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The Dining Nook Restyled – An Accidental Style Move Back To Being Eclectic

With almost zero desire/intention to change this dining nook corner for the living room reveal, it already has a whole new personality (don’t mind the secret family room in the background, we can’t show you til the magazine comes out!). In case you missed it, I revealed the first iteration of the dining nook a while back and we have loved it. Then two things happened: 1. My friend Max Humphrey needed his pillows back to use them for promoting his Sunbrella + Pindler line and 2. The blue stools that were intended for the piano (and looked SO CUTE) were left floating since we moved the piano upstairs (I loved them down here). So the weekend before the big shoot I put them here at the nook and despite loving the vintage chairs I had, it was a quick and solid, “OH MY GOODNESS, YESSSS!” by the entire family. Then the styling took off in a new direction…and well…I’ll show you 🙂

Dining Nook Version #1 – All Sunbrella And Vintage Chairs

Left Art (vintage) | Right Art | Pillow Fabrics | Cushion Fabric | Large Sconce (vintage) | Small Sconce | Swithplates | Table (custom) | Chairs (vintage) | Candlestick Holders | Vase (similar) | Plantstand (vintage)

I genuinely love this version – it’s the more tame version of me but still with a lot of interest and fun. We had zero complaints and it just worked so well for our family.

When we shot this I really checked a box – dining nook, DONE.

And Yet…My Eclectic Side Came To Play…

Left Art (vintage) | Right Art | Blush Velvet Pillow | Lumbar Pillow | Leather Pillow | Blue Velvet Pillow | Cushion Fabric | Large Sconce (vintage) | Small Sconce | Swithplates | Table (custom) | Stools | Hand Chair (vintage) | Black Vase (similar) | Coffee Cup | Plantstand (vintage)

OK, KIDS HERE WE GO. It’s just so fun. Here’s why I love it – The stools really open up the space more (not that it needed it, but it is nice to not have the backs visually) and more importantly it shows off the table base joinery which we LOVE. Then once I had the stools there we needed something on the end and who doesn’t want to put their rump in Emily HANDerson (bonus points for commenters who know the reference and who named it that). I bought that hand chair over 10 years ago at Round Top Texas for $200 and she has been with me in every home since.

Obviously, a few other things changed – The Japanese Boro Fabric panel obviously really becomes a focal point and I think looks so awesome with the modern stools and the antique Irish chain quilt. I ended up putting the other art over the mantel and because the Boro plaid was so strong, I put my quiet and large framed Cy Twombly lithograph here instead. These pillows weren’t super curated and I still want to tweak them but I love them a lot. I am a bit concerned about these velvet pillows there so I want to make a few Sunbrella pillows (I finally got some of my own yardage of Max’s line) and then buy a larger leather pillow for the corner (I love how that leather looks in there with the blue and white – classic EHD). And then I went back to my crazy plant that I LOVE (and won’t stop growing tall instead of out, help!).

Right now I’m loving this version, but I also loved the other!!!

How The Whole Room Works Together

So as you can see it’s back in that corner of the opened living room and works pretty darn well if you ask me.

Round One Or Round Two????

I honestly love them both. Here are some initial thoughts:

I like the kitchen art in round one more – we actually had to steal the seascape for our seascape wall so that’s why I restyled it. I put these two Marianne Puls pieces there in round two which I like, but don’t hold the space with the same impact.

I like the light on the table in round one more (obviously) which is blocked by the Boro fabric in round two. BTW we totally open those to the sides and it’s really easy. I also love where the wall lamp is in round one versus round two (but that’s just a styling thing, we didn’t move it).

Here it is just clear to me that they are both super me and I love them equally. Round one is simply more curated and more perfectly designed, whereas round two is more young, fun, and eclectic. Since I don’t have Max’s pillows anymore I can’t even go back to round one if I want (unless I make them:)), but I do want to protect those gorgeous Rejuvenation velvet pillows and not keep them near my children with marinara, so I’ll likely merge the two. I’m thinking the stools, HANDerson but with some Sunbrella pillows and a leather pillow.

Genuinely curious which you prefer. You can’t offend me (well you can, but not about this). Round One or Round Two????

Resources:

Seat Cushion Fabric: Sunbrella (Back Cushion + Seat Cushion – similar)
Bench Seat: ARCIFORM
Upholstery: Raleigh Hills Upholstery
Table: Dinihanian Design Build
Lighting and Outlets: Rejuvenation
Wood Flooring: Oregon White Oak by Zena Flooring
Windows and Doors: White oak, Aspen Casement by Sierra Pacific Windows

Art Framing: Limitless Creations
Wall Color: Mantra by Sherwin-Williams
Paneling Color: Extra White by Sherwin-Williams

*Design by Emily Henderson and ARCIFORM
*Photos by Kaitlin Green

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Katherine
8 months ago

#1 cushions are prettier in that space, so definitely worth making some up! #1 also looks comfier and that little bit more grown-up – I’m not sure I’m a fan of the stools there, because it looks a bit makeshift and not as inviting. Perhaps the vintage chairs with the hand at the end? Or is that too much? Love the Cy Twombly art from version #2 though, and the other piece is perfect above the mantelpiece.
PS: definitely agree on the seascapes in the kitchen. Can you pinch them back?

🥰 Rusty
8 months ago

Round Two because it’s more playful and you do art there, play board games n stuff there….so it’s a whole lot more cozy. I agree about the cushions, even though they look nice, marinara sauce and expensive cushions – nope!
🌱 BTW, those type of plants naturally grow UP tree trunks, so don’t expect it to grow out. If you want that, you’ll need to choose another plant. I’m really impressed that you have so many house plants and they’re going so well, coz I remember the several in LA that died a sorry death.
Huge transformation, Emily – gardening, cooking… what’s next?! (Steamy novel writing?!) 😉

Pam
8 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

I agree – Round two. Love the stools and the art! I’m a big fan of eclectic. Would anyone know what the name of that crazy plant is – I love it quirkiness it adds to wherever it is placed. 😊

Annie
8 months ago

Exactly that – they are both gorgeous. What a room!

MS-R
8 months ago

I dearly prefer Round One. I love the little, old chairs (they remind me of pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms with their sweet, petite furnishings!) and I like the gentler tones of the scene. Even the soft bouquet adds a layer of femininity! The whole room reads (to me, so subjective!) as very intentional , elegant and powerful now. A bit of softness (which I think the Boro curtains could skew, with other softer elements around) is always my preference.

What about a return to a subtle infusion of pink? Maybe … hot pink? I bet Orlando, namer of hand chair, would approve. 😉 As ever, thanks for inviting us into your process and home! 💕

Tarynkay
8 months ago

I like both!
I agree about the velvet pillows and marina, though. This seems like a good place for something wipeable, but maybe more eclectic yet still wipeable? How does the leather cushion hold up?
This is also confusing me about the quilt. It’s a beautiful quilt! But do you really eat with an antique quilt half folded on the end of the bench like that? Maybe it’s just a styling thing for the photo? In which case it is so pretty! But if it was in my dining room, I would be concerned that my kids would interpret that as a giant napkin.
Also, I’m sure you have addressed this before, but does anyone sit in the HANDerson? Is it comfortable? I’m imagining you and your husband are on the bench and your kids are on the stools. If a neighbor drops by, does the neighbor have to sit in the hand chair or do you switch it out? I like the weird hand chair there, I’m just curious as to how this changes when you’re actually using it. I think the Before looked more usable.

Wendy
8 months ago

I prefer Round 2 as there’s less wood and it’s just that bit simpler as a result. As much as I love those vintage chairs they do add a lot of wooden legs. And for a pass-through space I prefer having low or no backs on seating just to keep it simple and one less thing to bump into (not that you have a shortage of space!). Agree that it also just looks more spontaneous and has more energy rather than the first picture-perfect look which is almost too matchy. The blue stools with the Boro add those touches of both industrial and craft (imho) which keeps it nicely eclectic but also beautifully curated. Of course both are stunning and we’d all kill to just have one corner of our homes be so gorgeous!

Cici Haus
8 months ago
Reply to  Wendy

We ended up switching our dining room and “sitting room” because the view was just too many chairs, too many legs all in one sight line!

Kasia
8 months ago

Round 2 for sure! Sooooooo much more interesting. The round 2 view sparks a lot of joy for me. I gravitate towards eclectic though 🙂

Christina
8 months ago
Reply to  Kasia

Same here. Round 1 was lovely, but I love what the stools and Boro fabric add to Round 2. Round 3 with velvet cushions swapped for Sunbrella will be the best yet, I bet. I like how the leather and the rust velvet cushions call back to the colour of the vase on the coffee table, so I’m glad you’ll have a leather cushion too.

J B
8 months ago

Round one for me ….would select diff pillows tho. Prefer the art as well. The stools/chairs in round two add to the visual clutter of the space and I do not like the darker cafe curtain.

Ann
8 months ago

Round one for me because chairs are more comfy than stools (and not sure how I feel about the hand chair) but maybe with the curtains added to round one.

Reanna
8 months ago

Round Two really is fun, yet still nicely tied together! I appreciate the reminder that moving pieces around can be quite satisfying. It’s kind of like seeing a friend in a new light – you already thought they were wonderful, and then you get to appreciate them in a new way!

LouAnn
8 months ago

Hard choice. I love how the stools and Handerson chair look in that corner but I prefer the pillow game of round one. If I had to choose, I’d probably opt for round two.

LouAnn
8 months ago
Reply to  LouAnn

P. S. I think someone at EHD should do an expose on the scam that pillows are. I mean we all purchase all of these dang pillows but, really, EVERYONE who comes into my house MOVES THE PILLOWS when they sit down on a couch/chair/bench/etc. So how as the design industry scammed us into buying these pillows that just get in the way of life. I think your built in bench would look great without any pillows at all.

8 months ago
Reply to  LouAnn

My hubby is one to scoff at “too many pillows everywhere” but every night he uses 2 of the 4 on our sofa to support his back. And I use the other 2 to snuggle up on and fall asleep while “watching” Netflix, haha. So just a little counterpoint that some of us do actually use the pillows. 😉

ali
8 months ago

Round 1. I like chairs with backs. And I think it looks better too.

Amber
8 months ago

Round two looks more “Classic Emily” but I think round one fits the farmhouse better.

8 months ago
Reply to  Amber

well said!

Allison
8 months ago

Version Two! Primarily because the stools and Handerson are backless and add colour and warmth, which is less cluttered for the eye from the different open angles in the space.

Brenda
8 months ago

Round 2.

Maria
8 months ago

Round 2 is so fun! Definitely vote for that one. Round 1 is lovely too, but 2 is unexpected and gorgeous.

Lisa
8 months ago

I personally prefer 1 because I don’t find stools super comfy- I need a back to my chair!- and I love the layers of wood tones. Option 1 seems a little more EH in her 40s (don’t worry, I’m your age!) and option 2 is a little more EH in her 20s. Both are lovely, but it’s just my personal preference!

Monica
8 months ago

I love both versions. My eye prefers the art in version 1 and those three chairs are absolutely gorgeous. However, it is so nice to see the hand chair in here – it is an iconic piece that I associate with the Emily Henderson style so it just has to be in this room some where! Blue is my favorite color so I like the stools and boro curtains as well. No matter which way you go with it, the nook is a magnificent moment in the room.

MKK
8 months ago

I love the stools and I do like the your application of the Japanese Boro shade here vs. laundry room ( not practical.) Which goes to why I find styling the blanket a tad too much plus i would minimize the number of pillows. What is the saying about put on your jewelry, look at it and then remove one piece? Or, when you walk into a bedroom and they have a staggering number of pillows on the bed it makes the styling look like they’re trying to hard and you know you have to remove more than half to get comfortable. A bunch of pillows on the banquette bench is similar to the bed w/ the exception of sticky messy hands will be grabbing them to move them out of the way to get comfortable. The impracticality of styling defeats the design.

Kj
8 months ago
Reply to  MKK
  • Yes, I am at an age and a stage where all I am interested in seeing is “real life,” and I will not move/fuss with pillows any more. We have four sofas, and I have moved all of our decorative pillows to the center of each sofa (nobody ever wants to sit in the middle, right?). Not something you ever see in any pics, but now we can flop on either end of every sofa and not mess around with pillows.
  • Are either of these versions how the dining nook is actually used? For example, one of the pillows fell on the floor when you barely touched it in the instagram video so I would guess neither look is “user friendly” if the pillows and/or quilt would fall on the floor if the bench is used for seating. So I vote for showing us a “third look” styled out for the way the nook is actually used on a daily basis with video of it being used.
Erin Dae
8 months ago

So glad for a post about this – I noticed it in the photos yesterday and forgot to comment. But now I’m glad I forgot because my perspective has changed! When I noticed the stools and hand chair, I felt that was the only thing I didn’t like about the finished space and wished for the first version. But now seeing them side by side I really like the new version! Most of all, I like feeling inspired to play with my spaces and embrace the quirkiness of pieces I love. Thank you for the empowerment!

Monica
8 months ago

P.S. I am here for more pillow posts as you experiment with different combinations. Seems like and never ending soource of joy – falling in love with fabric and honoring it with a pillow!

Emily
8 months ago

Ooooh! What a fun choice! You really cannot go wrong- they are both gorgeous but my preference is 2. It’s more interesting, quirky, and fun. It really feels like a merging of old school, ultra quirky Emily with new school refined Emily. Number 1 is more restrained and calmer. I think 2 fits the new living room vibe a bit better. And I really love the addition of the warm tones pillows with the boro fabric and table. Plus- as a longtime reader I was so happy to see the hand chair have a prime spot! Great job on both!

J
8 months ago

Round two, hands down. (😊) The rust, the boro, the stools/stool color, the quieter art all win it for me.
(I agree re: the kitchen art in round 1 too)
It’s all so warm and cozy!

Anat
8 months ago

Round 2 wins, hands down. Much more funky and fun. I noticed the change immediately in the last couple of days of living room reveals.
Even though the vintage country style chairs are cute, and look comfortable, the stools work better visually, like you mentioned, and also add interest color-wise. So do the new pillows, especially the rust velvet and the cognac leather, which add some contrast, earthiness and just ground things. The hand chair always looks awesome, wherever it moves! The art in round 1 spoke to me much more than the pieces in round 2 (especially the 2 on the adjoining kitchen wall)…so maybe there’s still room for playing around with the different elements, like we see you do anyway. Love the fact that this is a living breathing space, meant for you and your family, and your changing needs. We get to learn so much from tagging along for the ride! Enjoy the beautiful space!

Carolynn
8 months ago

For sure Round 2. It brings back eclectic Emily from her younger years that I miss sometimes in your most recent designs. I do wonder how comfortable those stools are to sit in but I’m sure your kids don’t mind.

Sahaja
8 months ago

As much as I like both versions, I think version two reads more “busy” – if the chairs aren’t all matching, then I’d like the quilt to move out of frame. Bc now my eyes jump from quilt, to stools, to HANDerson, with no where for the eye to rest. I think the quilt is in stead of the gingham pillow in round 1, but that worked bc all the chairs were the same in round 1. Also, the white pillows in round 1 (bc the print was small) fade back and away into the white background, where as the colored pillows stand out as solid blocks of color. I want the Boro fabric to be the star, and the stools are the perfect blue match! Please keep the stools and HANDerson (I love that stool so much!), but maybe tone down the bench styling so ur curtain can be the star that it is!

MKP
8 months ago
Reply to  Sahaja

Agree 100%. For me when I see the #2 dining nook with the whole room, it is just too busy for my eye. I thought the #1 option was pretty much perfect, and I’m surprised by how many ppl prefer #2. I think some combo could be good. Keep the blue stools and handerson but maybe reign in the pillow color scheme. At least that’s what I would do, but you do you! It seems like you love version #2 and are feeling really energized by it, so that seems the way to go. And it’s so awesome that you have all the big decisions made in terms of furniture placement, so now you just get to play with styling!

And I didn’t get to comment yesterday, but I wow wow WOW on the living room. It is beautiful and you just nailed it. The two sofas (and moving them closer together) was the perfect choice. Now that you’ve figured out this room so well, I wonder if it gives you ideas abt what might have helped the Los Felixes living room to work better.

Emily
8 months ago

Hands down #2. The first one is fine – but looks like a boutique hotel. The second has way more interest and personality – and all the things that made us follow you in the first place.

hickenack
8 months ago

Version 2 for sure. Much weirder and OG EH!
Now make the kitchen weirder! It’s beautiful and too safe. Put something ugly and strange in there!

(I’m not sure “Sophie’s choice” is a very sensitive way to describe the struggle to decide which version of a privileged non-Jew’s dining nook looks prettier…)

Gretchen
8 months ago

I really love them both in isolation – and it’s interesting to see them with these different elements and styling. That being said, in your living room right now, I think I’d like Round 1 better. I think the hand chair in particular clutters that corner behind the green couches.

Renee
8 months ago

They both look great but I prefer Round 1. I would probably like Round 2 more with different pillows. I like the quilt in Round 2 but find it hard to believe that you’ll be keeping that there day after day so I’m going with Round 1. Love this comparison! So fun!

Christine Uliassi
8 months ago

Round 2! You had me at the hand, but you are right that the stools open things up space-wise. I like that there’s more variety in pillow colors now too.

StephanieZ
8 months ago

I prefer round two to round one. Much more interesting and less basic. I also imagine that its easier to get through the doorway with the smaller stools since you can push them in and under.

Elizabeth
8 months ago

Round one, definitely. The wood chairs are stunning and seem more comfortable/polished. On the other hand, definitely prefer the Cy Twombly print and the pillows in round two. I adore the hand chair anywhere but agree with the other commenter who wants to know if you’d sit in it for any extended period of time. I think it might be better elsewhere in the room.

Sarah H
8 months ago

Oh, I really really like option 2. It slightly makes me wish that the light blue / grey upholstery on the back of the bench was in brown leather though, as I think then you wouldn’t necessarily need any other cushions on the bench at all.

Karen
8 months ago

I think round 2 is infinitely more fun and interesting. Love it so much. I’m sure round 1 is more practical and comfortable but to me it falls flat. Chefs kiss on the update visually. Love this Emily style so much more.

K
8 months ago

I really like them both! Such a lovely nook.

The link to the living room reveal at the very top of the post is broken for me 🙁 Also I think there’s a typo in MaryAnn Puls‘ name (not Marianne, right?).

Kj
8 months ago
Reply to  K

Here’s the link to the living room reveal from yesterday: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/farmhouse-living-room-reveal.

Julie
8 months ago

I love both, but I think overall #2 is best! What cinched it is the view from the family room…the quiet art allows the lamp to shine, the stools allow for view of joinery, and that HANDerson chair!! Makes that space so interesting! As others mentioned though, I would worry about the comfort of those stools (no backs) and the number/material of pillows. I have a similar banquette bench and it functions so perfectly for a family with kids…it’s a casual place to gather for a daily meal in the midst of a busy day, not a place to linger for long periods of time. So in that case, maybe stools are sufficient. As for the pillows, why not put leather in corner with a second sunbrella fabric pillow and call it a day? Lovely space!

Anna
8 months ago

Love version one quite a lot more!! I love eclectic but this borders on chaotic to me with everything else going on in the surrounding areas. Although I have missed Emily HANDerson!!

Jodi
8 months ago

Both are great! But I like #2 a little better. I like how the lamp pops more off of the light colored art and I adore the boro curtain. The stools pick up on the blue so well and you can’t go wrong with that hand chair!

Kj
8 months ago

Here’s the “oldest” post I could find with the “HANDerson” chair in it (missing some pics):
https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/my-new-office.
And I found the Cy Twombly print yesterday: https://www.yvon-lambert.com/products/cy-twombly-actualite-dun-bilan-print-1972.

Cris S.
8 months ago
Reply to  Kj

As always – thank you Kj!

Amber
8 months ago

Normally I prefer stools with backs, but I love the blue ones here. The color breaks up the wood and they block the entrance to the family room less. Perfect for kids too.

By the way, didn’t Handerson live with Orlando for a time? I think Emily stole him back…

Cici Haus
8 months ago

I liked round one but I LOVE round two. So fun and dynamic, so balanced. Perfectly beautiful

stacy
8 months ago

Version 1 for me! LOVE the art next to the media room door in version 1 and overall it is very cohesive. #2 looks less practical (stools) and more busy, and the boro fabric doesn’t do it for me (though I’m glad you like it!).

Regarding that plant – it’s a vining plant, so it’s gonna straight! If you want to make it more full and leafy you can try the “chop and prop” method, where you cut the top couple leaves off, root the cutting in water, and replant at the base to make it more full. Kind of like how if you buy a pothos plant the pot will be totally stuffed with plants rather than just one per pot.

Elise
8 months ago

Round 1. Although the blue stools are fun, I like having a back on a chair. Maybe you can do a combination of the two?

Sheree
8 months ago

#2 definitely! I love the way the stools open up the area. With kids and just the wonderful whimsy of the hand chair it’s definitely a keeper. Don’t second guess yourself, give yourself a pat on the back. I love a room that has one element of fun or the unexpected (hand chair). These things make it a home.

8 months ago

In and of itself? Round 1. But since you got the living room set up, and have those two, calm luxe sofas, and the elegant quirky chair, I think the Henderson adds the proverbial je ne said quo that ignites the spirit and soothes it at the same time.

Aunt Sue
8 months ago

I love Round 2. First, seeing the photo of the entire room, I think it’s good to have a little more going on in that corner to balance this huge room. Second, the stools visible at the kitchen island are very eye catching and I think the backless stools in the nook are a good contrast and balance for them. But mainly, I think it’s great to showcase the Boro. I don’t think Boro was utilitarian items that simple folk prettied up with a little embroidery. Rather, it is fine art by artists driven to create and using the only materials available to them. Usefulness is an element of the aesthetic. Your curtain panels honor these great artists in a way that they would find very pleasing and authentic. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Roberta Davis
8 months ago

Of course, both versions look great, but I wouldn’t want to sit on those round 2 seats for dinner!

HL
8 months ago

Round 2 for sure!!! It’s much more sophisticated and unique. So long as the people sitting on the stools don’t mind the lack of a back, I much prefer them to the antique chairs. The scale of those looked kind of dollhouse-like, and made the whole vignette look too dear. What a great improvement!

Shannon
8 months ago

As for the kitchen, I prefer something more moody and eclectic, like the seascape and portrait above. I’m sure you can find something with a similar vibe….old landscape perhaps? As for the dining nook, I prefer the three matching chairs. I do love the more eclectic set up as well, though!! Both look great, so follow your heart!! The window panels are amazing, btw!! Such gorgeous rooms!!