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Design 101

It’s Time For Warmer, Pastel Inspired Gatherings with Target’s New Spring Collection


February – It’s the time of year, for most of you, where the romance of winter has waned (hard), and the holidays are over. So what’s next? Only the fantasy of spring, of course. I’m from Oregon (rains from November to April), lived in New York for 10 years (freezing from November ’til March) so despite living in LA (I don’t want to tell you what it’s like here), I still get it. This post is for those of you who:

A. Are ready to fantasize about your life in brighter, warmer days.

B. Are just realizing that the reason they call it a “spring break” is because if you don’t go on vacation to somewhere that resembles “spring” soon, you are going to break down and light your puffy, once-cozy sleeping bag coat on fire hoping that it provides much-needed heat. Or maybe…

C. Like easy styling hacks and entertaining tips, that involve (faux) flowers, wine, bright colors and a lot of affordable (and durable) Target pieces.

Or if you just like staring at pretty, inappropriately early seasonal photos, keep scrolling – we are here for that, too. Whatever your reason, we’re gonna tackle all of the above:

Embrace the Pastels and Flowers

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It’s a simple theme that is highly effective at getting the message across. Just when I think I’m too cool for pastels (January Emily), I remember that there is truly so much happiness provoked by blues and pinks. Color makes me happy, it just does and often when I try to go ‘chic’ and too neutral I don’t feel the same level of positive energy (but that’s just me).

Let’s also not forgot the years of my blue and blush craze because it’s at least temporarily back for spring. There is no shame in my blue and pink game, and we used these colors all over the table, including textiles, plates, flowers.

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I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those melamine floral plates (yes, they are unbreakable!), and plan on snagging the small and large for backyard parties all spring and summer. Plus the contrast of the gingham patterned plates under them is almost too good.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Faux Flowers

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Here’s my advice when it comes to choosing between real and faux flowers (plants or trees) – Faux is ultimately less expensive, less mess and lasts longer – It’s like choosing engineered stone over marble. Sure, we all love the real deal more but real marble is vigilant upkeep.  In the end, it’s a lifestyle choice.

I was hesitant before I saw these blossoms in person because I generally prefer real. I thought we’d style them in the background, opting for real on the table. But when no one was looking I put them on the table and we were like “oh shoooooot” because they looked so pretty. So here’s my case for them:

  1. Spring blossoms are hard to come by, even in March or April, in a lot of the country. We are lucky here in LA, but I realize not everyone wants to go to the flower market at 5am (and they can be really expensive). THESE ARE SO EASY (and look so real).
  2. They were tall which added drama without taking up much space, but the glass was simple and let table conversations easily happen, not blocking the eye-line.
  3. They looked really real, were in a soft pretty color palette and their shape was manipulatable. We shaped them into really pretty sculptures on the table.

Stylists are generally against faux anything, but after the ease of faux garland and tree up at the mountain house over the holidays (versus the mess and expense of real), I’m going to the dark side when it makes sense for my lifestyle.

They also come on those wreaths, which we simply hung with command strips and made us look like we were professionals (fine we are, but it was easy).

Layering and Mixing Patterns is the Key to Life (and Style)

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Most of you who are here are less interested in the “fussy” and “formal,” so assuming you are aligned here is what I like to do:

Start with your tablecloth or runner. And here’s a good styling hack: We used what you might have thought is a “too small” tablecloth and put it on an angle, thus exposing the pretty wood underneath (adding texture, warmth, and depth), and showing off the pretty fringe of the tablecloth. I think this is a much more fresh, casual and “daytime” way to style a cloth and is one of my “go-to moves.”

Once you have the table cloth set, layer different patterned plates in the same color palette and theme. Or you can simply layer more “spring” plates on your basic whites for something easy that makes it feel special.

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HOT TIP: Layer your napkin in between your plates and let it hang off the table. I realize that there are a million different ways to “style the napkin” but this is our favorite because it breaks up the line of the table, and doesn’t take up more room on the surface.

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For the maximum amount of texture and style, bring any pillows outside (or to your dining room table) and pepper them on the chairs. This adds so much warmth, interest, texture, pattern and says “we are cozy, casual and fun people who aren’t afraid to rebel.” They do NOT need to match (see below). Just have them be within a cohesive color palette. And don’t be afraid to bring in a throw, too. We used square, rectangular, and round pillows and made sure that the patterns didn’t compete too much (i.e. putting the large floral near the busier stripe is good).

Emily Henderson Spring Patio Ideas 1

Honestly, the more the merrier because nothing gets you out of the winter blues faster than brunch food, wine, happy pillows, and throws. That’s why I also love having a “seating area zone” when I have a gathering. It’s another place for your friends to relax instead of clumping in one area (usually the kitchen, am I right?). Plus it’s another great excuse to bring in more pattern and texture to your overall space. Can I also just give a shout out to those awesome lanterns?? They are so good and the dark color also helps to ground the flowery, pastel textiles.

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Ground the Pastels with Wood and Gold

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Listen, if everything were white, pink and blue on your table it might be too much (and just not necessary). Use your normal flatware (could be silver, don’t worry), and cutting boards to bring in some wood to ground all the colors and pattern. Even a basket of bread would work, and would be more delicious.

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Another great way to bring in some “wood warmth” is a bar cart (which also provides ample wine storage). It’s visually awesome, contrasts with the pastel party, and is crazy functional.

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As a hardcore fan of the outdoor bar cart, this one from Opalhouse is great and says spring with its woven rattan details. Also, (as I spoke about just a second ago) you want “zones” so people don’t cluster in one area. This bar cart is a perfect “zone” for your friends to pour themselves a glass of wine. SO functional.

Add a Personalized Moment That Says “I Care Even Though It Only Took 2 Minutes”

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Isn’t this “name card” so cute? And trust me when I say it was so incredibly easy that even Birdie could do it. Except for the fact that her penmanship is terrible and not photoshoot acceptable. Also, this is a great close up of my new favorite plates. This year may be dubbed “The Year Emily Henderson Used Floral Prints On Everything” because I am into them hard. But back to our little, easy DIY…

Here’s how we made the name cards:

  1. We took the dried flowers from Target (yes, at many Targets they sell these!).
  2. We wrote the name on a real leaf with a white sharpie.
  3. Tied a flat and simple leaf from the yard to the flower with twine – and that’s it!

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I really want to start doing things like this more when I have small parties because nothing (style-wise) puts a smile on my face faster than thoughtful little details. Plus with this little leaf DIY, it adds an additional texture and pop of color that livens it up even more. Win-win.

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What is also a win is when your best friend’s dog comes over to crash your photoshoot because dogs are truly the best models and everyone loves dogs. Thanks, Boris.

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So there you have it. Hopefully, this has taken you out of the winter slump and catapulted you right into spring planning. Cheers to warmer days, outdoor meals, and constant laughter about those freezing temperatures when your sleeping bag coat ruined any outfit you tried to put together. Target has once again nailed it with this spring line and seeing all of these amazing new products makes me a stupid amount of happy. So happy (almost) spring everyone. We are so close. xx

Emily Henderson Target Spring 2020 Emilys Patio Get The Look 1 Copy

1. Cherry Blossom Wreath | 2. Ceramic Serving Bowl | 3. Oblong Serving Bowl | 4. Traditional White Wine Glasses (set of 4) | 5. Glass Clarte Tumblers (set of 4) | 6. Gingham Dinner Plate | 7. Floral Melamine Large Plate | 8. Globe String Lights | 9. Square Solid Pillow With Fringe | 10. Round Floral Pillow | 11. Compacta Pink Dry Stems | 12. 5pc Stainless Steel Izon Mirror Flatware Set Gold | 13. Wood Round Serving Board | 14. 20 pc Unscented Candle Set | 15. Check Table Throw | 16. 11″ Stoneware Floral Cake Stand | 17. Flower Petal Bowl | 18. 4pk Napkins Stripe Sour Cream Multi Stripe | 19. 4pk Hearth & Hand Cloth Napkins | 20. Mulberry 2pk Patio Chair | 21. Modern Wood Dining Table | 22. Modern Wood Dining Chair | 23. Cherry Blossom Arrangement | 24. Cylinder Glass Vase | 25. 6oz Porcelain Stripe Ramekin White | 26.Woven Stripe Pillow | 27. Outdoor Lumbar Pillow | 28. Chunky Knit Throw Blanket | 29. Floral Lumbar Pillow | 30. Floral Embroidered Square Pillow | 31. Faux Concrete Indoor/Outdoor Accent Table | 32. Britanna Patio Bar Cart Natural | 33. Small Metal Outdoor Lantern | 34. Metal Outdoor Lantern | 35. Fernhill Metal Patio Loveseat Linen

Fin Mark


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Good morning. I was very surprised at the size of the lantern in the picture with you on the love seat with Boris. You don’t normally see them that scale. I like it.

Yah, they are awesome. I think the size is called ‘estate’ 🙂


Hello, while I understand your reasons for appreciating faux plants, I think se must remember they are made of plastic, and the planet is overflowing with plastic. Adding a non essential plastic item on Earth, in order to feel closer to nature in our home, seems like a bad idea to me… especially when even plants are subject to trends and some will end up in the trash when interior style evolves. Just a reflection I think we need to have. This said, thank you for the sunshine and colle your posts bring to us. 🙂


Agree with your comment 🙂

I get that and always appreciate this conversation 🙂


OK, but are you going to stop using faux plants? Because this isn’t a “conversation,” it’s you avoiding discussing it.


Please do research on live plants too; many are grown in third world countries where children work in the fields spraying chemicals that are illegal here. Not exactly “better” or ideal. Other plants are “trafficked” from their native environs to the point they have become extinct. The live plant trade has brought many dangerous pests and diseases into this country. Transporting live plants on cargo jets or across the country isn’t carbon neutral. Locally greenhouse grown plants are resource hogs and almost always laced with chemicals. It’s a real “The Good Place” conundrum. Is the only answer is to buy nothing and live in an empty room? It’s too confusing.


Hillary: What are you, the Plant Police? You are in charge of your own self. Not anyone else.

Teach yourself some manners next time.


KD – to have live flowers and plants, you can always collect and exchange seeds, bulbs cuttings. If someone is that serious about the environment and saving money, they can essentially have flowers and plants without having to spend a dime or extra fuel on it. I know many people who do it. You can also make your own compost, so no need for buying fertilizer.


Love this – needed it on a cold and overcast day here in NH! Question though – where is your jumpsuit from? I love it! Thank you for all your lovely design and style inspiration!


I had the same question and the internet brought me to this one from Target…


Dumb question— do you put water in the vase with the fake flowers? I think one telltale sign they’re fake to me is the lack of water. Helpppp.

Also, nice to see Velinda, I hope her design business is doing well.

The “water” is glass 🙂 And SHe’s doing great! we are shooting with her tomorrow actually 🙂 xx


I love what you have done here, and the down shot photos of the table spread are beautiful. They look like paintings! I’m so inspired by them that I am going to set up a similar spread and take reference photos for me to paint.

However, I think I speak for everyone when I say “We need more Boris!”

I KNOW. We try to get him in every photo possible 🙂


I love that idea of painting this image. Thanks for the idea. Beautifully photographed.


Thank you for posting this today. Woke up to 5″ of snow this morning so, needless to say, I can’t wait for spring!!!!


I really have a hard time with the plastic plants and the “my lifestyle” argument. A reaction I hear to comments like mine is, “well YOU don’t have to buy them!” However, we all know you have an enormous following and influence. To say this is best for your lifestyle seems like intentional denial of the power you have to push for more sustainable choices on a broad scale.


This exactly. Justifying the use of faux plants as a lifestyle choice undercuts any of the previous arguments on this blog for sustainability and responsible consumption.


Agree. Lifestyle choices of influencers have power and are more than personal decisions.


And you have no right to insist that another human being makes choices aligned with your values … no matter how much influence they might have. If her choices upset you that much, deprive her of influence over you: don’t follow the blog.

Paige Cassandra Flamm

These pieces all look so beautiful!



All of these ideas are so cute, but those flowers do NOT look real at all. I could spot the cheap plastic bases even in the out of focus shot. Do we really need to be adding to plastic consumption in this way? The natural alternative is so much better! Maybe a post on how to style cheaper (real) flowers or foraged greenery ?

We actually did a post on that! Just not everyone has access to this year round (and blossoms are rarely available). I prefer doing that rather than buying cut flowers. xx


Hope it’s not too weird of a question…I love Veronica’s white shirt. Can she share where she purchased it? Thanks! Can’t wait for some warm weather to start using our patio, again! Love the idea of the tablecloth turned on an angle to fit!! xoxo

hi Crissy, not weird at all!! thank you! i got it from American Eagle a few years ago, but i can’t find it on their website, so think it is now unavailable 🙁


You’re so great for replying! Thank you! I’ll just have to keep my eye out for a similar one. ?

yes definitely!! they have some great pieces 🙂 have a lovely day! xx

hi Crissy! i found a similar top for you + it’s on sale 🙂


Everything looks beautiful. And now I am also hungry for finger foods!

I have a friend who makes gorgeous, stunning felt flowers. I am always amazed by how realistic and beautiful they are even though up close they are felt. I’d rather felt then plastic. It’s hard to come up with a solution when I can imagine the pesticides used in the flower industry are also not good for the environment.


Adorable. That patio furniture is really good stuff. Target Project 62 FTW!

it’s VERY GOOD. 🙂


I love it but white cushions on outdoor furniture? With pets jumping up on it I don’t see how that could work. Why do so many retailers do this? I would love to see some cushion choices in darker fabrics. Any advice?

I completely understand! A bunch of us at EHD have these chairs and love them: Em has them at the mountain house and I just bought some for my apartment balcony. We highly recommend 🙂


Great job! I wasn’t really liking or feeling inspired by this collection, but you really made it work beautifully!

monica lee

I love it! And who doesn’t love Gingham? When does it become Buffalo plaid anyway? Is it a size thing ;)? haha! And I am adding all these images to my Dream backyard Pinterest Board asap!

We think it’s a size thing and also the little diagonal lines haha (from my research google confirmed this). I think the best way to explain “little diagonal lines” is this picture: comment image

Glad you like the post!


Cute, but I have to agree with the faux flower dislike. I think no flowers > faux. FWIW, Trader Joe’s always has flowering branches in the spring, or at least in the northeast.


I’m sure Boris there for the people…pugs are real people dogs. Now, if it was my dachshund, Max, he’d be there for the FOOD!

randi scher

I enjoy your insta posts and blog. I love that you blend some real life stuff in with the styling, and I guess you’d consider using fake flora as real life, since you said its a lifestyle choice. BUT- it’s all going to end up in a landfill or a body of water. It seems our time for easy choices is over- we have to think long term, and begin to change the perception of what is beautiful, and worthwhile. With the following you’ve got, you’re in a unique position to influence others, for the good or ill of the planet. Hoping you may reconsider your stance in the future 🙂


Well said. So disappointed in this choice:

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What has happened to the Wednesday posts? They help me get through the mid-week slump!


YEAH where is my EHD post? 🙁 Help me get through my mid-day slump, ha!


Wednesdays post was missing last week too. I don’t remember any announcement about that, it seemed like the last announcement said we were getting more posts, not less?


Long time reader here with some friendly feedback. Just recently your team pretty heavily promoted your new afternoon snack and 2-a-day posts (and this has been done several times in the past) yet the posts have slowed to less than one a day. I truly do not mind the natural ebb and flow of blog posting cadence (lets be real creating content is HARD and time consuming), I just wanted to let you know that you don’t have to make promises/schedules that have us set expectations and then not see the fulfilled. I’m more than happy to come every day and be surprised by a post, would rather that than seeming like something is wrong and out of normal for the EHD team.

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