Sunday, January 4, 2009

Revisiting Three Favorite Decorating Books

Now that I've settled into the winter months, I thought I would revisit three of my favorite "best of" books from Martha Stewart Living; the decorating series.

"How to Decorate," the first book in the series, was originally published in 1996. This book is an inspiration source for many of the decorating projects I've taken on over the years. Page after page of photographs with brief captions offer step by step hints and suggestions to create and consider when creating spaces. My copy of this book is well worn with numerous post it notes and bookmarks throughout.

After learning the basics in "How to Decorate," the next book in this series "Decorating Details" is a wonderful how-to on putting the finishing touches to any room of your house. Covering a variety of subjects from using mirrors and shelves to lighting and pillows, this 1998 publication offers readers timeless instruction with beautiful photographs to inspire.

The last book in the decorating series is the 2002 publication, "Decorating with Color." I have two copies of this book; one copy is so worn and chocked full of paint chips, notes, and tear sheets from magazines. It stays in my portable decorating file. The other copy sits within my "Martha Library" safe and sound. Decorating with Color will walk the reader through understanding color, how to select colors, and how to use color within a room. Several different color palettes in the book provide inspiration and teach readers how to create and look at their own color palette for their home.
Winter is a great time for home projects. Here's what I do each January:

Take a slow walk around the inside of the house. Grab a pen and paper and carefully walk through every room. Make notes on repairs that need to be made or cleaning projects that need to be accomplished. Examples of such notes include paint touch ups, moulding repairs or heavy duty cleaning needs.

Once you've made your list for every room, divide your list into three categories: major project, weekend project and quick fix. Major projects are those that will take more than a weekend to accomplish. Weekend projects are those that you can accomplish within the weekend and still have time to relax. Quick fixes are just that.. quick, easy repairs or projects that you can accomplish in a couple hours or less. Based on your list breakdown, you can begin to plan your strategy to accomplish all the tasks. You'll be surprised how a quick paint touch up can improve the look of your space.

Re purpose, re purpose, re purpose. With the economy making people think twice about spending money, you can achieve a whole new look to a room by re purposing such things as pictures/artwork, furniture, or accessories for use in another room. I recently removed every framed photograph from the family room walls and replaced them with other pieces of framed art that had been used in other rooms or had been stored away. It gave a whole new look and feel to the room. The cost: $0.00

If you do not have the three books mentioned above, you can still purchase them through or you can even find them on eBay. They are worthy additions to your library.



I've read Decorating Details cover to cover many times. I personally think it's the best of the three. And your painting tips are great! I'm a painting virgin for the most part, although I did tackle the bedroom in September...with success! Fiewf!

Elaine said...

Love your tips! I will try the organized approach that you suggest and maybe we will get more projects accomplished this year.