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1 Credenza 4 Ways: Midcentury Coastal and A VOTE!!!!



One Credenza, Four Ways. #4: Midcentury Coastal

It’s the last one in the series. I swear. More info on that at the end (thanks for your feedback). This one is called ‘Mid-century Coastal’. This is both my childhood and my future. I grew up on the Oregon Coast and we did have 1970’s seascape paintings in our living room. In fact when I was home last week I saw a couple of them still up in my parents house and I wanted to go around with a post-it marking ‘Emily has dibs’ on them, but then that seemed, you know, totally weird and morbid as my parents are thank goodness very young and healthy. But let it be known, siblings, that I have dibs on the seascapes … Also I’ll take the handmade 1985 five foot ET costume that is just so terrifying and wonderful, sure to send all the neighborhood kids running in tears.

Anyway. Here is Mid-century Coastal.

This one is more country/coastal and pretty much where I’m headed stylistically, especially once I buy my fantasy Oregon or Ojai house. It’s just so soothing and calm, but with a little bit of an edge to it that says ‘the people here are 35-years-old and kinda cool’.

Here’s why it works:

*Click through to see the rest of the photos and to vote on your favorite credenza …

1. The two lamps flank the credenza adding a bit of formality that contrasts nicely with the organic collection of seascapes. It could have been two different lamps, but with these paintings it can go ‘thrift store’ really fast. Having fresh, white, matching lamps helps it look higher-end and more refined.

2. The manzanita branch fills some of that horizontal space, but in a visually really ‘light’ way. That sounded super technical, but you know what I mean – it’s not this huge bulky thing that makes everything feel really heavy, instead it gives your eye a break from the art and books.

3. The color palette is refrained – blues/whites/woods/some gold (shocking, I know) which keeps it feeling calm, yet warm.

4. That country ladder back chair has simple lines which works so well with the credenza even though they are two drastically different styles.

Credenza_4 Ways_Seascape Blue Natural_Mid Century Modern Coastal 1

Credenza_4 Ways_Seascape Blue Natural_Mid Century Modern Coastal 3

Manzanita can be bought at the flower market and sometimes even stores like West Elm, Michaels and Jo Annes sells it.

Credenza_4 Ways_Seascape Blue Natural_Mid Century Modern Coastal 2

One more gif because if I don’t see at least 1 gif a day I sob.


Credenza: ShopclassLA | Cream Table Lamps | White Ceramic Vase (no longer available) | Blue Ceramic Vase: vintage | Tan Bud Vase: vintage | Ladderback Chair: vintage | Plaid Blanket (similar)| Seascape Art: all vintage

So there you have it, all four credenzas are finished, ready for you, America (and the WORLD!!), to vote. The winning credenza wins 2 tickets to the 50 Shades of Gray Premiere Party. I think pretty sure they are all every excited to win. So, which credenza/room would you want in your home?


Go on then. Remember,  it’s your duty as american/world blog reader to vote and the next credenza that wins could change both you and your children’s future. You don’t have to give any of your info to vote, just click on the one you want below and if a bubble pops up wanting you to share, feel free, but just click the x or cancel if you don’t want to. Once you vote you can see who is winning. It’s VERY fun. If you are just joining the credenza water bucket challenge check out style #1, #2, and #3, too for all the details of the above and then vote.

See the other 3 Credenzas here: Bold Mid-Century Contemporary | California Eclectic | Upper East Side Mid-Century.

*All photos by Tessa Neustadt

These posts are all experiments and I totally appreciate your feedback. At first I was going to do ‘1 credenza, 4 ways’ in one post but then that post was full of SO many photos and so much information/links/tips/gifs that I was like, ‘why not get four days of content out of it, eh?’. But some of you called me out on it saying that by the third post it started to feel ‘thin’. And while I personally think these are still way more substantial than a random photo of balloons saying ‘Happy Friday!’, you aren’t wrong. It’s also good to know that you have high expectations for content. Others said that it would be better back to back, which I agree and was the second plan, but then I felt that it would just be so redundant. Maybe the key is just doing 2 ways and then having them be in the same post. It’s so interesting/fun to have a blog because you get feedback on your product INSTANTLY. It’s not like I spend a year working on a prototype, focus grouping it, manufacturing it, hiring digital strategists to see how and where the product is performing, blah, blah. I shoot, write, push publish and get feedback immediately. It’s actually kind of amazing. The survey did help a lot, but the daily ‘I love this post’ or ‘I’m meh about this post’ really guides everything. xx

Fin Mark


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Credenza is one of my favorite words. #tbt back to when you styled mine! Coastal Living | The View From Here


I think this series would have been better as a single post with less close-up shots of the accessories. I love a good round up of cool accessories as much as the next design geek, but all the zoomed-in photos of the vases and lamps seems like overkill—especially when the best pieces are vintage or no longer available. Today is the first time I saw a post on your blog and thought, “This again?” The photos of each version are starting to look the same to me.


I agree with Kate that maybe less close-up shots is the key to fitting all four styles into a single post. And also perhaps combining the “why it works” into a single paragraph for each style. I vote for four styles in either one or two posts (as another reader suggested) instead of only two styles total, because it’s so fun to see how different they all are and compare and contrast them. Two ways just wouldn’t be enough! These posts are such great inspiration for how to mix it up and keep it fresh. Thanks so much for your… Read more »


I agree with this as well. It’s fun to see the four different versions but try to contain them to one or two posts by skipping the close ups and summarizing each version into a paragraph each. Definitely prefer the four ways versus only two. Either way, totally inspirational!

Ditto. I could stare at that credenza for hours, but I didn’t feel the love for these posts. While you changed the style and accessories each time, the compositions remained similar, both in the amount of pieces and where they were placed. I think more variety in the styling or a single condensed post (maybe both?) would have been more satisfying.

THAT said, I am pretty sure I would visit your blog at least once a week, even if you simply posted your grocery list with a picture of pretty produce. You’re just endearing!

I like #4! I have a similar style seascape painting that my grandfather did hanging in my bedroom. He’s done a ton of paintings and I similarly have to fight the urge to not be the creepy relative running around marking which ones I want some day.


I agree that 1 credenza, 2 ways, single post would be a good compromise. Lucky you to have such lightning feedback. I’m a doula and we usually have to wait about a year (from signing with someone) for ours!


I totally disagree with Kate above, sorry ’bout that! I think having the posts separate gives us time to appreciate the differences between the different styles and I don’t feel like you are dragging it out unnecessarily just to give you an extra 3 days worth of posting! I’ve really enjoyed these ‘4 ways’ posts because it’s made me look at my own style and recognise what I go for, whereas before I thought I liked lots of different styles, but I am beginning to see that what I like and choose has a very definite style which I can… Read more »


Ditto, Sharon. I really enjoyed seeing the more detailed approach to the 4 styles. I especially appreciate the explanation of why objects were chosen and how they complement one another. It’s like having a personal consult with a stylist. 🙂 The descriptions also encouraged me to look at my own home/belongings with a fresh eye. Always love your insight, Emily!

I love #2!!! I want to go recreate it right now, but I have a TV over my mid century credenza. Would love to see some options with a big tv smack dab in the middle. I love this series! I think doing them back to back would be good. Even better, you could do 2 posts of these a day. TWO POSTS A DAY would be SO AWESOME! I know it is hard, but I am just SO ADDICTED to everything you do and say. I guess I could see that less close up pics would be good –… Read more »


I love # 4. I think I actually prefer the posts split up b/c otherwise you are right that is a lot of content for one. I do love the idea of styling the same piece several ways.


Man, that photo in #3 just kills it. Hard to beat that!


Maybe two ways in each post for two days? I did skim over these a little, but loved them and would totally use the full post of my favorite as reference in decorating 🙂


I’ve loved this whole series, Emily, and think a few days inbetween gives you time for the differences to marinate into which one best strikes your fancy. While I especially liked #3, I’m a beach girl and it’s my dream to one day have a little house on the Oregon coast, so #4 is me to a ‘tee’. Loved that ‘ruffled’ blue ceramic vase, btw. Also, my mom’s dining buffet is still awaiting me @ their home, and it’s about as mid=century as you can get, so I really appreciated all of the styling tips. It’ll soon grace the wall… Read more »


That little blue ceramic vase is this one is SPEAKING to me. I love it! And every single one of these is good for their own reasons, but I think I am leaning toward toward 4 because it’s such a good blend of traditional/classic/sophisticated but still fun/playful/colorful. Keep up the daily inspiration!


I loved this series.. and I loved the 4 separate posts. Can you have a Credenza styles by “Target” etc etc 4 ways!? I love what you do but get so upset when it’s vintage etc..

I liked the series, I don’t mind them drawn out honestly… you still have the best content (in my style) of any of the blogs I read so no complaints

At first I assumed all 4 would be in 1 post, but your reasoning for breaking it into 4 posts also makes sense to me. I appreciated the detailed breakdown of why something works, which would have been hard to fit into 1 post and way too dense even if you could. I guess 1 alternative could be a slideshow, with 1 slide per look that maybe included 1 big pulled-back photo and two smaller close-ups. And each slide could have the “this is why this works.” But that is soooo much work, and would likely require a developer (hire… Read more »


I liked the series in the detailed format you went for. I think doing them four days in a row might have been a bit more seamless. I also like Kate’s idea of consolidating it into a single post with less close-up shots. The Target posts are shoppable, these are less so because of all the vintage.. so the close-ups are 50 shades of tease 😉 But I love your posts and the frequency of them so keep on keepin’ on in my opinion.


That’s interesting. These weren’t terribly planned out in the sense that we didn’t shop for them, we just pulled from my vintage shelving. Going forward we are definitely going to shop for them so we can use things that you guys can actually purchase. This was our first one, but not our last.


I buy whatever I can that you recommend. And, I LOVE THE DETAILED PICTURES of the vintage…cuz then I hunt and hunt and find the same vintage pieces. From the White Russian face vase/object to the mustached vase you gave oh joy for her birthday, to the fiber art on the wall in your last home, and so on…they can b found!


I really liked the detailed format also. I just want to say that as someone who lives outside the U.S., an item from Target is the same as a vintage item = not “shoppable.”


I really like the idea of doing 2 styles in 1 post so that we can compare and contrast them, and then you get two posts out of them. One of my favorite things is before/after comparisons, and I think it would really help juice up the posts!
Love the blog!


I liked that it was four different posts. I even liked that there were posts in between them. The reason is that when I saw each different style I really liked it. My first reaction was “that’s beautiful” and I read about how you made it worked. It was only when I saw all four of them together that I had a distinct preference for number 3. If all 4 had been in a single post, I would have just focused on number 3 and not appreciated the rest or learned how to make them work.


Interesting. Thank you. So many dissenting opinions!


I agree!


yes, good point!

Exactly what Diann said.

YES YES!! I’m sure it’s hard to have so many dissenting opinions, but I totally agree with Diann. I loved that they were four different posts, and it wasn’t until the end that I realized how much I liked ALL of them, and how I actually learned something from reviewing all of them. I don’t think this would have happened if we hadn’t had the time to really dive into the details of each one (and have a break between them). For example: #1 – I love the lamp, and I never would have picked out something like that before.… Read more »


I liked it as 4 posts, with the recap at the end. Keep doing what you do Em!


But I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed that white vase with the weaving pieces through it. More than that gold Target lamp I’ll never find. More than a winning lottery ticket! Ok – that might be over the top.


It was actually still available when she posted this. I hope you checked. Clearance to $5. I got some for gifts.
I know the feeling when you REALLY want something. I’ll try and check back here. If you leave your contact info, I’ll let you buy one of mine for what I paid.

I really appreciated that in this series you didn’t switch up the walls, floors, etc. I think that’s a little more realistic since many of us want to change the look of pieces we own, but aren’t going to re-paint and wallpaper every time we want to do that. I’d actually like to see more posts like this, although I agree with the above that 4 separate posts felt like a bit of a stretch.

I agree with this, and with a plain white wall even those living in a rental can get serious inspiration!


I’m a follower, very occasional commenter. I pretty much skipped over these posts, the second post I actually thought I had already read the day before before I realised it was the second option. The most useful photo for me was the four different styles side by side in this post so I could decide which I liked the best. Just wanted to let you know what a usually silent reader thinks!
My favourite posts are: your project posts, your own home posts and tips on things like reupholstery, finding good vintage furniture, paint colours etc.


Interesting. Ok good to know. We don’t want anybody skipping over anything.


I rarely comment on blogs, but I have to weigh in. I am continually impressed by your content– truly don’t see much (if anything) better out there in the blog world. Even spread out in four posts, I did not find it “thin.” I liked having the time to appreciate the differences between each look, and I looked forward to checking back in to see the next styles.


Thank you thank you thank you. Seriously. For reading and for that comment. Its what keeps us going.

I’m with you Heather!

I’m with you too heather!

I’m with Heather. I looked forward to each post of this series and was excited to see what you would do next. “Why it works” was my favorite (and the most useful) part of each post, and I appreciated the separate ones because I had time to digest each style. I come here every day (without an email prompt!) because I love your voice and your work. Keep on keepin’ on!


Team Heather! I liked it. And u loved the details of “why it worked!”


How do you make the old frames look so good without diminishing the character? Every time I find a vintage picture I like, the frame looks dingy and overly aged…not appealing at all. Do you clean them with anything special? or touch them up with paint?


We don’t lean them, these all just happen to be pretty good. Often they can be bad, but in a whole collection I do think you start losing how bad they are and all you see is the ocean colors/collection.

Every day I said this is my favorite, and today was no different. You nailed it on the head with ‘country coastal mid-century.’ All three of my favorite styles blended into one (and one I hope to achieve myself stylistically). And a note on the 4 posts. AT FIRST, my gut said, ah, a post stretched out for four days. BUT after reading, I honestly appreciated each and every post. It would have gotten long with 4 in 1. But I’m so grateful for your mini lessons on ‘why it works.’ and I’m glad I got to see if for… Read more »


You are awesome is who you are. I think you are right. I was rushing on #3 because i was traveling. So maybe if all four had been equally entertaining (I think #2 was the best, personally, blog-wise) then maybe by #3 people wouldn’t have been bored.


I like the styled 4 ways, but these aren’t that dramatically different. I think it would have felt less, as someone said ‘thin,’ if the styles were more varied. Very nice though. 3 is definitely my favorite!


This is pretty much how I feel. They are all pretty, though! I’ve been reading this blog for years and wouldn’t keep coming back if there wasn’t something I loved about it, and I routinely comment about how much I think the content rocks. I just think the format/organization could be tweaked in this particular case.


Ohhh this one is just so nice and calming. But my heart is still stuck on #2 and #3 so I’m deciding between those. But man I can’t believe those beautiful white lamps are from Target! I must find a reason to buy them immediately. Regarding spreading these out over 4 different posts: Although I would have LOVED to see all of these in one post (that’s what I was expecting with the first and felt so disappointed!! Like in a good cliffhanger kind of way though). 4 does seem a bit much, but I like the idea of 3… Read more »


Thank you thank you thank you.

Yea, I have to second this. You have THE BEST CONTENT. Your blog is my first stop every single day. I eat up every word and picture, so keep up the good work!

Loved all 4 of your credenza styles, with #2 being my favorite. And I also appreciated you breaking them up into 4 different posts. It kept me anxious to see the next one, knowing that there was another coming.

I hope you share more posts like this!

xo, Sarah


I was so torn between number 1 and 4, but because I’m a lover of the sea, 4 had to be the winner!
I really enjoyed this series as I couldn’t wait to see what you would come up with next, and the comparison at the end. So fun!


Loved #3 most, #4 is more like what I have now – full disclosure, I live in Portland. Maybe I’m moving out of my costal phase?! Who am I?

I liked the posts the way they were, the information on why things worked was VERY interesting. However, I can see how it would be more user-friendly to combine the posts, maybe 2 posts with 2 set ups? Whatever, I’m a “the more, info the better” kind of girl. Bring it.


or “the more info, the better”, rather.


I’ll buy your seascapes if you are ready to move on from them. I don’t need them now but someday i’m going to have one whole room of them. in my beach house.

I liked that you strung us along. I agree that putting them all in one post would have been too much and I like checking back to see what the next one is. Although I think keeping them all within one week would be good. Or doing one credenza two ways in a single post (as you mentioned). Also, I hate being nitpicky but in case other people notice you might want to change the folowing: you mentioned the style was “refrained” and I think you mean “restrained”.

Also I sent an email inquiring about an address so I could send you guys a product sample of my hardware and never heard back 🙁


OOh, really? So sorry. email [email protected] sometimes if we have an insane week or if we are traveling we are less good at getting back to people but typically he’s totally on it. xx


Firstly, thank you for all the hard work you do to produce so much original, quality content. I know it must take many hours, and you make so many of us happy every day.

I personally really like this series and format. You put so much helpful, clearly explained information in each post – the reason I read your blog – that I think it would be too much for one post.

Thank you!


Thank you for the fine print at the bottom of this post. Definitely overkill on styling the credenza! Usually love your stuff though…!

Deb Johns

They really are ALL fabulous, and I could live with any one of them. However,I love #4. I’m a HUGE fan of seascapes AND forestscapes in those mooody blues and greens. Just so easy and relaxed. And I’m 56. Can I still be cool?


Do what you want, it’s your blog. Just please don’t go away like YHL did. 🙂


What the… my credenza is losing! How is this possible? I guess they’re all great, but I really love #1.

I dig these posts, Emily, especially because you explain so clearly why each situation works. Giving readers the vocabulary to discuss aesthetics, yay!


Just my 2 cents, but not everything needs to be shopable. I like seeing items that you choose just for the inspiration, even if I can’t purchase them.


I agree that the 4 different designs would be waaaay too much visual content for one post, and I also appreciated the “meatier” before/after posts in between. Plus, it’s so great that you can take criticism from your readers. I hate it when bloggers either erase comments or pretend they aren’t there. I’m sure you know by now you will never please everyone, but it’s so refreshing to see a blogger as popular as you taking reader’s thoughts to heart.
P.s. #4 is my fave.


I like the format. I kind of scrolled to the 4 credenzas, stopping to admire the gif. But all the shots are pretty little eye snacks in the middle of my day.


Credenza 3 is my favorite because its natural and calming AND packs in some edge which always nice. I do love the floor plant from Credenza number 2 though wish it was somewhere around credenza 3 but Im still smiling and happy from all layouts.
Emily Henderson youre a rockstar

I LOVE how #2 feels, but I kinda think that 1 and 4 are the best compositionally. I love them all, though. Loved this series!


Hi Emily! I have a question… (or maybe other readers can help too!)

In my apartment, my dining room and living room are all one big space. I have a similar credenza like the one you are styling on the same long wall as my sofa. How would you style the walls above both differently? Or would you try to incorporate the whole wall into something? Oh, and my favorite look above is #3.


Melissa B

I don’t mind these spaced out even if the post feels light to some. The close-ups and extra shots give you more chances to appreciate it and get a better view of all the pretty details. Some people just need to stop wanking and appreciate that all this content takes time and money so not every post is going to be as robust as others. Simply put we get a glimpse into your styling tricks and world for FREE, and I myself appreciate it very much. I dig your style and find your design much more attainable with livable solutions… Read more »

I like all 4 but had a really, really hard time picking between 2 and 3. Ultimately I think 3 meshes the best with my own personal style but 2 is ‘objectively’ my favorite/the best. (Is it strange to have the one I would choose be different than the one I think is the ‘best’?)

Anyway, I actually really enjoyed this series being spread out over 4 separate posts. I don’t always have time to read super long blog posts and I had something small to look forward to to take a break from work each day.


I appreciated the spacing of these posts. Styling is not easy, and looking at too many variations at once can make your head spin. Better to take it in gradually and THEN compare and contrast.
As a fellow Oregon girl, I have to vote for #4. And manzanita! How apropos for the Oregon coast.


I loved these posts and loved the amount of detail you provided. I felt like I was getting a lesson from a guru. My boyfriend and I are finishing decorating our bedroom and in styling our nightstands I found myself explaining to him “we need something vertical to bring the eye up, something horizontal to ground, and something geometrical or interesting.” It was so helpful for a novice like me because I now have an idea of what I should be looking for! So, you go Glenn Coco, keep these posts coming!! p.s. I do agree that posting them back-to-back… Read more »


I love this last one. It feels so calming!

I love the 1 furniture 4 ways posts and I think it would actually make a good two part post. The reader gets to see two different ways in one post and two different ways in another. That way we can still see a lot of photos and get more explanation, but the two different posts gives us time to absorb and appreciate each style.

Eileen McArdle

Why don’t you have a credenza contest with your followers? Then you pick you favorites. I agree, I like a few close ups but not too many.


I liked the four posts — it allowed for each version to stand apart and for you to explain the style in more detail. However, I am not a fan of overly long posts.

Jess Hartnett

I really liked these posts to see how you compose everything! I think I would have been more satisfied with two or three SEPARATE posts on consecutive days (I like the “to be continued…” aspect) or 4 posts that had DRASTICALLY different styles.


I just bought a mid-century credenza very similar to this one, so I was VERY excited to see these posts to help me style it in my space. I loved the four separate posts because it allowed you to go into detail about why you made the decisions and what made each style work, rather than the quick overview that you probably would have had to do if you put all four into one post. I really benefited from the “why it works” info when I styled mine last night. Thank you!

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