We chatted with The New York Times bestselling author of STYLED, winner of HGTV Design Star, former host of HGTV’s Secrets from a Stylist, and Make it Home designer, Emily Henderson, to find out how she makes a house a home. From where to start to what to avoid, Emily offers advice for how you, too, can Make it Home. Read the interview below and check out Instagram and Facebook for additional Make it Home content from Emily.

What do you look for in a home?

There is a lot that goes into looking for a home and what my husband and I prioritize. Obviously, location is and was very important to my husband and I when we bought our most recent home. We wanted a family friendly area with good schools and a home that was near our jobs and friends. So when those location preferences are checked I look at a home’s bones and the amount of light it gets. You can always customize and decorate but especially if you are renting natural light is SO important (well at least it is to me).

If someone could do just one thing to change the look of a room, what would it be?

A wall treatment hands down. That can be something as simple as painting the walls or putting up a beautiful temporary wallpaper. Doing either of those will instantly make you feel like you have a new home.

When designing a room, where do you start?

I always start with a color palette. Here's how I do it:

  • Step one: Start with an inspiration piece you want to use. That can be art, a textile, or a rug.

  • Step two: Pick 3-4 colors from your inspiration piece that you love. Any more can start to make a space feel chaotic.

  • Step Three: Unless you want a BIG color moment, stick with safer neutrals for large furniture pieces.

  • Step four: Have fun and accessorize with your 3-4 colors but in a way that feels balanced. A good ratio is 10/30/60. Meaning 60 percent of your room is one main color family (this is usually your neutrals), 30 percent is an accent color (or two), and 10 percent is usually that last punch or metallic. Be sure to mix up the tones and play with texture so it doesn't feel too "mathematical."

  • Step five: Enjoy your beautiful cohesively colorful room.

What was your biggest design mistake?

Yes I, Emily Henderson, have fallen victim to getting overexcited and made purchases for my home before having a solid plan with proper measurements. I thought, “Oh it will fit and be perfect. Not worried.” Well said pieces sadly weren’t perfect, so money and time were wasted because I didn’t have a design plan in place. Learn from me folks. If you just start buying willy nilly you'll end up with a room that's all over the place, (or you'll stop halfway through because you've painted yourself into a style corner and don't know how to proceed). Plans are good and will give you a beautiful cohesive room you’ll love.

What is your favorite room/area in your house for gathering?

I would have to say that my favorite place to gather in our home is the patio. We are extremely lucky that in LA, we can be outside 90% of the year, so the patio is where we do crafts with our kids, have family dinners, relax with friends as our kids play in the yard and in the early mornings have our coffee.

To you, what makes a house a home?

A house doesn’t feel like a home unless there’s a lot of unique moments and personal elements. Because of social media and Pinterest, it’s really easy to decorate a nice-looking home. But to have one that actually represents your family’s personality and that looks unique is a little bit more challenging. So how do you do it? Is through elements that represent you. Whether it’s your hobbies, kid’s art, family photos; it’s things no one else can have because is just yours.

Learn more about the Make it Home Show House and follow along with our designers here .

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