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Before and After

VELUX Brighten Up Any Room Design Giveaway Reveal

Emily Henderson transforms bedroom with natural light and a layered neutral palette.

When we partnered with interior design and style expert Emily Henderson, we knew she and her team would use more than just their design skills to the VELUX Brighten Up Any Room design giveaway.

We knew they’d pour their hearts and souls into the one room makeover because they truly believe in the power of design to transform lives.

“If you are happier in your home, if you’re proud of it, if it reflects your style, everything about you is happier,” Henderson said. “Emotionally, physically, you bring it home every day, you bring that to work, you bring that to your relationships. It’s so transformative to have a home or a space that you’re proud of.”

The giveaway winner


Raeann and Kristen live in Salt Lake City, and Raeann secretly nominated their bedroom for the design giveaway, which included a full room makeover including two VELUX No Leak Solar Powered “Fresh Air” skylights with solar-powered shades. Emily was immediately drawn to the story behind the entry:

“My wife just started chemo and is spending a lot more time in bed these days,” Raeann wrote. “I would love for our bedroom to be more of a haven for her—a serene, comforting, and light space that brings her peace and happiness when other things are tough. It would be important for the skylights to be dimmable for when she needs daytime sleep. Thanks for your consideration.”

In December 2018 Kristen was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called cholangiocarcinoma, and she underwent a chemotherapy that was part of a clinical trial during the first half of 2019. She responded well to the chemo and radiation is the next step in her treatment.

Emily’s heart soared at the opportunity to create a wellness space where Kristen would feel comfortable if she needed to spend extended periods of time in bed.

“The bedroom was kind of dark and wasn’t inspiring,” Emily said. “I wanted to make it way more comfortable. I wanted to make that bed way more inviting. The potential to make it this really bright airy, but cozy, inviting, comfortable room was immediate. I knew how to do that.”

Before the makeover, the bedroom, which had only one small window, was dark and seemed like the room the couple just hadn’t had time to get to decorating it. Check out these before photos:


A bright, layered look

Emily took inspiration from luxury hotels by adding layers of soft textiles using a neutral color palette. Two solar-powered, fresh-air skylights installed on the east-facing ceiling bring beautiful morning light into the bedroom, and, as the sun rises, the light patterns change.

“I wanted it to feel textural and soft and layered, but neutral, and natural light allowed us to do that,” Emily said. “When you’re layering neutrals together without natural light, sometimes it feels flat, but once you get the skylights open and get the natural light on that bed it just comes alive.

“Without adding a ton of color and a ton of pattern that bed has so much movement and so much life because of the natural light,” she added.

And the skylights have solar-powered room-darkening shades that, along with blackout Roman shades on the window, darken the room even in the middle the day, if Kristen, or Raeann, who is completing her medical residency, needs to sleep during the day.


Here’s an example of the skylight shades closed to show how natural light brings the layers Emily created to life.


Connect with the outdoors

Raeann submitted a Pinterest board as part of her entry and the couple reviewed it with Emily during their home consultation. Kristen responded to room photos that had a beachy vibe. Plus the couple shared that they are avid hikers, spending time in the mountains around Salt Lake City, so Emily pulled in a lot of organic materials into the room.

“I really wanted Kristen to be able to see outside, to see the sky and the stars and feel like she had nature inside, so if she had to spend the whole day in bed she would still feel good,” Emily said. “Nature is grounding, is calming and has a positive effect on your mental health.”

Bringing nature inside starts with the skylights with the sky view they provide and natural light they bring into the room. But they also open, so in the spring and fall Kristen and Raeann can open them and a window below to create a breeze that will help to cool the bedroom.


Plants also liven things up and Emily added small potted plants on the side tables and dresser and a larger shrubby plant under the skylights. She incorporated materials like woven seagrass on the side table drawers, leather on a club chair and wood on the dresser and picture frames.


A sunny, cheerful room

During installation of the new furniture and decorative elements, Kristen and Raeann agreed to sleep in their downstairs bedroom, so the fully finished space would be a surprise.


When they entered the finished bedroom for the first time, they expressed amazement, joy and gratitude, complete with a hugs for Emily.

“My reaction was pure shock; the room looked so different,” Kristen said. “It felt very calm, that’s how I would describe it, just a calm sanctuary.”

“It’s so perfect,” Raeann said. “It’s exactly what we hoped for. It’s the perfect space for you to relax when you need to, and it feels special.”

Emily noted that the design process was fun because Kristen and Raeann put their trust in her and the entire EHD team.

“I want them to feel relief that one thing is checked off their list,” Emily said. “I want them to feel special. When somebody comes in and makes over an entire room, you feel good and I hope they have that feeling for a really long time.”

Kristen and Raeann said they enjoyed meeting Emily after being long-time readers of her blog, as well as participating in the design process.

“This was a unique, unparalleled experience,” said Raeann. “It was so thoughtful; every detail was so thoughtful.”

“She did a really great job with the room; it feels like us, like a reflection of our style” Kristen said. “The biggest thing I feel is gratitude. I still can’t believe it’s ours.”

Head over to for her take on the design process, the role of natural light in interior design and a complete guide to everything used in the bedroom.

Next: 10 Layered bedding looks made better with skylights

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