“How can you claim to have a passionate interest in something, and then make no effort to properly understand it?”
― Simon Cheshire
I’ve always had an interest in interior design, but it wasn’t until I started designing and building our new home that I began a gallant effort to learn the principles for myself. One well meaning person in my family cautioned me at the beginning of our home building project,
“You might want to consider hiring an interior designer, so you don’t make any mistakes you’ll regret later on.”
Those words felt like a knife cutting my heart.
Not that I wouldn’t trust an interior designer, but deep down I wanted that job for myself. I wanted my home to represent me and my personal style, not someone else’s tastes. And I wanted to understand how I could apply those principles on a continual basis, creating a home that was ever evolving with me and my family, not a one time project that was in place until it became outdated.
Thus began my intense schooling on the topic for the next two years. I have given myself an honorary doctorate on the topic after the dozens of books, blogs, and hours that I’ve put in. Isn’t it awesome that we can truly learn anything that we want in this day and age? I still marvel that I don’t have to go to college to get a degree in something I want to learn. The internet is amazing. Online classes are amazing. Youtube is amazing. Books are amazing. I think I’m an even better student now than I was for the eight years I spent in college. Something about pursuing an interest that applies immediately to your life and tailoring it specifically to your own needs and focus seems infinitely more exciting to me than a curriculum determined by a national board of academics. I want to pick and choose exactly what and how and when I learn. I’m so grateful to live during this amazing part of history!
My resources for design are quite eclectic, but have proven to be perfect for me.
My Top 7 Favorite Design Resources:
1. All books by Sarah Susanka
Sarah was made famous by her “Not so big house” theory. Preaching the message that bigger is not better, but when we instead focus on quality, details, and the design principles that actually make a space feel comfortable, we end up with homes that have character and great aesthetic instead of big spaces meant to impress. I own most of her books. Here are my top three favorites:
Home By Design: Transforming Your House Into a Home
The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live
2. The Nesting Place: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful
This book was my introduction to Mcquillin Smith, and it made a profound impact on me. Outstanding read. Mcquillin writes the book after having lived in over a dozen homes (most of which were rentals), and teaches how to work with what you have within your limitations, and best of all, to drop the quest for perfection.
I adored this book. Holly breaks down interior design into 8 different style categories. As a beginner, it felt so empowering to find what style I felt attracted to and to not only have a name for it, but traits and tips for achieving that type of look.
I love this blog! I also bought Melissa’s ebook, which was really impactful on my home design journey. The ebook is no longer available, but some of that info will be in her soon to be released book, “Love the Home You Have” which I have already eagerly preorderd from amazon. I can’t wait to read it!
This blog has been more of a recent discovery, but has been a great source of inspiration.
6. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
The title lives up to its claim. It is life changing. It doesn’t matter how pretty your space is, if you have too much stuff–it gets in the way of your design. This book is the most empowering book on de-cluttering your home that I have ever read and somehow manages to do it in a way that feels gentle and joyful. People can get quite emotional over their stuff–and her method is truly inspired for showing you how to part with things that have completed their role in your life.
Since my personal style incorporates a bit of farmhouse and antiques, I have adored Miss Mustardseeds Blog. She is a powerhouse DIY queen and amazing photographer (hooray!) and stylist. Because of her amazing tutorials and youtube videos, I have now painted three pieces of furniture for my home, sewn cushions to recover a chair, and am developing skills to see vision for reclaiming items and making what I already have fit into my style with a little bit of make-over. She’s been essential on my journey of learning HOW to do things.
As you can imagine, I was pretty delighted to see Miss Mustardseed respond to my emailed picture of my bathtub for her Design Ramblings show. It’s one of those spaces that I haven’t done anything with yet, and was curious to hear her own ideas on what it could turn into. I said that I was going to be more real on my blog. Showing you my bathtub is a good place to start feeling more vulnerable 🙂
So what do you think I should do with my bathroom? 🙂
Do you have any favorite design resources to share? I’d love to hear!
Brooke Snow delights in the pursuit of a meaningful life. Sign up for her FREE e course “Living A Thriving Life” to learn more about how to find true balance in your life. Brooke lives in Northern Utah with her calm husband, adventurous 5 year old son and bouncy baby girl.
Oh wow, Brooke! I feel like I’m about to go on a book ordering binge. I ready to purchase 2,4, and 6 on your list! They look wonderful! I love interior design but have always felt afraid to go for it, worried I’ll do it wrong, hate it, or have someone walk in my house and wonder, “what in the world was she thinking!” Time to be done with that kind of fear and trepidation! 😉
hi Brooke, I too love to decorate my home. I started decorating in my sandbox and never looked back. I am at the age now of instead of acquiring i am simplifying. I have to say tho that I love looking in TJ Max at the beautiful towels, pretty bowls, plates etc. These are the jewelry to me. Hope you and the kids are well. I am waiting for the baby class to start. Love it if you shared some pics of the new home but i understand if you don’t want to. sincerely, Miranda (I have to tell you that i took an unexpected turn in photography and started photographing farms. I absolutely love it. Who would of thought!)
Hi Miranda!! You’re a woman after my own heart 🙂 I love decorating the home too! I consider it a life long hobby 🙂 I have a couple of pics of my house in a smugmug gallery that you can see HERE: http://brookesnow.smugmug.com/Ben-and-Brook/2014/New-House/n-rntK4/. Though I’ve added more to the decor since then 🙂 I still need to photograph the kids rooms upstairs and our bonus room.
You’re photographing farms?! How fun! My parents have a farm that I have photographed on several occassions. I’ve learned that chickens, cows, horses, goats don’t follow posing directions and make you work extra hard, but they make fun subjects!
Hi Brooke, my girlfriend and i checked out your pictures and wowwwwwy! Gorgeous! You did a great job and i sooo love all the windows. As far as your bathtub you should definitely add some great art work on the walls or maybe some of the beautiful pictures that you are so good at taking. The black and white of your house in the field is striking. Can’t wait to see the kids room. thanks for the reply, Miranda
Thank you Miranda! I’m glad you like it! I’ll have to take some more current pictures, as I’ve had a lot of fun adding in more details like dozens of house plants, textiles, and more art 🙂 I’m learning that this is one of those projects that will never finish… and I think that’s all part of the fun!