Collection Development "Budget Decorating": Decorating Cents
By Maha Kumaran -- Library Journal, 08/15/2008
Home decorating is a popular idea these days as seen in the rise of cable television channels like TLC and HGTV (Home & Garden Television) and TV shows like Trading Spaces, Take This House and Sell It, Divine Design, Design on a Dime, Decorating Cents, and many others. But this is not a new fad. Throughout history, humans have always expressed the desire to personalize and beautify their homes. How they effected these changes—whether with paint, draperies, carpets, or simply with different kinds of structures like turrets and domes—depended largely on their unique cultures and the times in which they lived.
Decorating is about beautifying a home, not about designing its structural elements (that belongs in the interior design category). Decorating involves such activities as painting a room or refurbishing old furniture and adding accessories such as wall art, window treatments like curtains or blinds, slipcovers, pillows, and cushions for sofas and armchairs, and more.
Thrifty is nifty
Since most of us today don't have reams of currency lying around to make our house over to resemble an Italian villa or a French château, we need to rely on thrifty decorating ideas that are feasible for different budgets. In today's economy—with rising gas prices, inflation, and a volatile stock market—it is even more important to find creative yet affordable ways to beautify one's surroundings.
The following bibliography addresses this topic in great detail and variety, including sources on painting, finding vintage fabric for drapes or furniture, repainting old furniture to give it a fresh, trendy appearance, bargain-hunting on eBay or in flea markets, or simply learning how to declutter one's home—a task sure to improve the appearance of just about any room. In addition, books that straddle the boundary between design and decoration have been included as well since they can be of help to those inclined to do a bit of both.
Library patrons who might need assistance in this area include, but are not limited to, students moving into dorms, apartment dwellers, first-time homeowners, do-it-yourselfers, and anyone else with limited funds. While most of the books, DVDs, and web sites listed here are ideal for the DIY group, resources for those who want to hire a decorator have not been overlooked.
Budget decorating stars
Among the top names in the field to consider as you build or update your budget decorating collections are self-taught designer and TV personality Debbie Travis (www.debbietravis.com), Amy Tincher-Durik, who writes and edits many of HGTV and Better Homes & Garden decorating titles, and British freelance stylist Emily Chalmers. Linda Lee's forthcoming How Much Do You Need? A Complete Estimating Handbook for Interior Design (Sterling) promises to be a useful and handy resource for budget-minded do-it-yourself decorators when it's released in June 2009.
Think also in terms of publishers with a reputation for high-quality illustrated decorating and how-to titles: Meredith Books' HGTV Books imprint, Sterling, Ryland Peters & Small, Chronicle Books, Filipacchi Publishing, and Taunton. Also, Woman's Day magazine's Special Interest Publications division (womansday.notlong.com) annually publishes a budget decorating issue; the most recent edition was released February 8, 2008.
Keeping your patrons current on this subject can be a challenge, as these books date quickly. General weeding should be done for items that are in poor condition, dated, out of style, or not circulating well. Discard anything older than five years unless it is a timeless resource, like a guidebook devoted to flea market finds or still useful, out of-print titles like Tincher- Durik's Trading Spaces: 48-Hour Makeovers, Jan Belliveau's Fabulous Painted Furniture: 10 Projects That Give Your Flea Market Finds New Life, and Lauren Powell's Tattered Treasures: Stylish Décor with Flea Market Finds.
Go online for videos
Strangely for such a visually oriented field, the number of DVDs specifically addressing this topic are limited, although patrons can now rent related how-to instructional DVDs Netflix-style from Smartflix.com, or download them at Totalvid.com. Instead, many such videos have moved online. On YouTube.com, just type in the Search field the words “interior decoration” or “interior decorating” and “budget,” and you'll be served up some interesting ideas. Likewise, HGTV posts clips from its popular shows on its web site.
Other decorating-related sites range from online directories of interior decorators to lists of resources and shopping sites such as eBay and Craigslist. And don't forget the web sites of such popular magazines as Country Living, Woman's Day, and Better Homes & Gardens, which often offer budget decorating tips. When using such sites, the same rules apply as when selecting books: currency, authority, and, of course, security while shopping online.
For the sake of convenience, these resources are broken down by subject; those that are starred (*) are essential for all collections.
BUDGET DECORATING BASICS
Abbott, Gail. Country Living Shoestring Chic: Extraordinary Style for Less. Hearst: Sterling. 2005. 156p. photogs. ISBN 978-1-58816-506-0. pap. $17.95.
To achieve that comfortable country look without breaking the bank, Abbott (So Simple Slipcovering) and the editors of Country Living magazine offer tips on how to beautify indoors and outdoors, paying special attention to arranging accessories, fabric, and furniture by color and texture. (LJ 9/15/04)
*Budget Makeovers: Give Your Home a New Look. Filipacchi. 2005. 128p. ed. by Jean Nayar. illus. ISBN 978-2-85018-817-6. pap. $17.95.
With 200 full-color photographs, 50 color illustrations, and detailed descriptions of 12 actual makeovers, Nayar, editor of Woman's Day Special Interest Publications' Budget Decorating Ideas magazine, demonstrates how to transform outdated kitchens, baths, dining rooms, bedrooms, or living rooms into functional but stylish spaces. Each project includes before and after photos, a detailed tab on expenditures, and time lines.
Chalmers, Emily & others. Style on a Budget: Affordable Ideas for a Relaxed Home. Ryland Peters & Small. 2003. 144p. photogs. ISBN 978-1-84172-474-4. $21.45.
Ideal for those decorating an apartment or a small house, with tips on affordable options for fabrics, window treatments, storage, flooring, and more.
Country Living 750 Great Ideas for Decorating on a Budget: Transform Your Home Inside & Out. Hearst: Sterling. 2005. 447p. illus. index. ISBN 978-1-58816-304-2. pap. $24.95.
This follow-up to Country Living 750 Style & Design Ideas is every bit as inspiring as its best-selling predecessor. Featuring more than 400 stunning photographs, the book teems with informative tips for inexpensively updating a home's interiors and exterior. Some DIY projects, such as tea-dyed linens and wreaths, are outlined although instructions are minimal. (LJ 1/06)
Design on a Dime: Achieve High Style on a $1000 Budget. 2003. ed. by Amy Tincher-Durik. ISBN 978-0-696-21849-1.
*6 Steps To Design on a Dime. 2006. ISBN 978-0-696-22445-4. ea. vol: HGTV: Meredith. 192p. illus. pap. $19.95.
The team behind the popular HGTV show of the same name advises how to spend one's design dime wisely. Creative makeovers for up to $1000 feature 20 rooms from the show, with before and after photos. The text covers rearranging, recoloring, and restyling spaces and explains how to stencil walls and make headboards.
Transform any room in your home into a stylish and functional space in six easy steps, including reupholstering cushions, framing mirrors, and personalizing with the right colors.
Dumke, Lourdes.How To Decorate and Furnish Your Apartment on a Budget. Prima: Crown. 2001. 312p. illus. index. ISBN 978-0-7615-3247-7. pap. $16.95.
For apartment dwellers, budget decorating writer Dumke offers practical advice—sample budgets, tips on discount stores, space and storage considerations, and more—for creating a pleasant living space.
Mission: Organization: Strategies and Solutions To Clear Your Clutter. 2004. HGTV: Meredith. 2004. 192p. ed. by Amy Tincher-Durik. illus. index. ISBN 978-0-696-22284-9. pap. $19.95.
Sometimes the most economical and simplest act of decorating is clearing out accumulated clutter. The HGTV pros offer strategies for kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, basements, garages, and more.
Quinn, Lisa. $500 Room Makeovers. Clarkson Potter: Crown. 2006. 192p. illus. index. ISBN 978-1-4000-9779-1. pap. $22.50.
Interior designer and Ikea spokesperson Quinn profiles 20 rooms redecorated for no more than $500, detailing design problems and solutions with before and after photos. Styles range from a child's bedroom to a first apartment and living space for empty nesters. A nice plus: she identifies specific paint colors used in the makeovers. (LJ 5/15/06)
*Sheridan, Judi. How To Work with an Interior Designer. Gibbs Smith. 2008. 134p. ISBN 978-1-4236-0195-1. pap. $24.95.
For those who need a bit of extra help during their decoration project, New York–based professional designer Sheridan discusses how to find and work with a decorator, including developing a budget and what to do if things go wrong.
Sun, Yee-Fan. First Digs: The Quasi-Adult's Guide to Decorating with Style—Without Blowing Your Budget. Griffin: St. Martin's. 2006. 273p. illus. index. ISBN 978-0-312-34728-4. pap. $26.95.
This practical handbook by the founder of digsmagazine.com, a “home & living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation,” is all about personalizing one's space on a tight budget without resorting to milk-crate bookshelves. Sun includes tips on painting, bargain hunting, and decluttering effectively. Her writing style is as savvy as the projects discussed.
Travis, Debbie. Debbie Travis's Painted House: Kitchens & Baths; More Than 50 Innovative Projects for an Exciting New Look at Any Budget. Clarkson Potter: Crown. 2003. 176p. illus. index. ISBN 978-0-609-80549-7. pap. $19.95.
It can be expensive to redo a kitchen or bathroom, but Painted House host Travis shows you can work wonders by simply using paint. Easy-to-follow instructions, as well as before and after shots, accompany each makeover.
Ward, Lauri. Use What You Have Decorating.Perigee: Putnam. 1999. 240p. illus. ISBN 978-0-399-52536-0. pap. $16.95.
Decorating consultant Ward suggests how frugal homeowners can use what they already own to make dramatic transformations through placement, lighting, color, and a few inexpensive additions. The focus here is on living and dining rooms, but Ward's list of ten top decorating mistakes is helpful. (LJ 9/15/98)
TRASH TO TREASURE
*Baskett, Mickey. Flea Market Furniture Makeovers. Sterling. 2006. 128p. photogs. ISBN 978-1-4027-3462-5. pap. $14.95.
As Baskett (Jazzy Jeans) tells it, you can transform a junk market find into a work of art with the right technique: decorative painting, stenciling, staining, crackling, sponging, and distressing. Unfortunately o.p., but copies are still in stock at Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.
Butler, David & Amy Butler. Found Style: Vintage Ideas for Modern Living. Chronicle. 2003. 220p. photogs. ISBN 978-0-8118-3673-9. $35.
According to these married design studio owners, five guidelines apply when trying to create a home that reflects one's personality: use restraint with objects of desire; blend old and new; create a keynote (i.e., pick one object to set the tone for the room); buy pieces with purpose; and don't fret (i.e., be patient). (LJ 9/15/03)
Chalmers, Emily. Flea Market Style. Ryland Peters & Small. 2005. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 978-1-84172-938-1. $27.50.
Finding new uses for old material, be it furniture or kitchenware, is the goal of Chalmers's (see Style on a Budget, above) informative guide. The first part focuses on the range of secondhand objects available for every part of the home; the second is a textbook on how to put it all together.
Coleman, Brian. Extraordinary Interiors: Decorating with Architectural Salvage and Antiques. Gibbs Smith. 2005. 160p. photogs. ISBN 978-1-58685-435-5. $39.95.
It doesn't all have to be antiques store hunts and flea market bargains. It can also be salvages from old buildings and offices, explains Coleman (Vintage Victorian Textiles & Window Dressing). His gorgeous book shows how to add a distinctive touch by using old tin ceiling panels, wooden beams, mullioned French windows, and more.
Donham, Pattie. The Crafter's Guide to Glue: Techniques and Projects. Sterling. 2007. 128p. ISBN 978-1-4027-3501-1. pap. $14.95.
Decorating techniques don't get any cheaper than this. As we learn from craft designer Donham, even the glue can be made at home (recipe included). Provided are great tips on how to create jewelry boxes, teapots, pillow cushions, and other home décor by adhering objects onto them.
Elliott, Kathryn. Painting Flea Market Furniture. Sterling. 2004. 128p. illus. ISBN 978-1-4027-0725-4. pap. $14.95.
Through step-by-step instructions and illustrations of more than 40 projects (e.g., a wicker rocker, silver-leafed chairs), artist and design consultant Elliott demonstrates how to dress up flea market furniture through such techniques as ragging, color washing, dry brushing, and spray-paint spattering. (LJ 9/1/04)
Ganderton, Lucinda & Rose Hammick. Vintage Fabric Style: Stylish Ideas and Projects Using Quilts and Flea-Market Finds in Your Home. Ryland Peters & Small. 2006. 128p. illus. ISBN 978-1-84597-100-7. pap. $19.95.
British textiles expert Ganderton and stylist Hammick suggest a number of ideas on how to use vintage fabrics to make undersink curtains, baby quilts, and other household accessories.
*Guggenheim, Barbara. Decorating on eBay: Fast and Stylish, on a Budget. CollinsDesign: HarperCollins. 2005. 224p. illus. ISBN 978-0-06-076248-3. $27.95.
Having decorated a four-bedroom model home using eBay, art consultant Guggenheim explains how to take full advantage of this online resource, with tips on searching for items, making successful bids, and refurbishing imperfect objects.
Lake, Selina & Joanna Simmons. Bazaar Style: Decorating with Market and Vintage Finds. Ryland Peters & Small. 2008. 141p. illus. ISBN 978-1-84597-626-2. $29.95.
The advice offered by designer Lake and journalist Simmons on how to customize a wide variety of pieces from different cultures and eras to fit into the home will appeal to those decorators who enjoy the ethnic, flea market look.
*Whitney, Sue & Ki Nassauer. Decorating JUNKMARKET Style: Repurposed Junk To Suit Any Décor. Meredith. 2005. 204p. illus. ISBN 978-0-696-22282-5. pap. $19.95.
The authors are hockey moms who turned their passion for junk into cash and started JUNKMARKET, a retail business that sources, repurposes, and sells junk in Minnesota. Their nifty little book's projects and step-by-step illustrations teach DIY-ers how to salvage old, worn-out drawers, napkin holders, and other discarded items and give them new life.
*Whitney, Sue & Ki Nassauer. Junk Beautiful: Room by Room Makeovers with JUNKMARKET Style. Taunton. 2008. 204p. photogs. ISBN 978-1-56158-981-4. $21.95.
Now that you have learned to turned your trash into treasures, it's time to incorporate them into your home's décor. The authors (see above) work with nine homeowners to help them transform a beat-up kitchen island into an arts-and-crafts table and an old flour mill cart into a coffee table. (LJ 5/15/08)
CURTAINS, COVERS, CUSHIONS
Beautiful Windows: The Ultimate Window Treatment Design Book. Filipacchi. 2008. 128p. ed. by Jennifer Ladonne. illus. ISBN 978-1-933231-40-2. pap. $17.99.
Chock-full of inspirational tips, illustrations, and step-by-step instructions, this guide from the editors of Woman's Day Special Interest Publications addresses how to select the right fabric for various jobs, choose hardware, and revitalize windows with tassels, tiebacks, and folding screens.
The Complete Photo Guide to Slipcovers: Transform Your Furniture with Classic or Casual Covers. Creative Pub. 2006. 112p. ed. by Linda Neubauer. photogs. ISBN 978-1-58923-271-6. pap. $19.95.
Neubauer (Home Décor Sewing 101) fills this instructive book for beginning and experienced upholsterers with detailed instructions and 250 photos illustrating how to make slipcovers for kitchen chairs, ottomans, wing chairs, and even futons.
*The Complete Photo Guide to Window Treatments: Do-It-Yourself Draperies, Curtains, Valances, Swags, and Shades. Creative Pub. 2007. 304p. ed. by Linda Neubauer. photogs. ISBN 978-1-58923-294-5. pap. $24.95.
This comprehensive DIY tome comprises more than 500 photographs, diagrams, and instructions for 20 styles of valances, 20 styles of curtains and draperies, and ten types of window shades. There are also instructions for making bias swags, tapered scarf swags, and jabots.
*Cone, Steve. Singer Upholstery Basics Plus: Complete Step-by-Step Photo Guide. Creative Pub. 2007. 155p. photogs. index. ISBN 978-1-58923-329-4. pap. $19.95.
If there ever was an upholstery bible, this is it. The revision of this classic (which has sold 150,000 copies) by professional upholsterer Cone boasts five brand-new projects and a refreshing new format, along with detailed instructions on using springs, welting, and webbing to upholster chairs, footstools, storage ottomans, and headboards. Note, the book has hidden spiral binding.
Family Handyman Eds. Storage and Shelving Solutions: Over 70 Projects and Ideas That Fit Your Budget, Space, and Lifestyle. Reader's Digest, dist. by Penguin Group (USA). 2006. 256p. illus. index. ISBN 978-0-7621-0636-3. $26.95.
This book is ideal for those who know something about woodwork, but any beginner will be able to follow the accessible instructions. Each home storage project is accompanied by a box listing skill level, tools needed, and approximate cost, as well as a box with a shopping and cutting list. Exploded-view drawings show dimensions and assembly. (LJ 3/1/06)
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Peterson, Kathy. Kathy Peterson's Great Outdoor Decorating Makeovers: Easy, Elegant Transformations on a Limited Budget. Watson-Guptill. 2004. 144p. photogs. index. ISBN 978-0-8230-2612-8. pap. $19.95.
Outdoor enhancements can just as easily bite a big chunk out of one's wallet as indoor projects. Crafts and home decor design expert Peterson demonstrates how to decorate courtyards, patios, porches, and poolside areas on limited budgets (here for under $250) with quick fixes and paint. A nice plus: she includes a chapter on tips for renters.
Barbara Wurden's Faux Fun: Painted Furniture for Fun. 75 min. Barbara Wurden, www.fauxfun.com. 2005. $14.95.
Wurden, a self-proclaimed Handy Goddess, shows how to transform older furniture into extraordinary pieces by applying paint, doing a crackle finish, creating patterns, and more.
Basic Home Décor. 60 min. Hip Line Media, dist. by AV Café, 877-228-2233. 2003. $24.99.
Host Susie Tilton demonstrates how to make tablecloths, napkins, pillow covers, and other household accessories with simple instructions on the basics of measuring, cutting, and sewing. Great for beginners. (LJ 3/15/06)
Fun-To-Know Interior Design. 60 min. Millennium Interactive, dist. by Amazon.com. 2004. $17.95.
Even though the focus here is more on design than decoration, it will be useful to any decorator who needs to know what to keep in mind when selecting paints, wallpaper, and carpets.
About.com: Interior Decorating
For ideas on how to use inexpensive fabric for decoration, decorate a baby's room on a budget, buy affordable cribs, and more, this site offers articles, tips, videos, and a free newsletter.
The Budget Decorator
Kathy Wilson, a home decorating expert for LifetimeTV.com, offers many neat ideas, including how to make over a kitchen for only $100 and revamp a tired-looking bedroom for next to nothing.
Like eBay, a bargain hunter's mecca. Find furniture, farm and garden décor, and other decorative embellishments from many cities in North America and worldwide.
While not exclusively budget-minded, this blog does list Top 10 Budget Decorating Ideas. It also covers latest trends in green design and color and reviews home décor products.
Decorating on a Budget with Nate
Nate Berkus is a self-taught designer who often appears on Oprah to help a lucky few viewers with their designing and decorating issues. To find his tips, click on the Home channel; on the dropdown menu click on Nate Berkus.
The super-popular cable channel has revolutionized the way we think about designing on a budget; its comprehensive site provides videos of its most popular shows (e.g., Decorating Cents, Design on a Dime) as well as many other extras.
Rental Decorating Digest
Renters seeking decorating ideas for their apartment, house, studio, or college dorm can find articles, online videos, and links covering style, budget décor, outdoor spaces, a renters' resource guide, and more.
|Maha Kumaran is Virtual Reference Librarian, Saskatoon Public Library, Saskatchewan, Canada|