Design Pro Emily Henderson on How to Balance Comfort and Style When You’re Home 24/7

Henderson offers helpful tips—and a look inside her swoon-worthy Lake Arrowhead A-frame

Last year when Los Feliz-based design expert Emily Henderson revealed the dramatic renovations to the 1960s Lake Arrowhead A-frame home that she and her husband, Brian, purchased in 2017, the millions of readers of her blog were treated to images of a perfectly styled Scandinavian-minimalism-meets-rustic-chic getaway. Plants, vintage furnishings, and luxe throws were arranged just so to show off the dramatic white-oak-trimmed picture windows, the sprawling kitchen with cabinetry made from 200-year-old reclaimed beechwood, and the spa-like master bathroom. But Henderson, the best-selling author of Styled and Target’s home style expert, says the project is still a work in progress. That’s become quite clear to her in recent weeks as she, Brian, and their two young children have been living there 24-7 while we’re under stay-at-home orders. “I had to look around and figure out how we can make it the most livable for four full-time people and homeschooling,” says Henderson, who has worked on the homes of several industry players, including Glee and Hollywood producer Ian Brennan. “It’s been really interesting to see what shifts we needed to make it comfortable.”

Emily henderson shares tips for making your home more livable—but still keeping it chic—during quarantine.

emily henderson
Emily Henderson in the kitchen in her Lake Arrowhead home, featuring beechwood from an Ohio barn sourced through Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber.

Sara Ligoria-Tramp

Beautify your bedroom

“For a lot of homes it’s the only room where somebody can actually get away and lock the door,” notes Henderson, who says now is the time to make your bedroom feel like a chic, relaxing retreat. Splurge on new bedding and simplify your decorative touches. Henderson says the pillow of the moment—the long lumbar—quickly makes a bed feel pulled together without the bulk and annoyance of throw pillows galore. Check out CB2 or Target for options.

Warm it up

“Because we’re spending so much more time than usual inside, people are looking around and realizing that the ambiance of their home isn’t as warm as it could be because the lighting is wrong,” says Henderson. Add lamps with paper or fabric shades to get a more pleasant glow.

Small is beautiful

It can be hard to keep your entire home looking put together these days, so Henderson suggests taking comfort in small things—a nicely arranged display shelf, a great candle in the bathroom, a bar cart with beautiful bottles. “There are these little moments that bring you a little bit of happiness and can make your home feel more special,” she says.

Up your storage

Doing more things at home means stuff needs to be more accessible, especially if you have children. If you’re buying larger pieces of furniture, Henderson favors benches and ottomans with storage spaces. On the smaller side, stock up on baskets and trays to help maintain order. Stick to items in the same color palette to pull it all together.

emily henderson
The master bath features radiant floor heating, a freestanding tub, and oversize windows.

Sara Ligoria-Tramp

Embrace the practical

It’s OK to stray from Pinterest perfection, says Henderson, who admits that she’s put away the heavy hand-thrown ceramics that look great in photos but aren’t practical when the family is eating three meals a day at home. “The plates that I’ve opted for are just white, hard to break, really lightweight, and very affordable,” Henderson says. The same goes for things like blankets. “I have so many beautiful throws,” she says, “and the only one I want right now is this microfiber one from Target that’s so soft and cuddly, but it’s not what you would style in a magazine.”

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