Emily Henderson

A Big Debate...

Styled … The Real Book Cover


I don’t know how it is for everyone when shooting their book, but for me it was a regular ‘snow show’ (a phrase that is part of my new G-rated vocabulary since having a child). I’ll get into how insane it was later, but just trust me when I say that things like the cover somehow become a non-priority amid the havoc. As we were shooting I wasn’t thinking what would make a good cover, my goal was to get the most beautiful photographs possible for each shot and then we’d choose one later because we’d have soooo many to choose between. This was not the case – I mean we had hundreds of beautiful, even perfect, photographs but having them be perfect for the cover was another issue. In retrospect I absolutely should have gone for “cover options” as often as possible, but we didn’t know what the title or subtitles were, therefore we didn’t know how much negative space they should have, nor did we even know the book size to do the perfect crop. The front cover went on the back burner, so to speak.

After we finished shooting, our wonderful publishing company (Random House, Clarkson Potter) worked on finding the cover from our photos and they sent through these three options:


The first one didn’t feel young enough (even though I designed that room). I loved the pops of that perfect peacock blue but it felt like a different designer’s book (ironic, eh?).


Now, this shot I LOVE, but it too didn’t feel very ‘me’. It felt too rustic and masculine. Although in retrospect I do think that it was pretty strong as a cover. I did like that font, though and tried to convince them to go back to that later. (This photo is from the home of the SchoolHouse Electric owners/founders, which is stunning).


When I first saw this one I was like man, this just isn’t me. Its so dark and heavy, even with the pop of color. But of course now I’m like eh, that’s a strong cover, too…(this is from the home of stylist and artist Emily Katz).

After I gave them that feedback they found this photo and mocked up some covers:


Let me tell you about that photo – it was part of a much larger, more pulled back photo that they just cropped in on. It’s not that well styled and has very little context or environment around it. I’m not the biggest fan of those flowers, even though in the big pulled back shot that it was cropped from they looked good. Had I known it was going to be a cover option I would have absolutely styled it differently. Also that white piece is a janky ikea piece that we put awesome vintage brass legs on that couldn’t really hold the weight. I pretty much said it was totally off the table and that instead I would reshoot this vignette in my house, styled as I liked it. Also I didn’t like either font option. So I pretty much just tore these options apart. I was starting to feel VERY high maintenance, which really isn’t my best look. There were so many people involved and weighing in, way before I even saw these options so to take all their hard work and just nix it sucked for everyone involved. But they were absolutely open to other options because everyone wanted the same thing: to have the best cover possible (that would sell the most amount of copies). They know what people buy and I really needed their expertise in that realm.

They told me that what they liked about it was that it felt light, bright and happy – and I totally agreed. So when we reshot the cover, that was our goal – well that and to find a shot that represented MANY different styles. I wanted something more “on brand” and just more me, but also a photo that was styled in a way where many different kinds of people saw themselves in it. Not just someone who liked Mid-century or “California”.

We styled two major furniture pieces with 1 million styling options on top (only 8 shown here because so many of them were just slightly different that I couldn’t even tell them apart when I was prepping this post).


It’s like one of those annoying games on the last page of a tabloid magazine where you are supposed to “spot the difference” in the two photos of Ben Affleck holding a big gulp and talking to his questionable nanny. They are hard to tell apart but they are all different and I just really wanted to give them enough options so that we wouldn’t have to reshoot.

I really loved that series of options. I felt that the blue was really strong and caught your eye but the string art provided enough quiet space for the title (this is before the title was set in a big block of gold). I think #7 might be my favorite, but that has changed pretty often. I would have been happy with any of them for the cover.

Obviously this had to be giffed out so you can properly see those props dance around.


But my publishing team really liked the lightness of the white piece, so I reshot that as well that day, with a ton of styling options on top. Now, REMEMBER, THESE PHOTOS ARE NOT PHOTOSHOPPED. That janky, BOWING, piece was hard to look at in person and even harder to look at in the photos, but had it been straightened and the air conditioner vent taken out it in post, it would be WILDLY easier to consider as an actual option.

I remember losing pretty much all objectivity and perspective somewhere between option 12 and 42. Had #15 been photoshopped I probably would have really liked it. I think we actually gave them over 30 options that day, and my brain just hurt trying to figure out what looked the best. I think that white piece did look more light and airy, but It just bugged me that it was on the cover because I knew how janky it was.


I sent all those options off, feeling pretty darn good about them. There cover was CERTAINLY in there, right? Wrong.

Around that same time the Domino Magazine story came out and they saw this picture. First off it’s taller than the book proportion, secondly its more pulled back. They liked the breath and air that this one had that our options didn’t.


Of course I just wanted to kick myself for not having us pull back to see some of the shelving but I thought that it would be too busy and that it was better to keep it simpler. So, we had to reshoot again. That’s a double reshoot, which no, isn’t free for anyone involved.

At this point we had literally thrown away the white piece (we kept the legs, don’t worry) because I had decided to keep the teal dresser in there (which is now for sale at the Studio Sale, sept 19th – or you can contact us now to see it). But the thing is that the publishers had a really strong reaction to that blue dresser. They thought that it looked like a Bellman, yes like a hotel Bellman, and it was absolutely off the table. In retrospect I should have just asked the to change it to white (but keep the gold trim).

So we reshot (again) and gave them these two furniture options that they had approved beforehand.


The one on the left is a Paul McCobb piece and while it was technically ‘lighter’ they knew something that I didn’t – that they wanted to put a big gold box on the cover, so a big box above a big box is not ideal. I love that piece a lot (but maybe just because I’m a total sucker for Paul McCobb anything). The piece on the right was a good option because it had the same shape and style of the white piece but had more integrity as it wasn’t, you know, falling apart. 

By this point you know which one was chosen, #18. When David shot this there was a lot of sun coming in so he had to basically block as much sun as he could with a big scrim and then move that card around (taking a picture each time) and then he basically composited them all together. Plus we got rid of the air conditioner vent (obviously).

Styled_bookcover 2

Phew. By the time the publishing team came back with the cover with the graphics/title on it we were WAY behind our deadline (because generally I was behind on the whole process). So while I wanted to tweak and futz and change things, the threat of not being out by October was terrifying, with real consequences. Basically if your book isn’t out by October then it doesn’t get the same marketing support (read: ad dollars) as other books that are out before the holidays. They don’t really release books in November or December mostly because PR for holiday is wrapping up at that point and it just isn’t as effective. Another reshoot wasn’t an option, nor did I even know what I would do.

I love the cover – I feel like it looks like me and has enough universal elements to hopefully draw many different crowds to pick it up. Are there things I would change about it? Yep. Is it the one that I would have chosen out of all of those above? I actually don’t know. The thing is that I trust my publishing company – from years of focus groups, book marketing, analyzing sales and general 8-ball style research they know what covers pop on screen and in stores, and they they know why people then buy that book. I can tell them that peonies are more beautiful than roses, but they know what font treatment or gold foil will catch your eye. Ultimately we all wanted the same thing – for the book to be as successful as possible.

A few of you have asked why I’m not on the cover and this was a debate for sure. I didn’t want to be all posy on the cover or anything but I thought maybe I could be mid-styling or maybe in a little box or something. But there is a pretty good reason for it – many “special markets” don’t want to sell covers with “people” on the cover. These are the West Elms, Anthropologies, Urban Outfitters of the world who have a really strong brand identity on their own and simply don’t want other people all over their store. These stores are extremely important to me (in many ways) so even the chance that they wouldn’t carry it, or that they wouldn’t promote it as much was a threat that I heeded strongly to. I’m on the back, by the way – don’t worry.

Styled on Coffee Table

So what are your thoughts? This whole debate is a bit tricky because so many people worked so hard on it so I don’t really want to open up the debate for 30K opinions (many which would surely be less than positive) that can’t actually change anything. It’s like your husband telling you that he doesn’t like your outfit AFTER you left the house. There is really no point and it just hurts and ruins your time – and I’m not talking about me – I’m used to negative feedback, I’m talking about all my friends at the publishing company who worked so hard on the book and obsessed about the cover. The cover is printed, the books are shipping from the warehouse any day now. There is no going back. But I still love an open dialogue here on the blog, so if you want to weigh in, in the most positive way possible, go for it.

Also not sure if you know, but the book is on pre-sale now (it comes out October 13th).

*All photos by WONDERFUL David Tsay for our book. Oh, and see this post about all the other cover options.

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  1. Congratulations on the book. It looks great. So many options for the cover, I was going crazy just reading this. I am excited to purchase your book. I love your style and most importantly your sense of humor (well, at least online, since we’ve never met).

  2. Preordered mine yesterday!! I was going to ask for it as a Christmas gift but then I decided I couldn’t wait until then. So excited to receive it in October!!!

    1. Haha same exact thing for me! I talked to my husband like wellll I could ask for it for Hanukkah… but I don’t think I can wait that long!

  3. i think it turned out lovely! i adore the blue dresser, but after reading the entire post i love the lightness of the piece you guys chose. and it feels very on brand – happy and light.

    congratulations emily! gosh, two huge things coming at once. you are gonna enjoy the “snow” out of that maternity leave. :)

  4. Wow. I LOVE knowing other people obsess about this stuff like I do. It’s nice to not be alone in detail-driven insanity.

    The cover that was chosen as The One is perfect. You guys made an excellent choice. Agreed on the lightness, LOVE the gold box, good call on no people. You don’t want buyers to not identify with the person in the picture, so that all makes sense to me. It’s beautiful. I cannot WAIT to get it and obsess over every detail in EVERY picture!

  5. Definitely chose the right cover! Love the gold and it is super on brand. I like that you used your own home, and I like that is is a untraditional space, with the built in bench and the two levels.

  6. Love the cover. Definitely the right choice! I love that you used your own home and such a unique corner. Makes it feel like your book will have some different and new ideas in it. The gold title box is a beautiful touch!

  7. Wow, what a process! I think the cover looks beautiful and very “you.” It has that vintage, colorful feel I always think when I think emily henderson. AND it will look beautiful on my coffee table (per my amazon pre-order!).

  8. i feel like that cover photo speaks for itself because it’s such a perfect shot and you’ve really done an amazing job with that corner of the room, so i kinda wish the subtitle was taken off the front cover and the title was a little more subtle so that it would work more like a taschen coffee table book that you could proudly have on display and use as a styling element in itself!

    i still give it 10/10. good job to you and your publishers!

  9. Love the cover. Funny, I had the same guy reactions as you did to the options, I guess I have been reading your blog so long that I “get” your style and knew the others weren’t “spot on” like the one you chose. Now I think I have to not read your blog so much and spend more time decorating my house! And I must buy your book of course!

  10. I ordered your book through Amazon last week and I honestly can’t remember what the cover looked like. Mentioning it on your blog was enough for me. I’m going to go back and have another look.

  11. Well done!!! And thank you for this wonderful post, it is so inspiring how you always show the process behind everything. It’s like reminding me that whatever I see, whether it’s a house or a situation somewhere out there or a book cover, it’s always the tip of the iceberg. The only visible part of a story which is always much more complex than you can imagine.

    A book cover is static. Your work as a designer is alive and kicking. It is impossible to find one image which sums up your work, for now and forever, but I think the light, the eclecticness (it’s not an English word, I think, and I hope you understand what I mean), the pops of color, the beautiful wood, the quirky plant, the elegant lines AND the golden box… those are all elements which keep on popping up in your work.
    So yes, I would pick up the book. Even without noticing your name. And yes, I would definitely love displaying it, next to my other favourite books with beautiful covers (like Pretty Honest, by Sali Hughes – or a special edition of Alice in Wonderland) .
    Knowing your work (what I see on your blog – living in Amsterdam, I miss all the lovely other things you do), loving your style and sense of humour (ooooh, that post about photoshopping your shoots… I was laughing sooooo hard, my stomach hurt for two days!!!), I am going to pre-order it right now :)

    Amazing that you pulled off a book with a tiny toddler around you, the pregnancy and all the work that you do. Woooooow! I hope you feel suuuuuper proud.

  12. The cover looks great- looks like a combo of a bunch of styles that you love and all go together perfectly. Can’t wait to get my copy and just so excited for you!

  13. The teams who work with you are absolutely awesome! I love the table, and I couldn’t imagine a cover photo for your book without wood! I also love that you are showing art and highlighting artists who have serious personality, without making it seem like it’s all about any one individual person (including yourself). Bravo, Team Emily!

  14. Congratulations! One single photo can make such a big difference for the success of a book. I am one of those who buy books by their cover! I love yours and will buy it!

  15. As a graphic designer, I’m very familiar with the millions of edits and tweaks to get something right—it’s worth it! I was definitely a fan of the blue dresser, but love the wood even more. It’s really beautiful!

  16. Loved hearing about the selection process. It’s amazing how much effort was put into the cover! The one that you picked is the perfect representation of your style, beautiful, and eye-catching! Pre-ordered it yesterday :)

  17. Love the cover and can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    Just one question – because my eye keeps going to it – what is that brass bookend? It looks a little “questionable”, but I’m sure it’s not – so now I’m just curious : )

      1. HA. Yes, Brian think it looks like a gold dildo – i think its a ‘sculpture’ of a man. A man that strongly resembles a dildo :)

  18. I think I’m drawn more to the ‘Schoolhouse Electric’ cover–but I would pick up any of them. I really like the gold box with the cover that won out though. I think it was a good idea to not put your face on the cover, to me it makes it look more professional.

  19. It’s great! I loved the Emily Katz, and School House options, but ultimately the one that was chosen is very YOU to me. Looks like something you would have designed; airy, vintage, modern, cozy, whimsical, etc etc. Ya done well, girl! I can’t wait to get my hands on a hard copy!

  20. Congratulations on the baby and the book. The cover is beautiful and looks very “you” (the others didn’t). I’ve been following you since your show and I’m super excited to read the book (pre-ordered the day you announced it!)

  21. Love this! I really appreciated that you took the time (and probably headache) to show us the process. I love the behind-the-scenes posts, and this one was so interesting to me. I can’t wait until it’s out and I get my hands on it! Adorable cover, and definitely you (at least, the “blog you” that us readers only know! :) )

  22. I haven’t been reading for too long but this shot has everything I associate with your brand; white walls, wood hand sculpture, multi-color art/accessories, brass elements and blue textiles. I especially like that it is your home and not just some pretty but random project you did in the past. Congrats, I’m looking forward to leafing through it with a giant cup of coffee…or wine depending on the fedex guy’s timing ;)

  23. As someone who works in the editorial design industry, I can totally understand how SOMEHOW the cover becomes the last priority. It honestly makes zero sense but happens ALL. THE. TIME. You’re so wrapped up in the content of your book/magazine/newspaper, you sometimes forget what the real selling point is.

    But after all that, I think you final choice is great! I’m imagining that gold will be actual gold foil, and I loveeee that. I also love that you got to use that very special string art piece. It ads just the right amount of color, but so subtly. Awesome.

    If I were going to nit-pick, the designer in me is basically dying over the fact that the credenza isn’t centered under that big box, but I can also see how that might be intentional. At least it’s aligned on the left edge. Phew! I can breathe. ;)

  24. I LOVE the final cover! When I saw the first three cover options, I loved them too, but had the exact same thoughts you had before even reading….none of them screamed Emily….plus how special to have your home on the cover. Congratulations! Can’t wait to immerse myself.

  25. Seeing all of the options (even the fake ones) has been so fun! I LOVED the final cover. It reminds me of your work because it is clean, light, bright, airy but still has beautiful color. I think it’s great that it features your beautiful, iconic (yes!) livingroom and that amazing string art is such an important piece and looks sooo cool hanging behind the text. NAILED IT!

  26. 100% would pick this beauty up at Anthropologie and then immediately add it to my Amazon Wishlist for Christmas.

    So happy you went with the wood credenza and I will absolutely never tire of seeing that massive Nike Schroeder piece, which I will covet until the day I die.

    Great work, EH team! Can’t wait to get the book!

  27. I am personally in love with the Schoolhouse Electric cover (there is just something so timeless and chic about it), but I absolutely agree it doesn’t read as yours. The final option is totally on-brand, it vibes very happy-go-whimsical, but that chair and going with a wood piece over white (at least in my mind) keeps it grounded and classic.

    All in all, awesome job by both you and your team! Book pre-order, check :)

  28. Wow, that is a lot of cover looks to choose from! I’m dizzy now! But the final cover looks awesome! It’s bright, chic and breezy-definitely something I’d want to pick up.

  29. Amazing all the work that goes into just the cover! I can only imagine how much blood sweat and tears you put into the contents. Love the cover photo. It was my favorite!??

  30. Like everything you do, it is amazing!
    I pre-ordered mine on Amazon in April…..it’s been a long wait….but totally worth it, I’m sure!

  31. It’s a great cover – it’s you – light, bright, happy, modern & vintage. Thank you for showing us the process. It’s really (like really) great to know that it takes time and effort (and sometimes reshoots) to get it right. Can’t wait to get my copy!

  32. You definitely had some great options to choose from but I think it’s perfect that the cover is your home. I also love the pulled back picture you ended up with where you can see partial glimpses of other parts of the room. In my opinion, it does a couple of things, one, it looks like an actual space not some white wall in a studio that you just styled to look like a room. And second, it creates a feeling of curiosity about what the rest of the room looks like. Curiosity motivates people to pick up the book. It’s beautiful, it’s colorful, it’s well pulled together…it’s all the things I love about Emily Henderson. Well done!

  33. Emily, the cover that was chosen is definitely the one! I love it. I agree with all your critiques of the first three and the “janky” pics. I could have loved the blue cabinet pics as well, but the one that was ultimately chosen is just perfect. I’m really glad you have your living room on the front!

  34. Thank you for taking the time to show us the behind the scenes. The first three options were good, but for some reason I really like that your house is represented on the front of your book?! Its really pretty.

  35. I enjoyed this post tremendously b/c I am a graphic designer who does publications and your cover pic story is the story of my work-life. Getting that one shot that sums up and perfectly represents the interior of your book is soooo very often an afterthought by most people working on a publication. There is always this idea that if you have a ton of great photos you can just pick one of those for the cover, no biggie. I think your designers totally steered you into the right place. I love love love the Schoolhouse Electric image cover, but it didn’t strike me as “you.” The image you chose, is classic “you” and it looks beautiful.

  36. um, it’s beautiful and perfect. I can’t imagine anyone having anything negative to say. It’s VERY “you” and very compelling! Congrats!

  37. Beautiful! I am not a giant mid-century fan, BUT I love this cover and it’s obviously not Mid-Century Styled by EH! It totally appeals to me and I’m sure will grab the attention of a lot of us non mid-century people. I’ve ordered it on pre-sale and can’t wait to get it in my grabby little hands.

  38. Lovely! And I like your commentary on the how and why. So interesting. I just pre ordered from Amazon! Thank you so much, now I’m excited for mid-October!!

  39. You could have showed me that cover without your name on the cover and I would have guessed it was yours. None of the others did that for me. In other words…perfect choice!

  40. Love the cover. It best exemplifies your sense of style– no pun intended! I liked the table and chairs one too, but for sure the real cover is more of what you are based on your blog and personal design style. I mean, it has a gold title box, right!?!

    Analog House

  41. At first I was a little confused with all the cover options, since I ordered your book way back in April and I had seen the cover on Amazon, or at least I thought I had…but pleased to see you chose the one you did, I think it best reflects your style and how you like to mix colour and pattern, vintage and new and I love the gold foil box sets the book off really well …can’t wait for delivery!

  42. I love how invested you were in the process, Emily. And you know, they wouldn’t have wanted to do a book with you if you didn’t care about the end product reflecting your genuine style. That’s kind of the point, right? :-) I’m sort of with them on the white dresser, although having “lived” with you on the blog through the saga of the janky white dresser over time, I could’ve told them THAT was a losing battle from the beginning. Ha! I did love the way A white dresser looked there … just not THAT one. #warpedmuch? You and the team did a great job. Congrats!

  43. I think it looks like “you”. It’s an Emily Henderson project. And since the book is a labor of love, a true reflection of your design aesthetic and process, that’s the best you can hope for. We’re designers, we’re never really done.

  44. My brain hurts from this post. But the cover you chose really is the best one. And you are waaaayyy to close to the process now to be objective anyway. I immediately saw that the white background with the wood credenza was the best. (and maybe with the ikea one too if it wasn’t crooked) but those look essentially the same to me. I’m glad you didn’t crop it more too, because I think you see more pops of blue in the wider shot and I really affiliate you with the color. blue. Seriously, you got the best look. I can’t wait to get it!! :-)

    Ps. I’m glad you’re cute self is on the back. I hope you’re wearing blue. :-)

  45. Congratulations on your book! Cannot wait to get my hands on it.

    I love the final cover you chose. I think white and bright was an obvious good choice, though I’m sure there could have been minor styling tweaks made. I think you and your team made a good decision on the final product.

    xo, Sarah

  46. The chosen cover is my far and away my favorite. The wood has more visual weight than the white pieces that just disappear. I adore the blue dresser, but with the artwork and fingers of the hand sculpture, I see too many vertical stripes for my taste. Well done!

  47. Damn. Just looking at these pictures made me dizzy but I think you guys picked a great cover and I definitely feel like it is very “you”! I’m excited to get my copy.

  48. The cover is awesome…so you & so great!! Huge congrats. Way to keep doing Oregon proud!

    Really fun to hear the process and story behind the cover.

  49. I think the cover looks great in the end! I liked that blue cabinet, too, but the final choice is beautiful.
    I can’t wait to get a copy!

  50. It looks Amazing! I’m actually glad you didn’t go with the white piece (even if weren’t bowing in the middle) because I think the wood piece gives off a quiet sophistication among all of the other playful, bright objects in the room. Thank you for sharing this experience. It’s so fun to be privy to what goes into making a book!

  51. Love the options, love what you chose. Definitely getting a copy.

    Also, maybe someone mentioned this already but I could *swear* the coaster in the last shot says “Do LSD” in cursive, no?

  52. i think you ended up with the best option!! I see your favorite vintage flowered pillow, that awesome dog profile painting that you have had for years, blue pottery, a gold target lamp, lots of brass vintage wood and lots of white. Even without your picture on the cover, I would knowthis is your book!! it screams emily! its beautiful and i cant wait to scour the pages!!! congratulations for finishing such a HUGE undertaking!

  53. I think the cover is beautiful! I love that it is pulled back a bit to see some of the bookshelves and more of the built-in bench. The best decision was to have the cover be of your personal home, what could be more you?! Love it, Congrats!

  54. I feel a bit batty reading that but, I think I like the final one the most..I like that dresser the most. But, I prefer the gorgeous mid century brass coffee pot or is it a pitcher? & hot pink glasses (in the final shot they look red but in another hot pink?)..maybe more booze?

  55. I think it’s a perfect option for the cover because it represents your design aesthetic so well. I also feel sort of a connection to it, as you took us, your blog readers, through the journey of styling that exact space. It’s absolutely gorgeous!

  56. As a desktop publisher, I appreciate and understand the effort that goes into book covers! It’s no easy task! LOVE the brass lamp on the cover, and I’m glad I managed to score one online (looks like it’s sold out already). Can’t wait to see the book!!!

  57. Since I am a graphic designer, I can’t help adding my 2 cents – I wish that the vertical of the brass lamp was perfectly in square. It’s slightly off (leaning to the right) and more noticeable because of the vertical strings and furniture legs. Otherwise, I think the final choice is striking, especially with the addition of the string art. It will be on my Christmas list!

  58. You are so very talented! Seriously tho, I’m a total sucker for Emily Henderson, anything :-) … (thank you for brightening my days)

  59. Just go for it! You are never going to get it perfect and you are never going to be completely satisfied. It is “close enough for rock n roll!” It is art – it is beautiful and most important it looks like you!

  60. I am so glad you chose a shot of your home for the cover. This looks like you more than the other options, which were all fantastic.

    I would love to pre-order the book but because of Amazon’s deplorable treatment of their employees as detailed in the New York Times, I have cancelled my account. Is there any other way to order your book? Where else will they be sold?


  61. It’s absolutely beautiful. Completely on brand. I’m wondering why there’s no jacket, though, since it’s a hard cover. Was there any discussion about that?

  62. I love the final cover — it is you and it’s universally appealing! And I also like that there’s both a tabletop and a bookshelf in the shot — or maybe that’s too literal of me!

  63. Personally, just on first view of the first three options, I thought the dining room was too busy, I liked the lightness but too much going on. The darkest desk cover was too dark for me. But the one you called too rustic and masculine, I thought was PERFECTION! But I do get asking for the lighter, happier cover and they do know the business and the final cover is solid.

  64. You all nailed it! The cover is perfect and captures so many things that lead me to compulsively google everything + Emily Henderson. (Seriously, my google searches are basically “emily henderson lamp”, “emily henderson pillows”, “what would emily henderson do about this weirdo corner in my master bedroom”.)

    Gold accessories? Check. Weird and wonderful hand sculptures? Check. Pretty plants? Wood-toned furniture? Mid-century mmm? Wall art that I would never think of on my own? Check, check, check, annnnnnd check.

    Just pre-ordered it and I am PUMPED to get my grubby little hands on that pretty book. It will look perfect on the coffee table I bought after googling “emily henderson coffee tables”. ?

  65. Truthfully, I don’t give a hill of beans what’s on the cover. I am buying the book because you wrote/styled/agonized over it! And I think most of your buyers probably feel the same way. That being said, the cover looks a lot more “you” than some of the choices they had picked. Congratulations! You made 2 babies and a book in a pretty short amount of time. What an accomplishment.

  66. Hey Emily, looks fabulous! Great job keeping at it until you were satisfied. Also just giggling at the Amazon ‘about the author’ where they state you live in Los Angeles with your husband, son, and daughter!

  67. I really love the book cover. I think the photo chosen is the most appealing. The Domino photo is my 2nd fav but would not have worked as well as a book cover because of the lack of more wood tones. Including the bookcase and the fireplace side bench flanking the center piece really gives more of an impression of styling the whole home vs. a single vignette. The sub heading works WAY better directly under the title. Especially, in the 1st few images when it was down towards the bottom of the image, it was rather disturbing because it really didn’t fit. When you read it all together, it is awesome. When you read the title, then look at the picture, then read the sub title, it seems like an afterthought. Fonts and font colors are very nice. Great job! I would say this really reflects you and your style perfectly. I agree with you about the dark cover options. They are beautiful, but don’t seem to represent your style. I would think readers drawn to those covers would not love the light, whimsical style with unexpected objects and accent colors that are on the photos inside. With this cover, buyers will have a good idea of what they are buying. Can’t wait to see/read the book.

  68. Even if I had never heard of you or read your blog, if I walked past this book, I couldn’t resist picking it up and peaking inside. Great cover!

  69. Still think it’s missing something.

    Like, perhaps….some kind of creepy man head?

    Jk! Really, love the end product and love your candidness about the whole process even more. Such a cool behind-the-scenes post!

  70. I’m a Creative Director in the graphic design industry and reading your post, is so familiar to me. 15+ changes on a cover is not uncommon — it’s good to hear my clients are not the only ones! Best of luck with the book! All the covers look great!

  71. I’m a fan!! Can’t even wait to put it on my Christmas list, am going to pre-order! I couldn’t help but think that the original covers looked a little too magazine-y. The final option stands out more as a coffee table book!

  72. All things considered, I think you ended up with the best cover possible. It may have been a process to get there, but it seems like it was a productive, learning process, which is always a good thing.

  73. I love that your floral granny pillow made the cover. It’s so you – especially compared to those first images. Looks great!

  74. I don’t envy your task of having to choose from all those options. I do agree that the photos with the piece were all wrong. I love the “bellman” dresser! It would have been nice to see it white with gold trim. In the end, the cover that was chosen is great! It is light, bright, and airy. And, it does speak to who you are as a designer without alienating buyers. BTW, I have had your book on pre-order since the spring when you were promoting Justina Blakeney’s The New Bohemians…which I love! Thanks for the introducing her!

  75. I think the general feel of this cover is very you, but there’s one thing that bugs me (and I sincerely hope it doesn’t bother you as much): the table isn’t centered on the cover. That totally would not bother me if it didn’t looks so much like it was mimicking the perfectly centered title box. What I liked about the earlier shots, too, was that they were zoomed in a bit more, so that there was less distraction to either side of the table. Oh well, it’s still gorgeous!

  76. I like how you were so incredibly honest about your experience. You talked about money like any business person would but you talked about it openly. Thanks for doing that. I love the cover btw and I wish you much success on this journey. Can’t wait to get my copy!

  77. In my most positive voice. I like it. It has plenty of blue which screams Emily. The hanging string thing is the best. That credenza or what not is certainly not Emily and just some how doesn’t really belong there. I mean it is okay if you don’t know Emily but if you know her (which of course I do since i have read her blog twice) it just doesn’t seem like something she would pick out.

  78. I am probably your target demographic. The book cover is good. If I didn’t know who you were and I was shopping at West Elm or Urban Outfitters, which I frequent, I would pick it up and buy it or ask for it for Christmas from a family member. You are looking at it as an artist and a designer. The book will sell more to lay people like me who aren’t very good at style yet and hope to be better at it.

    So yes, it is now on my Christmas list after looking at the cover. I just started reading your blog because I saw you in a women’s magazine last month. I remember you from design star, but haven’t followed you since. I am a California native girl and like your style. I live in Norcal now so seeing your pictures makes me miss my socal roots. :)

  79. Completely agreed on the brilliance of the cover choice! While other options were gorgeous they did not scream Emily Henderson in the way your book cover should. Love the long shot and gold accents – particularly that Target lamp that I am going to beg you to harass Target into carrying again. Clearly a smart business move seeing that it will be on the cover of a bestseller book, yes? Can’t wait to receive my copy. Congrats!!!

  80. I love this cover! Even if I didn’t read your blog and know your style I would still definately buy it as it has a bright and cheery feel to it. I love the pulled back photo. It give the cover interest without being too busy. Is this going to be sold overseas? I’m from Melbourne, Australia and would love to get a copy without having to pay a truckload for postage!

  81. This is such a rando question, but how do you decide what goes on the spine? I worked in bookstores for a decade, and after the initial launch of a book, (when the copies make their way to the shelves and off tables) it’s was always the spine that people remembered.

    ALSO, who doesn’t love a good styled spine?

  82. Emily, you could have done better! JUST JOKING. Everything can be better in life, but I think this cover is You. It just says your name all over it plus it’s your Home (Love it!). Now I wished I own that sideboard on your cover. Haha.

  83. Love the final cover! I like how the wood piece pulls in the wood of the floor and gives some weight at the bottom, balancing the weight of the title box and pulling the eye into the photo.

  84. I actually love that cover above all the others. I think the warm wood tones definitely ground it a little more and makes it more tonally balanced than the white piece would have. And still I would easily identify that set up as your work.

  85. I 100% love this option! I like the look of the (non-bowed) white credenza, too, but the open shelves on either side of this one give it a bit more interest, and while the white reads as fresh, the wood reads as warm and classic (perfect for a fall release date). I also think the gold title box is more consistent with your style than the other title options were. But my FAVORITE thing about this cover? The fact that the photo continues all the way to the edge of the spine. A small detail, but it looks beautiful. Pulling back on the shot and getting a hint of the shelving was definitely the right call. Regardless of what was going to wind up on the cover, I was always going to pre-order this baby…because you are my style goddess! Congratulations, mama!

  86. The re-shoots were the right choice, hands down. I’d know this was your book even without the title! Looks great, I have this on pre order and can’t wait to read it!

  87. I love the one you ended up with! Great job to both you and your publishing team! I worked as a managing art director for a local magazine company for years and it is always a hard decision to choose a cover photo. I understand how much thought went into this decision on both your side and your publishing company’s!

    I think your feedback about the first three covers were dead-on. None really say Emily’s style! As a reader of your blog for years, white/bright/airy is definitely you so I’m glad you went with that look and feel. I personally love the white buffet, but the wood buffet grounds the photograph better, especially with the gold box graphic. And my favorite part is that beautiful gold lamp!

    Anyway, awesome job, I know how much work went into this and it look so great! I’m super excited for my own copy!

  88. I lovedddddd seeing the process of the cover shot! I am a designer so I am most familiar with the publisher’s side in this process, designing and revising to make it perfect for the client. It’s wonderful that you fought for your look and feel, while trusting the publisher’s design team expertise in the industry. As frustrating and exhausting as it probably was for both sides, the book cover is gorgeous and truly is the best reflection of your style, and why people love your aesthetic. Congratulations! I can’t wait to snag a copy of my own.

  89. I will nerd out about typeface choices:

    I think the skinny slab you ended up with is great. Young enough, but classic, and the S has some cute feminine flair. And your name is set very similarly to the new website, which makes sense. I like the gold (or is it BRASS?). :)

    Love the schoolhouse electric cover, and the font on that is rad. But agree, the photo feels like someone else. Your brand currently is bright and bold. Maybe that can be your cover for your Pacific Northwest design book down the line?

    The other first batch fonts (and covers) are good, but also not quite right, they’re more “New York preppy” and Country Manor Living.

    The gold script font is SOOOO wrong for you.
    I actually made a “blech” sound when I saw that one. Nononono. But I get why the designer went there. It might have worked with a more hand lettering hipster script… but nah.

    Also preordered the book! And I NEVER buy anything at full retail value!

    (I still don’t own Design Sponge’s book or the Domino or Apartment Therapy books, even though they’ve been inexpensive for a while, and I could buy them used now.)

  90. I think the cover is too bright and sadly makes me feeling kind of indifferent. I love the darker colors of some of the first options, which I am more inspired by. But as you say, it’s too late to change anything and I am certain it will do amazingly regardless of my opinion.

    Reader from Denmark

  91. I love your narratives and honesty. The cover is a complete success and I totally see your reasons for not going with the original options (as cool as they are). I’m going to look for it now online to pre order or add it to a wish list.

  92. I think you ended up going w the best option, and I agree w everything you said re the other covers–too masculine, too country, etc (though they are beautiful). I think this cover really says E.H. I really love than credenza. The grain of the wood is gorgeous and I like the slim proportions and details. The tray on top almost looks like it’s part of the piece. And I have to say that I don’t like the “bellhop.” I’m not a huge fan of painted furniture, and that blue looks kind of washed-out, imho. :)

  93. I think that any sort of designer/creative will agree that the finishing touches like a cover are ALWAYS the hardest to nail down and step back and let be “done”. But as a total book lover and graphic designer, I think the book looks beautiful and I can’t wait for it to arrive at my house next month!

  94. I went to purchase it on Amazon and it says I already ordered it back in June. Sweet! Can’t wait to get it. Perfect cover choice.

  95. To me, the thing that makes the final cover so wonderful is that artwork. You are so passionate in your support of real and unique art in the home. I was so pleased to see it on the book cover. The entire piece, not just a section of it. Your description and photos show that many of the furniture items and props were interchangeable. I’m happy for you that a thing so meaningful and personal to you made the final book cover. Best wishes!

  96. I like the last one. The first ones were beautiful, but didn’t read Emily Henderson to me. There can never be too much gold. And there’s a hand and lots of color! Congrats! I love your blog. <3

  97. First off, congrats. How very exciting! So much work goes into the book and the cover is the icing on the cake!

    I worked at Random House for years and they do a great job and you are also right to push them to get it to be the best it can be! That’s what everyone wants.

    I won’t go into why the other covers weren’t as good because I think that you intuited that anyway. I’ll just focus on why this one is great! Read your subtitle. Rooms, tabletops and bookcases. Rooms, check! Tabletops, check! Bookcases–say it with me–check! It much better represents what the book is about, which is important. Also, the gold foil plate and your name/typeface is much more modern and a design element in and of itself, so it really makes the book it’s own object to be styled into a room. I think you all really nailed it! And I wish you the greatest success with it!

  98. Wow, what a TON of work I never knew went into cover selecting! Congratulations!!

    When I was looking at the photos, the first ones looked good, but looked like things I’d already seen before, like on Martha Stewart or Domino. The next few mock ups felt sort of like a hip teen? When I saw the blue dresser, I did think it looked like a bellhop too and preferred the white, but when I saw the last photos, it looked like you and felt more grounded than the earlier photos with the ikea piece, so I think you did right!!

  99. just pre-ordered this [impeccably-covered] book! i love these posts you do showing all the behind-the-scenes stuff we’d never know otherwise. who knew how much thought and work goes into a book cover?! i love it. can’t wait for october 13!

  100. As a graphic designer who used to work in book publishing, NONE of this surprises me, haha! I love the cover. It’s great and I can’t wait for the book. But a gajillion rounds of a book cover is pretty par for the course, so even if you FELT high maintenance, trust me, it probably wasn’t as bad as you thought. Do designers dislike doing things OVER and OVER and OVER again when they thought it was *done*? Sure! But that’s our job! And it came out great so whoever designed it should be proud of the final result.

  101. The cover looks beautiful — and I must mention how much I loved the GIFs you made from the photo shoots showing all the props dancing around. Made my day!

  102. Oh man! Just reading the blog was tiring! I do not envy you this task!

    I actually quite like the picture you went with, but then was concerned about the gold block with the title and text. BUT… in the photo just above, when you see the actual book, in the context of a photo, it looks GREAT!!! Congrats Em. Can’t wait to buy/see/read it :)

  103. I LOVE the cover!! I think it’s beautiful. Certainly caught my eye… although I would buy any design book with your name on it! Congratulations!

  104. Speaking from personal experience as a designer in an agency. I’m sure that you felt like you were being picky and crazy. Here’s the thing, all clients are, so don’t feel bad. You are paying someone to create something for you based on their knowledge of your brand. Who knows your personal brand better than YOU! It is your right as a client to have as many round of revisions until you LOVE it. It also pushes everyone involved and makes them better at their jobs and helps them and you understand your brand for future marketing projects. . Know that you are not the only one and that all/most clients are the same. What matters is the finished product. Process inspiration and selecting a final are just all part of the bigger picture of your brand. The cover turned out so incredibly beatuful. The first thing I thought was “I have to have that book!” Ah-mazing!

  105. I think the wood piece gives the cover a natural grounded look that won’t date it. So yay! Congratulations and Best wishes on that baby!!

  106. The cover is a) really lovely, b) a reflection of your true style, and c) the best of those featured in this post. Great job, we are all so excited for the book (and, of course, the baby! Is there a name chosen yet or did I miss that post?)

  107. It’s funny how I totally get how there might be room YOU styled but doesn’t quite show off YOUR STYLE. Like #1, if I just saw the photo itself (not as a cover) I would think that it was perfectly nice, but as a cover, it doesn’t fully express you.

    Similar but different: I design jewelry that is sculptural and surreal, very weird art lady aesthetic that is very emotionally me. But for my personal style, I prefer delicate, sometimes even generically delicate pieces (I sold these delicate pieces for a bit, but I realized they didn’t make me unique). I find it kind of weird!

  108. Emily, I love it! I appreciate the whole process and know that nothing great comes easy, BUT I think this book cover is strong and represents the fun, whimsy, wacky, perfectly styled YOU to a tee. Can’t wait to get it!

  109. I LOVE the final cover! The wood piece is warm, retro and visually interesting. This makes me want to look inside the book! Love seeing the process!

  110. Yah! Just preordered. It’s great — I think I love the white piece a bit more than the wood but both are really great. Can’t wait to get my own copy!

  111. LOVE the cover!!! It’s so young and fresh and inviting and YOU! Love the gold. Well designed all around. As a graphic designer/art director who is obsessed with interiors, this was a very fun post to read! Thank you. Book has been preordered. Yay!!

  112. I simply can’t wait to get my paws on your book, Emily! Congratulations! Are you going to do a book reading/event/signing? Speaking of Anthropologie… perhaps you can do it at Anthropologie at The Americana? Or at the Barnes & Noble there… they sell books I’ve heard, too.

  113. I love the cover you chose and I think it was so appropriate for you to use your own house, but shot with pieces we’ve not seen before. This looks to me to be perfectly on brand and also appealing to the masses. Well done! I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on it :)

  114. I went to Target today to see if the new lamps were in, specifically the wood with gold stripe. No luck but they did have the lamp that’s on the cover of your new book. I have covetted that lamp forever! I don’t even have a place for it. I just had to buy it. Yay!

  115. Happy Birthday to me. I just pre-ordered and am so excited. Just bought a home a year ago and have been learning the ropes of design and giving it my best, but boy it’s not easy. I totally need this book for styling help… Can’t wait!

  116. As a graphic designer myself, I really appreciate you explaining the process. Clients ask all the time why something takes so long or costs so much. But all those little tweaks and ideas take a lot of time to think up and implement. And also time to understand exactly who YOU ARE and what YOU want to convey.
    All in all, clients need to trust that their team has the knowledge base and they won’t lead you astray from everyone’s main goal.

    So thanks for the post!

  117. First, I would like to say, it probably doesn’t matter what the cover looks like because Emily Henderson is the designer and who doesn’t love Emily Henderson; they will buy the book no matter what (like me). But….I do like the cover that Emily referred to as too dark (Emily Katz room). Mainly because I love dark rooms with pops of color and cozy lighting (makes the room feel dramatic yet also inviting). All white, bright, airy rooms are nice but hasn’t this been done to death? It’s time for a change, especially now that Fall is upon us and winter is fast approaching, darker seems more inviting; but, the cover is pretty and I look forward to purchasing it and looking at all the beauty behind it.

  118. My copy of Styled arrived today and I am so unbelievably with it. I love how personal it feels. Also, I NEED to know where I can find the Willie Nelson print that is in the Brilliant in Blue section. Way to go on a great book! It was a job well done.

  119. I absolutely love the cover you chose as “The One.” It was so fun to read the story behind its selection and all of the work that went into its design. Although all of the options were lovely, I think that one feels most authentic to your style. Thanks for the behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of cover design!