Jan 302010

I am crazy-in-love with luxurious fabrics, vintage clothing, Chinoiserie, and the color turquoise.  So the cover of The Well-Dressed Home stopped me dead in my tracks:

Apparently I missed this book when it made a tour of design blogs a few months ago, but on discovering it last week I wasted no time in breaking my vow to stop purchasing craft and home decor books.

The photos and inspiration boards in this book are absolutely swoon-worthy.  The lighting, the cropping, the colors, the choice of objects — everything about them struck me as perfection.

And, while I would have been perfectly happy with a book full gorgeous photos, The Well-Dressed Home is text-heavy for a decorating guide.  The book describes in detail why each element of each room was chosen — for example, a curvy coffee table to balance out straight lines, or mother-of-pearl picture frames to reflect soft light.  While I didn’t always agree with the actual decor choices, the text gave so much guidance that, for once, I understand the interior design process well enough that I could articulate what I’d change and why.

The book’s central concept involves approaching interior decorating styles the same way you approach your wardrobe.  This idea is both the book’s strength and its weakness.  I love the suggestion of using past clothing choices as a way of figuring out my decorating style.  And the book is full of usefully concrete examples of how to translate a beloved garment into a beloved room design.  On the other hand, the concept grew old when repeated over the space of two-hundred-plus pages.  By the end I was rolling my eyes at yet another mention of ThisDesigner or ThatFashionHouse.

Still, did I mention the gorgeous, light-filled, fashionably inspirational photos?  Just … sigh. This is one of those books that sparks new inspiration every time you open it, and I have a feeling it will remain a bookshelf favorite for many years to come.

(first and last photos borrowed from Wishing True; others from Brooke Giannetti)

  3 Responses to “Friday Favorites: Home Decor Books”

  1. Interesting concept– dressing your home with the same principles as you dress your home. The pictures are gorgeous, thanks for the review. One thing I like to do though– and I don’t know it this would go against the principles of the book or not– is use colors that I can’t/don’t wear in our apartment. For instance– yellow and orange look very bad on my pale skinned red-headed self, but they look sunny and cheery in the house and I love being about to use them.

  2. Turtle, that is a GREAT point about color. I know exactly what you mean, because I looooove our orange bedspread but can’t go near that color as clothing.The other interesting outcome of reading the book was that I’m rethinking some of my wardrobe choices. My wardrobe is extremely simple and neutral-toned for reasons of both practicality and habit. But I’m always drawn to home decor that’s colorful, patterned, feminine, and bohemian, and it would be interesting to find ways to work those elements into my clothing as well.

  3. You just described me in that first part :). Thanks for this decor book review. I will definitely look into it the next time I’m at a bookstore that carries it.

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