Emily Henderson Styled

Trend Alert: Decorating Books

Décor lovers and home DIY fans are in for a treat this season, with a brand-new crop of hardcover decorating books on the scene—perfect for browsing, learning, gifting, and artfully stacking on a coffee table near you.


While how-to decorating books have a long history, dating back to Edith Wharton’s 1897 tome The Decoration of Houses, today’s crop are not your grandmother’s décor manuals. They’re smart, sassy, and feel a whole lot more personal, thanks to a new generation of designers, stylists, and bloggers who are standing by to help the average reader turn the disparate elements of a house into a home.


As Emily Henderson, interior designer, popular blogger, and author of the newly released Styled  puts it on her blog, “The single biggest problem I confront with my clients, friends and family is ‘style paralysis.’ They are just stuck and because of that they don’t do ANYTHING for fear that what they will do will waste money, time or generally be embarrassing and lose them friends.” Her book aims to dispel some long-held myths about and share a stylist’s secrets for decorating, to help the everyday Joe or Jane break through the fear and express his or her personal style in fresh yet functional ways.

Henderson isn’t the only one looking to inspire information-hungry audiences. This fall’s new releases also include Home by talk show host, comedian, and renovation enthusiast Ellen Degeneres; Every Room Tells a Story by hotel and residential designer and master of the pattern mix Kit Kemp; Modern Mix by longtime editor and stylist Eddie Ross; The Elements of Style and The Inspired Room by interior designers and top bloggers Erin Gates and Melissa Michaels, respectively; and Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating by Lauren Leiss, a buzzy newer face but a respected  designer’s designer; and Mrs. Howard Room by Room, by Southern-glam design powerhouse Phoebe Howard, whose work has been splashed across many of the top shelter magazines for two decades.

Melissa Michaels The Inspired Room





What sets these books apart from decorating how-to’s of the past is the authors’ willingness to share which traditional decorating rules they swear by and which they gleefully toss out the window. Each writer also professes a love of the high-low mix, which not only makes them relatable to wider audiences, but also renders their advice accessible to readers of all lifestyles and budgets. And some, like Henderson, offer a step-by-step approach that makes design concepts easy to follow, all in pursuit of rooms that look like they could pop off the pages of a magazine—even if the only place those photos will ever be displayed is on Facebook or Instagram.


—Robin Catalano  


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