A new year means you get a chance to look at what worked, try to figure out WHY it worked, and then adjust (or not) based on your findings. A retailer looks for their best selling pieces for instance. As a blog we look for what posts you clicked into, engaged with, loved and shared. When I’ve met with marketing/business strategists the first question they have for me is ‘what do you want people to do when they come to your site’? We don’t sell an actual product so the answer is more abstract. I just want people to read, share, engage, stay for a long time, come back, relate, comment, believe me, feel heard, share, email their friends then leave feeling inspired, empowered and a tiny bit happier. If you do any and or all of those things then I consider the post a personal success. Luckily a personal success is also good for business. Specifically, the longer you stay and the more you share the better the site does when it comes to those not-so-popular ads (which are crucial to the business as they are a source of passive income).
So I asked our wonderful IT guy to pull the analytics. This is overall traffic directly through the blog, throughout the year, but this doesn’t include some of our popular posts on google or through cross-linking or traffic from other sites (for instance – How to Hang Curtains has been our #1 post for like 4 years, which is why we keep updating it).
We are counting down from 10 to 1, mostly to be dramatic and manipulate your curiosity for as long as possible 🙂
#10 – My New Cut and Color. Help.
This was the post where I photoshopped my face onto a bunch of different hairstyles that I was considering and asked your opinion. I’m a design blogger, so the fact that this was the 10th most popular post out of 250 or so is pretty crazy. I was totally surprised it made it that high up.
So what does this tell us? I think people love seeing others take risks, and give their opinion about anything aesthetic when asked. If someone I followed was going to cut their hair for the first time in years you bet I’d give my opinion. But the fact that the traffic was so high showed that the social posts to promote the post (instagram, facebook) performed really well or maybe also that you guys shared a lot. I wasn’t surprised about the amount of comments but I was surprised by the high traffic. Interesting.
Does this mean I’ll continue to do more risk-taking beauty posts? Ooh, maybe. I have no idea what that would look like, and I won’t force anything that I wasn’t already thinking about, but I am now exploring doing a beauty post here and there. It’s easier to farm this out and have a beauty expert contribute but I think the reason you guys liked this was that I was experimenting and it felt really risky and more personal. Perhaps you’d like to vote on whether I should micro-blade my brows? Would you like to see my legs tanned via 5 different methods?? I WOULD. Any ideas on what and why you liked this post and what other posts in the beauty realm you’d like to see would be awesome. I’m HAPPY to do weird stuff that I’ve been tempted by in the name of content … (I’m actually seriously considering some new piercings but sad to say that now that I’ve bleached my hair I can’t get that beach wave perm I was going to get …)
Next – the 9th most popular post of the year ….
Our House is Officially on the Market!!!
In this post I announced that our first home was officially on the market, and wrote about my nostalgia in selling our first home – the home that housed 3 of the best years of my life where both of my kids were born (not literally) and where my career really took off (ironically, after my show was cancelled). Geez. I just cried again thinking about that house.
Why was it was so popular: I think there is an inherent voyeurism in seeing how someone you follow is staging their house to sell. Also perhaps the prospect of being able to come to the open house in person, and see how much we were asking for felt dramatic and fun. Maybe people had shared it a lot with people who weren’t followers, but who lived in LA and might have been in the market. It was also pretty personal and you guys have shown me over and over again that you value my vulnerability (thank God).
Coming in at #8 – Our Home Exterior Renovation
In this post I documented the extremely long, laborious and expensive process of renovating the exterior of our house.
Was I surprised that it was #8? YES, but so happy. This project cost so much of my time and money and I kept telling myself that not only was it going to be great for our family and for resale, but I was also hoping it would be great for content. Historically we post about interiors here, so I was so happy that you guys liked seeing this exterior renovation so much. (How funny/ugly was the broken sewer pipe that I literally didn’t notice until today).
What this says: Exteriors are people, too. But I think one of the reasons you liked it so much was because I was so transparent about money, which was not easy for me to document but I felt it was important. When you guys thank me for being transparent about process and costs, it encourages me to do it even more.
Does this mean I’ll do more exterior posts? Hmm. Not sure. I could see myself doing some content about exterior architecture, I still am uncomfortable showing the exterior/front of our house for totally paranoid reasons. But does it mean that I’ll continue to do long-winded documentary style, transparent makeover posts? You betcha.
Coming in at #7 – Design Mistakes: Generic Art
In 2016 when we debuted the design mistakes series it became our most highly trafficked series and we immediately re-thought the content we were creating. Why was I spending thousands of dollars producing and shooting ‘1 credenza, 4 ways‘ posts when these posts which yes, are highly researched billing a lot of hours, are what you really want and still cost so much less. While some of the defenders of these mistakes cried offense, for the most part we all feel strongly that telling you the mistakes we think you can avoid, with roundups of resources to help, was a good thing and part of our job.
The tricky part of this is that there aren’t that many UNIVERSAL mistakes. We brainstorm on this all the time and I really don’t want to be sensationalists and make broad statements that aren’t necessarily always accurate. It’s also tricky because we don’t want to ever have it be about money or snobbery, so we have to be able to offer an affordable solution and not just ‘don’t buy ugly cheap generic furniture’. It’s also really hard to find photos of the mistakes without seriously offended whoever originally designed the room, but visually showing the mistake is important to making our case.
We will definitely continue this series and if you have any suggestions for universal design mistakes, please tell us. PLEASE. We will turn it into a post for you.
#6 – My Summer Wardrobe
My summer capsule collection hit at just the right time, when people (like me) were looking for a wardrobe refresh. I’m assuming that it was so highly trafficked because we promoted it a lot on social doing an insta-story for each outfit… and maybe because it was approachable fashion? But it’s strange because the winter fashion post didn’t do nearly as well but I think that’s because I had done too many fashion posts around that time and you guys were a little exhausted by me modeling clothes.
I should clarify one thing because my cousins thought that I was getting paid for these posts: what I wear is rarely gifted and even less frequently do I get paid to wear anything. Last year I had a couple fashion campaigns (eBay, Nordstroms, Urban Outfitters, Lou and Gray and an Old Navy insta-story – which were literally all around the same time) but these outfit posts or the outfit insta-stories are all stuff that I bought for myself because I liked them. Sometimes I model them and take them back because I simply don’t need them but want to recommend them. I do make money (anywhere between 1% and 5%) if you guys use the link to purchase. And yes, this can add up – thus the motivation to set aside time/money to shop and shoot. But rest assured that I actually buy all of it myself, too and really do love it. I will try to make it really clear on insta-stories that my clothes aren’t sponsored.
Will I continue doing fashion posts? Sure. Probably every other month. I like that it shakes things up and as a reader I really like when people I follow show me what they are actually purchasing and putting on their body. So as long as you guys continue to like them I don’t see why I wouldn’t do a few a year.
Coming in at #5 – our Backyard Makeover:
Oh thank god. I needed some validation for working so hard on that backyard and pouring so much money into it. In this post I documented (like my exterior) the process and cost of landscaping our backyard. Boy do I love that backyard, but my goodness was it a big old thing.
I think I even wrote four posts about it because it was such a thing, but the last one was the real reveal and clearly the most popular.
Coming in at #4 – Meet Our New Mountain Fixer Upper
In this post we announced our new mountain cabin and you guys were almost as excited as we were. I outlined what we were going to do and you all had so many great ideas (some of which permanently changed the architecture so THANK YOU). As I wrote in this post one of the reasons we took this risk was for content – to be able to create design content for you without limitations from a client. The engagement and traffic were so high which made me incredibly happy because hopefully it means the engagement will be that high for the whole renovation series.
What’s the hold up? Well, we want to something more interesting with this project and it’s taken a while to get all the moving pieces lined up – both in IT and partnerships. We are close, folks. SO CLOSE, I promise. Hopefully within the next couple weeks we’ll be revealing the plan, of which you are a big part. THANK YOU for making this post one of the most popular of the year, giving me permission to dump even more time and resources into this house makeover and the motivation to make even better content.
#3 – Patio Makeover (with the tile!)
Finally. A design makeover post!! I know you guys love them and me, too, but it is crazy how not that many of these made it in the top 10. Does this make me want to do less actual design? Not really. Just because they weren’t in the top 10 doesn’t mean they weren’t well liked or super valuable nor does it mean that they didn’t drive traffic and grow the brand in ways that a personal post never would. Many people are better at talking about their feelings and there are many better interior designers out there. I have to think it’s the combo that makes this blog work. Besides, that patio does deserve a lot of attention – it’s pretty much my favorite ‘room’ ever (and everything you see there is from Target, except the tile – which is pretty amazing).
Coming in at #2 – Ch Ch Ch Changes!! A Few Big Announcements
This was the post where I told you that I was shutting down the residential design client portion of the company and the flea because I simply didn’t have the bandwidth to do everything I was doing, so something had to go (which meant that Ginny and Mel would leave – but as you probably know they are both doing AMAZINGLY on their own – YAY!). Familiar story, I know. I’m pretty surprised that traffic was so high because this is one of those posts you don’t just land on – you have to be a regular reader to really care about this and click through. It showed me that you guys like reading about the challenges of running a business and like to get insight into what has worked or hasn’t worked for me. While my particular job is unique I think there are a lot of you out there who run creative businesses or aspire to, so I’m guessing hearing the inside scoop from someone who doesn’t just tell you what she’s doing, but the long ass story on ‘why’ gives extra insight.
These posts are always a bit tricky because I get wary about my partners knowing the vulnerabilities of a business ran by a very imperfect human being who doesn’t really know what she is doing. I feel like all of my friends look WAY more polished in the business aspect of blogging. Every time I write about what is working and what isn’t and how we are shifting due to success/failures I’m sure I turn off someone somewhere who was looking for a potential partner. I know that a lot of people read my Christmas post and thought to themselves ‘is she worried that her partners will think she’s too tired to do a good job?’ Yes. I’m aware of that risk, but what I remind myself every day is that you guys are my real client and if I stop being honest and transparent then I lose my audience and NO sponsor is interested in a blog without an engaged audience. So I write what I think you would like to read, and hope that the sponsors see the value in its relatability and know that these posts are why a lot of you come.
And the #1 post of the year is …..
Design Mistakes: Not Have a Plan
Another Design Mistake proving that the series is EXTREMELY popular. Fine. Got it. We are on it, happily.
This is the one where I went through the design mistakes that I personally have made by not having a plan and gave advice on how to avoid them. That was the key to this post’s success – personal stories with a real takeaway for how to avoid what I didn’t.
This was also one of the last posts where I allowed hateful comments. After spending days pulling this post together, slightly stressed that showing my vulnerabilities as a designer could be dangerous, but taking the risk anyway knowing that it was compelling content, the first comment just ruined my day. But then we stopped negative comments (which was by the way the #11 most popular post – so yay for that).
But back to design mistakes. I’m going to spend more time brainstorming on how we all mess up 🙂 I know that you think there are a million ways, and there are, but so many of them are specific to the space, are too abstract or could make people feel bad … it’s TRICKY. It’s almost like I need to tour more houses to help trigger the ideas ….
These four below came SO very close to making it into the top 10.
Our new, happier comment policy
How to add character to a basic home
Ask the audience: bed in front of window
Ask the audience: new dining chairs
I learned a lot from this and honestly, it makes me so happy. The most popular posts really had a lot of heart and so much hard work went into those posts. The only real shocking one was the haircut and makes me think ‘Geez, that’s all I have to do to get a ton of traffic???? Threaten to cut my hair?’ I get it, but it is pretty funny. That post was pulled together in one afternoon, with no original photography and took me 3 hours to write (which is short for me). Good to know …
Thanks for all your support this year, seriously. You guys really do motivate us to be creative, try new things and take risks – and very often the blog posts stem from YOUR ideas. We ask, you answer, we research then publish. It’s a pretty good deal.
So while we are at it …. anything on your mind for content this year? I’m once again debating about taking on contributing editors, not to ‘help’ but to really write well-researched design articles in a REALLY compelling voice. Think ManRepeller or Cup of Jo. The problem is finding the right voice. It’s SO HARD. So yes, we are taking submissions for this job because I’m mostly interested in getting the right people than getting local folks.
Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you can write about design in a way that fits here (and who thinks we should bring Orlando back???? Well, you are probably happy if you raised your hand…
Thanks for another great year. We are all so excited to create even better content in 2018, and are always open to requests for you guys. xx
Congratulations on a stellar year of content!
A few thoughts: I love the exterior posts because it’s not as intuitive to me and there aren’t many blogs showing how to add curb appeal. It’s often my favorite part of fixer upper. I totally get not wanting to show your front door, but maybe something like a primer on getting a certain look???? Like garage doors, front doors, landscaping for a mid-century home???
As a fellow mom who wants to look a little edgy, I LOVE the what I’m wearing posts.
Lastly, I love posts like the powder room styles you just did. I actually have used them for refreshing some rooms in my home.
Thanks for putting out such a thoughtful blog!
I’d love to see more exterior posts too! Houses in Seattle are so expensive there’s no way we’d ever be able to afford a beautiful one so I’d love to see posts about how to take a basic (or even ugly) house and add some curb appeal.
Daily reader here (which means I’ll read anything and everything you post, including sponsored content). My least favorite posts are your fashion posts (mostly because they don’t speak to me personally: I live in Pittsburgh and my body type and style are SO different from yours). My favorite posts are your personal, transparent ones (renovation costs, mistakes and parenting/marriage topics). I miss your Craigslist posts, and think it would be fun to have regional contributors do those posts periodically or regional designers/influencers doing posts about their local design scene. I like to travel and would love if your site was an occasional resource for shops to visit in some major US cities beyond the LA area. But, I’m really really looking forward to the cabin project, too! Happy 2018.
Coming back to my comment to BEG you to do curtain hanging post that specifically addresses the typical ranch house’s high, short, long horizontal windows. I’m paralyzed by this dilemma.
Yes yes yes! I specially came here to comment on that post being my fav ever but I need advice for those wide short mid century ranch windows! Emily please help us!
Yes yes yes!! I have four of these windows in my home — two in bedrooms, one in the dining room, and one in a laundry room we’re considering turning into a second bath.
Second this! And also how to deal with curtains if every room in your house has a radiator under a window. (Literally every room). So floor to ceiling won’t work unless you never close the curtains.
YES!!!! All of this
Ok! we are listening, taking notes, changing and thank you so much for commenting. xx
And any rules about when it’s “okay” to do a roman blind and drape combo in one room (romans in the area with radiators!, and actually makes me feel better that others are plagued by this too!). My gut is that one wall one type of window treatment, but also worry if the windows are all the same size, should I just let go of my desire to have drapes somewhere (anywhere!) for the volume and softness and cosiness they add and stick with romans on all windows? I live in a 1920s central entrance New England Colonial, so my windows are not standard sizes meaning I have to go custom for window treatments if I want to do inside mount for romans (relatively low ceilings, so inside mount makes the most sense), and figured if I’m investing in custom, then maybe a drape/blind combo is okay in matching fabric. So yes, more info on hard to address windows would be great!
THIS. I’ve had radiators under every window in my current place and last place I lived!
yes, how to hang with radiators??!! Either under or very close by. I have nightmares of drapes going up in flames so have stuck to roman shades but would love to see more options.
I’ve followed you for so long, and I’ve loved every step of your journey! I talk about you, your designs, and these blog posts so often to my husband, that I’m fairly certain at this point he just assumes I have a BFF named Emily for the last 5 years that he’s just oddly never met in person.
Yours is the only blog I’ve regularly read and kept up with over the years, and I cannot wait to see what this new year brings!
P.S. Yes please bring Orlando back!
SAME. Both my husband and I refer to Emily as my “Fake Best Friend”… honestly even my other friends and family know who I’m talking about when I say “I want to build a castle in my back yard like My Fake Best Friend”!
you have no idea how happy that makes me. seriously, i put myself out there and for you guys to accept it makes me so very very very happy. xx
SAME! But it’s the perfect situation because it’s a best friend who you can copy and steal ideas from daily but she’s never mad at you. Win win!
OMG same. When I start talking to my husband about design ideas around our house, he’s always like, “Did you get this from Emily, Jenny (LGN), or John and Sherry (YHL)? If you guys ever collaborated I think I would explode. <3
As another person who reads every single post, I'd love it if you guys would take reader submitted design questions. Like, I could take some photos of my teeny tiny master bath and share the dimensions and you could explain different ways to design it. Even if it wasn't my house I think it's so interesting and helpful to see the challenges others have in their homes and this way you could address a huge variety of home types across the country. Not sure how feasible that is but I would LOVE it. And add exteriors to that too. My home needs major curb appeal help so I second all the comments above.
And hurray for Orlando!!!
I LOVE Sarah’s idea! That would be really cool/useful. Also yes please more Orlando! I read his blog too, but I love him getting more exposure.
I do this too! My husband and I were watching tv together when I saw your first Target commercial. I exclaimed “OMG that’s my friend Emily!” and my husband was like “……..???”
Gotta chime in as another “….my friend Emily says…” which confuses my husband. You are just so awesome and relatable! Keep up the good work, and I vote YES for Orlando, and also YES to more exterior content. Happy 2018!! Also, Oprah Winfrey’s gonna be our next President.
100% bring Orlando back.
I read Orlando’s blog too, but always, always love to see him here!
I know you mentioned that you weren’t sure if you would do many exterior posts but I would really love to see more about that process. Landscaping and exterior changes (expanding a patio, ect.) are often extremely expensive and difficult to manage without a professional, and it doesn’t seem worth the cost when one bad storm could wipe it all away. I feel really confident about pulling together the superficial elements of a room but I think a lot of us are lost on how to do more of the big stuff, like landscape design without having to use a professional. Your backyard posts were certainly inspirational but they didn’t really give us much real advice because you admitted to essentially throwing (a lot) of money at the problem. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for your transparency, it just didn’t leave much I could apply myself. This is also why I’m so excited about the series showing how to add character to a basic home. These are the big question marks that I’m sure we all find valuable.
Yes, bring Orlando back! His tone is much different than yours, but complements it and this blog perfectly!
Absolutely bring Orlando back! With video submissions! And, of course, makeovers are the best. (Though not “sexy,” I use the round ups after the fact — as a resource/starting point when I’m looking to buy.) Not really into fashion/hair cuts, but others clearly are, so keep going. I liked when you were educating on some different styles – that seemed new this year. Re: design mistakes, you could always stage them, no? (i.e., not have to offend someone who presented something sincerely).
That’s all – love your blog.
I’m shocked your kitchen makeover wasn’t in the 15 as that is my favorite reveal. It’s gorgeous!
Congrats on an awesome year and thanks so much for the amazing content. I will read just about everything you post. =)
it was in 2016, but it was still strong in 2017 (in fact, VERY strong). xx
I’m so surprised your kitchen makeover isn’t in the top ten ! I was very much obsessed with that post. Looking forward to another great year of content!
We revealed it ins 2016 thats why!
If you do decide to bring in more contributors I would love to see Orlando back! He’s great!
you aren’t alone 🙂 we had a big brainstorming session today. HE’S BACK!
ORLANDO!!!!!!!!!!!! YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!! I’m a long-long-long time reader, and I want to say that everything you touch is pretty stunning, but the reason I keep coming back every day is your honesty and your wit and your transparency. I love how willing you are to put yourself out there and I’m so impressed that you can do that even when there are people who are unkind. I love your voice, I am so fond of the glimpses you share into your family, and I enjoy how consistently you laud your team! I’d love to see more “real-time” style posts with the mountain house. It’s SO helpful to me to learn HOW you make decisions; I like to know the details of how you make decisions to balance cost and construction constraints and aesthetics. You’re so good at this already, but I sometimes wonder if you could get more content out of slowing it down. The grilles in your kitchen cabinets, for example. They got a paragraph in the reveal post, but I think they could have been a saga in and of themselves, you know? Can’t wait to see what you create in 2018! Also,… Read more »
Yes, real time cabin posts would be awesome!!
100 percent agree
Thank you so much. Because of people like you there will be more of all the things you want. Real time = great and yes. thank you!
Long-time follower as well and I totally fourth this –
many of the bloggers I’ve followed for similar amounts of time started on a budget, and now their budget far exceeds my own. They tend to have shorter post’s about more expensive solutions which means I don’t really get much from that content except a picture. I love your voice, and that definitely keeps me coming back, but so do the detailed stories about why you choose what! Even though we also have different budgets, showing or telling about process gives me more information then I can use to make choices and is just honestly a real learning experience.
Happy New Year! Checking you blog is the first thing I do every morning while eating breakfast. I’d love to see another makeover like Sylvia’s house. Her home had small rooms and more basic architecture, something I think a lot of us can relate to. Seeing how to elevate that, and how to make small spaces both pretty and usable, was helpful. My sister recently asked if you have a post on organizing kid stuff (toys and/or craft stuff) so it looks nice but is also easy to access. I’d love more fashion posts on other body types, maybe some more dressing the team posts? And yes I loved the outdoor posts – both the siding and the backyard landscape. Would it be possible to do something similar but at a lower budget? I love pretty much everything your team does. Thanks for all of your hard work. I reference the blog so often for advice and resources.
Seconding design solutions for home with more generic architecture!
Ok great. on it!
I second the comment about homes with more generic architecture. I love seeing beautiful, upscale homes that someone has designed as much as the next person, but, yes, most of us have just regular homes without the cool “Spanish architecture” style or even “tudor style” etc. etc. Just a regular, generic home that has been styled beautifully (but hasn’t been completely overhauled or had anything more than cosmetic changes) is always wanted!
for sponsored content we need pretty architecture but yes, i’d love to do more content around regular homes as well. thanks for the motivation.
YES to both of these. loved sylvia’s makeover (and the one you did years ago where you decorated a room in a nursing home) bc they feel like “real spaces” vs giant mansions.
and as someone who had a baby one month ago and is already overwhelmed with STUFF – would love options of where to put kids toys in main rooms that is still attractive yet contained.
Yours is the ONLY blog I read every day. I’m a quiet, conservative, christian, suburban, college-educated, midwestern, full-time stay-at-home-mom (of school age kids which puts me in a very weird and misunderstood demographic b/c what could I possibly do all day after I read this blog?!), who loves having a pretty house, doesn’t own nearly enough cool clothes, but has pretty bathroom tile. I’m only defining myself in this way to make it clear to you what we have in common and what we don’t…and because of and in spite of our similarities and differences your blog resonates with me. I think your success lies in the fact that you as a person have the ability to DRAW PEOPLE IN. You’re really, really good at making everyone feel important in a genuine way. Not just lip service. (I notice it all the time, but mostly notice it when you talk about being a working mom. As a sahm, I have heard. it. all. Never once have I read anything here about working vs. sahm that’s divisive.) Also, still love your interactions in the comments. If you didn’t pop in on comments of each post, I know I wouldn’t click over… Read more »
@jb. your comment made me tear up. i can’t thank you enough for that comment. I’m so so so so so so glad you are here and even more glad that you seem to perceive me accurately. We are all different and yet the commonalities are FAR stronger. when writing a post i seriously think about anyone who reads it so I can’t thank you enough for your comment about making everyone feel important in a genuine way. it makes me want to write and write and write and more importantly TRUST myself that I’ll write in a way that makes many people happy. THANK YOU.
I just want to say thank you for working (and caring) so hard for your readers. I look forward to reading your posts every day during my lunch break!
As for 2018, I love the posts where you walk us through your process, for example, I weirdly loved seeing you solve the dilemma of what shape to make your kitchen island. My favorite posts are when I feel like I’ve learned something 🙂 Transparency into your thought and design process is truly what sets you apart from other design blogs.
Thank you, hannah. I need the encouragement to keep being transparent so THANK YOU.
As a long time reader and also someone who works at a digital marketing agency that pitches you to sponsors/brands alllll the time, I don’t think that your trasparency is scary at all. 1. Most brands aren’t looking that hard, they just skim the surface/look at the metrics 2. the people who are looking that closely already love you because of your unique voice and trasparency and we know that that drives engagement. I think I have gotten the sense that you guys have a lot on your plate, but I also know that you guys are overacheivers who give 110% to what you do. So, basically…keep being you!
I love you. THANK YOU. I needed that comment. xx
Keep doing what you do so well and I will keep reading.
Orlando!! He is just so talented, FUNNY, and handsome. 🙂
I’ve always felt like the design mistake posts are like a superstar version of a roundup posts (which I also love!). I’m really interested in the “why” and “how” a particular piece of furniture, layout, paint color, etc. works. I also love hearing about the process and pricing aspect. The design mistake posts serve as guidelines when I’m out shopping for something new. Roundups help with the selection, of course, but if I want to veer off the suggested list I use your design mistakes as a reminder of what to do/not to do.
I’m beyond excited to see the fixer-upper posts! As a new first-time homeowner of a generic, 70s suburban home, I can’t wait to hear all of your advice! Keep up the amazing work!!!
Agree! The round up posts are so helpful, but the design mistakes definitely help me identify my situation. I also go back to the round up posts as a jumping off point when I’m starting to shop. I also LOVE the perfect pair posts. Maybe if there were some about posts about transitioning hand me down furniture with new stuff? Or helping to identify what would work with my neutral floral patterned couch that I have and sorta love…
“We will definitely continue this series and if you have any suggestions for universal design mistakes, please tell us. PLEASE. We will turn it into a post for you.”
1. White tile floor in the entire house when someone is trying to be minimal. It’s all over the place in Central Texas. It is jarringly cold and institutional-feeling.
2. I have a slightly different post suggestion. I’d love to read a series where you take an ugly, common piece of furniture and show how to “save” it by choosing surrounding pieces that help it put its best foot forward, so to speak. I’m picturing something like “So you inherited [this couch] from 2003 and you don’t yet want to invest in a new one, because you have small children. You can work with it like so, and make it the best version of itself possible, and also you can avoid making it worse by not doing these other things that usually went along with it in 2003.”
I love idea #2 too!
@Betseygal I really like your post ideas! For the tile conundrum, Jenny from Little Green Notebook just gifted an AMAZING budget-friendly makeover to a family whose main living spaces had a very uninspiring tile. She and her team worked with it beautifully! I totally recommend it for some inspiration. http://littlegreennotebook.com/2017/12/living-room-reveal-with-overstock.html/#comments
I love your ideas. Orlando and I brainstormed about ways to work together this year and one of the things we are going to do is each pick a piece of thrifted furniture and challenge the other one to use in a stylish way (which I think will be SO FUN). So thats kinda on the same page.
when its super specific its hard to say ‘use this piece next to a really plush rug, midcentury table and brass sculpture’ so its really hard to coach people how to save thins if we don’t know what they have to work with. BUT we are considering a column where people submit their problems and we suggest the solutions …
I LOVE an advice column section! Answered by you or your staff. I think that would be FASCINATING and so relatable!
WAIT! I didn’t scroll down to see this comment and your reply – but I literally just said that. I have some great examples!!!
Content idea! I’ve just moved into a new house with all hardwood floors and we own ONE area rug. As We think through the design of our home and purchase new rugs in each room I would like to know how to create a nice flow with them throughout the house as far as styles/types/colors. Does it matter if each room has totally different styles in rugs or should they somehow coordinate? Help!
Great idea Sarah-I second that. I am working with basically two open plan floors and have secured two of the major larger rugs and now I’m like oh wait…how close is too close to the other zone to consider the pattern, colours etc. I have a consistent colour palette set. And I’m aware of mixing different scale of patterns when they are in the same space like pillows, rug and curtains but how does that apply to open place spaces across 4 rooms visible from each other?! Thanks and yes to orlaaaaaando/orblogdo. ??
Not sure I realized I was a daily reader until there was a whole week without posts… was so glad you got a break, but I missed it so much! Excited for what sounds like is going to be a pretty exceptional year of content — congratulations on creating such a solid, warm-hearted base for yourself and your family!
The #11 post was my personal favorite — thank you again for that one. You inspire.
thank you 🙂 And welcome, daily reader 🙂
I, too, am a daily reader. This blog is the only blog I have maintained daily readership on for years now. When I think about why (since I am a corporate lawyer and not at all in your industry) I like this blog enough to continue to check in, I think it is mostly about your voice. I like you, Emily. I think your voice is truly authentic and engaging and like seeing what you’re up to. In the fall of 2015 we bought our first house and my husband is definitely sick of hearing “well I saw on Emily Henderson …” whenever we are debating design decisions. But I also like the fashion posts (although our styles are not that similar) and I really love the mom/life posts. Your Christmas post was so on the nose for me as a super busy professional with a toddler for whom I want to make magic happen. Anyway, I feel like I’m probably right in the bullseye of your target demographic (early 30s, higher income, aesthetically interested, mom) so I thought I’d chime in. Keep up the good work in 2018 – can’t wait to see what you do with the mountain… Read more »
I second all of what EJK said!
THANK YOU, You have no idea how much your comments mean to me. Especially that you have a totally different career and city and style. Imagine if you were me and someone said ‘the riskiest and scariest thing you do is what i like the most about you’. thats pretty much what you did. so thank you. so much.
Thank you for such a great year! I’m a regular reader but infrequent commenter, but have really learned an incredible amount from your blog — way more than any design magazine. Ironically I first learned about your blog when I posted a Facebook question about hanging curtains and two friends sent me links to that post, after which I became a regular reader. One topic I would love guidance on is dealing with paper clutter — mail, school papers etc. And not just how to corral it in baskets or inboxes, but systems for scanning, organizing, converting from paper to electronic filing, etc. We tried to but it seems like the paper always gets ahead of us.
One other thought on the fashion posts: I think the summer one may have been more relatable to people in all different climates, but if you live in someplace like New England, as I do, then winter fashion in LA is just not going to be of much use to you. (I say this as the snow blows horizonally outside my window during our “bombagenesis”).
I WISH I could help you but not being a terribly organized person i’m not sure I can. HomeSort is a new organizing brand that i love who has great ideas. I’m a snow-show. But they are great.
(thank you so much for reading and you don’t have to comment so when you do you should know I really really appreciate it).
I’d love to see you trying microblading for your next beauty post!! Love you!!
ha. me too 🙂
Yay! I personally love your “state of the world/your life and how you feel about it” posts. I have a couple posts ideas: 1. Maybe a series about the different types of architecture and what styles of furniture match them (i.e. a Victorian style house would have a hard time with modern furniture, but can pull off ornate, regency/glam, etc.). 2. Design mistakes: overstyling/overstuffing bookshelves, credenza tops, etc., not taking into account the architecture/style of your home, thinking you’re stuck with builder basic finishes (you can talk about how little changes can add character, include budget-friendly tips and tricks), accent walls (done wrong and how to do them right!), following design rules! (how and when you should break “rules” to make your house your own) and staging for home sale (blows my mind people won’t take the basic step of eliminating clutter when showing their home) 3. More of HOW you plan a project, timeline, how to work with contractors, what you should ask when choosing a contractor/vendor, etc. 4. Taking care of your home articles? Basic home maintenance you should know about, etc. (this could be a series) 5. A breakdown of living with vs. fixing a design mistake.… Read more »
Favorite posts are when you do goodwill, pay it forward makeovers of other people’s homes, because the makeover recipients have enriched yours or other people’s lives with their altruistic deeds in a big way. Sylvia’s home makeover posts were so compelling because they were a match of everything your ardent followers love about your blog above all others -your caring heart coupled with bad ass design skill. Would love to see more of those posts, plus as everyone else has said– more Orlando!!!
1) Seconding someone else–Craigslist round-ups used to be my favorites. Bringing back one a month would be super welcome.
2) A couple of design mistakes ideas I’d love to see addressed: 1) No personality spaces (I have a LOT of friends who have this; nice homes with generic finishes and nothing special/distinct); I think people would really benefit from direction on adding their personal flair to a space. 2) Something I struggle with is LARGE walls. Most homes seem to have one or two that even a large piece of art looks dinky on. Gallery walls or wallpapering/painting as an accent wall are the only ideas that come to mind but I’m sure you guys have a lot more interesting thoughts that I’d love to see!
Thanks for the wonderful blog!
TOTALL Y AGREE with these two ideas for design mistakes!!!
I’ve been following your blog before it became a blog :). I’ve learned so much design from you. I’ve always had an eclectic, mixed and vintage aesthetic but by the early 2000’s when I had more money to work with my home style has become generic and boring. Watching your work helped me put the “me” back in my spaces and later helped me to confidently combine my husband’s things with mine to make our home. Now anything my kids want in their rooms I can handle. I never say no. Because I’ve seen you do great mixes and now I can do it too. Their bedrooms are wonderful and have great design but they’re real and personal, because of what I’ve learned from your blog. I honestly feel my home is absolutely lovely and unique and that is because of your influence. So I really come back to your blog for the design. The more “real” the better. But Inspirational is good too. I don’t care that much for other blogs that do home tours. That’s okay but limited. I want instruction, tips, guidelines, and teaching. Your narrative that shows the process. And then interiors and exteriors that show… Read more »
Jody. I’m not joking, you made me tear up. I know i have an influence, sure, but when people tell me how its effected their lives and homes like this, it honestly blows my mind (and eyes) open. thank you so much for telling me all of that. it makes me feel like what i’m doing isn’t just fun and worth of a career, but more importantly good for other people which is really all that matters. THANK YOU.
RE: number 7.
An idea to throw in the pile— maybe you can have readers submit photos of their own spaces they are trying to design/update, but something just isn’t right. Maybe one thing is off from making it complete asking “Why isn’t this working?” The designer’s professional eye is probably going to easily see the flaw such as “The couch is too big for space.” or “Try a side table” that the untrained eye just can’t sort out. I’m sure there are some “universal” mistakes will come out that you can group together. No need to worry about offending the submitter because they’ve asked for help.
Congrats on a successful 2017 and looking forward to great content in 2018 🙂
This is genius. Yes! Many of us are more than willing to send you our “ugly” what not to do photos so you can say what’s not working in it. That’s endless content there.
Also love this idea so much.
I LOVE THIS.
Love this idea! It would be awesome to see other people’s homes from around the country and get just a few quick and dirty tips for how to improve the space.
Yes! I was going to suggest the same thing! For example, I have beige tile with poop brown grout aaalll over my house. Can not replace it right now. What paint, rug, etc colors can I use to minimize the sea of beige?
You can have an “Ask Emily” series 😉
SUCH A GOOD IDEA OMG. you will be inundated! 🙂 hire me to sort through the inevitable avalanche of photos/problems you get in your email!
YES!!!!! When you do the “reader-redesigns”, put in a design mood board with links to possible products to buy or a round up! Maybe have people shoot pictures of their spaces and even say what furniture layout would work best and why? And yes, I love Orlando. Bring him back. Also, last year when Trump was elected, that post helped me immensely because there was an amazing dialogue on your blog from all sides of the political spectrum. I was heart-broken, but at least I got to see where the right-side was coming from in their votes (not to say I agree). I’m not going to come here for political discussions and I liked that was a one-off too. But you addressed the elephant in the room and I respect you for that. It was more than “we are all Americans” because there are so many different universes within the US, but it was “we are all design-obsessed” and have than in common and varying political views for many different reasons. It was also fun when the readers from other countries weighed in because they had an even different perspective. So, thank you again for the big risk you took… Read more »
DONE. Great idea and one that we are now going to do. Orlando and I actually talked about this today before reading the comments, but if you guys are open to the feedback I am (or we are) ready to do this series.
Post idea! This could possibly fit in with the design mistakes series – My mom and I were talking the other day about how bedroom sets (matching headboard, nightstand, dresser, etc.) are still sold in stores but not considered good design (or so I think). This reminded me of living room sets (matching sofa, love seat, arm chair, etc). If you think this is a mistake (??) you could explain why, and HOW to avoid it. Especially in the living room, choosing furniture that doesn’t match yet coordinates seems really tricky.
Also, your design mistake post about generic art is such a gem! I know some people who could desperately use your advice, but I’ve had to hold my tongue for fear of seeming rude/pretentious.. Maybe I should share it on social media in hopes that they’d see it!
Lastly, ORLANDO!!!!! EEEKK!
To piggyback on the living room idea: could you do a post about furniture layouts when working around windows/doorways/viewing angles. I would love to see how you navigate the “we need more seating” around the “but the piece has to go in this spot” conundrum. Perhaps provide a room and a few different ways to lay it out?
I think you could do a design mistakes post on communication fails, or failing to communicate. You could flesh it out by the different people who need to be on board. For example, with a partner you might miss saying something that you think is obvious (like you wanted the grey and not the beige couch), or you might not know how to have the conversation on spending or how you want your house to be, and so on. I am sure you’d also have lots of tradespeople miscomm examples. You could talk about what words are helpful to hear from a designer side – what vocabulary do you notice people lacking? For example, is it that people need to be more upfront about budget? Or misunderstandings over words like modern or feminine?
Oooh, I would like to second this. I would love to know more of the conversations you have when designing. I know that you show clients design boards to work with, but what do you show contractors?
What a great way to look back on the old year and to start into 2018 on this blog!
I have been every blogpost since around the time you did Sylvia’s makeover and I especially enjoyed your home staging for sale, designing of our new house, makeover takeover (now that you got new team members, we might get to see more?)…
Most of the posts on the list are favoutites of mine, too: Your house on the market, the exterior, art mistakes (art lover over here, maybe you could post more “living with art” related content?), the cabin and Not having a plan!
I loved them because i am obsessed with your houses and style and with design and architecture in general. How about design mistake “too much decor”, “too girly” or something. Oh and yes, we want ORLANDO! And maybe updates from Sarah and Mel!
What I am actually not interested in is fashion and hair, but you still make me read these posts most of time, I guess it’ just your fantastic, personal style of writing!
I got so excited when I first saw the mountain house post! You would have thought it was my project. About as excited to see that the Gaines’ were having another baby -and I love the Gaines and babies!
I also loved the back yard posts. I had no idea what your garden style would be, for some reason I thought it would be a bit more formal than it was but I was so pleased to see that I LOVED it.
I like the design mistakes too, I agreed with all of them and I think I felt justified in all my previous judging of them! And I do try to not be a judgy person but when it comes to interior design I am judgy… ?
And finally, love any content by Orlando.
Love this blog, it’s my only true daily. Xxxx
No such things as too much fashion post.
PLEASE MORE FASHION.
I’m a daily reader of your blog but seldom comment. Thank you so much for all the design and style inspiration you have provided over the years!
Absolutely bring Orlando back! His writing is hilarious and his design talent is awe-inspiring.
I would also encourage you to do more style/beauty posts. Even though my wardrobe is pretty different from yours, I love your style and would be happy to see your fashion posts more often than every other month – like every couple of weeks or so. I liked the recent eBay post where you pulled together cool outfits for different styles – maybe you could showcase your friends/colleagues style on a regular basis.
I can’t wait to hear more about the mountain cabin! I second other commenters who suggested that you could slow down your renovation posts and focus on a single detail, rather than showing the whole room at once.
I wish you and your family well in 2018!
Emily- It’s neat to see your Top Ten. If you’re looking for ideas for the design mistake series, how about Overhead Lighting Only?! I know this design mistake because I’ve made it. I wondered why our living space looked cute during the day but like a crack den at night. I figured it out: we needed a minimum of 3 light sources per room. It was more than just a cute lamp and shade (loved the patterned shade post, BTW) but also the right bulb. I learned about lumens vs watts and experimented with halogen bulbs (more lumens). I realize this would be difficult to shoot since it would require day, dusk and evening photos. Perhaps this would be a great time to bring in a sponsor! If people like it, you could do lighting for kitchens and media rooms (glare on TV screens) since they each have special needs. For Wisconsinites like me, winter brings darkness. Save us from overhead lighting, Emily!
Oh my gosh yes to this. Lighting mistakes! Also the color temperature of bulbs – what Kelvin rating light bulbs should be? I want something in between super yellow, too-warm, honey-colored lights and the “crack den/grow house” style bright white/blue light. Frosted vs. clear bulbs and covers? LED? Halogen? Wattage/energy use of different kinds? So many questions…
I’m surprised at these as well, and have personally come back to this blog more times than I can count for reference for my kitchen renovation. This blog is an invaluable resource!
Orlando! Yes please!!!!!!
I’d love to learn more on how to make design a career. My background is construction and commercial interiors but want to make the jump into interiors.
I’d be interested in a survey on your readers’ demographics. How old are we? Do we have kids? Where do we live? City/country/suburban? How many of us are not white? (Haha, I always wonder this as a non-white person.) How many work outside of the home? How many work in the design/creative industry? Are we mostly budget shoppers or have we given ourselves permission to splurge when it comes to design? Maybe what did we get in your style quiz, and what do we actually think we are?
Thanks for being my favorite blog!
Yes!!! This would be interesting!
Yes! I’d be interested in this too as a white woman. I think it’s just part of being a good person in 2018 to ask yourself if you are inside a bubble or if you are connecting with all people.
Agreed! I’m also a fan of the reader survey StudioDIY does annually (coming out in the next few days I believe). It feels good to give my opinion in a direct way. Plus, that type of big and easy to interpret data would be useful for you guys on the back end I’m sure.
Hey! Long time reader and POC 🙂
how do motherhood posts measure up? i know i personally love seeing my fav online people open up about motherhood, the trials, the joys, the “this is how i do it”…I feel like I’ve grown up with you and not to sound weird but I feel invested in your family and love seeing the kiddos in your posts. That pic of you and Birdie on the patio…just adorable. How do you handle the massive amounts of kid toys that comes along with parenthood? How do you keep them from rearranging the stuff on your coffee table? (or do you?) What are your thoughts and practices on screen time? What was it like going from one to two kids? I always love your posts like this. 🙂 And everything else too of course.
Ya I love the motherhood ones too… I realize this is a smaller, niche market… but everyone knows marketers love us best so I’m sure you can find some good partnerships (ahem, target!) to make it worth while, right?!
I love the posts by Orlando and Brady! I also love how many of the posts are by you, though. I lost interest in A Cup of Jo once so many of her posts were by other people. Definitely feel free to introduce another contributor, but I would personally love to see you still write the majority of the posts since your voice is what keeps me coming back here! I also loved the posts Ginny wrote- maybe you could have her write a few guest posts now and then about her design jobs?
I second the Ginny comment! She probably has her own blog now, but there’s no way she has as many followers as you… and based on IG she’s doing a TON of client work now. Since you’re not, can’t you guys partner together to show us her before and afters?
OrHANDo raised over here!! I would so so love him to contribute more.
When you mentioned that you worry about being to open and vulnerable I thought for a second about that the only blogs I follow regularly anymore all incorporate that personal vulnerability aspect, and that includes Hommemaker. I think that is what makes blogging content so much better than design magazines. There are a million photographs of beautiful rooms out there, but making the design and the designer accessible and relatable can’t really happen without the openness and vulnerability. Also I am so excited to see what you do with the cabin!!
Not to be a total fan girl but I feel like Orlando would really love that Orhando pun!
Thanks for another great year of posts!
My kids are about the same age as yours, so I love all your kid-related content. Anything related to kids and design would be great. Specifically: balancing form and function, incorporating your kids’ tastes in their rooms, where to splurge and where to save, kid-friendly design throughout the house that’s doesn’t scream “kid,” durable materials, updates on how different products and materials you’ve chosen are holding up to life with little kids. (I know that last one could be tough to be candid because of sponsors, but I’d be interested.)
I love the stylish, editorial looks of your children’s rooms. (Elliott’s is an inspiration for my new baby’s nursery.) I definitely don’t want the aspirational kid content to go away (so gorgeous!), but I’d also love to see more on how to incorporate that look into my own life.
And I love everything you’ve ever posted about your backyard.
Interesting round up! I was one of the people who loved the exterior post and the garden post. There is absolutely a lack of good content about front-of-house curb appeal. There a million before/after pictures on the internet but that’s pretty superficial. No one is making content that talks about design, planning, resources and costs. Especially costs. Maybe this is a business opportunity for a reader with the right skill set?
Fun review! I think your haircut post was popular because it was sooo relatable. We’ve all agonized over what to do with our hair.
I think your willingness to be transparent and honest about your professional life is the reason your blog is so successful COMBINED with your mad decor skills. You are also talented at collecting a great team.
Thanks Emily and team for a great year.
I would love to see more posts on how to style/bring out the best in homes of different periods. I’ve loved the content on your new home as mine is from a similar era and it was so helpful in choosing things like lighting and furniture. And yes to all the comments asking about exteriors!
Also (being very greedy here!) I’m from a country outside USA, and would really love occasional links to purchase things from sites worldwide. I totally understand your partnership with Target, but I get so disappointed when I know I can never purchase any of the great things you showcase. (Unless you can wield you power to get them to ship worldwide?!!)
Finally, thanks again for removing the awful comments. It has made being on your site and absolute escape and I love you and your team for it.
Please please don’t let your blog become Cup of Jo. Not to be rude; I just loved her site back when it was just her blog, but now it feels so much like a generic company. It’s fun to occasionally have Orlando or Brady, etc write posts, but YOU are my fav part of this whole thing. Keep being smart/fun/adorable/honest/really freaking talented. Happy 2018!
I am not really interested in contributor posts in general, and I tend to skip over them on my other favorite blogs, but I LOVE Orlando and would love to see him back. His blog and Instagram produce some of my favorite content on the internet.
yay! bring Orlando back!!! And can you partner with Jen Gotch on beauty/lifestyle posts? I know you guys are all friends via IG stories. It’s more fun to read/watch when we know you’re all hanging out IRL too 🙂
I’ve been stalking Orlando on Instagram ex-girlfriend style to see what he’s been working on so it would be nice to have him back on the blog so I can casually creep in a “Oh hi, funny to run into you at the grocery store” kind of way instead…
On a different note, I love the various content and different types of posts; Your blog is one of my daily reads. Happy 2018!
I am a daily and longtime reader. So thankful for all the time and effort you put into your posts. It shows. Honestly. I rarely feel your posts are forced or generic. I would love to see more EXTERIOR of cookie cutter homes or early 80s split levels. ? I think a lot of your readers are younger and maybe just jumping into the housing market. We are starting out with dreams of your gorgeous home in our heads and coming home to something much less architectural interesting. Like how to set up a living room with NO obvious focal point? Overhead lighting changes that are affordable but make a huge difference? Home Depot Collin maybe??? I also LOVE the room by room suggestions with pricing. Like the bathroom one you just did this week. I’ve saved almost all of those. While I can’t necessarily afford all of them, I find the ones I like and keep an eye out for similar items or buy the ones you suggest. (Hope you have affiliate links on those.) Lastly, I’m not really a fan of your fashion posts. You’re darling and the clothes are ?? But fashion blogs are a dime a… Read more »