Book review: Styled by Emily Henderson

10/19/2015 01:28:00 pm HELEN STILES 1 Comments

I follow a lot of interior design bloggers - and have a definite soft-spot for those based in California! I just can't resist all those sun-drenched, colourful, 'I just threw this together this morning' interiors. Ever since reading an interview with LA-based stylist, blogger and designer Emily Henderson several years ago, where she described herself as "picky without being snobby... a perfectionist without wanting things to look too perfect," I've been a fan. Her perky blog posts are not only extremely well-researched, but frequently hilarious. She is definitely one of life's sharers – not only when it comes to her personal life (she put her birth-video on TV for heaven's sake...) but also her professional life. She thinks nothing of revealing all her tips, secrets and sources in detailed posts about everything from where to buy art online to the most flattering maternity jeans! So when her new book, Styled, arrived on my doorstep last week, I immediately knew the rest of the day was a write-off. My planned press-release-writing/contact-researching/supplier-chasing/social-media marketing and (of course) laundry would have to wait.
And from its gold-foiled front cover (I'm a sucker for a brass accent) Styled did not disappoint. The book starts by encouraging readers to identify their style via a multiple-choice questionnaire – albeit one littered with American references. Questions range from where you like to shop, to your favourite order at the bar after a long day at work (there was no option for "whole bottle of sauvignon blanc" or "triple gin & tonic" – so I had to lie and say Martini. I hope it didn't throw my results off too much). I came out as a bohemian on the Emily Henderson style wheel (I was slightly disappointed not to be a 'seventies' given my current love of smoked glass, sheepskins and bold patterns!)

I should point out that this is not a book about interior-design per se, but about styling. What Emily really focuses on is how to use what you already have and how to arrange and display it artfully. It is full of beautiful photographs, fabulous vignettes and really well-structured, practical tips on how to style everything from your sofa to a kitchen island. Emily's advice serves as a toolkit to help anyone improve their home (or their photography) – covering scale, contrast, balance, layering and much more. So whether you're a homeowner, stylist, interior-designer, blogger or photogpraher, I defy you not to find something useful in this book. And if all else fails, it will look jolly nice on your coffee table!

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