Emily Henderson Answers Readers' Burning Design Questions

April 3, 2014 - Article reads in

It’s been a few weeks since we revealed Emily Henderson as Target’s new home style expert, and we still can’t stop talking about it—and neither can you! Since we first announced the news here on A Bullseye View, you’ve been leaving comments and questions for the design star.

As promised, Emily has been reading through the praise and probes. Below, she answers some of your most burning design Q’s — read on! (Like us, y’all are chatty, so we’ve edited down questions for clarity and content.)

Cassy Williams Assink asks:
“Any suggestions on decorating around awful, mandatory apartment carpeting? How can my place still look good?”

Emily answers:
“Oh, I’ve been there! Just pretend it’s a wood floor and add a rug—that’s what I did, and soon you don’t notice the carpet as much. Make sure that the rug contrasts with the carpet (not the same color or pattern) and try to incorporate your rug color into the overall color palette of the room so it looks intentional and hopefully more cohesive.”

Jess Hartnett asks:
“I know there is a fine line between bold, fun design and going overboard. I recently hung a large gallery with various sized photos, paintings and prints on my living room wall. The opposite wall has a set of windows and the TV. There is minor wall space above a zebra print chair tucked into the corner. It feels so sad over in that corner, but I’m afraid to dress it up with more art for fear of crossing that line from bold to crazy. Should I dress it up and own it or restrain myself? Thanks so much!”

Emily answers:
“Own it! Like I’ve always said, I believe a home should look like the person that inhabits it, not a catalog, not what you think others would like—but really, truly like you. So go ahead and dress up that sad little corner. Make it happy. It’s your space, after all.  If you feel like the gallery wall is getting heavy then maybe get a piece of art that is visually ‘lighter’—like a large scale photo that has a lot of negative space (white space) or something simple and graphic with lighter colors.”

Amanda Marie Nowak asks:
“Do you have any hanging porch lights that you recommend that cost less than $100? Just yesterday, I was like, ‘Man, I wish I could text Emily Henderson about this.’ Let’s pretend this is the same thing.”

Emily answers:
“Absolutely. I’m actually shopping for them myself now— ’tis the season. Target’s patio aisle is pretty packed with hanging light options that are simply illuminating (see what I did there?). I love string lights for a more European cafe look, pendants for something that feels more permanent and umbrella lights for dinner parties. And you can’t go wrong with some globe string lights. They are always a party people pleaser.”

Featured: Oh Joy! Spring Lights Also try: Threshold Ceramic Solar Lantern; Room Essentials Frosted Globe Lights; Room Essentials Umbrella Lights

Lauren Tipton asks:
“Such an incredible choice! Question for you Emily—I love a good deal, but also appreciate and don’t mind splurging for nicer, lux items. What are your go-to items to be thrifty on, and what items do you think are always worth splurging a little?”

Emily answers:
“I’m all about mixing price points, too, especially when it comes to designing your home. I believe a room is soulless without something that is vintage or antique, which can either equal hefty price tags or priceless gems found at thrift stores or garage sales. The trick is to figure out what household items are worth splurging and saving on. Generally, I’d say sofas and mattresses are worth the extra moolah. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time curled up or on them, so you want these items to be durable, comfy and made of high quality materials. Oh—and a coffee maker. I’m a sucker for a great coffee machine. You can save on other home décor items—from accessories, to textiles to smaller pieces of furniture at Target. Check out lines like Nate Berkus at TargetThreshold and Oh Joy for Target!”

Rachel McCollough Price asks:
“Yay — love Emily and Target! Emily, my number one question would be this: Paint the stone fireplace wall or not? We have a whole wall covered in native sandstone, including the fireplace—a very dated, 1970’s feel. It gives the room a hunting lodge/hobbit feel. To remove the stone is pricey. My options are to paint it (white?) or work with it (maybe add a chunky mantle). What do you think about stone walls?”

Emily answers:
“It’s super tricky because obviously you want to preserve the original character of the house but if you don’t like it then that is a major problem. Brian and I had this same debate over the original wood beam ceiling that was in such an ugly finish. We ended up painting it white and are so happy now. I say if it bugs you, paint it out. We have a stone fireplace (from the 60’s and pretty retro looking) and it’s mostly gray so I don’t mind it. But if yours is more beige or brown (which looks more dated) then I hereby give you permission to paint it out white!”

Regina Vecchione asks:
“Congrats, Emily! My question for you—Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? What do you do to break out of it? Studio discipline seems to be our go-to (just keep working!), but we’d love to hear how you keep yourself in motion.”

Emily answers:
“A really good part of being a designer is that your client is always your muse so you pull inspiration from them. If I had to design for make believe fake clients it would be hard. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get into ruts… and when I do, I go on to Pinterest (follow Target and my own boards to help!). Flea markets, art galleries and museums also never fail to inspire. Take a break, go shopping and pick up my friend Danielle Krysas book called ‘Creative Block’ which interviews 50 artists about how they get through a creative block.”

Inspired? Stay tuned for more from Emily! 

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