After finding so many great decorating books at my mom’s local library, and after listening to advice from many of you, I decided to get a myself a new library card. I’d had one about 25 years ago, and in fact there used to be a good-sized library just down the street from us. We could walk there, and often did. That was back in the day when there was no such thing as a Kindle. But eventually that library closed, I started reading ebooks rather than paper books, and then things like pinterest and decorating blogs became a thing, and really, who needed a library card?
Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I’ve decided to check out the various libraries in my area and see what they have in stock for decorating books. So a few weeks back Mr. Q and I popped into the Stillwater Library and got signed up with library cards, and I brought home this stack of books …
One big difference that I noted at the Stillwater Library v. my mom’s library in Henderson, Nevada is that my mom’s library had some newer books. The publication dates on those books ranged from 2007 to 2021. The most recent of the books I found here was 2013.
Full disclosure, I didn’t do any sort of deep dive into what books could potentially be available to me, I just went through those that were currently on the shelves.
So let’s start at the top of the stack with Cath Kidston’s in print (2005). I grabbed this one because I’ve always enjoyed Cath Kidston’s style. It’s very floral and colorful, and I love her use of vintage fabrics.
This particular book has lots of ideas for ways to those fabrics in your home. If you enjoy sewing, this might be a great book for you to check out.
If you’ve followed me for long, you know that I don’t sew. However, I do iron.
I thought this idea was positively brilliant. I’d never really seen an ‘ironing table’ before. I have a couple of fabulous old farmhouse type tables hanging about, I could easily make an ironing table.
I don’t have a fabulous laundry room to put it in though. But I can sure see the appeal of ironing vintage linens on a big table like this rather than a narrow ironing board.
What do you think of that idea? Would you use an ironing table?
The next book in the stack is another Country Living book, Decorating with White, and it’s the most recent of the books I checked out.
I mentioned last time that I tend to really like Country Living books and this one is no exception. Although it was published in 2013, decorating with white seems to be fairly timeless.
Isn’t this pair of twin beds fabulous?
And apparently decorating with green is a classic also. I was paging through the March 2022 issue of Country Living and came across a photo that was recycled from this book.
It was just a coincidence that I had just seen it in the book. Talk about a timeless look.
By the way, although the book is called Decorating with White, there is a big chapter on pairing blue with white, and another section on using other colors as well. Such as green.
This was the only one of the books that I checked out that I would consider buying just to go back and admire the photos now and then.
The next book I looked at was Salvage Style for the Garden by Marcianne Miller with Dana Irwin (2003).
I thought this one would really appeal to me since it combines two of my favorite things, gardens and upcycling. It features various projects using reclaimed items.
I like the bench made out of a door and spindles, but not sure about the feasibility of finding 18 spindles at a reasonable cost.
I did get one takeaway idea from this book, and that is using andirons to support a flower box …
I just happen to have a spare pair of andirons lying around. I picked them up at last year’s Trash to Treasure day. See them there in the center front?
So now I’ve got some ideas swirling around in my head on how to use these in the garden this year.
Tattered Treasures by Lauren Powell (2001) definitely contains some vintage eye candy.
Even though it was the oldest book in the stack, it was filled with timeless classics like vintage cameras …
and crackled ironstone and pottery …
Most of the projects in this book felt a bit dated to me though, but what can you expect from a book that is 21 years old?
I definitely went through a china shard mosaic period myself.
Lars Bolander’s Scandinavian Design by Heather Smith MacIsaac was published in 2010.
This book is a bit different than the others since it isn’t focused on vintage items, but rather on Scandinavian design in general. Painted furniture is very much a part of this style, and although I imagine it wasn’t originally distressed, much of it has worn over time.
I would say that my own style is strongly influenced by Scandinavian design.
I love the sparseness, and of course I also love the look of the painted pieces.
Although most of the colors used are pale, you’ll also see a lot of this blue.
After a trip to Norway in 2017, I was inspired by this color and painted a little stool in Miss Mustard Seed’s Flow Blue to try and recreate the look.
I ran out of time to really study this book because it was due back at the library, but I may check it out again sometime.
Last up is For the Love of Old by Mary Randolph Carter, published in 2006.
As I just mentioned above that I love the sparseness of Scandinavian style, if you’re familiar at all with Mary Randolph Carter’s style, you may already realize that I don’t love it.
Although I like some of the individual pieces she uses, like that shabby painted office chair, the clutter in most of her photos makes my eye twitch a little.
All I can think when looking at these rooms is how much dust there must be, and as someone who is allergic to dust I feel a sneeze coming on just looking at the photos.
So, her style is not for me. But hey, variety is the spice of life. Even though I may not like it, some of you may love it.
Which of these books would be your favorite? Be sure to share your own opinions with a comment.