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It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Our Living Room Holiday Reveal

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Finally. It’s like I’ve been keeping a puppy in my closet from my kids for a month – just WAITING to show you/them mostly so I can also cuddle that puppy publicly … meaning so I can enjoy Christmas in my fully decorated house without feeling like that a total weirdo. Today is the reveal of our living room, all decked out for the holidays and it has been giving us all those holiday feels early on.

The house has been decorated since November 7th and I didn’t know how it was going to feel but turns out it feels VERY, VERY FUN, plus the time went so fast. Am I worried that I’m getting dangerously close to being a year-round Christmas tree person? No! I’m embracing it!

So without further ado, here is our living room all decked for the holidays … but with restraint…. Now that I’m seeing so many houses out there DRIPPING with holiday I’m feeling rather normal. Yay 🙂

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My goal this year was to keep it fairly neutral and calm in the living room and yet GO NUTS AND SMOTHER IT WITH HOLIDAY HAPPINESS TIL IT’S DRIPPING WITH JOY. To accomplish such a task I kept the color palette to blues, greens, grays, blacks, silvers, some blushes and hits of wood, gold and a lot of whites. The kids bring the chaos, and this room was going to be decorated for 7 weeks so I just couldn’t have a ton of contrasting colors in here. I thought I was going to bring in a lot of red this year but I just couldn’t, in the living room anyway. Having that new rug CERTAINLY helped calm everything down and for now the books are remaining spine-in because I love the neutrality they bring.

First off, you should know that I partnered with Target on all the holiday decor – from the Threshold and Wondershop lines – so if you see something holiday, you know where to get it (and there is a big ‘get the look’ at the bottom with links, but if you are in a hurry head HERE).

No full reveal is done with a video to show you how we did it.  One of the best things about this video is the fact that Brian produced it – shot, directed and edited. It’s a real family affair over here and because it’s just us (no client) the kids love that they are hanging with both their parents for a few days. See for yourself:

In the video you got a sneak peek into Charlie and Elliot’s room, but today we are focusing just on the living room. Let’s head on in.

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Let’s start with the tree. We both love real trees in theory and while we have had faux white trees before, this was our first foray into the artificial green tree thing and admittedly we love it although I didn’t expect to. I went faux because there were no real trees for sale in LA when I needed to style out the room, but it’s actually the perfect shape and size for our bay window (7.5′ Unlit Virginia Pine from Target), it looks real, it’s no mess, it won’t die, and in the long run it will save us so much money. The only bummer is that shopping for and picking out a real tree is such a fun thing to do so we may possibly do it for another small tree on the patio or the front stoop. You know, because we don’t have enough trees (stay tuned for the kids bedrooms tomorrow). But then I realize there are a lot of family related holidays – the light tours, the trains, the helping of others, the seeing Santa … I don’t feel a bit sad that we didn’t do the picking out of the tree thing as a family. We still decorated it 🙂

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But it looks good/real, right?

In case you didn’t notice we flipped the layout of the room so that the tree could be in the window and flanked it with the chairs. As of now I have two friends who think it should stay this way, but I fear that without the tree the room wouldn’t be balanced since that sofa is huge.

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It was obviously a super easy switch and looks pretty darn good like this. I’m tempted.

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The tree is loaded up with shatterproof balls, plush animals and big wood snowflakes. It’s fairly traditional in style with a heavy dose of whimsy. We kept some pretty glass ornaments on the top half, but honestly those kids have somehow found those as well. A few more years and they’ll know better, but it’s hard to tell a 2 year old to not throw the glass ornaments when they see that the shatterproof ones just bounce.

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During the day it didn’t need the hits of light pink but at night I missed not having a warmer tone to contrast all the cooler tones and I have added even more since this shoot.

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As you can see I kept moving the pillows around and in retrospect I wish that I had styled those chairs exactly the same. But I only had one of each pillow and I was running so behind, so we photoshopped two on them 🙂

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As you know my favorite tip for anyone wondering how to pull a room together is to set a consistent color palette (with warm and cool tones) then shop/style only in that color palette. But my SECOND favorite tip is to repeat the same elements, over and over for simple high-impact cohesion. While I like an eclectic look, obviously, you don’t need every single piece to be different especially when layering on something like holiday decor.  It makes shopping and styling so much easier. So in this house we have snowmen, trees, and animals peppered around everywhere.

The trees and snowmen are vertical and the animals are more horizontal – thus breaking up all the vertical lines.

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The fireplace has a little whimsical animal/forest vignette happening, with those adorable snowmen from the Wondershop and the faux tree in a basket from Threshold. I love these trees and repeated them around the room.

The kids love the animals because they are basically playful stuffed animals and I love that they are still quiet and in our color palette. Win, win, win. and a HO, HO, HO.

And yes, if we light a fire we’ll move them I promise (as of now it’s not functioning but Mr. Henderson is getting very handy these days and has already ordered our faux logs and fixed the gas – YAY). We put a faux garland along the bottom with my favorite LED cordless twinkle lights that we used basically everywhere. Why isn’t everything in life battery-operated?

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I struggled with where to put the stockings until it hit me – on those shelves that I want to drywall over (Brian doesn’t. It’s a thing). Thank goodness because I really needed an excuse to buy those adorable house stocking hangers.

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I love how the cable knit stockings have a homespun feeling and are warm, yet totally classic.

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The black bear head was CRUCIAL and I couldn’t find any in stores at the time so I overnighted it (not the smartest way to shop) but I’m so glad. I LOVE it up there, but for some reason it didn’t pop enough or fill out the wall until we put that wreath around it and added yet some more string lights. He’s such a happy guy now.

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Now that I look at the whole room it doesn’t really look all that ‘dripping with holiday’. Maybe I’m not as nuts as I think I am. Remember three years ago? Now THAT was nuts. And then last year was such a different direction.

In fact we are having a party soon and I’m going to add a big 3′ wreath on that window and MAYBE a garland along the curtain rods – tell no one. Especially Brian.

We addressed the pillows and the coffee table with enough holiday but making them still really usable as this is the room that we spend the most time in. The pillows are from Threshold (with a few from the hearth and hand collection) and the throws are super cozy and warm but again not too busy and still in our color palette.

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Over on the piano we brought the bells back which felt kinda holiday-y anyway, and added another garland/tree/twinkle lights and whimsical sculpture vignette.

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I felt like I had too many vertical/sculptural pieces so we added a few wrapped presents as pretty props. Of course my main regret in life is not being done with gift shopping before shooting so that I could have killed two birds with one stone, although maybe the toddler temptation wouldn’t have held out (UPDATE: It didn’t. they’ve now unwrapped every single fake present knowing that it was empty. I didn’t stop them. It took them an hour. I was in heaven in the other room… )

After opening the first two empty boxes/prop presents they believed me, yet questioned the reason. So we went online and I showed them the blog (again) and we talked about photo shoots and creating inspiration early for people and I think they are starting to get it. “Prop presents” might be the hardest thing to explain to small kids… next we are tackling prop bowls of candy on the coffee table.

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The whole room really came together and feels really layered and happy but livable for the month. (After looking at this shot I’m going to amp up that cabinet a bit for the party… maybe some garland?)

Speaking of… we are throwing a little holiday party where I’ll probably add flowers, a couple wreaths and some candles and deck out the dining room (stay tuned).

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I read an article (or heard it on the news/Facebook/garbage TV, but I prefer to say ‘read an article’ at all times) that people who decorate for the holidays early are happier than those who don’t. It makes a lot of sense to me and I personally agree 100%. I’m one to find an excuse to celebrate everything (although strangely don’t love birthdays, ha). When I say everything this is how my usual week goes: ‘YAY it’s Monday! Time to watch the Bachelorette with my friends. Then Taco Tuesday!!  Then Ah, man, it’s hump-day lets go out to dinner. Then Kids! It’s Family pizza night on Thursday. And when the weekend comes… oh boy it’s like a REALLY big weekly celebration. (I’m exaggerating, but you get my drift .. I’m that mom that is like ‘YAY! Kids We’re Here!!!!’ Every time we arrive anywhere, as if we’ve been on a voyage across the sea for months. It’s pretty exhausting and fairly annoying being me, but also kinda fun to just celebrate all the time.

So given the excuse to decorate and celebrate my favorite, nay OUR favorite holiday for 7 weeks turned out to be a wonderful thing for everyone. The magic of Christmas exists whether you are religious or not. It’s nostalgic, it’s about having extra reasons to hang out and celebrate with those you are close with and others who you might want to get closer to.

And if I’m happy…imagine how happy these kids are.

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Getting a shot of all four of us looking good these days is HARD, but such is life.

We have a month of celebrating to come, with more entertaining stories, party prep posts and of course the kids rooms post tomorrow. But for now, happy holidays from us Hendersons. xx

If you are interested in what I used to decorate, here’s our get the look (or if its easier, here is everything on Target.com on one page).

Emily Henderson Christmas Target Threshold Blue White Silver Living Room Get The Look1

1. Tree Topper | 2. Artificial Tree | 3. Ceramic Deer | 4. Santa Nutcracker | 5. Gold Frame Ornament | 6. Wreath with Bells | 7. Bear Head | 8. String Lights | 9. Tree Skirt | 10. Noel Sign | 11. Knit Wool Throw Pillow | 12. Solid Textured Throw Pillow | 13. Embroidered X Pattern Throw Pillow | 14. Felt Deer Throw Pillow | 15. Faux Fur Oversized Lumbar Pillow | 16. Plaid Throw Pillow | 17. Wood Light Up House Stocking Holder | 18. White Light Up House Stocking Holder | 19. Stocking | 20. Gold Tree | 21. Red Tree | 22. Ivory Tree | 23. Small Snowman | 24. Large Snowman | 25. Silver Tray | 26. Wood Deer Figurine | 27. Santa Gnome Ornament (in store only) | 28. White and Green Furry Trees (in store only) | 29. Cream X Patterned Ornament | 30. Black X Patterned Ornament | 31. Ceramic Frame | 32. Winter Dressed Character Animal Ornament | 33. White Berry Garland | 34. Blue and White Blanket | 35. Knit Blanket | 36. 23″ Artificial Flocked Tree | 37. 18″ Artificial Flocked Tree | 38. Doily Ornament (in store only) | 39. Fable Ornament Set | 40. Small Wool Reindeer | 41. Large Wool Reindeer | 42. Linework Pillow | 43. Sweater Knit Pillow | 44. Felt Bear Pillow | 45. Winter Bird Ornament | 46. Silver and Blue Ornaments | 47. Solstice Christmas Ornament Set | 48. Polar Bear Figural | 49. Flocked Snowman on Skis (in store only) | 50. Wooden Toy Cocoa Set | 51. Wool Sheep Ornament (in store only) | 52. Layered White Wood Ornament | 53. Aspen Glitter Deer Ornament | 54. Felt Character Ornament | 55. Ceramic Deer Ornament | 56. Ceramic Penguin Ornament | 57. 24″ Artificial Tree with Basket | 58. Gold Foil Stripe Gift Wrap | 59. Mini Silver and Blue Ornaments | 60. Fable House Ornament | 61. Large Ceramic House Candle Holder | 62. Small Ceramic House Candle Holder | 63. Silver Ornament Set | 64. Blush Tones Ornament Set

*A big thanks to Target for partnering on this post (and my life :)) All designs, words, thoughts, opinions and children are my own.

**Photos by Sara Tramp for EHD. Styling by me (and Charlie and Elliot … and even Brian). xx

***Video by Propeller Media (Brian’s company).

Sweater from Target (Who What Wear collection… couldn’t find it online, but I love this one, too), jeans are Frame, and dress via Shopbop

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  1. Hi Em, you got me feeling all Christmassy up here in Copenhagen, Denmark (where people usually only get a tree days before Christmas). Great job! I think you missed you’re hubby’s name in this sentence though: “One of the best things about this video is the fact that produced it – shot, directed and edited”. Love, Judith

    1. ha. really? I’ll fix. thank you!

  2. So gorgeous!!! One question – your coffee table is in the centre of the room where it could not be easily reached if someone is sitting in a chair. It is always placed that way?

    1. Ha. for the shoot it moves around a ton ‘to camera’. It is usually placed close enough to the sofa to put a drink on and the people in the chairs have a side table between them usually.

  3. Gorgeous, merry, ’tis the season, etc. etc. but where is your sweater from?? Did I miss it in your autumn winter fashion post?

    1. OH shoot! it’s Who What Wear for Target – i’ll link it up!

  4. Kinda surprised there hasn’t been a “Emily Henderson for Target” home collection…
    Your children are the best decorations in this whole post!

    1. I love this idea! I would buy all the things.

  5. You look really lovely in that dress. Your house is so festive and beautiful as well. Enjoy the holiday season with your family!

  6. I’m totally with you on decorating early. I love how you decorated this year. The only thing it’s missing, in my opinion, is real greenery! The more the better! Although I will admit it is probably much easier to come by here in Michigan than it is in LA. 🙂 Also, I love the throw blanket on the chaise lounge – where is it from?

    1. OOH, the blanket is from Target, but I think you are totally right and for our party i’m adding a bunch of greenery on the sides of the fireplace. Or maybe the bookcases … and behind the sofa. stay tuned. xx

  7. Looking fabulous! I fully agree with you about dry-walling over the shallow bookshelves. One can only live with backwards books for so long! Brian should get over his thing and let it go. You have OODLES of character in that house. He won’t miss them when they’re gone.

    1. But they need a place to put their books! Why would you want to get rid of built in bookshelves? You just need to turn the books back around and they will look great.

      1. Or I just buy neutral books for the rest of my life …. ugh. no good answer, folks. ..

        1. I think I have a good answer!!! If you wanted something architectural/permanent, I would suggest custom building some cabinet door JUST to cover the bottom half of the shelves so you can still display stuff on the top and keep them perfectly styled. 😉 HOWEVER, because you have furniture items in front that would impede cabinet-door-opening, I think if you hung a tension rod juuuuust beneath the 3rd shelf, with a small white curtain, it would actually accomplish the same feeling/purpose AND would allow access to the bottom 3 shelves. I hope you see this!!!!

        2. I am playing with the idea of making slipcovers for all of mine. Kind of like what we used to do with our textbooks (80s and 90s for you young’uns), but instead of getting it inside the covers JUST RIGHT (because there is always one messed up corner when I do them) I’ve decided I will just make a loop in nice paper that is as wide as the book is tall that slides on and off the book (like those slipcovers for special DVDs). Then I can put a label on the spines.
          Result: all books one color (or in a coordinating color scheme) and all titles in one font. It *is* a bit ridiculous, but if I use good paper it should last for quite a while, cheap over time for my calmness and happiness. Plus, I’m pretty sure I would actually enjoy the crafting zen of it all.

    2. Nooooooo! I love the bookshelves — they’re my favorite thing about the room! (Haha — I fully realize it’s ridiculous to comment about what another family should do about their room/their home, and they should do what they want. It’s just that I pine for built-ins. :))

  8. Sure the room looks gorgeous, but WHERE is your dress from???

    1. Forgot to link it up – its here! http://rstyle.me/n/cvabjgsdhw (and you can’t tell but its a wrap dress so it feels super flattering).

  9. Ok, none of my business, but I’m all wondering why Sara’s name in now hyphenated… any news to share? 😉

  10. Totally agree that it makes you happy to decorate early…coming from someone who procrastinates most of the time, but is super happy that we did it early this year (husband volunteered our home for a charity event this year, but it’s good to have deadlines). We’ve also done the fake tree most years, and it is so much easier as long as you have room to store it. Your room looks great, and I’m kind of with Brian on the bookshelves (if you are asking for my vote).

  11. This is my dream house. I have a wish i make this kind of us 🙂 Now i am student and doing MBA after NBA when will i found a job then i buy. Best of luck for new house
    Decanter

  12. Just love this toned down Christmas look. Very peaceful. Makes me think of Silent Night… “all is calm, all is bright”.

    Having a German Mum, Christmas is all about family opening gifts around a real tree on Christmas Eve (that is traditionally put up and decorated that afternoon).

    However, having a British Dad, I’m more than willing to embrace the tradition of putting up the tree way early. Enjoy it for longer.

    My only reservation… is the black bear. He needs a red nose (or something) to make him a little more festive in the centre – otherwise it looks a little like a black hole in your chimneybreast.

    1. I agree! The bear really doesn’t photograph well!

  13. Boring!

  14. Great post, but the links to Christmases past are broken. I love over the top Christmas decor so I was curious about what you did that was so “nuts” 🙂

  15. I love this post! It is very inspiring and really put me in the holiday spirit!!

  16. I had our (Charlie brown sized) tree up before thanksgiving. I’d do it even earlier but my husband is strangely resistant. I think he remembers fresh cut trees which could turn into fire hazards if done early. Years ago I had fresh trees and I actually had one lose all its needles and had to buy a second tree.

    I’m like … can I decorate now? How about now? Or right now? I believe your article about people who decorate early being happier.

  17. EMILY!!! I love your blue floral dress! Please share the source!

    1. I just linked it up! its here http://rstyle.me/n/cvabjgsdhw (and I LOVE it … its a wrap dress so its super flattering).

      1. it is AAAAMazing indeed……….and so is the living room!!!

  18. I cannot believe how much better the living room looks than when it was “revealed” a couple of months ago. I absolutely hated it. SO much better now. I totally agree with your two friends ‘re flipping the chairs and sofas around.

    Even though there is A LOT of festive items in there the overall look is definitely understated with feels a little underwhelming for a photo reveal but I would love to have this much serenity at my home with the Christmas decorations up. Come Jan 1st I am absolutely itching to tear everything down!

    1. I agree with this statement. “I cannot believe how much better the living room looks than when it was “revealed” a couple of months ago.”
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  19. Beautiful. As for the bookcases, I think the problem is just that there are too many shelves and they are too thin and janky. If you put in thicker, fewer shelves I think it would look great.

  20. That is the prettiest piano I ever did see!

  21. What a wonderful holiday room. The bottle brush trees from Target have been a favorite for some time.

    I also think your new hair cut (color too?) (I know it has been a while) looks is so good.

    Merry Christmas to the Happy Henderson Family.

  22. Ooooh, what are those tan lace-up oxford mules?! Off to look at the fashion posts.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Agree – I was just wondering about these and want them!

  23. I would like to add that I got this quilted tree skirt from Target this season and absolutely love it! https://www.target.com/p/quilted-x-pattern-tree-skirt-cream-hearth-hand-153-with-magnolia/-/A-52579096#lnk=sametab

  24. Very pretty but you really bought an UNLIT faux tree? Hanging lights on the tree is the worst part of Xmas decorating. The only reason I would ever consider a fake tree is to avoid that chore by getting a pre-lit one!

    The bear head is cute but until you zoomed in on it, I thought it was a flat chalk board. Could you highlight the face with bits of grey or gold so it stands out more, although it probably only looks weird in pictures.

    I loved this room before (the red rug was beautiful) but it’s more calm and livable with the new carpet.

  25. Love, love, love! It looks so festive and yet still Emily Henderson at the same time! I think the best trick – for the rest of us – is how to incorporate holiday decor that we’ve purchased/received over a number of years – and still make it look cohesive. Specific color scheme and themes for the win! Thanks so much for sharing! And I don’t know if it’s the approaching holidays approaching or I’m just getting sentimental in my old age (of 47 – ha!), but I loved the video, especially seeing you with the kids. So very sweet!

  26. I just figured out whose hair yours reminded me of… Birdies! 🙂 Love it!

  27. Oh man, that garland you found is beautiful. Unfortunately Target isn’t shipping it any more, and the website says its not available in any of the 8 stores near me!!! Any chance you have sway on restocking at Target?

    PS I love what you did with your living room, but I will forever be a fresh tree/wreath person. The smells are the best part!

  28. Christmas decorations for two months is my kind of happy! I love this room and birdie’s even more:) I love the color scheme, the convincing fake tree, the touches throughout, but the bear head? 😂 I hope charlie and Elliott love it!

  29. I love this room! Random question, where do you keep your TV?

  30. I don’t think your decor is too much, too little but just right! What a precious, beautiful family you have. Have a Very Merry Christmas!

  31. Lady, I look forward to the day when you have your own line at Target, I know it will happen eventually, and I will buy EVERYTHING!

  32. It’s perfect! I’ve never been a fan of as you say ‘houses DRIPPING with holiday’. Your home is festive, happy and beautifully finished with Christmas. Your careful neutral approach to decorating your home for Christmas, calls attenton to every whimsical and cheerful element you’ve added. I love your family picture! Beautiful!

  33. Please think twice about drywalling over those charming bookcases! I think they complement your fireplace and ceiling beams so nicely. I have built-in floor to ceiling bookcases in the den of our 1953 home. When we first moved in, I couldn’t wait to get rid of them, 20 years later, I cannot imagine the room without them! I have my books displayed with the pages, rather than the spines showing. I think the way the pages change color with age, some yellow, some tan, others a more beige look, adds an interesting monochromatic, textural look to the room.

  34. Very pretty! Can you link the green be nerdy pillows? Thanks!

    1. Lol. I know it’s a typo but I love the idea of festive ‘be nerdy’ pillows (or cushions as we call them in my part of the world). Happy holidays.

    2. “Be merry”

  35. Love! I need to buy a rug for a family and I think yours looks so great and would be perfect but it looks like it’s possibly not kid friendly? Are you really “living” with that rug?

  36. Since behind those fake gifts I don’t think I saw a tree skirt, I’ll share my favorite holiday decor tip. I’ve never been a fan of the “skirt” so my go to (which would look great in your decor theme) is using sheepskin. It’s so cosy, white and fluffy (like snow!) and provide great texture and contrast to the tree. Happy holiday season!

  37. Your house looks so festive!! Where are the Be Merry pillows on the chairs from? Didn’t see it in the Target line up.

  38. Very good brief and this post helped me a lot. Say thank you I searching for your facts. Continuous it..
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  39. This is the best Christmas display and theme buying options included! Wow! It was s I well -every nook and cranny ! I love your easy styling. The pictures are better done than magazines, thank you!

  40. Emily– you never cease to blow me away with your shoe game! Where are these gorgeous mules from??

  41. I love the room and the calm, Christmas vibe you’ve created. Question, did I miss the source for those cute olive green pillow(s) that say, “be merry,” on the chairs? Please tell me they are new this season! I would love one!

  42. Love your Christmas look! I was so tempted by those cute snowmen the last time I was at Target, but I decided I couldn’t spend the money. My husband is not into Christmas decorations at all so I have to keep them minimal.

    I get why people get the fake tree, and it makes sense to me in California but…I grew up surrounded by pine trees in New England and the smell of the tree is everything to me. Did you know you can get these little fragrance sticks that smell like pine at Home Depot and you can hang them from the tree? That way you can have a fake tree AND the piney smell!

    Please don’t get rid of your built-ins. They are iconic to that style of house and they are so beautiful. Just get rid of the books (or wrap them all in brown paper) and style them neutrally in the way that you are so good at. Just my two cents. Happy Holidays!

  43. Looks amazing!
    Are the color of your chairs the Light Beige or Light Grey? I assume Light Beige, but the picture looks the same for both on Target’s website and I want what you have!

    1. This is so fun! What a great idea. Also I love how authentic you seem to be. Your style and passion for blogging is contagious. Thank you for sharing your life!

  44. I agree with keeping the sofa/chairs flipped like this. I feel like the sofa in its prior spot blocked the bay window too much and didn’t make it accessible. Having the chairs in front of it instead really opens it up and shows it off. The chairs complement the curve of the windows, while the sofa conflicts with it. The straight back sofa looks so much more at home along the straight wall. Could you put some kind of floor potted plant in the bay to help balance? Not anything too big to hide the window, but just enough to give some weight to the space.