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Start a Design Library

The following post is from Lindsey M. Roberts, a design & décor writer:

book gutter and pages
source: Horia Varlan

I probably couldn’t learn anything if I didn’t read it in a book. So when I need to do decorating research, yes, I read magazines, but I also consult my favorite design books.

As I wrote in a previous post, it’s important to keep you resources down to a minimum if you want to conserve space, so which decorating books are worth keeping and reading?

Here are four of my picks for your design library.

Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure

by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan (Bantam, 2006); $10.20 at Amazon.

This is a great book to get you started thinking about your whole home in a different, more holistic, way. Your home is your retreat, where you come to to relax, entertain, and recuperate before going back out into the world.

The creator of the Apartment Therapy website wrote this book to help you clean, organize, reposition furniture layouts, and ultimately, to help you think of your home as a haven.

living rom with sofa
source: Dee Adams

Domino: The Book of Decorating, A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home that Makes You Happy

by Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello, and Dara Caponigro (Simon & Schuster, 2008) $21.50 at Amazon.

Domino, that sadly defunct design magazine, at least left us with this gem to treasure. The book first helps you think about your style in words. Are you grandma-chic? Northwest contemporary? Groovy mod? Urban traditional? And then the book breaks down the home room-by-room to give you ideas for creating your style.

Flip! for Decorating: A Page-by-Page, Piece-by-Piece, Room-by-Room Guide to Transforming Your Home

by Elizabeth Mayhew (Ballantine Books, 2009); $18 at Amazon.

The current editor of Women’s Day magazine wrote a book that helps you see the creation of a room step-by-step. She walks you through her apartment in New York City and shows you how she put each room together through the use of flip-book pages. Flip through the book to see her home take shape.

Mayhew also provides an excellent resource list for furnishing, and recommends a list of can’t-go-wrong paint colors.

How to Live in Smaller Spaces: Design, Furnishing, Decoration and Detail for the Smaller Home

by Terence Conran, $19.77 at Amazon.

Terence Conran is the man. Any of his books will inspire, but this one is especially helpful for those of us in small spaces, or for those of us with big families in normal-sized spaces. His approach is always very practical, tangible, and specific, helping you to translate beautiful magazine pages into reality.

What books do you recommend for a design library?

Lindsey M. Roberts has covered design, décor, and homes from Washington state to Washington, D.C., writing for publications such as Seattle Homes & Lifestyles, Apartment Therapy, The Washington Post, Preservation and Architect magazine.