look like a kids room to me, which is fine if that’s what you were going for. It just doesn’t seem to fit and like you tried too hard.


Love where you are taking this. I have to second that the canopy and headboards are out of proportion. I like both but together, the headboard looks too small for the canopy. If each headboard hit the edge of the canopy, I think it would work, but that would be twins instead of a king. I don’t think the mirror is an issue but if you do, you can rarely go wrong with putting a mirror across from a window to bounce around the outdoor light. Thanks for sharing the process! This is the fun part I think and we often miss out and just see a finished shot with back story.


Okay, so I have a lot to love here, and it’s really not just about the design of the room. 1. I’ve been playing with the same design style in my house for the last year or so, so I LOVE seeing your take on it. 2. I love seeing you not get it totally right. Because, as you said, it’s a kind of off right now. But I know it will be so good!


The link to what Julie’s situation was before house sitting doesn’t work.

I really like the idea of hanging the red mirror horizontally!! That’s a touch of wierdness with funky style!

Don’t like the not “Pottery Barn” quilt in there. It’s too overbearing and detracts from the way gorgeous canopy, which in MHO, should be THE star without major competition.

Love the old desk with the bookshelf in the nook. It makes it like a secret, separate space. Cool.

Massive changes and so fun to see. It must be strange to ‘see’ what’s happening in your home, yet not be there?!?


Agree! Love the desk nook and LOVE the canopy which I actually do think is so playful and not too adult as others have mentioned – I would have felt like royalty sleeping under that when I was a kid. But yeah there are too many stars of the show here.

Agree with a lot of what Emily mentioned except that for me, the color palette is too broad. Green AND blue AND red are just too much for me and I would take out either the green or the red and play with a little more neutrals or textures instead.

The woven shades are gonna look so good in there with with the wicker headboards! I’m excited to see where this goes.


Well, as a lover of “eclectic English” style, I appreciate where you’re going with this. But I do agree that the quilt needs to go. I think it’s competing with the rug for sure. I love the green accents. I think a more youthful and playful pattern needs to go somewhere, but in a more complementary color scheme. My biggest question is: do the kids like it?? That’s important.

You know, in a way I think this is the perfect place to be experimenting with this eccentric British look. It’s a kids’ room. But it’s such a departure from where you’ve been stylistically for SO LONG; I think maybe that’s why it’s confusing people. But when I think back to your earliest SFAS days, it’s really not that different. I think it’s somehow missing the lightness and bright energy of those looks. Anyway, all this is to say…forge ahead! And keep tweaking.


Oh man. Ok, since everyone else s being honest. The canopy has to go. I know you will eventually hate it and ditch it so I guess ditching it now is not as sad as it sounds. Beds are so cute. Turn that quilt into two and put on both beds. Keep the old yellow curtains. Fix the rug situation.. sorry.


It’s possible keep the canopy if you get rid of the green on top and tassels. It looks so very handmade. And just.. cheap fabric. I’m so sorry. It truly does not work. The stripes are cute though.


oh man, i loved his room in what you call an “80’s” look. Clean, bright, calm, wonderful pattern play—and it looks like a kid would be comfortable and happy there.


I absolutely love the idea of the canopy, (tassels and all!), but the green fabric isn’t reading well in the photos. You mentioned it is actually darker in person, so I would be curious to see a photo where it reads more true to life. Right now it looks like an Easter egg green? Which I know can’t be right. Love the red rug and the headboards! Good luck!


I just want to say that this type of post- sharing the entire journey, what you wanted to achieve, the mistakes you made, the feelings you had each step of the way- that journey and honesty is why I love this blog so much. It’s my very favorite part and what I learn so much from. Please never change that.

I adore the room. Agree that red mirror needs to be elsewhere and something that fits with the vibe of the book case (which is perfect) and desk needs to be in its place.


Does this really represent your sweet kiddos? Is it really a space made for them? You represent them as so joyful and this space does not reflect that…. just some random grandma label you have given yourself.

Whitney Falk

I’m surprised by some of the negative reactions to this room. This is the first room I’ve seen in a while where I’ve had an excited visceral reaction. It feels like the “old Emily” is back and I love it! It is playful and interesting, and I love all of the weird vintage going on in here. There are a lot of colors and patterns, but I think it works in a “modern eccentric English Grandma” way. I love that quirky canopy, with the vintage rug, warm natural headboards, red mirror, and bookcase. For me, the red quilt seems to be competing with everything else. The only other thing I would change is a smaller rug to layer the vintage one, and think a modern light fixture would really help. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but I personally love the direction this is going. Go with your gut! It will get there 🙂


Beware of the trolls here. I like this process post too.


Having a negative opinion of the room does not automatically = troll.


Totally possible to not like something about the room and still be nice about it 🙂


Of course. We can tell the difference in the tone of each comment.


“Would LOVE to know your thoughts – what are you loving, what isn’t working (besides what I’ve already outlined). Any and all questions are welcome and usually an outside perspective really helps these things. GO!”
Emily specifically asked for reader feedback. I don’t think anyone is saying they don’t like the post, they are giving feedback.


I think the scale of the small headboards (which are so cute!) and the giant canopy feels off to me. I’d be interested to see photos without the canopy, but I know that was the jumping off point for the design so maybe it defeats the purpose!

Amy Pelly

Agree. Also, the inspiration photo shows a canopy with No headboard. The canopy serves as the headboard. I love the rattan headboards in the kids’ room but they compete with the canopy. I think it should be one or the other. Right now they canopy reminds me of a college dorm where someone pinned up a huge scarf over their bed. The green color/pattern is reading very 80’s….like something I would find on an old sofa or chair that I want to recover.
Love the mirror and Charlies’s desk. How about a seagrass rug with the smaller red one layered on top?


Oooooh …. seagrass rug!!!! No playdough allowed then, but I’d love the textural contrast.


First of all, let me say how much I admire you and the beautiful spaces you create. You are so talented and I love seeing your work! I also love how you invest so much in your sweet family and how you want to create a cozy place for your kiddos to rest their heads. You are a great mama! I hesitate to say the next part because I would be crushed if it came across as sounding critical or unkind. (So make sure you read the following part knowing my appreciation for who you are as an artist!) There are so many wonderful elements here: the desk, the mirror, the green shelf, etc. I think where it goes slightly astray is in the application of the canopy. I love the idea of a canopy, I just think that the pattern here is too powerful/overwhelming. It’s possible my screen is not representing the colors correctly, but the bold pattern seems to swallow up the whole space. Maybe if it had a different contrasting fabric instead of the green? This element reminds me of the couch you designed a few years back that you ended up not loving so much because… Read more »


It was a couch originally meant for the Fig House! Captin America couch I believe Emily called it 🙂 But I agree, the couch didn’t work and I don’t think the red is working in here either. But as mentioned, this is a progress post.


I love the red mirror and green book case and truly don’t feel they are competing! Those are actually my favorite features in the room as well as the desk. Love the dresser. Maybe silhouettes of the kids above dresser? Or I was thinking a world map or something?

I do like the idea of raising the bed for a bed skirt.

My least favorite part of the room is the blue rug. I think the rug makes the canopy and bed quilt look to be too much but without the rug I don’t think it would be?

Those are my thoughts. Also, it looks GREAT! Way better than before!!

Jane Templeton

I love the green bookcase & the desk in the corner area. And also love the red mirror and agree they are competing but it would be a shame to hide it behind a door. As for the rugs, quilt, canopy — it is all a little busy for me but you do what you love and it always looks great


In my opinion, pattern mixing only works when the patterns include the same colors, and the bright reds aren’t working with the other colors. I’d either get a rug that ties in blue and green and bright red & move the mirror, or swap the quilt out for something quiet, or one that has muted blue/green/maybe a muted red? and paint the mirror a warmer color to match the rug and complement the warmth of the bookshelf.


I get the eclectic grandma theme but this looks super dark and cluttered even without any toys or other “kid mess.”

I don’t like the canopy but maybe if everything else was decluttered it could work.

That Pottery Barn quilt is a resounding NO. Getting rid of it will make a huge difference.

I love that Crate and Barrel bookcase, it’s a keeper.

Not sure how the Haywood Wakewood piece would look in here but it might lighten up the space a bit.

Sorry for the negative feedback, this space really didn’t work for me.

I just want to come read children’s books in the desk nook today. Thank goodness you didn’t wall it off during renovation! It makes me think of my dad, hmm, weird? Stay with me; he and mom have a vintage school desk where the writing table wraps to the backrest, in their living room. It works well for dad’s back for reading, and fits his vibe, an antique yard sale picker before there was such a term. Kudos to mom for the layout, the desk is charming in their home. Back to your room. I’m SO on board with the red mirror moving above the dresser with the paint by number animal art, careful to not fall into the circus ring. Actually removing the quilt I feel will keep the room away from that slippery slope. Picnic blanket and 4th of July patio throw it is. Kiddo silhouettes above he bed on the canopy?! How many more sleeps until we get to see that? We had the same door and rug issue in my teenage son’s room, with both the entry and closet door. After removating our home, including choosing, priming, painting, hanging, and trimming out all the doors my… Read more »


I like the canopy! I see where you’re going with it (I hope it’s reversible? That would be cool). I also love the bookcase, the little desk and the mirror. What’s really not working for me at ALL is the blue rug. It doesn’t read as a neutral here and competes with everything else that’s going on. I would love to see the space without that.


How do you make the two twin beds work as a king? We are moving next month and have been debating two twins or a bigger bed for us to read. This may be the answer! Do you have a post on it?

not Emily, but I know the answer!!! We’re loyal to these toppers here — if you push your beds together and throw this on top, it covers up the dent in the middle 🙂


We have the same ikea bed….when we have it as a king, it turns out square so we flip the beds to be side by side horizontally instead of vertically. Then we put on a king mattress topper and sheet. You can’t feel the gap but if Princess and the Pea were to come over she’d feel it around her knees rather than down the middle.
We like how low it is (it’s in our sons room) but that’s a matter of personal preference.
When it’s a twin it’s extra high and looks daybed-y.
Super versatile!

Cari Renfro

What a super fun concept that can grow with the kids!

Couple ideas:
Loving that blue rug – shave the door down a hair and have that rug cut down to the right size and bind the new edges – the smaller pattern works really well!

I’d love to see that quilt turned into an extra long lumbar pillow – you could keep the pop of color but cut down its presence just a bit!

Everything the EH team does always ends up fab – we love getting to be involved in any way!


I like that long lumbar pillow idea using the quilt fabric!

I am really enjoying the direction you are going. Shave off the bottom of the door. And there is too much blue and red together right now.


NO! Don’t shave the bottom off an old door! You’ll regret it and once it’s done … it’s done!


My opinion? Vintage red rug has to go. Too much red…quilt…rug…mirror. the quilt is perfect and so is the mirror. Not a big fan of the book case though…color or the structure of it. Loved reading the blog. Enjoyed the humor!

Lisa Noah

Hmmm. I’m trying to keep in mind this is a process and you aren’t where you want to be, so I’m just going to say I’m missing the through line. It seems even in the most eclectic of rooms there is something going on to make it cohesive, and I can’t quite pick out what that is yet.


AHHH!! Thank you so much for sharing this process post! It’s so fun to see it all coming together. It’s not working yet, but that’s okay!! It’s going to! and all the ingredients are there to see it become incredible. I feel like this is the stage where us lay-people get frustrated and walk away from the design process, I’m SO EXCITED to see how you push through and make it work! Also, FWIW, I kind of love the quilt / rug competitive contrast.

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