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Design

A Quick Update: The Changes I’ve Made to My LA Living Room

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It’s been a while since you’ve seen this room, and boy are there changes. Why? Simply because it brings me so much joy to rearrange my house and tweak styling in an attempt to have my house reflect the personality, style and comfort needs of my family. It’s a hobby that was turned into a career and like all accidental creative business owners, there tends to be way less time to do the stuff you love (i.e. styling my own house). So In my ‘spare’ time I’ve been playing around and with no deadlines (on this room, at least)…it’s VERY fun.

This room has such great bones and beautiful light, but it’s never felt done done. And maybe nothing ever totally is, because your style and needs shift, sure, but I never felt the reaction to this room that I do to the living room in the mountain house when I walk in. There is a reason why I haven’t thrown any parties or events here, but couldn’t wait to have a reader event up there—I wanted to show it off!

So here is where we started, as you know, almost 3 years ago.

Emily Henderson Modern English Cottage Tudor Living Room Reveal10

It’s warm and inviting and yes, full of life, but ultimately too much stuff for us and too traditional for me, mostly because of the rug and sofa combo. I do think it’s interesting and layered and full of personality, though.

Emily Henderson Modern English Cottage Tudor Living Room Reveal11

Yes, there are times when I wish I had kept that rug, and just replaced the sofa with something more modern. Like maybe the rug got blamed too strongly for it feeling busy. A neutral, more modern sofa on this rug is perhaps all I needed to shift it. But I sold it years ago and someone else is loving it for who it is.

The Target chairs helped modernize everything, for sure, but one of them now lives in the mountain house living room and the other went to our last Feel Good Flash Makeover.

The coffee table now lives in the mountain house and is actually so perfect up there.

Emily Henderson Modern English Cottage Tudor Living Room Reveal6

I’m still hoarding that chaise because the shape and scale are just so pretty and I have dreams of reupholstering it in a deep color, with the same color fringe. It’s probably 150 years old with original fabric so it’s absolutely falling apart and needs total restoration, but I’m willing to invest in it because it’s special. The blue demilune table now lives in my best friend’s entry and looks SUPER cute.

Eh Livingroom 4969

In this iteration, I brought in more color (some brighter teals in the shelves and art) in an attempt to make it more interesting.

Bright English Tudor Modern Living Room Brick Fireplace

The rug, sadly was pretty destroyed by my cats and we had to “mow” it every time we shot as it was unraveling. It’s now in my garage with a good chunk of it intact and I might cut it down into a smaller rug or have it bound in the exact shape of the kids play nook in the bay window…dunno.

Most recently, this is the version I tried out and showed you:

The green sofa I pulled from our TV room (it’s custom from Clad Home) and paired it with a BLUE antique rug (from Blue Parakeet), so similar in vibe to the red one but less “loud.” You can’t really see it in this photo, but in general, that sofa was just too small for this room and looked out of scale IRL. Plus, this room just didn’t make my heart pound and I wanted it to feel “cooler” and less heavy handed…once I figured out what that meant.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 2 1670x2087

When I look at my past work, past living rooms, I always see this one and think, ah, that room was so pretty.

Emily Henderson Living Room Staged To Sell Boho Mid Century Eclectic Blue White Styled Couch Sectional Staged2

It was simple and light and still layered and interesting.

Emily Henderson Living Room Staged To Sell Boho Mid Century Eclectic Blue White Styled Couch Sectional Staged4

I kept that Article sectional up at the mountain house and when we replaced it with the vintage one, I was like, well maybe I should try that back in LA. Maybe THAT’s the answer…a more modern, simple sectional. So I did…

Ehd Emily Henderson Living Room Update 1

I’ve been living with the room like this for a month or so, and last week, I found this rug at HD Buttercup and it was incredibly soft, and just so simple and pretty. I took it out on “memo” (which means borrowing to see it in your space before fully committing) and well, we all couldn’t give it up. It’s not a shag, it’s just thick and so soft. I know you are all going to want to know about it and I’ll try to find a purchasable link (HD Buttercup only has a few rugs on their website and wasn’t too into working with us on getting a link for it…and I tried to tell them about the blog. 🙂 This one is similar though, I think.)

Now, I REALLY like everything here: I have my coffee table back and it works so well with the sectional, but the sectional on the rug could have more contrast…

The black lamps are from Target (the task one is from the Leanne Ford collection that’s been sold out for a while, the standing is still available here).

Ehd Emily Henderson Living Room Update 6

It’s certainly soothing and quiet, light and airy, and I can add color so easily. The pillows right now (from Target here, here and here) are neutral, but again, SO simple to swap. You guys might be wondering how the sectional is holding up with two kids and it’s pretty great, honestly. It cleans up pretty easily and a 4- and 6-year-old are just less disgusting than they used to be. Sometimes, when we are feeling like we really want to kill it in the parenting game, we put down a big towel so they can watch cartoons while they eat waffles with jam on Saturday mornings.

The rug has a lot of variation in tones and we got it treated by Fiber Care, but only time will tell if that works (it’s like a silicon treatment that repels stains). It was expensive, $280 for a 10×14, but hopefully worth it. It won’t do much about everyday wear and tear and dirt, so we are trying our hardest to do what most normal people in the world do (take off our shoes)…

Ehd Emily Henderson Living Room Update 7

Okay. Here are the vintage chairs that we’ve had for 6 months from MidcenturyLA. David, who owns our favorite vintage store, texted me photos of them with an “I could have a delivery guy bring them over right now to memo” and I was weak on a Saturday morning and said yes. We were having friends over that day and as we tried them all out, they are JUST SO COMFORTABLE and simple and everyone wants to sit in them.

Ehd Emily Henderson Living Room Update 4

You can see a lot of old favorites here: the vintage trunk, my wood magazine holder from the flea market, my wooden hand chair and most of the art has stayed the same. (That double-shaded lamp, though, is a new favorite, from CB2.)

Ehd Emily Henderson Living Room Update 5

I moved the Article credenza to Brian’s office (coming soon…I HOPE) and brought in this new one from Serena & Lily mostly because I believe the tone of the wood worked better in here and the mixed materials. We used the nightstand version of this piece in our last surprise makeover in Utah and LOVED it. The leather pulls, the woven drawers…it feels modern but classic.

Most of the rest of that vignette has stayed the same—art by Kirill Bergart, lamp from Lostine, and sculpture by Melinda Forster  (from the flea market). I’m liking it, guys, I am.

Ehd Emily Henderson Living Room Update 9

Over here we have a lot of changes: a flea market dresser just felt more modern, the thrifted black chair (that I got for $20 and we DIY’d) and the oil portrait of a lady from the 1700s that I got at the Pasadena Antique Mall. We also switched out the sconces above the built-ins for these from Circa Lighting. We put the sconces that were there in the playroom, but if you look closely, you might notice a metal plate underneath it and that’s because the hole for the junction box was much bigger than the new sconce so we still need to hire a plaster dude to come patch the hole and make it much smaller.

The shag rug is from Article that tends to move around the house, and the pouf is from Lulu & Georgia that I’ve had forever.

Ehd Emily Henderson Living Room Update 8

I still love that piece of art by Colin Glasgow above my fireplace, and I styled out the shelves to be more neutral but still full. Somedays, I want less stuff and color and some days, more. 🙂

Looking at that room, both in person and in photos, it’s insanely hard to be objective. I know I like everything and there are some things I would run back in and save from a fire. I love having a chaise sectional but haven’t stopped looking for my dream sofa for here and have pinned SO MANY. I want it to be a sofa that takes your breath away and yet it HAS to be comfortable, and that combination is extremely hard to come by. I also don’t need to do anything, but I like to fantasize.

So tomorrow (if I can write it in time, eek), you’ll see what sofas I almost bought, what I’m leaning towards with general “what is happening inside my head” musings (and perhaps bringing in the color red).

But I’d honestly, HONESTLY, love to know your thoughts. Should I push this room further, stylistically? It’s pretty close, I can feel it and I really, really like it. I have barely touched my bedroom since we finished it three years ago, so why is this room so much more of a challenge?? Oh, right…it has to serve as our living and family room, it has to be family-friendly but super comfortable and inviting…and I’m still struggling with mixing old-world with midcentury with contemporary, but it’s a combo that I still love and want to pursue.

Let ‘er rip.

***”after” photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Fin Mark
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Gwen

Lovely to see that amazing coffee table back in action. I would encourage you to try out less *stuff* in the back corners to let the fireplace and built-in shelves breathe a bit. The background of those shots taken from the entry/piano just look really full. It’s fun to see all the iterations of this room – appreciate your sharing.

Christy

Agreed. The corners by the fireplace seem too ‘busy.’ There’s a lot going on there.

Elizabeth

I second! ☝️

Ang

Exactly what I was thinking looking at that last picture.

Molly

In agreement here. I absolutely love all of the individual pieces, the way you put them together, etc. Killing it. However the shallow bookshelves have always seemed busy, simply because they’re so close to another focal feature like the special fireplace, and also the corner spaces which totally need the dresser/credenza. I know long ago you mused about plastering over them, but that you also like the storage. Any new thoughts on the shelves?

ha. i know. i dream of plastering them over, i do! but in person everyone gets SO SAD when i even think about it. They look at me horrified. yes, they are original but does that mean they should stay????

Laurielulu

YES!!!!!!!

Sarah Willis

They should stay, but they should be filled with books. No knick knacks unless it’s a very simple, like a plain pot and the scale should be the same as the books. Even then, just a few…it should be mostly books. It will register as both “library”, which suits the architecture and as a neutral. That will lighten up the busyness on that end of the room.

carlen

What about taking out every other shelf that way there is less stuff back there?

Vee

That’s it. The architecture doesn’t get the focus it deserves because there are too many little things all around the room. Especially the shelves. Scale back on the little stuff.

SB

Have you thought about making the bookshelves a bit taller? Whenever I see them, I always wish they had just a bit more height. It seems like you have the room too. You could even have them be arched at the top, which would compliment the shape of the fireplace. Just my two cents. Love all the updates you’ve made — especially love the circa lighting, they look A+

Karen

No – please see the comment I posted but which never appears on your blog.

Paula Gooding

I would get rid of the bookcase to the right of the fireplace…..way too much competition with the credenza…makes me dizzy looking at the corner from the other end of the room. I would argue compromise.

Emily Johnson

Hi em! My hubby and I purchased a beautiful 1916 two story and have been renovating it (really just bringing it back to its original glory since last December). BUT…I DID remove the bookshelves on either side of our fireplace because they seemed both cramped and busy. I don’t regret it but still haven’t decided want to replace it with…plants? Built in benches? Drawers? Drawers might win out because we have 2 dogs and a 6 month old. 🙂

On another note, could you create a round-up of the best places for oversized rugs? All of my rooms are uniquely sized and it’s been a bugger finding affordable and quality rugs that fit the space (too small rugs are my ultimate pet peeve). Thanks much!

Karen

Yes I agree – otherwise this room is really coming together. Every past iteration until this one has felt “off”.
But fireplace wall – here’s what I might try: paint the brick the same color as the walls; eliminate the sconces; add vintage unfinished panel wood doors to each of the bookcases, maybe 2 doors on each bookcase opening. Seems that it might work to add vintage notes – and simplify and modernize at the same time.

Mindy

I was thinking the exact same thing!

Paula Carr

Yes! Bookshelves that are more than 75% non-books make me sad.

LouAnn

What have you people got against stuff? This room would be bland and too styled without it. It’s the stuff that makes it feel like a HOME with personality!

Go stuff! Keep rocking the stuff, Emily!

ha. in person it doesn’t feel like so much mostly because its all in a quiet color palette. but i go back and forth like EVERY DAY.

Lauren

I’m sorry to pile on, but I also feel like the back corners are too busy. I don’t have a problem with the built-ins but the built-ins plus the two dresser/credenzas plus the additional chairs plus the mini gallery wall just feels like A LOT. Maybe I’m biased in that I live w/ my two kids in a two bedroom apartment in Brooklyn and therefore by necessity, everything is crammed in, but despite what my husband thinks, I really wish our space had more breathing room in it. I’m also excited to see what you are thinking of doing with the sofa!

Christina

I’m with Lauren. It’s not the built-ins that bother me, it’s more the two dresser/credenzas. It feels like there needs to be more negative space back there, at least in the whole room looking at the fireplace shot. The gorgeous new chairs didn’t even register until I saw the shot looking specifically at them. And the lamp on the dresser near the sectional partially blocks the new sconces, and not in a good way.

What if you had a few big plants instead of one or both of the dresser/credenzas? In the first shot of the room with the red carpet, that tree helps give the chairs a bit more breathing room, visually. And though I know styling’s your thing and the dresser/credenzas look great head on, if there were at least one fewer vignettes then it would make a for a much calmer backdrop for the sectional/chairs/coffee table part of the room.

Overall I’m not big on neutral and I loved that red rug, but I actually really like the direction you’re going in. All the hits of black are nice and I love those new chairs.

Lara

AGREE! The built-ins are interesting and I like them, but when you add everything else into the corners it seems like a little much. I love the credenza but it looks really dominant in that corner (maybe just the angle of the pictures?). I like the idea of maybe trading out the credenza for a large plant.

Smith

Ah that’s the worst when you finally love something then take a picture and think … “ahh it doesn’t really look like that in person” haha been there, the back and forth will keep you up at night… I say since you don’t have the gut feelings it’s it, just keep reworking!! You’ll get there!!

Maizie

I actually think what everyone might be feeling from the “busy-ness” of the back room might be solved by a smaller scale credenza than that Serena and Lily. That way there would be the breakup of a bit of breathing wall space even from this angle, as there is on the left with the smaller credenza. And I second the idea of arching the top of the book shelves/possibly extending them. That would be drool worthy, but not necessary at all, just pretty!

Lianne

I would love to see what the shelves look like just filled with books – no tchotchkes at all. There is enough styled stuff on the credenza and dresser back there – let the shelves go full library.

Ginger

100% Agree!

Debbie

Yes, this!

Daniella

A relatively simple and non-permanent solution would be to install doors over them. That way you could keep the storage and the original feature but have them blend into the background. Sleek white doors would just read as white wall, or you could try some sort of wood paneling (painted white?) Otherwise I second the library wall idea – gorgeous and classy and would go so well with the style of the house and the fireplace. Books instantly make a room feel cozier.

Chelsea

Yeah, I agree. I think that back part of the room is far too busy and it’s making the room read cluttered, rather than styled. I’d remove both the mid-century credenza and the Serena & Lily piece, pop the black refurbished chair where the S&L currently sits against the wall, and then fill the shelves with books. I also LOVE the vintage 18th-century portrait but it gets lost with so much stuff, including the gallery wall opposite. So yeah, I’d nix pretty much everything from the back section near the fireplace except the chair/vintage portrait. It is a gorgeous room though! I’m glad you’ve gone for a quieter rug; even the patterned blue one was too much for this space, I thought. I’m in love with that little (vintage?) side table that the black Target task lamp sits on, and I’m SO FREAKING GLAD that vintage blue cabinet (flanked by the black chair at the room’s front) still appears to be there; it’s my favourite thing like, ever, and I’ve scoured the internet for something close to it. If you ever get sick of it and want to send it to Sydney, please let me know! I’d be more than… Read more »

Heidi

I wonder if there was more “busyness” closer to the living room entry, it might balance out the back? Or divide all the objet between the entry and the back?

Shakti

I agree, the back of the room is a but busy in contrast to how calm and easy the front area is. Still a lovely room though and I love seeing how you’ve tweaked things over time and how different the room looks from the various changes.

Monique Wright Interior Design

Agree! Having the bookshelves full and the 2 credenzas visually looks so busy. I think either plastering over the bookshelves or removing the credenzas would help tremendously. I do love this new iteration though! Those vintage chairs look ah-mazing and love the sofa/rug combo.

Christina

Agreed. The credenza and the dresser are fighting the built-ins for attention. As an architectural detail, I would let the built-ins win. Is the fireplace working? If so a bench or some cozy seating around it would be nice. I have the moroccan wedding blanket bench from anthropologie and it would look great there. https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/moroccan-wedding-ottoman?category=bences-poufs-ottomans&color=011

I love the Colin Glasglow piece but I think it is too strong above the fireplace.

Also, the first thing that drew my eye was your projector. It distracts me from the peace of your space–but then I hate TVs in living rooms unless there is no other option (constant bone of contention between my husband and myself).

Susanna

” It was expensive, $280 for a 10×14″

This has to be a typo right? Maybe $2800?

The coffee table appears that no one could reach it from any of the seating to put down, you know, their cup of coffee. I love it and its sculptural shape adds a lot, but functionally it seem a tad lacking. Maybe the camera angles are misleading.

Emily

I think $280 was just for the stain treatment.

KP

I think she means the price to apply the protective coating, not the price of the rug.

Christine

LOL I read that sentence a few times too. I was thinking, “wait, have I been getting ripped off on rugs?!” But like others said below, I think she’s referring to the treatment. If it works though I think $280 for a 10×14 to protect it and get years out of its life is not too expensive either!

ha. yes thats just the stain treatment. the rug was $2500 with a designer discount so I think i paid like $2000. which is a good price for a 10×14, IMHO. And yes, the coffee table is kinda far away from the sofa, but the side tables aren’t so its fine – for now 🙂

Mara

Emily, love the living room! What a dream to play with!
My one suggestion is that you close off the built in shelving by the fireplace. It adds visual clutter. You have a lovely, neutral front of the room and then what seems to be a busy, stuffed-full back of the room. All the vignettes are beautifully styled but pulled back there is too much.
Just my non-professional $0.02 ❤️

Emily

I agree – or I would put rows of books there so it’s just straight lines and not so busy.

LJ

I think this room is lovely and perfect as is. Now, because you asked, I agree with Mara as the fire place side feels over-weighted with things. If the storage of the two credenza/dressers at that end of the room is what you need, then it’s what you need. But if not, I wonder if getting ride of the left one for a small side table to go with a the black chair (which I LOVE) and a larger piece of art than what is there might lift it a touch. I don’t think you’d necessarily want to close ALL the shelves off but wonder if a sparser styling and/or closing the bottom 3 shelves with doors (I know there isn’t depth here so it may not make financial or logical sense to go to the trouble to do this, I can only really comment visually as that is all I have experienced with this space) would start to give that side of the room some air to breathe. As mentioned, each vignette feels and looks lovely, it’s just the over all shot when you walk in that gives me a bit of the “clutter bug”. Given how you let… Read more »

KP

Interesting idea to close off the lower half of the shelves (either permanently or by adding doors). I would take that a step further and also suggest maybe then taking the actual wooden shelves out of the niche so it’s just an empty nook up top on each side. Then you could lean some larger art in there or you’d have room for larger vases etc.

thats an interesting idea – just have doors/cabinets on the bottom and then one – two shelves on top for larger things? HMMMM….

CA

I did exactly that with my built ins. They were full shelves on either side of my fireplace and it looked overwhelming with all the knick knacks, even though a lot of it was books … and I found myself just putting stuff there, not stuff I loved, just to take up space. The cabinets on the bottom are nice added storage and the top shelves are not too overwhelming to style … or too overwhelming to look at.

Lynn

Yes! This. What a great idea to still retain some storage and have display space. Love this.

I also think the two credenzas/ dressers that are currently styled at that end are fighting with each other a bit. I loved the demilune table you had there before because it was such a different shape than the credenza it was opposite.

Addie

I agree with Lynn. I would consider creating some closed storage on the bottom half of the built-ins with none or fewer shelves above, then remove the dresser and the credenza, and keep a chair on one side and just a large plant on the other side. That area needs to breathe more and be more about the architecture than the furniture.

LouAnn

Hmm. I totally disagree. The shelves add depth and interest to the room. IMO, it would look antiseptic without the “visual clutter.”

Dena

I love the bookshelves, I think it’s the big credenza that should go!

Amelia

I agree – Shelves are fine, I think the credenza and dresser moments are too much. I would ditch the sconces on the sides. Lighting is good, but visually there is so much here!

Lee

Well I think this version might be my favorite yet. It’s not sparsely decorated yet it feels spacious and serene — not too busy. I think that’s the color palette. I like all the black lamps. I LIKE the “noncontrast” between the sofa and the rug. It adds to the serenity. The whole room looks really comfortable with places that you’d want to sit and relax, yet it also looks modern (I’ve sat in enough modern furniture to know that modern and comfort don’t always go hand in hand!).

Just gorgeous. I want to move in. OK?

Kim

Yup! My favorite too for all the reasons stated!

kath

Agree. this is definitely the best version.

Lissa

I agree.

Annabelle

Yes!! I’ve always missed that red rug but somehow still agree that this is the best yet. I think it’s all the strong contrast between light and black elements— something I could use more if in my own space…

Maggie

Uffff, I really like this iteration. 🖤 Wondering about the shelves: have you ever tried just books? Perhaps books and books alone would create a more uniform look/decrease the clutter-y feel and allow the tables, art, and accents on either side of the shelving to really shine. Of course you’ve considered this! But I’d love to see it sometime. Again, LOVE this look. Thank you!

I could and think i have tried just books … but maybe i should again,. But i have SO MANY PRETTY THINGS. So many.

Hana

I started rotating my objects and art as having them all out was overwhelming my space and I appreciate them more when they’ve been stored away for awhile. Kinda like an old friend that you are so happy to see again and have been missing terribly!

Sarah

Interesting and eclectic, as all the recent iterations have been. Still can’t help but feel the mid-century wood dresser and credenza are wrong. A bow-front dresser by the fireplace. A sideboard or long dresser that picks up that shape to replace the credenza. Then the chairs would feel more unexpected. This house has an old soul and it feels like everything fights with it. Or maybe I just have an old soul : )

Carrie

I think the ceiling beams make it a little tricky to go light and airy in this room—I think that’s why the colorful red rug worked so well. When you go light, my eye is drawn up, and the bottom falls a little flat. I hate to say it, but I think the look you have going here (which I love!) would look better if you painted the beams white 🙈

I

I agree with Carrie. White beams would be beautiful – still visible and decorative, but airy.

heebie-geebie

I love the ceiling beams, but I was coming here to say something similar – I think they’re driving you crazy and making the room too busy.

Hana

I was afraid to comment on the beams but since you and others brought them up I think they look like they are coming down on the room like spider legs. I would remove them altogether but I understand this may be a very unpopular opinion!

Tiffanie

Agree my eye is drawn upwards to the beams; however, the wood coffee table is nice to pull my eyes back down.

INTERESTING. You guys – remember when we spent like 2 months trying to find the perfect stain after bleaching the orange/green stain out for weeks and weeks and weeks???? but if I came home from work one day and they were white I don’t know how sad I would be. But I also have to be careful of those quick decisions -same with plastering over the shelves. Will I one day regret it???

Jenn

Have you thought about adding doors to cover the bookshelves? Then if you ever change your mind, you could take the doors off.

Korina

Ok I don’t normally comment here but…I think the ceiling beams are adding something to the room, but I don’t think painting them is the right answer, not yet. I would encourage taking photos of your most favorite rooms and having them done in black and white. Because in this case I think value contrast is the biggest problem. You have a long skinny room and the back end does have a lot going on. I would pick up a few pieces of foam board and tape them over the shelves and see what I thought. Maybe you don’t need anything in the shelves but one thing, but I am guessing it will need to be something with the same value or close to, the paint color. The red area rug felt more natural in this room. Maybe due to era of the room, but also because it’s closer in value to the ceiling beams. When learning to oil paint, we were taught that as long as you get the value contrast right you could pretty much use the wrong color and it wouldn’t matter. I suspect going with a darker sofa (red would work as it reads as a… Read more »

Shelby

Your comment is so helpful! I agree about the foamboard! Very versatile and you can paint it, prop it up in large sheets and cut it down easy. Understanding balance and value is so important. I just moved and I am still figuring out the rooms. I am going to take some black and white pics of my struggling spaces.

Smith

DO NOT PAINT THE BEAMS!!!! Lol 5 years from now you would regret aaannnnndddd if you want to change back to stain, it would be soooooo hard…

Maizie

AHHHHH those beams make the entire room, they’re gorgeous- swoon worthy- the bee’s knees!!!! Leave them be!

Christina

Don’t paint the beams. They are part of what give the room that California bungalow vibe. I would also not plaster over the bookshelves. Simplify the furnishings and they won’t stick out so much.

K

A great update. All the pops of black really make the hardware on the windows stand out. It feels masculine and pretty at the same time.

Sarah

Pops of black are so key. In fact, paint the fireplace plaster (just the part that extends out) a dark charcoal and ground that entire side of the room.

Kelaine Thompson

I agree that the fireplace bump out gets lost and by making it more of a focal point it might help balance all the other small vignettes on that side of the room. It seems like something needs to take center stage because everything is calling for attention. I really appreciate you sharing your process and encouraging feedback! I have my own difficult room and wish I had an audience to help me sort it out!

Maya

I like this iteration the most of all of them!! Have you ever thought about painting the walls a dark, moody color, maybe up to the flat part of the ceiling? I think that could really make this big room feel cozy and could be a fun change, and I think the dark beams against the white are a bit reason why this room tends to feel a little busy. I love the way you’ve styled the shelves now!

Maya

Lucky Rivermont

I love it! The whole room seems much more you. I have a question – does the coffee table tend to tip over?

you know, it didn’t before when on a flatter rug but this rug is dense so we have to be more careful, which is kinda annoying. We’ve only had it for a couple months and it hasn’t been a huge problem, but it got worse a couple weeks ago when we brought in the new rug.

Denese

It looks great, I love your coffee table in that space and the new Serena and Lily credenza is absolutely gorgeous. So so pretty. I can’t help but wonder how something almost “out of place” would look in the corner at the fireplace like a high top table and chairs. Just a very small simple round table to modernize it and add a quirk

Samantha

I really really love this version too. It feels very “family” x

Maria

I do love this but I think it’s missing the warmth that the camel leather furniture brought to the living room in your last house. I think you initially had a sofa and then two chairs. Thank you for always being so open about your creative process! It’s both fascinating and inspiring!

Melanie

I was JUST thinking this. This room is begging for some camel leather warmth. It’s very 50 shades of gray (with black hits – which I love but there might be too many?). Needs a little warmth. Maybe swap out the gray and black pillows also with some color? Add more greenery?

OOH .. you know I love some camel leather ….

Mary

What about two lovely old leather armchairs instead of the midcentury armchairs that I think are trying a little too hard in the context of the architecture of your house, and a custom sectional in the style and colour of your wonderful light turquoise one, with the reupholstered chaise in the opposite corner? The chaise would create a welcoming fireplace grouping with the perpendicular part of the sectional, and nixing the credenza in that corner would make the area so much lighter… The coffee table would work well with this, but it may be best to replace the beautiful trunk with something visually lighter, probably reasonably modern. It may take a different style of credenza or storage piece to really work in the corner near the sectional. Basically trying to make the room a little warmer and relaxed…

Amy

I agree with the 50 shades of gray characterization! I miss more color. I have to say that the photo of the version with the red rug pulled at my heartstrings! This version is…thoughtful…but lacks a warmth that some of the other versions had. Also- this is probably silly, but I think the trunk needs to be placed horizontally between the chairs! Might not make sense with the space, but that 90-degree turn feels strange to me.

Tiffanie

#nailedit I’ve been on a Workin’ Moms binge. 😉 The room looks great. Love that you brought back that sectional +coffee table, new sconces for the bookshelves, and all the black lamps and elements- that slinky sculpture is pretty cool! 😎

Definitely, didn’t think those Target chairs would last in your posh space. The new ones have enough bulk and to balance that side of the room.

Anna Kirchengast

While I really like it, i deep that there is just too much going on. I would remove the article credenza as a whole as well as the black chair and make the built ins more substantial. I also think that the old Trunk doesn’t really work in here anymore.

Helena McNeice

I agree with this comment that the trunk needs to go and I also think the magazine bowl looks out of place. I love the new rug and the couch. Also, I agree with the other comments that the areas surrounding the fireplace feel heavy.

Wendy

Also, how is the lamp on the trunk plugged in? Do you have a receptacle in the floor there?

Monique Wright Interior Design

Omg! I just finished a Workin’ Moms binge! Freaking hilarious.

Carmil

I like the sectional- it really works, and who would have thought a sectional would work…..
Buttttttttt…. it seems to me that a furniture manufacturer would LOVE having you design a GOOD LOOKING, COMFORTABLE sectional that would work for all of us! I think whatever is in your head should be translated to real life and then all of us could buy it. Just a thought…..

Chelsea

I love this! I recently purchased the Burrard Sofa from Article after seeing it on your blog and I’m loving it!

This room reminds me of my Great Aunt’s house which I always loved visiting because she mixed modern and traditional in such a beautiful way. This room looks cozy and inviting and I love all the fun pieces of furniture and art.

oh good! yah, its a good one for sure. and I want to visit her house 🙂

Debbie

It’s nice. The important thing is that it works for you.

guada

This is so gorgeous!

It would be fun to see a version with the same furniture, art, etc, but with a change in the fabrics (throws and pillows) to see their impact.

Judi

I’m a neutral lover. And I love mid century and modern and antiques together. I love it!

Chelsea

Hands down this is my favorite iteration of this room! I love the sectional, the Serena and lily credenza, and the club chairs especially. The more natural/neutral tones really let the gorgeous wood beams shine. I also love the more neutral styling of the shelves because (unpopular opinion?) I prefer a less “busy” look. However I always feel like that art above the fireplace always seems out of place with the rest of the room, no matter where it has been placed, but especially it’s current location.

Sara

I agree about the fireplace art. It just doesn’t have the pull that that space deserves. Wonder how it would look to paint just the back wall and bookshelves there? Feels like it could add some warmth and depth.

One of the problems I’d have styling this room comfortably is that it feels big. Bringing it down to “cozy” takes so many pieces. The sectional and those bigger chairs are more to scale for the room and look super comfy. I’d be interested in having maybe a cool chair and a half over by the fireplace for a super cozy reading nook. Feels like softness over there would be nice.

I love seeing all of the iterations and hearing your process, em!

I’d love to see a big chair and a half back there, too…. maybe I should play around with nixing the little dresser (I have so many places that can go) and that black chair that no one sits in and get a big cozy chair and ottoman instead.

Brett

To me, the above is the perfect solution to edit some of the casegoods out and bring in a softer lined chair in lieu of the black chair. Those spaces never get used, but they help soften spaces.

Donna

Yes! That would lighten up and simplify that corner!

Addie

Yes, Emily, I was going to say a bigger comfier chair instead of that little black one, along with no dresser, will improve that corner, similar to how it was with the chaise but more flexible.

Sara

Also, I notice now that the large pieces of furniture all have legs. I’m glad you gave the trunk and coffee table to ground the space but I’m wondering if you might want a piece of fabric furniture for grounding as well? Helps up the cozy factor.

Lena

I remember reading in an old Domino (maybe) a designer saying everything can’t have legs or it makes the room look nervous as if a piece of furniture is trying to run out of the room. You always need something that sits on the floor!

Amber

I really like the new charcoal and black elements. I think they add contrast that stands up to the significant architectural details in the room.

They also add a masculine element that feels tailored in a way that works with the Tudor style even though the pieces are more modern.

I think adding a pop of red would work well, but I would make it an accent and not the couch. I think you need a little more contrast between the rug and the couch but not a lot. Maybe a cognac leather would work? I think a smooth texture would be nice in here and be family friendly.

Oh! Almost forgot. Those piano lights over the bookshelves look GREAT!

Amber

I’ve been staring at the back wall to try to understand why people always seem to take issue with the bookshelves.

I think the issue is that you can really tell how long the room is in the end shots, so everything at the end of the room seems bunched together.

I’ve always thought the widths were a little quirky — the bookshelves want a bigger piece of art in the center, but that doesn’t work with the chimney. But those kinds of quirks prevent the room from looking too perfect.

It also looks like the credenza covers up the bookshelves in the back. It looks fine in the together shots, which is why I think it might be a depth perception issue. But maybe lighter weight or less furniture in those corners would relieve the “clutter” people see.

I think you are right re the shots. in person it doesn’t feel like a lot back there, but in the shots everything is on top of each other. but agree that a more solid chair in a lighter fabric might reduce the visual clutter. I’ll try it – you know it 🙂

Janice

I love the black accents in the room.. what I found the most distracting from the beautiful decor was the modern art piece. ( In all rooms )..

Erica

I love that it is less traditional than your first design. It looks so much more you! I agree that the sofa doesn’t contrast with the rug enough. The chairs are perfect! It would be cool to do a post where you show how you could bring more color into the space with styling. It looks great neutral but I’m sure it would also look lovely with some more signature blue.

Woodlucker

What about just white things on the shelves? ….reduces the visual clutter. I love the room in all its configurations especially the red rug because I plays beautifully with the ceiling details. Fun to see your process!

Lyndsey

Obviously this new look is gorgeous but I think perhaps the trunk is too heavy so close to the gorgeous coffee table which i am so glad is back! Perhaps you can take away the mid century dresser and put it there? I feel there is less of the bright pops of your favorite blue and pink in here?

Melkorka

love the organic wooden elements & dark modern lamps you have added in – always fun to see you play with different elements and styles!

PK

This is the best iteration yet! I was a HUGE fan of the Glendale living room; it’s still one of my favorites designed by you. The difference as you very well articulated is the more traditional style of this home and trying to find the right balance of mid century modern in here.

My two cents similar to several on this thread is that the vignettes, while beautiful add to the clutter. In my opinion, you don’t need the beautiful black chair either in that corner of the room. Without them, the shelves really get to shine.

I also love this artwork but I am not convinced it’s the best fit for this room. I loved the large abstract piece you had there for a previous iteration.

The rug, sofa and the old favorites are lovely though!

Karen Shook

I think your furniture looks too spaced apart for the size of that room. Maybe pull the sofa away from the wall & put a console table behind it? Other than that, I love the colors and those beams…oh my!! Thanks for sharing.

alison

Yeah, I feel the same! Is this because of a wide angle or are the chairs actually so far from the coffee table and couch? It seems less cozy to me if I think about having a conversation with someone across the room and needing to shout.

Love the new credenza, always missing the red rug 🙂

they are pretty close together, actually! they aren’t too far apart at all! So funny.

Caroline

I’m so in love with that credenza. It is a PERFECT balance of age and modern.
I love everything else about this space— although I must confess I really loved that green sofa in here…

Mary Ann

Hi Emily – This is such a beautiful room. The light and the windows, the fireplace and the lovely ceiling… I have to agree with the commenters who have said the back of the room is just too busy, though. It’s almost like two different rooms (front and back) and maybe that’s why the red rug worked but didn’t work? Did it work with the feel of a busier room? It’s what I feel every time I see photos of this room. especially in this iteration. The front of the room has large scale, simple pieces – few patterns and more texture – and feels serene. Breathing room. The back is so many little dots and dashes in a condensed area – the background. There are the lines from the fireplace brick, all the lines in between the books, the lines of the edges of the art on the side walls, the sconces, the lines from the drawer edges and even the lines from the leaves on branches in the vases – even though one is not really in the back of the room. There are the dots in the art the drawer pulls and the black and white photographs… Read more »

Nicole

While there are so many parts of this that I LOVE (rug, coffee table of my dreams) I think it’s too cluttered from a pulled back view. Like others have asked, why so much stuff by the fireplace? I love the idea of one credenza but I don’t think you necessarily need to fill up the space just because it’s there.
Also, I really love the lamps but they are all black and it’s maybe too repetitive. The CB2 lamp is great, but I would love to see something softer there, like the round wood base lamp from Rejuvenation with a white shade.
I also think of blue when I think of Emily Henderson, and I’m missing that here!

Michelle

This version might be my favorite so far. I love how calming and pulled together it feels. (And I just bought 4 new pillows and a lamp from Target, thank you!) Since you did ask, the weight on the right side of the room feels heavy with the trunk and the large dresser vs. the lefts side with the much smaller dresser. Could they be swapped so there’s a better visual balance between the two sides? It’s hard to tell in the photos. I love the movement and organic feel both the coffee table and hand chair are providing in here.

Jody

I like the piece over the fireplace but maybe it is not the right spot for it. I wonder if a round or oval mirror would compliment the soft lines of the fireplace more? I agree with some other comments regarding the ‘busyness’ of fireplace end of the room, perhaps pairing it down even slightly would lighten it up some. All that to say, this room is very beautiful and I am far from an expert. I love these posts showing small tweaks to the design.

ha, everyone wants that piece to move!!! ok we’ll try it!

Lynne

Emily—-i am thrilled—yes thrilled at this latest design as it “looks like you”! I am a huge fan of the fireplace artwork-to me it is your signature-the ability to mix traditional with modern. Really looking forward to seeing the POP of color. Can envision a cozy, reading chair where the black one now sits. Excellent work!

Beth

Hi Emily, Thank you for the opportunity to comment. All of the iterations of the room look great and I think this latest version is my favorite of all. All of your work is lovely. I am a constant re-arranger in my own home and so I love seeing how you move things around. This room is great as is but just for fun what if you covered up the bookshelves on the fireplace wall and add them back in where the credenzas are. This way you still have bookshelves… just off to the sides. Move your beautiful artwork that is over the credenzas to the fireplace wall. Have two chairs angled by the fireplace with a small a table for drinks. I think this will have the visual effect of making that end of room more light and airy, in keeping with the front of the room. Having the bookshelves on the sides will minimize the visual “clutter” yet still give you space to display all of your books and special things. Cant wait to see what you do next, I’m quite sure it will be wonderful. Thank you for asking for our thoughts!

Whitney

I love this. Fave iteration so far. Quiet and modern. Love the neutrals with pops of black throughout. I’m gonna echo others asking if you should simplify the shelves just a teensy bit; maybe just books and some speckled pottery and wood pieces. Then add that one weird pop of red or a giant weird piece of art that has a bit of color. Maybe somewhere instead of a grouping of pieces of art? Not sure.

Ali

I have to agree with those who said that the back seems a little heavy. The combination of the shelves, dresser, and credenza etc makes for a lot of busyness at the back. It takes away from the light/airy feel. The middle focal point of the room is pretty neutral while the back seems a bit distracting. Lovely vignettes, but it pulls too much attention.

Joy

I love all the new pieces! It looks so much more like you. I still miss the original rug. I agree with you that the rug and sofa could contrast a bit more. Love it!

Jane

It’s looking good! I live the rug and have long admired that Serena and Lily credenza! It’s hard to tell in photos, but I wonder if the scale of the room begs for two distinct seating areas. There has also been one with little vignettes elsewhere but what if there were two fully styled separate areas?

Erika Otter

Yeah – I know I would want a place to flop on the floor in front of the fireplace – that would be my second seating area. It can go along with all the “simplify” comments in that it doesn’t really matter what you do with the space above, as long as there was a nice pool of light and a soft rug. It could take the chaise back or something else soft to one side.

Max

So fun to watch this progression, I’m loving the most recent changes (I also snatched up that CB2 lamp the second I saw it!) I was cracking up over your having to mow the last rug before you shot it; love when people are open about the issues behind the scenes, it makes us feel less alone when we’ve also chosen something that isn’t holding up its side of the bargain. I think the big change needs to be the sofa — this space screams out for a big weird statement piece (but then again, I’m a hospitality designer so I love me some chunky curvy alien-looking pieces, which might turn off a chunk of your audience.) I would put a low squashy Mario Bellini Camaleonda, or a Cassini Sesann or Soriana piece in there, something that is cozy but strongly curvaceous, an immediately less traditional eye-catcher to contrast the bones of the space and the existing other pieces….don’t know that I’d go contrast with the color, probably stick with a putty or beige, maybe burnished camel. Hand chair is great in tableau but lost in the larger image, I think it’s what’s contributing to what others are reading as… Read more »

Jennifer Gumbel

The color is a bit lacking in photos… but photos v. real life, who knows right? I think punchy pillows would knock it out of the park. Like maybe.. strategic, bright red!!

Robyn

This is my favorite version of this living room so far. It’s light, airy and inviting. Love it!

Kristin

I think you need some sort of pattern and/or color in here. Since your furniture is so neutral, and your curtains are beautiful, I would do it in the rug. The current rug/sofa combo doesn’t work for me color wise. I also agree with bringing in some camel colored leather somewhere to warm things up a little. Red might be too much in here. I don’t think your shelves or fireplace area are too cluttered. I agree that it’s a beautiful room—you are so close! 🙂

Frances

Hi Em, looking great! I agree with the comment about missing a little blue, but that’s what the freedom of accessories can work out for you.

On a different topic, have you told us about your projector setup?

Lydia

Wow! So lovely. I enjoy tweeting and redoing and changing up our main living space often as well. I may be absolutely crazy, but, if you are leaning in on a more calm and airy space I would suggest walling in the bookshelves. I have never said that sentence in my whole life! But, if I squint and cover those shelves up with my thumbs (does anyone else do this?) then it all of a sudden calms way down. There is so much to see and enjoy with that fireplace and your delightfully curated furnishings. A cleaner, simpler wall at the end may be the ticket? Best wishes!

Molly

I think either closing them up or perhaps making them go to the ceiling. They seem an unusual in-between size as is. What if you closed them up, put a big leaning mirror on one side and cool large art on the other side?

I agree with others that the back half of the room feels pretty busy, especially compared with the front half. I think a second separate seating area at the back could really help. Less credenzas, more cozy seating. I think this would look more intentional rather than like you are just trying to fill the space.

Love love love the coffee table and really like the new simpler sconces over bookshelves. These are great edits.

I think the room is VERY pretty and it works, but where is the Emily combo of neutrals, white and COLOR (aka blue)? Seems a little too neutral to me.

But it is difficult to feel like I’m criticizing because it is lovely and you are so talented! Just offering since you asked for our opinions.

Ann

The red rug was still my favorite but I like this version second best. Have you thought about the layout at all? The grey chairs are awesome but can you really talk to anyone else while you are sitting in one? Also, did you ever think about putting more windows there the bookshelves are. You have a lot of light already but I think it would frame the fireplace so well. I agree with the others that the bookshelves are too busy 🙁

Ann

The red rug was still my favorite but I like this version second best. Have you thought about the layout at all? The grey chairs are awesome but can you really talk to anyone else while you are sitting in one? Also, did you ever think about putting more windows there the bookshelves are. You have a lot of light already but I think it would frame the fireplace so well. I agree with the others that the bookshelves are too busy 🙁

Amy

I love that coffee table and sectional, but I do not love them in this room. They were a much better fit for the style of your Glendale house. All the pieces are truly beautiful I just feel like thIs house, and this room in particular needs to lean a bit more traditional. The original sofa was a better fit for the space, but I think you’ll know it when you find the perfect sofa and I know it will be wonderful!

Jenny

My suggestion is to use those shelves as a statement – fill them with just one thing; plants, a fun collection of very curated pottery, oil portraits, hats…idk. but you need to fill those multiple shelves with something fun and layered but that still reads as one thing, if that makes sense.

Elizabeth

I love the new update. I have to admit i loved the red rug but i just don’t think it was your style! I think you, Emily are amazing and every iteration of this room has blown my mind in one way or the other. I’d LOVE this room in my home!! But If i had to be really super nit picky: In my opinion the front half of the room with the sectional is looking perfect and i agree with others that the back half is looking heavy. It’s obviously a LONG shape that makes it more challenging to furnish!

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