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2012 Best Budget Decorating Books

Inspirational & Educational Decorating Books You'll Love


There are so many decorating books on the market, how does one choose? I've reviewed tons of decorating books and put together a list of what I think are this year's best decorating books for budget decorators. From inspirational to educational, these decorating books will be useful for years to come. Need a great gift idea? Choose one of these books for a wonderful wedding or holiday gift!

Decorate Workshop

© Chronicle Books
Step inside the world of beloved Decor8 blogger and stylist Holly Becker in her newest book, Decorate Workshop. Within its colorful, interactive pages, Holly willingly shares her personal design philosophy and her creative 8-step decorating process so you can easily create your own inspiring spaces. Holly explains how to bring your ideas to completion, from choosing color swatches to final accents. Holly also shares her expert decorating tips and includes blank spaces for making lists and plans, plus she stuffs her book with more than 250 gorgeous photographs. If you are looking for an essential planner to help you begin decorating, Decorate Workshop will definitely do.

Creative Homeowner's Affordable Upgrades Series

© Creative Homeowner
I love almost all of Creative Homeowner's books, but their affordable upgrades series titled Affordable Kitchen Upgrades and Affordable Bath Upgrades are perfect for budget-minded homeowners. Two of the most expensive rooms in the home to upgrade are the bathroom and kitchen, but authors Steve Cory and Diane Slavik provide inexpensive design ideas and easy DIY projects that will make a large impact on the look and the functionality your home. Both books are formatted well and provide easy-to-follow ideas and projects for upgrading any kitchen or bath, plus include tips for getting maximum value for remodeling dollar. Many of the step-by-step projects take less than a weekend to complete - perfect for the busy homeowner, too!

Better Homes & Gardens New Decorating Book

© Pricegrabber
Though this book was officially published in late 2011, it didn't hit bookstores full force until 2012 so I thought I would share it here because Better Homes & Gardens New Decorating Book is certainly worth a spot on this list. The "new" in the title is definitely correct. This book is full of big photos that are inspiring with a ton of fresh ideas and a wide range of decorating styles. Most of the rooms featured are eclectic - full of a mix of vintage, handmade and new - but there are quite a few contemporary spaces dotting the pages. Most of the rooms are bursting with bright colors, though crisp neutrals are also featured. This book should inspire budget decorators for years to come!

Fabrics A to Z

© Abrams
Dana Willard, the creator of the popular blog MADE, put together this fabulous resource for avid sewist, craftspeople, decorators and designers... or any fan of fabric. Fabrics A to Z is a thorough resource that explains the unique characteristics, strengths, and limitations of more than 100 fabrics in easy-to-understand terms. Covering dotted swiss to silk charmeuse to faux fur, each entry includes a close-up photo of the fabric as well as an overview of its characteristics, ideal uses, and special considerations. As a bonus, the book concludes with a section on the best tools and notions to use when working with particular fibers, as well as tips on how to understand patterns. The small size and flexibind format of this book make it perfect for tossing into a bag when headed to the fabric store.

Sabrina Soto Home Design

© Sabrina Soto
If you are a big fan of Sabrina Soto or are looking for a book with solid decorating advice, then this may be the book for you. Sabrina knows that the thing that stands between most homeowners and the home design they dream of is the lack of a simple, effective decorating process - they have the ideas, but they're hungry for the how-to. Sabrina formatted this book to help you create your design one step at a time. Each chapter represents one decorating layer, such as color or furnishings, and each chapter adds a different component. Packed with useful tips and shortcuts like those Sabrina features on her TV shows and website, the book also shows you how to save money, time, and effort without sacrificing style. Sabrina also shares a wealth of foundational design and decorating knowledge that you'll need if you want to pick out carpet (triexta vs polypropylene) or countertops (slate vs soapstone).

Candice Olson Bedrooms

© Candice Olson
I must admit that one of the reasons I included this book is because I am a huge Candice Olson fan, but that's not the only reason this book earns a top spot in my best books list this year. Candice Olson Bedrooms features 25 stunning bedroom makeovers, with gorgeous room sketches and design boards that show you how each design took shape. Hundreds of full-color before-and-after photos provide a wealth of visual inspiration, while Candice's tips and insights into what makes each space work give you practical knowledge for planning your own bedroom redesign. Though Candice's design is high-end, one could easily recreate most of these looks on a budget by emulating Candice's classic transitional style.


© Wiley
Many DIY decorators are also extraordinarily talented craftspeople, so I included this book on my list this year because I think it makes a fantastic resources for anyone who is interested in a decorating and design business. Selling on Etsy isn't complicated but running a business is, and author Jason Malinak aims to help readers understand the business fundamentals needed to become a successful small business owner on Etsy. And Jason should know. Not only is he a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Treasury Professional, but he's a successful Etsy seller also. Etsy-preneurship provides an outline of basic business skills and knowledge needed to run a business on Etsy, along with much more in-depth information. Plus, the downloadable business spreadsheets and other tools will help you put each step into action.

COLOR: The Complete Guide for Your Home

© Wiley
Ah, color. The easiest (and cheapest!) thing in a home to add or change, yet the thing homeowners tend to struggle with the most. Color is an intimidating topic and with trends changing as frequently as they do, it can be overwhelming to make color decision. Fortunately, educating yourself about color and gaining confidence in picking, matching, complementing, and contrasting colors is just a page away with this book by Better Homes & Gardens. COLOR includes detailed discussion of color theory, with clear explanations of complementary, contrasting, and other pleasing color schemes. It covers a wide variety of color palettes, with photos showing how they can be successfully implemented in a room. Plus, it's packed with tips on finding inspiration and translating ideas into a color palette that works, so now you'll have no excuse for bland rooms!

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