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Reveal: How We Brightened Up a Room (and Some Deserving Lives) with Velux Skylights

Today’s reveal is my favorite type of “work” and why I feel like the luckiest person on the planet that this is my job. Velux skylights approached me about doing a makeover for a family that could use some “brightening up,” and I said “yes” very quickly. When your job is helping others through design and style, you feel pretty darn lucky. We posted about the contest here, and hundreds of you entered to get the free makeover, which included new skylights. Raeann secretly entered Kristen for the contest, both being avid readers for years (THANK YOU) and their story was one that seemed perfect for what we were going to be able to bring to them. Here they are, with myself and the design lead on this job, Julie Rose.

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Kristen and Raeann have been together for 7 years, married for nearly one. They live in Salt Lake City and bought their house a year and a half ago. Last year, Kristen (32) was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Cholangiocarcinoma, which she was predisposed to genetically. Typically, those who are diagnosed with this type of cancer are over the age of 65 and found more commonly in males. This is why it was very shocking that Kristen got diagnosed at such a young age. Obviously, that threw their life into a spin of fear and just so many unknowns. She began a clinical test and rounds of chemo, one that didn’t make her lose her hair (it’s a new clinical trial), but of course inside she wasn’t feeling good AT ALL.

So when Raeann entered her and we saw her bedroom, we knew that they were the perfect family for this. Kristen was spending a lot of time in her bedroom, resting, sleeping and recovering from the chemo treatments, and we were about to make that room so much more beautiful, comfortable and yes, bright and airy.

Here’s what Raeann envisioned for the space: “My wife just started chemo and is spending a lot more time in bed these days. I would love for our bedroom to be more of a haven for her—a serene, comforting, and light space that brings her peace and happiness when other things are tough.”

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So Julie and myself flew out to Salt Lake City to meet them and get a sense of what their style was and really understand what they wanted for the space. I can’t tell you how wonderful they were and we clicked immediately and didn’t want to leave. I wrote about the process yesterday as it was fast and saved us a ton of time. They trusted us—with some guidance—which made the process so fast and easy plus we really loved their style and what they had pinned to a Pinterest board for the giveaway. I know that you guys are awesome, but to hang out with two that have been reading for years solidifies that I have the BEST READERS IN THE WORLD.

Emily Henderson Velux Brighten Up Any Room Before Photos 01

Their Functional Needs:

1. More light: The room needed more light and was honestly a perfect candidate for skylights. I am a firm believer that natural light changes the entire mood and feel of a room. In fact, studies show that people in hospitals with windows, who can see nature, may heal faster. By putting in skylights not only do you get more light, but you can see the sky, the clouds, the blue while you are laying down (and the stars at night). We put in two Velux No Leak Solar Powered “Fresh Air” skylights that are roughly 2 feet wide by 3 feet tall on the eastern wall because morning light is soft and prettier than afternoon light. Your Velux consultant or contractor can help you determine the best placement in your room so you are optimizing the light in the smartest way.

Emily Henderson Velux Brighten Up Any Room Before Photos 02

2. A bigger, cozier, bed: Right from the start, we determined that the bed should stay along the wall it was on initially but I convinced them that they had to get a king-size bed (which for them meant a brand new mattress from Tuft & Needle). They also wanted something more dog-friendly, i.e. lower so their pup, Izzy, could get on and off easily in her older years.

3. More nightstand storage: When you are in bed all day, you accumulate things around you (cups, books, etc.), so more space both in and out of drawers would be helpful.

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Their Stylistic Wants:

Cozy and comfortable: After the initial small talk, we asked Raeann and Kristen to describe the feel of the room they wanted when they walked in for the reveal. Words like serene, cozy, comfortable, bright and Zen came out of their mouths and into our design minds. That, combined with being able to sit down with them and go through their pre-pinned Pinterest board, was a great learning experience to see what and why people are drawn to a random room from the internet.

Lots of layers, textures but not too many patterns: The wall-to-wall carpet was not bad but we decided to layer a lighter and brighter rug with some texture would make the space feel bigger and cozier. We went with subtle white Roman shades from Tonic Living (who were gracious enough to RUSH deliver these to us, thank you Tonic Living!) that filtered some light but visually “disappear” when needed. Oh, and as for things to avoid: NO velvet. Kristen HATES the feel of velvet for some reason, like my cats used to hate fur, she is repelled by the feeling of it.

As we wrote yesterday, we wanted it to feel serene but luxurious, neutral but with personality. So soft, so easy, so stress-less, with more storage and more bright (yet soft) light.

We planned from LA, and loaded up a big moving truck the Saturday before the week of the install. Within two days (with a lot of prep from my team, led by Julie), we transformed this space and absolutely brightened up their room (and yes, also their life). It’s so warm, happy, layered and yet simple and easy to navigate both stylistically and functionally.

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The Color Palette: We kept all the major pieces neutral and calm, and then layered on some higher contrast. Honestly, this is really the safest and easiest route to go if you aren’t into having a risky bedroom. It also keeps it really easy to change styles and colors in accessories and bedding. That bed, from Living Spaces, is a STEAL at $450 (for a KING!) and that upholstered headboard makes it so much more comfortable than the original wood one they had in the space. Kristen and Raeann both liked navy (as do we, duh) so it was really an EHD palette that we are very comfortable with—gray, white, navy with a lot of wood and natural textures.

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Textures: While we don’t have a lot of high contrast patterns, we do have a lot of textures throughout not only in the bedding but also the furniture. Please note the wood/woven nightstand from Serena and Lily. It’s very special and not just because it has leather pulls. The rug has a strangely soft texture (and is also so affordable for how soft and huge it is, a 9’x12′ for $338); it also brings in a slight pattern. Even the lamp has visual texture, with splatter paint all over it. Kristen loves woven window treatments but since we wanted to make sure the space could be completely dark during the day, we brought this element into the space through the nightstands and pendant over the bed.

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Art: In an attempt to always have art be a more personal element in the room, we brought in a lot of family photos that we put into readymade frames.

But, we found the perfect large scale art for the space in the most kismet way. For our stay, Julie booked a house for the whole team through Airbnb not knowing at the time that it belonged to Holly Addi who is a local artist in SLC. Her abstract paintings are INCREDIBLE and also owns one of the cutest stores in town called Arte Haus Collectif. Her work is so beautiful and I wanted (still want) many pieces for my own home. If you don’t live in the SLC area, you can purchase her work through Uprise Art and she has a lot more in that collection that the whole team loved.

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After hearing this story and seeing how perfect her piece would be in here, she was lovely enough to cut us a deal so this piece could live in the room. Look how incredible it is. We loved that it was overscale for that wall and yet fit so cohesively into the space. Thank you, Holly!

They were SO happy when they saw the piece and I told them the story.

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I would be psyched, too. 🙂

We also added a ceramic sculpture over the bed from MQuan which was the perfect textural yet quiet piece that engaged the space without being too big.

Now for the reason we are all here:

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The Skylights: The two new skylights transformed the vibe of the space a couple of weeks before we redecorated. We saw photos and sighed with relief, knowing that it was SO much better already. The morning light floods in but don’t worry, the remote-controlled room darkening shades keep it dark until they are ready to get out of bed.

I have a ton of experience with these shades, having them in our master bedroom at the mountain house as well and opening them in the morning is an absolute JOY. If you are worried about big blocks of light or too much light, just know it’s all about placement of the skylights. Overhead, around noon, yes you are going to get more of a block of light that is actually really beautiful (and you can close the shades for a daytime nap), but in the morning and evening, it’s soft and creates a diffused light ambiance. Yes. Call me a huge fan of these.

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They also open to let air out which is great for this family because they only had one floor vent for their central AC and even had to add a window unit (that we took out for the shots) to keep the room cool and since it’s on the second floor, it can pull air from the house and let it out during the hot SLC summer days.

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Izzy is very much loving the fresh air (and of course her new bed from The Wolf Nest).

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Storage: Besides the huge nightstands, on the other side of the room we have this BEAUTIFUL dresser by Hedge House Furniture, which I’ve wanted for a while. It’s so simple, beautiful and handmade (in the US).

Look at those beautiful lines and the finish of the wood. Since this dresser was a bit smaller than the one they had previously, we later revealed to Kristen and Raeann that we bought additional dressers for inside their closet and yes, Raeann cried again which was very sweet.

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Seating: Kristen and Raeann didn’t really need seating in here, but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t give them a pretty cute little corner vignette with one of our favorite contemporary chairs from Article. The scale on it is large while still being simple, and the wood and leather tie in with the nightstands so they speak to each other. We got the stool from MidCenturyLA which we love (they might have more, we bought two, one lives in the mountain house). We added more family photos, a sculptural light from Target, and some cozy elements like the throw from The Citizenry and pillow from Lulu and Georgia.

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Bedding: We wanted the bedding to be super comfortable and cozy, with enough texture and pattern to have interest but to mostly be neutral and calm. It’s a lot of more affordable (and very soft) Target sheets and duvets with some more splurge-y pillows from Filling Spaces and Lulu and Georgia—once again showing that it’s all about styling and context.

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A massive thanks to my entire team, led by Julie Rose…you killed it! And to the most lovely “clients” who really gave us creative freedom to make their lives better. When we did our first surprise makeover (or Feel Good Flash Makeover) it was never intended for them have a partner, but my god, if this can be our new business, companies helping us fund these makeover that make lives better, then it’s such a And yes, we’ll be able to do so many more than we ever could on our own.

Thank you, Velux, for making our job more fun and fulfilling and for helping us make this room, and this family’s lives, brighter.

Speaking of which…did they like it???

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The answer is YES. They couldn’t really believe what we had done in those two days and were shocked that it was their new bedroom, that everything was now theirs.

And good news: Kristen finished her first round of chemo and is awaiting tests but she feels decent…she’s still excited to get a lot of use out of this bedroom on the weekends and nights.

They wrote to us after the makeover and said this about their experience:

“We feel so lucky to have had this experience. We LOVE our new space and we were blown away by the kindness and generosity of Emily’s team and at Velux. We love waking up in our serene bedroom because it really feels like a retreat from all the other chaos we have in our lives right now. And Emily was so right, the upholstered headboard really is like another pillow. :)”

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Please watch the video of the full makeover and reveal, here:

Thanks again, Velux Skylights for being so darn wonderful, both in product and throughout this process. And a big thank you to Kristen and Raeann for being fun, easy and so open to our ideas, and, of course, thank you EHD team (Julie Rose and Emily Bowser on the design, install and styling, plus Mallory Wackerman and Chandler Frame for assisting day-of) for all your hard work, long nights, creativity and care.

We honestly can’t wait to do more.

If you want to know what product we used and who we love, here you go:

Emily Henderson Design Velux Master Bedroom Boho Neutral Get The Look 01

1. Bed Frame from Living Spaces | 2. Stoneware Discs by MQUAN | 3. Rattan Basket Light | 4. White Duvet Cover | 5. Sheet Set | 6. Throw Blanket | 7. Moroccan Oversized Bedding Throw | 8. Rug from RugsUSA | 9. Sheepskin Rug from Article | 10. Lumbar Pillow from Lulu and Georgia | 11. Lumbar Pillow from Filling Spaces | 12. Table Lamp from Lulu and Georgia | 13. Nightstand from Serena & Lily | 14. Ceramic Planter | 15. Marble Bowl | 16. Wood Vase | 17. Gold Ring | 18. White Vase | 19. Wood Tray | 20. The Flower Expert Book | 21. The Home Edit Book | 22. Lumbar Pillow from Lulu and Georgia | 23. Alpaca Throw from The Citizenry | 24. Window Treatment by Tonic Living | 25. Velux Skylights | 26. Art by Holly Addi | 27. Stool from Midcentury LA | 28. Chair from Article | 29.  Floor Lamp | 30. Calm The Chaos Journal | 31. Pause Journal | 32. Olive Canvas Dog Bed | 33. Unisex Perfume | 34. Round Box | 35. Tray | 36. Square Frame | 37. Wood Frame | 38. Rectangle Frame | 39. Mirror | 40. Dome Light by Shades of Light | 41. Table Lamp | 42. In The Company of Women Book | 43. Homebody by Joanna Gaines Book | 44. Custom Dresser by Hedge House Furniture

*This post is in partnership with Velux but all words, designs and selections are our own. Thanks for supporting the brands we love that support the blog.

**photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp for EHD


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4 years ago

Great post!! Could you speak to the quality of that bed. $450 seems to good to be true!

4 years ago

Great post! Could you speak to the quality of that bed? $450 sounds too good to be true!

4 years ago
Reply to  Esther

Agreed! I want to know what people think about Tuft and Needle!

4 years ago
Reply to  Erin

I have the bed from Living Spaces in a Cal King and we LOVE it! Super sturdy, strong, and great quality. Looks beautiful, too!

4 years ago
Reply to  Erin

I love my Tuft and Needle mattress. We’ve had it for about two years now. Highly recommend it. So comfortable, but supportive. We loved it so much, we bought a second one for our cabin.

4 years ago
Reply to  Esther

I have that bed and I LOVE it! I’ve had it for about a year and it looks new, with two people and two cats. No regrets at all!

4 years ago

Dressing to match the room … I see what you did here lol.

What a wonderful transformation. The new looks is so inviting. I’ve admired Holly Addi’s work for years and the piece she provided really unifies the space. Also love the nightstands and the speckled lamp.

4 years ago

Well I’m crying now! What a wonderful gift from Velux and from you and your team, Emily. It looks lovely- as a cozy bedroom lover, I am inspired!

4 years ago

Oh this was very good content! I liked the ‘options’ for each item that were presented yesterday and then seeing the resulting choice and how it all came together today. Kinda want to see it again tomorrow but this time with a different chair/throw/rug/bed from the choices presented yesterday (but same stylistic direction). It was really interesting to see the behind the scenes of what choices were considered and which made the final cut. I feel like i learned a lot about the process instead of being ‘blinded’ by the magic of the reveal. I feel like i saw behind the magicians curtain a bit you know, and its super inspiring there. Ha. Thank you. Would be interested in this same process for all future reveals, i figure if youre creating these style sheets already why not share them? Xx

4 years ago

What a gorgeous restful room!
Can you kindly tell me what color white paint you used?
Thank you!

4 years ago

Ohhhhh, I really love this new room. I am such a light seeker, that I would have never contemplated buying with such darkness. The Velux sky lights really really transform the home. I am stuck in bed a lot too and I really love how beautiful and lux you made the room. Swooning over the night stands and lamps. The Article chair….gaaaaaah! Amazing EHD team ???

4 years ago

I love posts like this! Keep them coming. Feel good stories, helping others, and a normal room for normal people. I think this is way more interesting than super aspirational giant house flips, and way more helpful too!

4 years ago

I looove it!! Such a nice transformation. For someone who has an attic, would you “cut through” the attic to do skylights (sort of like a big tube-shaped opening through your attic to get to the roof), or just remove the attic over the room where you want the skylights?

4 years ago
Reply to  jessvii

Then you need a lightwell. Velux has a video:

4 years ago

Yes! My favorite kind of post. Great backstory, great results and pretty yet attainable inspiration photos.

4 years ago

This is gorgeous!! Also, this is what you should be doing more of – sharing the perks of your job (freebies) with the whole spirit of your job (making homes more comfortable, relaxing, and attractive, in the clean but whimsical EHD style, for the real people who live there). Personally I have gotten so sick of bloggers re-doing their own spaces 6 million times, because the waste is terrible, and I also think it stifles their creativity. I loved the makeover you did for the kids’ former nanny, and this one is also terrific. Please, please, please stop re-doing your own spaces – even though it’s instructional to hear about design mistakes or “oops real life is more complicated” type posts ONCE for each space, I really feel like your LA house has been such waste of time and resources going after that elusive perfect [couch, rug, dresser, front room, etc.] when you’ve had lovely-enough from round 1. (I’m a fan, really, so this is tough love) I urge you to use your personal platform and resources to spread light and coziness around the country, and to stop contributing to the rampant consumerism and self-indulgence of the home diy/design world.… Read more »

4 years ago

Love this room! Love all the styling pieces and those skylights make all the difference. So nice to choose someone who has to spend so much time in bed. I can imagine how nice it must be to lay there and revel in the beauty of the room.

4 years ago

Yay! I love that such a wonderful couple was served in this way!!! Also, awesome design.

Roberta Davis
4 years ago

I have Velux opening skylights at the top of my 2-story+ space and they are better than air conditioning in the Northwest climate. We open them at night, they suck all the hot air out of the house and bring in refreshing, cool air! We have 6 of these skylights, although only 3 of them open, and they are on the north side of the house. I am planning to add another one in a remodeled bathroom, over the tub, facing south. I love them!

This is a really nice re-do- refreshing and calming at the same time. I love the plant under the skylight. A Wonderful place to rest and heal. Good on you, EHD and Velux.

Did you share the total cost?

4 years ago
Reply to  Roberta Davis

I’ll add my praise for the Velux skylights. We installed eight in our recent house addition/remodel. One in each of the kids’ bedrooms (4) and four over our double-story foyer/stairwell. One of the four over the stairwell opens to allow hot air to escape, as mentioned in the post — works amazingly well to release the hot air and bring in a breeze and fresh air. Because it is solar-capable (if the skylight is open and senses rain it automatically closes using the stored solar energy), we were able to take a tax credit for that one the year it was installed. We had six skylights in our former home so wanted to recreate the light and brightness they brought into our new home. I can’t praise them enough and highly recommend.

Cris S.
4 years ago

Love it! What a perfect way to use the Velux skylights! So glad they sponsored this – and the room is lovely now for a lovely couple.

4 years ago

Preach! Oversize, unframed, original abstract art transforms a space. I hope this great example brings tons of inspiration to readers. (Also, your art does NOT have to match the furniture or decor. Buy what you love and it will look awesome and bring you daily joy.) Thanks EHD team for bringing your skills and good will to help others. The skylights are gorgeous.

4 years ago

What kind of plant is that in the huge planter on the floor, and is there a source for the huge planter? TIA

Paige Cassandra Flamm
4 years ago

This room looks amazing! I love all the neutral colors and pieces that you picked!


4 years ago

Oh my goodness!! Love it! Especially their story and how even just one element like the skylights makes such a difference! Now I know why I love morning light the best!!

4 years ago

Your style brought me to this blog, your heart keeps me returning.

Thank you for making the world more beautiful.

4 years ago

Love this room and the love that went into making it special. Can you please share source for white duvet? Is it linen.? Thanks!

4 years ago
Reply to  Julie Rose

Thanks for your quick response. Now I have a follow up question that will sound so elementary I am sure to you and your readers…but .I am wondering what duvet INSERTS you use in this bedroom..the ones I have purchased in the past are SO POOFY that I do not like the look…I want it to look like your bed in this story. Not like the Michelin Man. Help! 🙂 Lisa

4 years ago

So fun to see a feature in my home town! Thanks for the art recommendation.

This room is stunning. My very best to these two beautiful women.

4 years ago

This is so beautiful, restful and serene. I love the skylights and the way the EHD team lightened up the room but kept some color in there. I have 5 skylights in my house and love them so much. They are all Velux, and the quality is seriously good. I love taking a shower with light coming right down over my head, but I also love the skylights in the hall and kitchen. The spaces were pretty grim before we put them in and now are flooded with light.

4 years ago

Congratulations Kristen and Raeann! Hope your new space brings healing and comfort for the hard days.

EHD beautiful space! Cozy and welcoming. Anyone would be happy to habitat there.

Paula Carr
4 years ago

The room is pretty, if a little bland. But, man, the dog sure looks happy in that last pic! 🙂

4 years ago

Headed to Target to get the Blue Diamond sheet set! Love the entire room. Would love to live there.

4 years ago

I recently got the Target sheets in the same print and they’re on my bed right now! What a lovely room…bookmarking several items since this is very much my style and color jam. I hope the new space supports Kristen’s full recovery and peace for years to come!

4 years ago
Reply to  Tracy

Funny, I went out today and bought those Target sheets, too, for my bed, after reading this post.

4 years ago
Reply to  LouAnn

I have these sheets (have for years) and honestly, best sheets for the price!

4 years ago

What a beautiful room and lovely family!

I just got your top Emily st target and am going to copy your styling.

You please let us know when the quilts from your mountain House guest bedroom come to target? Current, I’m checking daily!

4 years ago
Reply to  S

Ha! They’re supposed to be up on the site on August 25 (this Sunday), but we heard there might be a tiny delay. We’ll keep EVERYONE posted.

4 years ago

Thank you!

4 years ago

Beautiful room! The team did a fantastic job! Love the bed frame! Wish I could find something for that price in GA.

BTW – what size rug is that?

4 years ago
Reply to  sam

It’s a 9×12!

4 years ago

I love this! And I would love to see more posts like this of real people’s homes (not super high end). Best of luck to these lovely women navigating that scary diagnosis and medical journey. It’s so cool that they have this beautiful new bedroom to recuperate in.

4 years ago

Stunning! The skylights! The art! The bedside tables!
This is absolutely my favorite kind of content from you – a true makeover, using your design and styling chops, to create a needed space for people who couldn’t do this for themselves. I’ve been reading since your Design Star days and enjoy lots of your content but if you did this and only this I would still be an avid reader.

4 years ago

Wow! What a week, Mountain house reveal ( so wonderful, loved it all) now this! Thanks team, Emily and Velux. ?

4 years ago

Beautiful space for a definitely deserving couple. That room will be their sanctuary. Thank you for sharing your talents and for sharing their story!

4 years ago

Love this!! I hope you get alll the sponsorships to make this a regular thing. It’s a great way to see the EHD twist on a variety of spaces, and the human interest component gives it so much depth compared to an ordinary room makeover.

4 years ago

Dreamy…so happy for them to enjoy this space and recover quickly. I tried entering this contest had problems uploading photos. Still striving for a velux makeover in our nest, agree with Emily in how transformative a home can make you feel and be. Going to give that feeling to myself and family, especially my son whose been diagnosed much too late with severe malocclusion and now we have a lot of courage and strength to work through to get him back to “normal.” Remember to breath through your nose and happy nesting to all.

Doni Phillips
4 years ago

What color is the duvet cover? It looks white in the photos.

4 years ago

Hi! What’s the wall color?

4 years ago

While I am bummed I didn’t win this makeover, it is super hard to feel anything but pure love and joy towards this couple. It looks like a lovely space to spend time resting and recuperating . Hopefully chemotherapy has worked wonders and Kristen is on the road to recovery.

Viquerat Decoration
4 years ago

Thank you Emily for sharing this post with us. I love your post. It has lot of ideas regarding stylist master bedroom decoration. Great efforts!.