Must-Read Decorating Tips from Target’s Home Style Expert Emily Henderson
With spring-cleaning season well under way, now is the perfect time to give your home decor a little refresh. To get your space primed and ready for warmth and sunshine, we checked out Target’s spring collection in person and asked their Home Style Expert and hilarious blogger Emily Henderson (AKA the interior design queen of all things light and bright) for some decorating advice. From paint color trends to getting the most flattering light in your home, her insight and tips are pure gold. Scroll on to see some of Target’s new spring pieces, find out Emily’s expert decorating tips and take your space to the next level!
What are the top interior design trends we should expect for spring?
Emily Henderson: Low, chunky furniture is *the* thing. You see ‘70s in fashion, and you’re also going to see it in the home. Less structure, less sharp lines, more curves, more overstuffed, more slipcovers — just casual, modular furniture is going to be really big. More minimal accessories and less of the crazy collection of things on the shelf — which is my jam — but more of just a few appointed things on a credenza.
How about color trends?
EH: People are painting their living rooms black. You can easily do it on an accent wall, but now things like black walls and furniture are a trend, even in spring. Some colors that I’m shocked are coming back are scarlet red (it is all over the runways, which means it’s going to be in the home), bright yellow, lavender, chocolatey brown and beige. There are all these ‘90s colors coming back, like sage green — all these muddy colors that look ugly, but then you see it done right. For me, I stay in a blue, gray, white and black world, and then I add in some of these colors. It’s always surprising to see what has overtaken the design world. The most controversial color is purple. People can do lavender, but no client of mine has ever asked for purple. I love lavender, and after researching for this post I did, now I’m super into it! I think it can be mixed in a room like blush. I wouldn’t do purple for myself, but for a client definitely.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to incorporate new trends into their existing home design?
EH: It’s about combining it with neutral enough pieces so it doesn’t overwhelm the room, but also doesn’t feel like you’re just trying to be so on trend that it’s instantly dating it. Have enough neutral and negative space. If you have all of these colors crammed together in a room, for example with accessories, it’s just going to feel busy with too much contrast. If you’re going to go bold with some items, just make sure you have enough negative color space to make it work.
What are the most common interior design mistakes you’ve seen recently, and what sort of advice would you give to others on how fix them?
EH: There’s the too-small rug — that’s a huge mistake. The cure for that is to simply buy a bigger rug. Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of bad lighting — lamps that are too big or too small, too much directional lighting in the room and not enough ambient and fabric shade lighting. Uneven and non-flattering lighting can be fixed by creating light that is evenly peppered around the room with a combination of overhead, sconce and table light. Then you want to have a combination of directional light and fabric or paper shade lighting. You don’t even need directional, but you need for sure to have fabric shade lighting.
Now for a WWED (What Would Emily Do). How would you work with a windowless room?
EH: You want to make it feel happier and brighter. For those rooms that are really dark, you can’t paint them white, because they will just look like a dead box. You want to bring in a medium-tone paint color. I would use a medium tone that actually has some pigment in it and not just gray. Then use a lot of reflective surfaces that bounce the light around the room and add texture. And if it’s a small room, don’t go crazy with patterns or it’s going feel smaller.
Do you have any small-space-living tips for people living in tiny apartments?
EH: Dual function furniture, like tables that can also be a stool, furniture that can fold up easily in a chic way (not in a wedding-chair way), not having a lot of clutter and no high-contrast colors will make it feel bigger. Having a big, light-colored rug always makes a room feel bigger. And an easy scale tip: If you have a small room, get a small-sized sofa. If you have a huge living room, you need a huge sofa, so for a small living room, you need a small sofa. Something seven-foot wide and not nine-feet.
What are your favorite pieces from the spring Target collection?
EH: For spring and summer, I’m desperate for color in my house after using neutral colors in the fall, so I love fun, playful, whimsical and happy pieces. I’m loving the Threshold throw pillow with the tassels — a year-rounder for me. The two driftwood stools feel high-end but are only $70, and can be shoved anywhere and are transitional. The bar carts with trays that come off are handy. The pillows can be used in one million rooms! (I think longer lumbar pillows are easier to put on your bed.) I love the fringe napkins and easy-to-use cocktail plates, and the cutting boards with the dipped paint in white and blue are just super easy to pull out for entertaining. Just lots of easy pieces to mix and match!
Quick fire questions! First, what’s your favorite room?
EH: The kids room. It’s easy to design and so happy to be in!
Brights or pastels?
Plain or pattern?
Traditional or modern?
EH: I love both, but if I have to choose — modern.
Gallery wall or large art piece?
EH: Large art piece.
Design trend you’re most excited about?
EH: Low, comfortable furniture.
Decor trend you’ll pass on?
EH: The black wall trend.
What does the *perfect* room look like to you?
EH: I think talking about how a room feels versus how a room looks is my definition of how much I like a room. So if I walk into a room, I generally like it to be warm and inviting, but I like it to feel open, airy, bright and happy too. I think that whatever room it is, if it has that feeling, that’s what I want from it. It’s not necessarily one color palette or perfectly sophisticated. I want a sophisticated room too. But I’d rather it feel happy, airy and fun than really pulled together and sophisticated.
What’s your #1 style secret?
EH: Start with a consistent color palette. Then shop and style within that color palette, and don’t deviate from it! That’s the most foolproof way to get a cohesive and sophisticated room.
(Photos via Lexi Lambros for Target)