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Styling to sell – The (new) master bedroom

Fun fact – interior designers notoriously have a hard time selling their own homes. You see, they/we think their style, and how they’ve decorated is great for everyone and that they wouldn’t need to change a thing for an open house. But – that is not always the case which is why people hire staging companies. But, hiring a staging company seemed insane for me to do since I have a lot of great pieces myself, and have even more access to great pieces locally, so I thought, surely I can stage my own home to sell, right? We’ve already moved, so what we are staging with is a combination of pieces that won’t work in the new house and new pieces that we either purchased or borrowed for the month. I know that some of our things were too quirky, too personal and frankly too much for most people to really be able to envision their lives in their new home.

Thus we are launching this ‘How We Styled Our House To sell’ series.


My goal is to make the house feel big, airy and beautiful but in a really simple more approachable way. We, like most people, want top dollar for this beauty and so it needs to appeal to as many people as possible.

Let’s start with the bedrooms – today, the master. Previously it looked like this:

Master Bedroom Reveal Emily Henderson Design White Pink Blue and Gold-139

And while I loved it, it’s definitely a strong look for most people. I try to take risks with my house because well, my job is a content creator, but we needed to calm this lady down for staging.

Meanwhile I pitched the idea of a bed styling video to Target (per your one million requests) and they supported it, so everything in the new master bedroom besides the rug, and two vintage dressers are new and available both online and in stores from Target.


It’s really beautiful bedding and after styling the room differently, I of course am so desperate to finish our new house (we don’t even have a bed yet). If you want to see this bed (and see two other rooms not yet revealed on the blog) in action watch this video (that I made with Propeller Digital – Brian’s company).

It’s all about how to help your family sleep better, in style (I styled a kid’s bedroom, too).

With out much further ado, here is our newly staged, simplified and yet totally still appealing (hopefully) master bedroom (in a more pulled back real estate type angle).


Man. I’m going to miss it. I like our new one, sure, but this room is magical to wake up to every day. We spent most morning reading with the kids in bed, drinking coffee, looking at the view. It’s just a really, really good one – and will definitely be missed.


We kept the furniture mid-century inspired, but neutral. Then we brought some contrast and pop in with the bedding and lamps. Yes, those lamps are new from Target. So insane. The bed is from Nate’s collection and I just love every single thing on there. The rug is from Rejuvenation (it was in the family room but we moved it up here after having it cleaned – and it will probably come to our new house after we sell this house).


The linen striped duvet is an absolute favorite of mine because it’s just so classic and simple, so it was perfect to mix with the other patterns. For the staging photos we are too pulled back to see the family photos and for the open houses we aren’t going to have them there, obviously. We want people to be able to envision their lives here, not see my kids.


It doesn’t look like we mixed too many patterns or colors but we we kinda did. We kept it in the blue, white, gray, flax, cream world and then played a lot with tonal patterns of different scales and textures. The only one that really pops is the blue diamond sheet set – which is a perfect place to pop in a pattern if you are scared of them normally.


I feel like a broken record but there are so many pieces in the new bedding and home line that we LOVED (and you”ll see the guest room decked out in it, too, next week).


To help it feel big and airy we worked with symmetry – because while it can feel boring sometimes, symmetry always makes a room feel bigger and is so easy on your eye. Those two graphic lamps on those simple nightstands are pretty striking, while being relatively simple.

This house is a 1964 post and beam, so yes, we are embracing the mid-century-ness and not trying to make it all of a sudden traditional, but not going too retro either. I think the person who buys this will want mid-century style so we definitely wanted to make sure to have that vibe.

On the other side of the room we have …


Our two dressers don’t match but are perfectly coordinating (and will be for sale – soon). We got rid of the TV (duh) so you could see the view from all three windows, and reduced the accessories to a simple lamp, tray with a candle, frame and plant.


Now seeing this I kinda wished that I hadn’t kept that pink painting there but in the room it looks so pretty (and we aren’t going to put all of these photos on the MLS, just a few per room to get people to come and view it in person).


Overall we kept it simple and calm, but with enough happening to still look interesting.

What do you think? I have a very strong suspicion that many of you might like the staged bedroom even more than how it was before, but I’d love to hear your opinions. If you are into it, we pulled together this get the look with all the new pieces we brought in:


Bed | Nightstand | Brass Lamp | Rug | Navy Pillowcases | Quilted Sham | Blue Patterned Sheets | Navy Quilt | Brown Decorative Pillow | Gray Striped DuvetIvory Decorative Pillow | The RugDouble Gourd Lamp | Linen LampshadeCampaign Dresser | Brass Round Mirror | Mid Century Succulent Planter | Wooden Bird | Abstract Art

*My dress was a christmas present to myself that I got at Finn + Willow in Pasadena (I couldn’t find it online but i’ll keep looking and link it up – it is made by Tylho).

For more reveals from Emily’s Glendale Home: How to Add Style to a Neutral Living RoomFull House Tour | Family Room & Kitchen Styled to Sell | Elliot’s Room Styled to Sell | Charlie’s Room Styled to Sell | Living Room Styled to Sell | Office | Guest Bathroom | Master Bedroom | Elliot’s Blush & Green Nursery | Master Bathroom | Charlie’s Circus Themed Nursery | New Guest Bedroom Bed | Good Housekeeping House Tour | Guest Bedroom | Closet


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100 thoughts on “Styling to sell – The (new) master bedroom

  1. Love it. Fun fact though – I do a lot of model homes in townhouses etc and the buyer likes to see that a family lives there…we always stage with family photos, bedrooms, hallways, etc.

  2. I love this bedroom! But I am losing my mind over that dress, Emily! Can you share details, please? I love it.

  3. Looks beautiful, pulled together, and classic. Fabulous staging, with no ugly gratuitous “pops of color” or cheap looking tchotchkes. Not that I would expect anything less from you and the rest of the EHD team.

    THOSE LAMPS! As soon as I saw them in your instastory I bee-lined for Target and purchased a pair. I don’t even have place for them, but they were too good to pass up.

  4. This could not have come at a better time– I’ve spent this entire week cleaning up and simplifying my apartment to sell! Totally true that you have to do a different real-estate, more neutral vibe and “calm it down,” as you said. I ADORE that original custom bedframe of yours though!

  5. Looks great! I really like the bedding, lamps, and overall color. I do wish; however, there was more color on the other side of the room. The color seems to be mostly concentrated to the bed and all white on the other side. Maybe a blue lamp? Maybe the shades on the windows could be in the natural/neutral color?

    1. Ha. we tried a blue lamp and it looked good, but then we thought that the gray one let you see the view more (which might be better for buyers?)

  6. So visually pleasing and calm. Definitely a space I would enjoy living in. But I have to say, I enjoyed how it was styled when you were living in it very much.

  7. Everything looks amazing, fresh and clean. I’m sure your beautiful mid century home will sell quickly and for a great price.

    I managed to sell my last two homes on my own without a realtor. A tip that someone gave me a long time ago was to take down all family photos. It makes it hard for others to visualize their family in the space if they’re looking at pictures of your family. I took their advice and I had an offer right after that. 🙂 But of course your family is adorable…

    1. Ha. don’t worry – we are taking those out for the open house and for the listing we are only posting the two pulled back photos of the bedroom. I totally agree. xx

  8. Love the neutral palette and the room looks airy.
    Can I ask where the dress is from? It’s superbbbb! And you look fabulous in it.

  9. Honestly, too much target. I put this in my feedback to your questionnaire, but at this point I have a very hard time distinguishing your personal style/taste from threshold, nate berkus, etc…Maybe that’s where you want to be professionally, in which case it’s a good thing. But personally, prefer mixing in a target items occasionally with new and vintage, not designing around it. Some great value with their things, but it is target.

    1. I think Target merch photographs well, but I’ve often seen stuff on the blog, thought I wanted it, gone to Target, and then said, “Meh, never mind,” It often doesn’t look (or feel!) as nice as it does in photos. Some of their decorative items and lamps are also much bigger and bulkier in person, which for me is a turn-off. That said, I still spend a good amount of money there….

      1. Aw, yeah, it is a lot of Target, but she’s trying to make it neutral for sale. In Target’s defense, I got a stone-and-brass side table from there (last October, I think?) that is the sleekest darn thing I’ve ever seen, and only cost like $80, and was an amazing ringer for a West Elm side table that seems to use identical materials and cost like $300…and a bunch of their pillows are sitting pretty on my sofa right now. You just have to be judicious in what you choose and how you integrate with your other stuff, I think.

        FWIW, Emily, I liked the before better — that bed was STUNNING and I wish I was brave enough to go for a piece like that 🙂

    2. Agree, Allie! I said the same thing in the feedback on the questionnaire! It is getting very difficult to know whether all that Target stuff is really her taste or not. The only thing I know is that Target apparently has helped her buy a 1.4 M dollar house and allow her and her husband to completely renovate it one room at a time. I’m sure she’s gotten a lot of freebies along the way, but still, the renovations alone must be costing $100K or more! Maybe we should all work for Target!! HAH!!

  10. Is the linen striped duvet that you used the gray or the blue version? I can’t really tell in the photos. The room looks beautiful and cozy!

  11. Thank you! The timing on this series is great, as we are preparing to put our house on the market this spring. I’m decluttering like a fiend right now, but then will come the staging. Keep them coming!

  12. Is the link to the mirror wrong? It’s not Target, and doesn’t look like the same mirror. Though maybe yours is just shinier and looks oval due to the wide angle lens, unlike the Schoolhouse Electric photo.

    I’m going to go to Target and pick up that art and succulent planter today!

    1. The mirror is from Schoolhouse, it is perfectly circular, but with the pulled back shots it distorts it slightly to make it look oval. It is beautiful in person though – I love it. xx

  13. Question about the bed: Is this still your adjustable base tempurpedic king bed? And does the Target frame fit around that bed? We have a similar tempurpedic bed (that raises up and down like a hospital bed!) and love it, but the base is kinda ugly and I am dying to upgrade. I’m trying to figure out which bedframes work with the model. Thanks!

    1. the bed is a king but i’m not sure that the an adjustable bed would fit inside of the base … Not sure!!

  14. I love this house. But not those lamps. I’d like to see something more graceful and less in-your-face. I’d lose a couple of the pillows on the bed. Most of all, I don’t care for the tall dresser in that corner. I think it looks hard and clunky and would love to see a pretty mid-century chair styled in that corner to soften and maybe inject a little more color on that side of the room. I also think that not having a door on your closet is a hard sell. Just my humble opinions.

    1. It’s so fun to read other people’s take on the room. That campaign dresser is my favorite piece in there (the lamps are a close second!), and if I lived in LA I’d for sure to be trying to make it mine! 🙂

      1. Ha! I know, right? Anyway, just to clarify, I like the tall campaign dresser! I just don’t like how it’s being used. I want to soften that corner and that side of the room.

  15. Although I get that your previous style was a big statement-it drives me straight up batty that mass retailers and real estate selling trends in general are so in love with nondescript beige, tan, barely any pattern styling.

    Personally I think that the “masses” aren’t super in love with all of this “safe” style they just think it’s what MUST be stylish and beautiful because it’s what appears in the catalogs, the videos, the HGTV television shows, etc.

    Now maybe people don’t have a lot of imagination and can’t see a style that’s bold (like your previous headboard) and think what possibilities the room has.

    I once read an interview with a couture designer where he said that the best runway models had sort of a bland facial structure and neutral facial expression – that they were highly forgettable – because then you focused on the clothes. It’s also why you wanted a group of models are sort of the same height, and size, besides the same hair & makeup. However, seeing this same “blandness” of personhood over and over again (not to mention pre-pubescent curves) leads the “masses” to find the look highly desirable and we end up with a flood of unsmiling, “sexy” selfies.

    All right, rant over. I know you try in your styling work to avoid “contractor blandness” (like when you re-painted & re-carpeted in the shelter piece). And from a production standpoint the video is very well done. Love the tufted headboard, and kids room styling (though what parent is going to do that much layering everyday I don’t know).

    1. Glad I am not the only one! We have sold a couple of houses and never removed a thing. My rant was, this house was built and decorated by me for our family. If/when someone buys it they are free to change anything they choose. Both houses sold in less than a week.

      1. Love your comment regarding models. So true.

        There is NO comparison between the before and after. The before was mind blowing good. The after, is just staged.

        1. Listen, I wanted to keep our room but many many people weighed in and said it needed to look more tame. So I sucked it up and took their advice.

          1. Emily,

            Obviously, you are in the business and know lots of people who are in the business – I just sometimes wonder where the actual data on “what works to sell” is coming from. Like, is this *actually* what works or is this the *accepted wisdom* – especially since, anecdotally, there’s a lot of variation on “what works”.

            I think I was just surprised that the video about “styling your home” was really about “styling for staging” in the look of it all. You’ve done lots of videos with Target and absolutely so many of them have had a lot of personality and difference in style story. I just really, really, want this beige/tan, all the neutrals, as “good design” thing to go away. For me it’s right up there on “design travesties” along with artwork hung too high and overstuffed ugly couches. So, every time I see it I want there to be huge disclaimers about it NOT being, like, sophisticated (or necessarily desirable) style.

            Hope it does sell quick for you! And, at a price you like.


    2. Mass retailers aren’t in love with beige, tan, or ‘safe styles’ as you call it. They market products in those colors because that’s what sells the best. Period. There’s not some mass conspiracy to turn the whole world beige.

      1. Caroline,

        Are you in marketing at such a chain?

        Target’s marketing department is, in particular, highly effective at marketing. But I can’t recall a single Target commercial-ever-that was pitching that.

        And, actually, they tend to put their big money behind the algorithms that will let them know when people are getting married or having children because that’s when big buying shifts happen.

  16. To me it looks too busy for a staged house – too many pillows and crowded nightstands. It still looks too “designed”, maybe boring for yourself, but definitely too much. You look gorgeous though ?

    1. Ha. I love all these conflicting opinions. I personally thinks a well designed but safer room than the bedroom was before. But that’s just me 🙂

  17. What a smart idea! I love it that you’re taking this opportunity to create content. The room looks amazing and target never ceases to impress me. Can’t wait to see the rest of the tips!

  18. The room looks great. The bedding is a favorite and I am going from here to my local Target and the website to order some pieces. I will add a very unpopular comment but I think it is sad that people/real estate agents feel it is mandatory to take the character and heart out of a house in order to sell it. People complain about houses being plain vanilla or beige but accept it is the only way to sell. Is everyone incapable of looking at a room and seeing what the space is and what your/my stuff would look like in it?

    1. Your comment made me think of this NYTimes article I read earlier this year. Apparently, home staging is quite contentious and some people swear by it while others refuse to do it. It’s for sure an expensive endeavor for most people, so it leaves you wondering if it’s worth it. I’m in the process of buying my first home and clearing things out so my landlord can show my current apartment. It’s renting, so it’s a little different, but I’ve been thinking about staging a lot the last few months!

      1. That article was hilarious (hilariously great). I loved it when the stager walked into the author’s home library and said, “What’s with all these books?!”

  19. I love what you’ve done through Target to stage your master. Although, I did prefer your night table lights to the big hold ones. While your look was striking, it wouldn’t appeal to the masses, as this one will. What’s not to love about your big, airy bedroom.
    Love the dress, too!

  20. While the staging is beautiful and I am sure your house will sell quickly, the whole time I was reading this post I wondered, “where is the original bed going?” You mentioned that you don’t have a bed for the new house yet… it just seems so wasteful that you spent all the time and money on having a beautiful, delicious custom bed made and it’s not going to the new house?!?! Please say it ain’t so!!!!

    1. As much as we would love to take the old bed to the new house, the bed didn’t fit in the room with how it was laid out architecturally, so we are selling the old bed and finding a new one to fit better in the new house! xx

  21. This probably sounds crazy, and it’s a different house, but Amanda Brooks sold her Hamptons house for asking in 10 days on Instagram. Have you ever considered doing that? I mean…I know this isn’t beachfront in the Hamptons, but, I feel like you of all people could totally do it.

  22. yes, I like it more than your first design…. is that ok? now I’m wondering if that means I am into more generic things than unique things and that makes me kinda disappointed 🙁

    1. Or it could just mean you’re in to quieter patterns. Have you seen the blog of Emily’s kitchen in the new house? It’s totally unique but it’s based around textural differences (adding depth as Emily says) instead of contrast differences (which add a bigger visual impact).

      1. Thanks Liss, that actually makes me feel a lot better, its true I love textural differences instead of contrast differences. I never could put this preferences of mine into words. You’ve helped me clarify my style a little more 🙂 I think Emily would be proud… ha!

  23. I love it all! I saw a sneak peak of it on your insta stories and couldn’t wait for your blog post. I don’t feel like it has your typical staged home look. Every time I watch what the stagers on Flip or Flop do, I’m like please stop with the fake trees and the over styled dining tables. I personally love when you do target posts. It’s great for the majority of people, like me who can’t afford a $300 toss pillow. I’m sure your new home is going to be beautiful, but I will miss seeing posts from this house. Best wishes on the sale of your home!

    Side note, is the duvet the gray stripe or blue? The link did take me to the blue, but it has the gray option as well, so I wasn’t sure if it just automatically links to the blue. Thanks so much!

  24. I love this space in general but I think the old way seemed more “you” and I loved the old bright colors you had in the house. Both beautiful though!! My big question with your room has always been, have you ever tried the bed under the window, in the center of the room, so it commands the attention when you walk in? Maybe it wouldn’t work but I’ve always been surprised with the furniture placement in there.

  25. The staged room looks great, but I actually think the way your room was styled before seemed a lot more airy and bright. Of course removing the TV and a lot of the tchotchkes on the dressers is a good idea, but your old bed/nightstand/artwork combo looked less…visually heavy to me. But maybe that’s just because my preferred interior design aesthetic is very similar to yours? Anyway, I’m sure you’ll have loads of people at your open houses with photos like this!

    xx Hannah //

  26. Love! Can you tell us where the rug is from? The link for it is taking me to the striped duvet from target;)

  27. Good luck with selling! Not that you need it..the house is lovely and you have done a beautiful job getting it ready. I actually prefer the before, not because it’s my style but because it is more unique. The staged version looks more “boutique hotel” which I understand it popular, but just not for me. I want to see rooms that actually look like people live there. I want to see some personality, not a catalog spread. Thankfully, you always deliver on this front! I like that you are willing to try unexpected and unusual things, so I can see why staging might be a challenge for you. That’s a good thing!

    A question: the chambray-looking striped throw pillow does not seem to be listed in the sources. Would you mind telling me where it’s from? Thank you!!

  28. I love what you did here for staging, as well as the other two rooms on the video. You are so talented (and ridiculously adorable to boot.) Do you plan to share the links to the items in the other two rooms? Or will they be separate posts? I love them both:) Thanks for being a continued source of inspiration (and for posts like these where every item is within reach.)

  29. Love the dress, the rooms are staged beautifully. Good Job Team Henderson! Love the video too:)

  30. Love this room! Could you share where the ceiling fan is from? I love how simple it is and how it disappears into the white ceiling. I’ve been searching for the perfect one for our high-ceilinged, all white den and this one looks so good. Thank you!

  31. I used to be a home stager in Silicon Valley so I was very curious when you mentioned you would be doing this series. To my eye it looks fantastic! The master bedroom is a selling feature of the home (size, views, light, en suite!) so it is an extremely important room. I am glad you included the large rug because it gives much needed warmth and texture to a room that could feel cold.

    The colors are perfect: enough to pop online and give a sense of depth, but not too much, and blue is always likable. I wasn’t sure about the second dresser, the campaign style one, not because of the style but because it can easily crowd a space to have two dressers in a staged bedroom. But with the large room size it works. I agree with you and would take out the pink picture as it does not really go with the rest of the space/colors and it is not necessary. I look forward to seeing the other rooms!

  32. Emily, it is just stunning! I feel more peaceful and relaxed just looking at the photos. And your dress… OMG – gorgeous!

  33. Love it! Is your house posted on MLS yet? We’re looking for a new place, and yours looks beautiful!

  34. The new look is so beautiful, classic, and clean (in the full, glorious sense of freedom that word can impart), Emily! My heart still loves your original look more, given its uniqueness and flair, but I must admit, I want to immediately buy everything you listed and recreate this look for my partner’s bedroom 😀 (Not to worry, if I do, I will also frame a big, embroidered blue stitch on white sign that says “All design credit goes to Emily Henderson and team” 😉

  35. As a professional home stager, it looks beautiful. I would only fluff up the pillows more and not use all of the furniture. However, you have the right ideas! Many do not have the design flair that you have, so I would encourage those to hire a professional stager.

    1. Good staging. Boring. Your design sung. 🙂

      Agree that the staging will appeal to more people however suspect that your design might have incited people to bid higher. So it’s quantity of people versus quality of passion a little bit.

  36. I think that this staging makes the room look a lot larger, probably because your older bed really took up a lot of visual space (though I loved it). The new design looks more balanced and approachable. We are getting to work selling and staging our house soon, so this is great inspiration.

  37. I really love this room almost as much as the original look! The new threshold and berkus lines from Target are genius and it’s inspiring to see it all pulled together with some of your vintage pieces. I have been in love with that Martinsville brass dresser since the first time you posted it on your blog months ago. I have tried to track it down a couple times at various vintage stores in LA with no luck! We live in LA and would love to buy it when you are done with it.

  38. So having just gone through the process of selling my LA house- here is my tip- follow your gut and not your realtor. People want to buy designed homes – they love them. I ended up using my professional portfolio photos of my house instead of the real estate photos, and got multiple offers the first weekend.

  39. I just loved the staged look, though must admit I am not a fan of the artwork over the bed.
    I think removing one of the dressers and including a chair/side table would have really maximised those stunning views.
    I will really miss this house – thank you for sharing your journey with us. I can’t wait to see how your new adventure unfolds.

  40. Love it…looks fresh ,open and clean. Target is a blessing with the style they bring at such great prices…no I don’t work there just one of their many fans ! Good luck with the sale.

  41. Another great post, thank you team Emily! Makes me realize I would love a roundup of bed duvet/ sheet/ pillow combinations.

  42. emily, you are so talented! this room is great (as was your old master bedroom!). and your dress is to die for. i think i’m going to like the guest bedroom even better judging from the sneak peeks we’ve gotten–can’t wait to see that!

  43. I like it.

    I think before/after aren’t sufficiently different to warrant all the strong feelings – both have the same feel to me. My concern, though I don’t really have any, would be whether your target buyer shops at Target; I’d suspect not, but they probably wouldn’t know anyway.

    I prefer the artwork over the bed in the staged room, but overall my thoughts are that it is a spacious and well maintained room with views to die for. It actually requires zero styling, your whole house is stunning, so unless you get it completely wrong with price guide, I’d bet money on your house selling on day 1!

  44. One of the hardest parts of about staging for sale is to stop thinking of your house as a home and start thinking of it as a product that you want to be in high demand. I found that talking to a realtor to get a sense of who is buying homes like yours can be very helpful. Are people looking for a place for to work from home? Are they looking for a large room for tv viewing? Then style in a way that best speaks to those individuals.

    For Emily’s home, it would most likely appeal to someone who likes mid century design so it makes sense to use that style furniture to both compliment the space and appeal to the buyers.

  45. “…and two vintage dressers are new and available both online and in stores from Target”

    How are the ‘vintage’ dressers ‘new’?

  46. I actually think the pink painting is lovely–delicate lines and color are right for a bedroom, no?–and while I think your styling here is beautiful, I do prefer your master the way you originally designed it. It was totally unique–you took risks and used unexpected, uber-creative textiles and textures. That’s what I would expect of a designer’s BR! At the same time I think your choices for STAGING the house are perfect, because the more conventional set up will presumably appeal to a larger pool of potential buyers.

    1. Emily,
      I love both bedrooms!! Obviously, the future buyers will know that the house belongs to the one and only ” Emily Henderson”, and therefore should be happy to see the real house you designed.

      In my my opinion, there’s no need to stage it. I see your point, though. I would have kept the original lamps. They are so much cooler and better looking that these short guys. It seems like now, nothing makes a statement which makes the room less memorable for the buyers. That being said, I think that if they are smart enough to buy your house, they will also hire you to style it. LOL!!
      PS: Have fun with your girls this weekend!

  47. Love it! I’m not going for neutral right now though. Would you please share the name of the marble fabric on your original bed? Thanks!

  48. Woah! That room is stunning. Open, light and airy – just what everyone wants in a master room. I love the neutral tones. I’d buy it!

  49. Where is that headboard from? Fabric? It looks like something from
    Cisco brothers but, not sure.

  50. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful, calm space. Love the changes– I’d be first in line to buy your home if I lived in the area! Really appreciate your collaboration with Target so “everyday” people and aspiring designers can replicate the look. Oh, and like everyone else, I am obsessed with the dress!!!

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