Design Decor Book Collage

I have a confession. I love interior design books. And by love, I mean I’m obsessed. Sometimes I can’t bring myself to read some of the classic novels chosen by friends in my book club (imagine multiple attempts that led to an immediate deep slumber as I tried to dive into the first chapter of Catch 22 for example); BUT put an interior design book in front of me and I won’t be able to put it down until I’m finished devouring the beautiful pictures, hysterical stories, and thoughtful design tips. I know, I know. You must be thinking that I’m not an academic and that I simply like looking at picture books – but that’s not true. In addition to the inspiring and gorgeous photos, these books really have neat stories to learn from too!

In the last month, I’ve read three inspiring design books that I wanted to share with you. Not only are they on the New York Times best sellers list, they also earned the “Marlowe Lane” seal of approval (funny, colorful, AND thought provoking)!

First on the list is The Nesting Place. Through personal struggles and triumphs, Myquillyn Smith, paints a vivid picture reassuring us that “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” This book made me remember that decorating my home is for me and my loved ones to enjoy. We all need to stop looking at what other people have or don’t have, and stop comparing and thinking our decorating ideas aren’t good enough. Our houses should reflect what we like – not what everyone else is saying is “the right way to decorate.” And get creative! It doesn’t have to be expensive or new for it to be beautiful. The main take away: don’t listen to every design rule if it doesn’t pertain to your liking and be grateful for what you have. God has a reason for everything that happens and a purpose for every person. Listen to your heart.

Below is an example of Myquillyn’s beautiful master bedroom where she used white duct tape to add design to the walls quick and easy! I would have never thought to put duct tape on the wall! This book will have you rethinking the way we use every day items in our house and thinking of creative ways to do things differently. (Photos credited to! Go check out her amazing blog!)

Second on the list is Erin Gates’s Elements of Style. Erin’s writing had me laughing out loud and sharing her humorous stories with friends over happy hour cocktails. (Erin has a wedding day story that could almost rival the Bridesmaid movie!) Erin obviously has a keen eye for design and brings a very personal style to her design tips. Not to mention that she hasn’t missed a day of blogging since she began in 2007! That’s some serious dedication right there. 

Below is a picture of Erin’s staircase in her home where she used a bold leopard print rug on the stairs to add character. This picture is the epitome of Erin’s style to me – live bold and go big. I also love the way she hung a gallery wall of pictures using multiple frame sizes, colors and textures.  Check out her blog here for even more photos:!

The third and final book for today is one that Michelle bought me for my birthday this year. Design Sponge at Home is an inspiring and eclectic account of mainly east coast dwellings  where people have found antiques and second-hand furniture to give their living spaces character (in addition to creative patterns and lots of DIY projects.)

I absolutely love of some of the spaces author Grace Bonney shares with us in her book, like the tranquil living room below. This book isn’t so much as a novel as the first two mentioned above, but is more of a collection of short stories of individual people that share their ideas and living spaces with us. You can also check out the Design Sponge blog Before & Afters here:!

Each of the three books has a very different decorating style and design advice, but I think there is something to learn from each of the authors. I keep finding myself referring to the pictures and wanting to re-read the books. If you don’t have the time right now to read the books, you can always check out the blogs to see some of the beautiful ideas they have. Hope you enjoy! :) Happy Monday!

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