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Experimenting In My Living Room: Trying to Find “THE” Rug



Style, Play, Every Day, folks. I switched some things in my living room because well, it sounded like a fun thing to do on a Tuesday afternoon. Was I unhappy with my living room before? Hmm. “Unhappy” isn’t the right word but no, it wasn’t there yet and that’s okay. It just felt a bit boring and serious so when Sheba, who owns Blue Parakeet Rugs said I could try out this rug and see if it worked, I took her up on it.

But let’s back up first and refresh your memories of where my living room has been so you can understand where it’s going (or is now). When we first designed the house, it looked like this:

Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: Our Modern English Tudor Living Room

While I love it in photos, it was too chaotic to live with and didn’t feel as “me” as I wanted it to. I kept thinking, why can’t I find the blue/green version of this rug?? Turns out they are VERY hard to find. So, I sold the rug and got something neutral:

Photo by Ryan Liebe | From: Our Updated Living Room

But that room didn’t have enough edge. Between the traditional sofa and the chaise lounge and the solid rug, it just didn’t pop. I missed the vintage rug. The chaise and trunk were vintage but everything else wasn’t and it needed some soul. Also, my cats all but destroyed this rug and it was painfully snagged. I would “trim” it (which I called mowing the rug) by getting on my hands and knees and clipping it. I’m bringing it up to the mountain house if I don’t put it back in here (now that our cat situation has changed).

So I was back on the hunt for a vintage rug. I texted Sheba Khodadad from Blue Parakeet to see if she had anything and she sent me photos of this one with a “want me to bring it over to you right now and you can live with it for a bit?” offer. To be clear, this isn’t a normal part of her service. She knew that even if I didn’t keep it, I would post about it and someone would likely buy it.

Look how excited I was:

Rug Process

At first, we tried it with the navy blue sofa but the sofa was a bit big for the rug, though that could be because I was used to a MUCH larger rug. Sometimes your past skews your perception of the present. Then I remembered that we had our former TV room sofa (which was custom through Clad Home) down in Brian’s office (which you haven’t seen yet and maybe never will), so we grabbed it and brought it up and put our navy sofa in the garage.

But first we tried both sofas, because why not?

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 16

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 17

It was A LOT of seating. So we stored the navy sofa in the garage. Hilariously, the garage doors then broke so while we can get in/out through a small doorway, we can’t even get that sofa out right now to bring it back into the room. In the below pic, you can see how the smaller rug did feel a bit small with the massive sofa.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 18

As of right now, we are playing with this one and I have mixed feelings about it.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 1

Yes, everything WORKS, but it’s still not right. I love the rug but not with the sofa. I like the sofa, but somehow the color of it competes with the rug. I don’t know how to explain it but I keep thinking that if the sofa were a cream and more modern, it would let the rug pop, but the two of them feel too heavy together. Yes, that’s the word, just too heavy.

I love this side of the room more, though and I think it’s because the chairs are more modern and yes, lighter in color so the busier rug is the star.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 2

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 3

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 4

Now, the one benefit of this sofa is that it’s a better scale for the coffee table than the other sofa was. I think I just designed that other sofa to be too big—mostly too high to be in front of my pretty windows and if I could just take the back down 10 inches, I’d love it so much more. WHOOPS.

So this sofa, with the table, with the chairs are just generally a WAY better scale with each other, but are they all too small for the room? MAYBE.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 6

But boy is it fun and honestly, I love this rug and I’m going to bring it up to the mountain house to see if I can make it work in the master bedroom with a pretty white headboard before I give up on it. But if you are interested in it, let Sheba know so if/when I return it, she can sell it (you can send her a message via her website here).

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 7

Before we leave this post, I think we’d all be curious if an ivory linen or more neutral tone sofa would be better here? Well here you go:

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall White Couch

Of course, if the sofa were a light linen, then I’d have to switch out my chairs for something darker, my pillows for some that popped more and my children for something/persons less disgusting. Although TBH, we have a linen sectional at the mountain house (this one from Article) and it’s been fine because we don’t let them eat on it because we have a separate “family” room. If this weren’t also our TV/family room in addition to our living room, it might be fine. But I don’t think this sofa could withstand our Saturday morning sofa egg burritos in front of cartoons.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 12

All in all, I like it, I really do, but no, it’s not there yet. And maybe it never will be, and that’s okay because this is FUN.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 8   Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 11

But obviously a “I switched things around” post would be pointless without asking you guys what you think?

Here’s what I think: I think it needs to look cooler. Either the rug or the sofa should change. I think I want a neutral rug, possibly even this rug,  or this rug, and I want someone to give me this sofa for my 40th birthday and maybe someone else can accidentally leave these chairs on my front stoop, although maybe they are too chunky…

Would you guys want me to pull together a “dream living room” mood board of things I likely will never buy because of cost/kids? I have one started but literally everything on it is like $7k each, but it helps me figure out what I like and why and then I can either try to find something similar or hunt for it a the flea market.

Back to the current living room. Thoughts? Opinions? Should I hoard the rug because authentic Persian antique rugs in blues/greens never come available? It’s not really the vibe of the mountain house but that vibe is changing every day so maybe it is…

Fin Mark


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Thanks for sharing how you work through your design. I usually purchase something, find that the scale/color/ style isn’t right and suffer in silence until it falls apart or the dog destroys it.


I literally laughed out loud to this. Yes, I totally suffer in silence 9 / 10 times.


Need a like button for this comment. I’m soooo with you on this. But know you are not suffering alone!


Hahaha! Yes! Although, I don’t suffer in silence, but endlessly moan to my family about how I screwed it up. 🙂 To answer Emily: I LOVE that rug in that room with everything but the sofa. And I think you’re right: it’s the color of the sofa competing with the color of the rug. I’d love to see the mood board, and I love your reasoning for making one with things that are out of your price range — a light bulb dawned when I read that! Thanks for talking through your thought process because it is super helpful. We… Read more »

Monique Wright Interior Design

Haha!! I can’t do that anymore. My OCD makes me change it ASAP! ????


In the latest switcheroo in your living room, I had suspected the couch was the problem not the rug, so I applaud you on pulling back all of the layers and playing around. It IS fun, she says trying to convince her husband:) I would love love love a post on what to do with a big blank wall behind a couch, and how to think about lighting to frame whatever goes on the wall behind the couch, that is my Achilles heel right now.


I had this same personal design challenge (vaulted ceilings), and went with a custom-made 5″ deep walnut picture ledge that is a bit longer than the sofa, and then I flanked each end of the picture ledge with wall sconces (Rejuvenation Cypress in black, I love them!). The picture ledge is deep enough to layer frames and include some decorative items (plants, vases, etc). To give you an idea of scale, my biggest frame is 40″h, and the picture ledge is 120″w. The picture ledge is installed at the height of our walnut mantle that’s on the wall next to… Read more »


We need a pic of this. Sounds so lovely.


I want to see a picture!


Matty, I made a similar ledge to Karen’s photo. If you’re into diy, check out it was super easy.


Hi Matty, I enjoy seeing what others say about the issue. I agree with you that it is the color of the couch with the carpet. Both of which are really lovely. I have big blank walls that I painted accent colors. Sometimes it can be a shade lighter or deeper than your couch depending on how much light you have in the room. A large work of art always looks great but that’s maybe because I am an artist : ) at But other ideas are a row of large photographs or a collection of decor items that… Read more »

Joanne Michael

Hey Matty,
How about a gallery wall of art on that wall? I do it all the time for clients.


Here’s a pic of my picture ledge:

Thanks for inquiring on seeing a picture, ladies! 🙂

Dawn FP

Wowzer, that pic is gorgeous! I love how the picture ledge isn’t too chunky. It’s simple & really lets what’s on it shine. Great room, just needs the perfect coffee table, like you said. Thanks so much for sharing!


Super inspiring!!


Yes on what to do with a big blank wall behind a sofa! I have been staring at this blank wall for a very long time.

Fiona Copley

I love it. I love that light blue? sofa against the rug. I think it looks worn in, patina’d and beautiful. I love the rug too, but there is no doubt it is busier. It is in a completely different style, but s similar blue colour-way (and in Australia) but I am eyeing off this rug:


Just checked this rug out and it’s gorgeous! Great recommendation

[…] post It Happened Again: How I Refreshed & Updated My Living Room appeared first on Emily […]

Wendy S Munsell

The first photo made me smile! I’m glad the navy couch is gone! Although the before is lovely it’s also, well, ordinary. (Gulp!) The room may not be there yet but it looks fresh and fun and definitely more you. I love seeing your design process as well. I can relate because I do the same thing in my home. It is fun!


I love this post. I have the same struggles at my house, and it’s comforting to see how you deal with it – and nice to see you consider costs too. Thanks!

I think the rug and blue sofa are the wrong shade of blue- that royalish color doesn’t go with a lot else and isn’t what. You usually use. Both pretty- just limiting.


Any one else not able to read posts this week because there is a huge blank header that doesn’t go away when you scroll? : /


YES! A big white box that blocks the entire page except for an inch at the bottom. Very frustrating. To read the blog, I had to switch browsers from Firefox to Safari but am now bombarded with ads!


I would hoard the heck out of that vintage Persian rug. GORGEOUS!!! I love this version of your room best, including the lighter-colored sofa.


P.S. I totally disagree about removing the bookcases. Anyone who wants to remove built-in book cases, or color coordinate the volumes is, by definition, evil. (Just kidding. … Sort of). Personally, if “visual clutter” really is an issue, I think you should fill those shelves with more books and remove some of the tchotchkes. But what does everyone have against “busy” anyway? I prefer the visually cluttered style of a British room that conveys the inhabitant’s personality and interests than the soulless black/white Scandinavian minimalist vibe (with off white diamond patterned rugs) that’s been replicated ad nauseum. Not that I… Read more »


I am 100% with you. I was SO surprised to see people suggesting to remove the bookcases. I bug my husband for built-ins beside the fireplace on a weekly basis, at least. I feel like if they were to be covered up, it would be one of those things that someone down the line would find and think, why would anyone DO THIS? I also love British interiors, though. The lived-in quality of the aesthetic really appeals to me.




Totally agree with you! I love when there are so many ”moments” and tiny details to observe; they not only lend visual interest but they add layers of history and personality to the whole home. Built-ins foreverrrrr!


Yes, bookcases! They bring character, charm, individuality to the room.


I’m a big fan of those bookcases too and classically cluttered British style. The space would calm down visually by editing out some of the pattern (throws, pillows & art). I want those fabulous architectural lines above the fireplace to stand out more!


I think a charcoal or black sofa would look beautiful, modern, and French, with that rug and be good for Saturday morning. I have never had a problem with any of the rug/sofa combinations. I think what takes away from the coolness of the room are the built-in bookcases . The scale of them is old-fashion. I recall you did contemplate removing them in the renovation. I often wonder what they would look like with just books in one color.


I agree re: the built-ins. I don’t love the scale either and I just feel like they make everything look really busy. I feel like covering them and adding two matching side boards or something like that for storage would look amazing. I actually really love this couch/rug combo but do think some black/dark contrasts in the furniture elsewhere could look really great.

NorCal Liz

Totally agree!

NorCal Liz

Would love to see you use a leather couch – it’s limiting but the only thing I love found that holds up to kid and dogs.


Yes! A large worn in leather sectional. would be perfect with that new rug!


I agree with Amy! Would love to see a photoshop version of the room sans bookcases.


I wonder if a temporary fix for the bookcases (if covering them isn’t an option) would be to remove the top few shelves. You could keep favorite books/objects on the bottom remaining shelves and then put a single piece of art or nothing at all in the newly exposed top portion. Might help with the busyness factor?


Yes, I would love to see what the room would look like without the built-in shelves!


I’m for team remove book cases. I think they throw off the scale of the whole room and nothing will feel quite right while they are there. But I think Brian is very attached to them?

Sheri M

I agree it’s the bookcases throwing everything off. The shelves need to be thicker to flow better with the scale of the fireplace. I would also make them no taller than the square part of the fireplace before it flutes inward (great explanation, huh? Lol) — this would add a needed horizontal element. I’d do some plaster work and round off the corners of bookshelf, inside and out to, again, flow with the fireplace better. The fireplace and shelves should look like a seamless feature, IMHO. I get this is kind of major but I think it would make the… Read more »


I agree about the built-ins as well and I’m so glad others mentioned it because I thought I might be crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a minimalist and I love me some stylized shelves, but between the credenza on the right and the blue table on the left, the art, the sconces, the hand, the beams – it’s all like too much of a really, really, REALLY good thing. Emily, I love all of your wall art pieces, art objects, pillows, blankets, literally everything in that room – it is all my taste and it is all… Read more »


I agree- but would think it might be easier to remove the credenza and the gallery wall above it, then just streamline the objects on the bookshelves to match more in colour and have fewer small objects. To me that is what is adding visual clutter and heaviness. I actually like the rug and the sofas (either) together but I am comparing to my house and resources where this would be a dream!


This is what I agree with! It’s the credenza that is the extra thing making it look to cluttered in my opinion!


I really, really like this new rug and the light blue sofa combo. It blends the traditional and modern elements of your home beautifully and the carpet gives it a more unique look. However, in order to make the room “pop” a bit more, have you considered adding a third colour i.e. the 60 / 30 / 10 colour rule? If white is 60% and blue 30% how about adding a contrasting colour in a 10% quantity? Perhaps yellow or orange? Or even pick out the same red as in the carpet for your cushions and accessories etc? Who knows,… Read more »


I agree with this 100%. I think the reason the sofa + rug feels a little “heavy” is because everything else is so neutral. I understand why you wouldn’t want to change the draperies, so adding another color would probably help balance the palette.


I loved the blue sofa, the curves helped balance the curves of the room and contrast with the the rest of the modern straight lined furniture. but then, my style is a bit more traditional. The velvet sofa is beautiful too, but not right with this rug/accessories. I love these posts, I feel as if they give me “permission” to play with design and not suffer through a bad choice!


Does it have to be vintage? It feels like the rug needs a more neutral background with pops of blue and green. So it is calming but the sofa and the other items pull out the strong colors. Something like this, just not $45K : )


Wow, that’s gorgeous!


I like your analysis and that rug is beyond beautiful.


My vote would be a more muted oushak that has some warmth to it but also some cooler tones. Maybe the issue lack of warmth (cooler-wise). I know you’re not a fan of orange but I think some pretty peach, taupe and earth tones would do wonders for the room 🙂
Also, I should mention that I bought a pair of those Target wingbacks based on your recommendation and I LOVE them, perfect balance of traditional and modern. THANK YOU!


Sorry for the typos, I meant *is lack of warmth and *color-wise not cooler.

Lisa G.

Those ‘chunky’ chairs are to die for! If they show up on your stoop you must adopt them! Love the post. For the $ of the Annie Selke rugs you could take the whole family to Morocco and buy direct.


I also thought the chunky chairs were fun! The current chairs you have look nice, but maybe chairs with a bit more heft and less openness (being able to see through the arms and legs) would be a betterfit.

Also, since the chaise is gone, have you ever considered a round game table back in the corner? The room is pretty long, so I think it could handle another seating area. My family had a game table in our family room and it got so much use growing up! Good luck!


I am team “original living room”, with the navy sofa and the red Persian rug. It was sophisticated and soulful. Never cared for the second rug you had there, which, though beautiful of course made the room soulless and generic. Absolutely agree that the last rug competes with the light blue sofa, which I beg you not to leave in your living room!!! 😉 Great post, thank you!!

Kelaine Thompson

I think any rug sofa combo you choose will be great if you eliminate those bookshelves flanking the fireplace:-)


I agree – I think the styling of the shelves, multiple small pictures above the credenza, and coffee table books create a lot of visual noise and clash with the rug.


That rug is gorg, so yeah definitely keep that bad boy! I LOVED the red rug, but understood how busy it was with the navy sofa. I actually don’t hate the lighter blue sofa, but agree that the white couch would look fab with that rug in a perfect world. True story, I don’t really like either of the Dash and Albert rugs you were considering, they seem TOO neutral, I think you need a little more pattern personally. I’d be interested in a dream room post, but ONLY if you can contrast it with a narrative on finding more… Read more »


I would love to see your “dream living room” with absolutely no constraints. For pure eye candy beauty and pleasure, Thankyou!

Bonnie Friedman

Have you thought about a contrasting color? For the sofa? Maybe a pale melon? The rug is a keeper IMO.

Shannon Erin

Yes, a pale contrasting color would be great. And that rug is too beautiful to let go.


I love watching you play around with your living room. This rug is beautiful. One thing I have noticed is that the thing that doesn’t feel right to me with this and the other Persian rug is that the photos with the shelves in them make everything look too busy. In photos (it may be different in person), the things on the shelves read as a similar scale to the pattern and it makes everything feel a bit overwhelming and my eyes dart around too much. I don’t get this in the photos without the shelves. I think this kind… Read more »


Completely agree on the styling of the shelves and the profuse number of pictures on the walls. I think that the rug-sofa combination is perfect but the styling of the art and shelves should be changed. I do think that replacing the objects with books might help.


Definitely too busy for my taste. The rug is pretty, tho! I really like the new target wingback chair in that corner – seems like it suits the space better than the chaise that was there before. Love watching your process.


I really like that sofa and rug together. I think the other rugs you linked would look good as well. Also, the color of that sofa is wonderful. I’m kind of sad to see the chaise go, but understand that it would definitely clash with the newly placed sofa.

Ellie B

Very much enjoying these process posts! I agree that this room was never totally satisfying. I like every individual element (you have great taste!), but it never quite “gelled” the way most of your styling usually comes together. After looking at all of the permutations, I think what is throwing the room off is that the fireplace/bookcase area is a bit too busy. Other readers have commented about the bookcases , but I think what throws it off is the sconces. They are beautiful, individually, but there are just too many back there, and they are placed at different heights,… Read more »


I love this comment. I can’t see anything but the sconces now. I think the sconces are a significant part of the problem. I think getting rid of the sconces on the side walls (which compete with the lamps anyway) would help a lot. Or maybe replacing them with a complementary design that hugs the wall more. I know there’s no overhead light probably to not interfere with the ceiling beams – but there is way too much sconce action happening here.


I agree. The secret culprit in all this is the sconces.


Would a library picture light be a little more streamlined and less competitive? Traditional in a sense, modern in a linear shape? Keeping in antiques brass tones, maybe? The sconces seem very high up…maybe something that shoots the light down…


Yay, the new living room is much nicer than the old one! This velvety pale turquoise is so nice and truly more Emily. I think the new combo takes you closer to the Proper Hotel style you so admired, and you can play it up with mixing different chairs and patterns. It’s screaming for something pink. Kelly Wearstler would do orange leather, or may be mauve, but you are Emily and you love pink:) With dark green poufs, may be? But then your wishlist items go in a totally different direction, all pale-muted-chunky masculine, as if Nate Berkus (or may… Read more »


I agree totally about the pink. I think some bright fuschia velvet pillows, a vase….something to pop against the blues would really elevate the room.

I would also play around with the bookshelves….maybe turn books so spines face in, pick one or two colors for anything else on the shelves: white, cream or gray. A pop of fuschia.

I would remove the vase/branch from the hearth and also maybe move the handchair away from the bookcases. But, I like negative space.


Hold onto that rug! Blug/green vintage rugs NEVER come available. I’m sure you’ll find a place for it and seeing you flip your living room around is very fun.

Julie P

It’s nice to know that even my favorite designer has rug problems. I’ve been searching for a master bedroom rug for 4 years. Uuuuuuuuuugh. Thanks for the moral support! And keep it up! I like the blue rug. Don’t give it back, but maybe do a roundup of other Persians in her store and how you would style them? I’d REALLLY like that….

Christine Salek

Well it looks good-I also loved the one with the red. I think the point is their are many rugs (chairs, sofas) that are great…I think it is just what makes your heart sing every time you go in the room. I just switched my living room rug and the new one…yes a little sigh happens when I see it in the room !


Yes, yes, yes of course we would like to see your “dream living room” so happy you have started please keep developing it and share…….Thankyou!!
PS I couldn’t think of a better post


Hi Emily,

Interested to know if you would ever try a layered rug situation. A custom cut seagrass under a vintage lighter rug is what I see in my mind’s eye. And the vintage rug can’t have a center medallion. That is what feels dated to me.

Good luck!!


I love the rug and the couch together. I don’t think it looks heavy. I think the problem is the rest of the stuff, it’s too busy. The double sconces+art, the fireplace+shelves, the vintage trunk+more modern chairs, the blue table+black floor lamp, the very different side and coffee tables… They look great in separate vignettes, but together it’s too much information. I think the coffee table should be more solid and simple, so it would break the rug a little and give the eye some rest. I would switch the chairs for something bigger and softer so it doesn’t contrast… Read more »


Hard agree! There’s no ‘peace’ for me in this room if that makes sense. With just the picture of the fireplace side of the room I count 11 lamp shades- and this is only half the room! The bookshelves and fireplace just don’t work for me. It’s very busy. And then two seperate vignettes on opposing sides but no cohesion between them. And the beams on the ceiling and then the whole other side of the room doing it’s thing. I’m surprised in all the talk and rearranging of the room this hasn’t been addressed. Sorry for all the criticism.… Read more »


Agree with the “too busy” viewpoint. There’s a LOT of stuff and styles in this room. Look forward to more experimenting!


My thoughts exactly. Although I think the problem is less with the bookshelves and more with the stuff in front of them. No need to have an additional chair, a credenza, and a side table over there. And then If it’s still too busy, you could swap the art and pare down the bookshelves.


I agree!

The room is very visually busy with no one place for my eyes to rest. Maybe a darker, solid coffee table would anchor the room.


Please add me to the chorus of too much going on in that half of the room. I like the bookcases. Just not with the four sconces with eight lampshades, two table lamps, a floor lamp, a side table with legs, a vase with greenery, a dramatic painting above a brick hearth, a mini gallery wall over a console with a bar on top, a hand chair with digits sticking up in front of shelves chock full of books and objects. I am just as guilty as the next person of keeping a lot of objects scattered around my home.… Read more »


I think the bookshelves could work, but with all of the other elements paired down. Similar to this:comment image?format=1500w

Maybe pulling out some of the other items around the room and working with the arrangement of furniture to fill the space.


I love that sofa but I don’t think it goes with the rug.
Seems like only yesterday you RAVED about that Dash & Albert rug. I did like the look of it better with the blue sofa. At least it looked more like you.


I think you should try a cognac leather sofa or a sofa similar in color to the chairs you want dropped off on your front stoop. I love the rug, but don’t like the blue sofa or the green sofa with it. Also, I’m glad you got rid of the red rug. I did not like that look at all.


I’m probably the Lone Ranger here, but I really like to two sofas together. I would probably clear everything out of the built-ins and replace it with all neutral objects so they don’t compete with the rug. Also, as much as I adore the coffee table, I feel like it’s just sitting out in the middle not really serving either couch. A larger square table or trunk would fit better, as long as there is room to walk through. Thanks for sharing this with us Emily. My current living room is very small and the furniture pretty much needs to… Read more »


I agree with this! The two chairs aren’t working and look too busy with everything else going on. Take it really simple with large pieces and see how that feels!


I love this sofa and actually think it works better than the previous. Main thing for me is I feel the coffee table is way too small for the room. At least that’s how it comes across in the pics – but any change is fun! 🙂


Absolutely agree! On many previous Emily living room posts I commented that this coffee table, while beautiful, is not right for this room…too small and busy looking. I agree with a large as possible chunky wood square maybe 2 tier table would bring the whole room together (with the elimination or enlargement of the “too small and out of scale” built in bookcases. So fun to see the professionals go through all the same processes that all of we non-professionals do!!


Agree with Silvia and Karen! I feel like the coffee table is just floating out there and I wish it felt more connected to the couch. Maybe a long, low, wood coffee table here would work?? I still love the room though!! And love the new rug!


100 percent agree with the coffee table comment. I think that during every iteration of this room!


I love the new old rug!! I think the chaise needs to go where the hand chair is and the hand chair needs to replace the wingback. It is my opinion that there is too much of that wood tone on the one side of the room currently. That said I don’t know if the chaise and sofa will play nice together but I would try it. I do these kinds of things too and so it’s validating for me to see you do it. And I TOTALLY know what you are saying about the past skewing the present. Sometimes… Read more »


So I ADORE that sofa (that color! that texture! those feet!), but agree it is not quite right with the decor in the room. However, it might not be the rug, or just the rug. I also think it’s boxy when you contrast it with the chairs, and feels clunky with the royal blue painted side table in the background. I also ADORE the rug and agree it looks nice with a lighter color sofa. So although this is no help, I say pick one or the other and design around it. They are both showstoppers. (And hoard the other… Read more »


I actually love this couch/rug combination. If you’re still not feeling it, what about mixing up the chairs or coffee table?


This is probably obvious but with a rug like that (which I love though I LOVED the original one you had best) – you need a more modern profile couch. Something to edge it up. I love seeing how you do all of this because when I do it at my own house I just get moans and groans from husband and child.


totally agree–needs a soft modern profile sofa, but no legs showing. And a different coffee table, I love it somewhere else, but the oval upsets the lines.


I love an antique rug and think there’s nothing better when living with kids – messes add character! I wonder if the colors on the rug are good, but the scale of the pattern is off. Maybe if the rug had a more neutral field in the center (like a navy medallion?). Of course that’s a really specific thing to find on top of a navy/green antique rug so I see why going more neutral with the rug is a simpler solution. The D&A options you posted don’t feel super new to me though – the antique rugs are always… Read more »


Based on the dream choices, for the sofa and the chairs, as well as from this version live, it seems you are pulled the direction of more straight lines / modern that seems also more exciting to your usual self. As opposed to the ideas you shared when decorating this house, which you wanted as a big experiment / push towards more traditional. Main traditional pieces, notably the fringed chaise as well as the blue sofa, disappeared from this version and from dream sources you hinted. I like it personally. Its almost like, pivoting back to what you like, from… Read more »


I love that you added the Persian, I follow Blue Parakeet=amazing! But, for me the scale of the rug’s field design is too large for your room. It’s just overpowering! You have too many other beautiful aspects of your room’s architecture. Pick a beautiful Persian with a small field design and it will be all good!!!


YES to that dream sofa and chunky chairs. Both are gorgeous!!! And yes to the dream mood board. I’d love to see what an endless budget could look like.


Yes to the dream board! Can it include Apparatus sconces to replace the current ones?


Dare I suggest the most radical answer… that you think wayyyyyy back to your original intent for the house/room (Modern English Tudor) and go from there? It feels like lately every new swap-in has no connection to that decorating manifesto and so the mishmash is getting… more mishmash-y. English roll-arm sofa, midcentury modern chairs, a 70s boho hand chair, a West Elm-y rug, tripod lamps, tons of abstract art… I’d be really interested to see you literally strip the room and rebuild it so it has the same mission as the rest of the house. Keep the English roll-arm couch… Read more »

Julie S

I strangely really like this suggestion. She makes some excellent points.


Yes, this! I feel like there is a lot going on in this room, it’s all fine, but this room is boring and dull (from the pictures), it doesn’t look like Emily at all. Dare i say maybe its the white walls with that white fireplace/bookshelf? With the dull curtains? Where’s the fun?


I have similar thoughts Hillary – though I do like the green sofa / rug combo better than the previous – more funky and fun but not modern Enligsh Tudor. It’s getting too mismatched and busy./ I would also love to see a bigger chunkier coffee table or ottoman. We have some soft ottomans from West Elm that are awesome for kids to jump around / play on (though less good for coloring etc). Would love to see a reimaginging.


I think that this is really good advice for Emily. A more focused aesthetic would help cut down on the visual clutter that most people seem to be picking up on.


I’ll throw my hat in this ring! Also, don’t kill me, but though I LOVE EMILY AND EVERYTHING EMILY DOES, I’m actually bored to death of “Scandi” and MCM in general. Everyone and their dog has that stuff now, and once my dad remarked to me, “I grew up when what you call mid-century modern was actually in style and it’s always looked really flimsy to me,” I couldn’t stop seeing it as flimsy. I love a classic room with character––mostly books in the bookcases, hand-woven oriental rugs (functional art), old wood. Playfulness but not cookie-cutter neutrals. I actually really… Read more »

Taylor Juricic

Definitely go with a neutral rug! I think the Persian rugs are too busy in that room


This room feels busy AF! Particularly the view looking toward the fireplace. So many items are competing for my eyeballs: beams, reading nook, bookshelves, credenza and gallery wall, pillows, rug, etc.
I’d love to see it pulled back, like WAY pulled back. I can’t help but wonder what Mel’s version of your living room would be.
That being said, I really love your work and really enjoy seeing these types of iterations.


I couldn’t agree more – I would love to see Mel’s version, it might help you find a way to calm this room down


AGREE with this great idea! Emily could crowdsource dream mood boards for this room from the current EHD design staff and even some designer friends. I would just love to see the Brady, Sarah Tramp, Mel, and Orlando versions of a dream moodboard. I know we are pretty far down in the comments so likely nobody will pick this up, but I can just imagine how different each could be. And, then we can all remember the point of this whole thing – there is no one right answer, this is about Emily getting HER room to the best version… Read more »


I love the switch! It feels more like the formerly eclectic Emily style you posted about getting back to. I also would love to see the dream living room sources, just for fun!


My favorite incarnation of the room is still version #1!


I like the lighter blue sofa! I agree it’s not perfect, but I think that’s part of the charm. Perfectly imperfect. Looks like a great place to lounge around with my bff and gossip for like 5 hours, haha!

I would have never thought about removing the bookshelves, but now that other people are talking about it… I’m dying to know what it would look like! eek don’t hate me!


It’s a beautiful room. Have you thought about maybe anchoring the space with a sectional? When I look at photos I see so many elements kind of competing with one another. Maybe fewer, bigger things might be better and allow elements like the rug to pop?


Amen to this! The room feels busy because there are too many pieces! The neutral rug grounding all the pieces just feels cookie cutter and soulless.

Shannon Kiswani

I love this rug! I actually really like the blue/green sofa with the rug! It’s FUN!!! However, I do agree that a more neutral linen sofa would be perfect with this rug. Sounds like you’re not keeping the rug in there, but I definitely vote for hoarding it. I feel like you’ll eventually find a place for it and would later regret letting it go.

Julie S

1. awesome fun post, I love contributing my opinion to something not quite right, 2. The rug situation is still not there for sure. The blues of the sofa and this blue rug arent’ good together and it is def heavy as you said. I really think a rug with a bunch of blue/white/cream but also a dose of soft warm color would be better! It needs a touch of apricot or pink or faded terracotta because as-is, this room is way too safe all blue and white for Emily Henderson. 3. If you get the neutral type of rug… Read more »

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