I know, I know. You probably just dropped several hundred dollars on this semester's bundle of overpriced textbooks. But before you start fretting about spending another dime on a book you'll never actually use and will end up re-selling for a fraction of the cost... take a gander at my required reading list for the semester. This blog aims to school you on dorm decor and rental revamp, so you can bet that my required reading list serves up glossy pages of pretty spaces. You'll never part with these inspiring books. I have several of them and the others are on my hurry-up-and-buy list. So let's get started, shall we?!
Domino: The Book of Decorating
This beauty is #1 on my list because, well... I'm obsessed. When I thought I'd lost my collection of beloved Domino magazines, I moped and wept for days. When I found out Domino was bringing back its glossy-paged goodness with a couple special issues, I gasped and nearly screamed at my work computer. This is my favorite book on my bookshelf... and the prettiest, too. Domino magazine delivered a style and flair all its own, which cultivated a following of die-hard readers like myself. This lovely tome includes all the very best rooms, ideas, and tips rounded up from the magazine issues. Seriously. If we had book soul mates... this would be mine. ♥
Design*Sponge at Home
Next on my list is the much-anticipated decor book by Grace Bonney, the immensely successful blogger behind Design*Sponge. Grace's blog was one of the first design blogs I ever stumbled upon. I was hooked from the start and it really inspired me to start this here blog of my own. So when I found out that this book was coming out, I was naturally psyched. What psyched me even more? When I interned at Meredith last summer for Do It Yourself and Storage magazines, reading and reviewing the book was one of my first assignments. I couldn't wait to get my grubby little decorator hands on this baby... and I could hardly put it down! It's full of Grace's stylish and fabulous decorating ideas, tips, and do-it-yourself projects that she and her blog are known and loved for. I don't have a copy of my own yet, but you can be it is at the top of my to-buy list. (Oh! And did I mention that I interviewed Grace Bonney here on Lovely Undergrad. Check out her dorm and apartment decorating advice here!)
Young House Love
I've been enamored with the Petersiks' blog for several years now. And well, let's just face it... I'm enamored with Sherry and John themselves, too. They are just such go-getting, crafty, creative, motivated do-it-theirselfers! (I recently came to the conclusion that whomever I end up with in my future life... he better be as willing to go all diy on our house as John is with Sherry. That is what true love is made of. Haha.) So anyway... they have a book now! And I absolutely cannot wait to get a copy. I love them. I love their blog. I just know that I'll love love love their book. In the meantime, you should really head over to their blog and check it out for some preliminary reading. ;)
Apartment Therapy is the renter's Bible. No joke. For small space solutions, ideas, tips, tricks, and loads of inspiration... it is the go-to destination on the web and one of my favorite places to spend hours and hours procrastinating whatever else I'm supposed to be doing. But sometimes, I forget the web and just crack open this book instead. Because it is just as good. And there's inspiration for apartments (and dorms) lurking on every page. Each feature divulges the square footage, specific small space challenges, and how the renters made it work. (Trust me! Some of these apartments are teeny-tiny enough to be a standard dormitory.) And when it comes to really offering a wide variety of decorating styles, this book has it down. You can find anything from the ultra modern and contemporary to the eclectic and vintage chic.
Those are my top four. If you're looking for the best of the best, those are essential. But let's not stop there. I've got ten more on my list that I'm dying to add to my bookshelf.
I Brake for Yard Sales
I saw Lara Spencer on an episode of the Nate Burkus show and I had an immediate, passionate desire to go garage-sale hopping with this gal. Simply put: she's fabulous. She hits up yard sales, finds janky junk, and transforms it. Pretty much my dream job. She and I would make fabulous friends. For now I'll just pine over her book and dream about going on garage sale girl dates with her. :)
Good Bones, Great Pieces
Another popular design blog called Good Bones, Great pieces operated by mother-daughter team Suzanne and Lauren McGrath. They believe that making home truly begins when you're starting to pull together your first place. (So true, right?!) While I haven't had the pleasure of flipping through their book, I love their blog and the idea behind it. And it's sooo cool that they're a mom-daughter team!
The Perfectly Imperfect Home
Ohhh, here we have another little bit of homage to Domino magazine. This book is by Deborah Needleman, who happened to be the founding editor of Domino. So naturally, I'm obsessed with her by association to my obsessed-over magazine. Deborah is an expert on the traditional stuff, as well as bringing "quirkiness" and "cozification" into a beautiful space. Can't go wrong there!
The Nest Home Design
Though The Nest magazine targets young couples starting out in their first homes, I could never resist picking up an issue off of the newstand. Why? Because young couples face a lot of the same challenges that students living with roommates or live-in significant others face: tight budget, tight spaces, and often contrasting styles. The Nest is such an authority on making it work no matter the size of the wallet, size of the dwelling, or compromise needed to bring two clashing looks together.
What? A guide book for decorating... without rules? If anyone would be a master of rules for design, it would be the author Christiane Lemieux. Christiane, also the founder and creative director of DwellStudio, instead takes a "no-rules approach to interior design" in this book. Young. Fresh. Unconventional. Comfortable. And stylish. A perfect field guide to decor for youngin's that want to decorate, but don't know how. Now you don't need to!
Sabrina Soto: Home Design
I love HGTV Design and Target Style at Home Expert Sabrina Soto. She's creative, stylish, and too cute to resist. (Btw, did you know that The RetailMeNot Insider interviewed both myself and Sabrina on tips for decorating dorm rooms?! Check it out! I'm so flattered to be mentioned in the same article as her!) Anyway... she's fabulous. And so her book is as well. Sure, it may be more about designing a home rather than a dorm. But she has sooo many great ideas when it comes to design that you can't pass 'em up... but you can adjust them for your small space living situation.
Better Homes and Gardens New Decorating Book
Better Homes and Gardens is my first love when it comes to magazines. I'm a devoted fan of the brand as a whole and since I also interned there last summer, I can't help but sneak one of the BHG books into my roundup. So I'm including this one. Because it encompasses so many great design ideas and so many beautiful rooms that you could flip through it for hours. Whatever your style, whatever your taste... you'll find something for you between the front and back cover.
Found, Free, and Flea
This is another book I had the opportunity to check out during my internship last summer. And I really need to get around to getting myself a copy. It's less about decorating on a room scale... and more about using vintage and antique finds to decorate your space with. You may want to incorporate vintage into your place, but once you set foot in an antique store just aren't sure where to begin. This book helps you to become a curator. To see what you can do with a vintage fan, a suitcase, a soda crate. It'll spark lots of inspirational ideas... so beware that you might spend your entire paycheck on a trip to the thrift store!
Jonathan Adler: Happy Chic Accessorizing & Happy Chic Colors
Anything by designer Jonathan Adler is sure to be a winner. He is a creative genius when it comes to color, pattern, and mixing'n'matching. I favor these two books by him, one focusing on accessories and the other on color. I think those are two things that renters and dorm-dwellers alike can relate to needing a little direction on when it comes to decorating a small space. It's all in the details. And Mr. Adler is a detail pro.
Okay. There you have it! Time to hit the books!
Most of these books can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other major bookstores.
I've even spotted a few at places like Target, so keep your eyes open.