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Top 10 Budget Decorating Books

Easy-to-Find Inspiration Within These Pages

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These decorating books are beautiful and inspiring, and full of great budget decorating ideas. They also look wonderful on your coffee table or shelf, so these decorating books can do double duty as decor. Now that’s budget decorating!

 

Cheap Chic by Emily Chalmers & Ali Hanan

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Co-written by the author of Modern Vintage Style, this book is a guide to budget decorating. The book covers all the basics - from color, pattern, window treatments and furniture to storage, lighting, accessories and flooring. Emily Chalmers and Ali Hanan easily mix big box furnishings with more unique items to produce spaces that are personal and cozy. And the authors also provide tips on how to substitute frugal decor and furnishings that look just like the designer ones. Cheap chic, indeed!
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DIY Art at Home by Lola Gavarry

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Not everyone can afford real art, or so they say. This book proves them wrong. Even if you aren't an artist (or even very good at stick figures), these easy-to-do art projects may make a Monet out of you yet. The projects are geared more toward the contemporary or modern home, but most will find something they like within these pages. This book is like Art Class 101 and should have you creating your own original piece in no time.
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Domino: The Book of Decorating by Various Authors

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Published in 2008 by the editors of the beloved decorating magazine, Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello and Dara Caponigro have scored another hit. I consider this a fantastic resource for beginning and experienced decorators alike. The book reads like a fun magazine, yet it's full of useful facts such as how to distinguish between the various styles of window treatments or sofas. From how to choose a style to ideas for specific spaces, this book makes good design accessible to us all.
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Let's Decorate by Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen

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This affordable, soft-cover decorating book is great for those who like to think outside of the box. Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen's funky, fresh style is original, colorful and includes a little something for everyone. But what keeps me going back to this book over and over again is the huge how-to section. A great reference book, as well!

Material World by Cat Wei

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There isn't a decorator alive who doesn't love fabric and have buckets and bins full of it. This project-oriented and easy-to-thumb-through book gives plenty of ideas for what to do with all of that fabric. (Love those oil cloth nesting tables!) Most don't require sewing skills, so even beginners shouldn't have problems with these simple, cute and budget-friendly projects.
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Modern Vintage Style by Emily Chalmers

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Written by one of the authors of Cheap Chic, mixing and not matching is the theme of this book, and I love the get-real approach. Emily Chalmers shows how to seamlessly mix flea market finds with shiny new things, and make it all look really, really good. This book provides great inspiration for those who are just starting out, but also for those who need to inject a little flavor into their spaces. The author's decorating ideas are easy to recreate on a budget, and are beautiful too!
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Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of A Misspent Life by Mary Randolph Carter

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This book's title immediately attracted me, and the author's fun and witty style kept me reading. Written by Mary Randolph Carter, who published the very popular "Junk" books, this book is fresh and engaging and doesn't make me feel as if my house needs to be perfect to be beautiful and enjoyable - hence the title. This book is mighty expensive, so it may pay to shop around for used deals.

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The House Always Wins by Marni Jameson and Dominique Browning

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This book reads like, well, a book. Not full of pretty pictures. No tutorials or patterns included. Instead, between these pages you'll find really great advice from a "been there, done that" DIY homeowner. Marni Jameson is fun, witty and full of a fresh dose of reality - perfect for new homeowners, old homeowners, those in between homes, and everyone else, too. This is a great read for anyone who has ever wanted more from their home and is on the path to get it. (Note: This review refers to the 2009 paperback edition of the book.)
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Thrifty Chic by Liz Bauwens & Alexandra Campbell

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This book is full of timeless, simple and absolutely gorgeous decorating ideas. All the rooms appear comfortable and inviting, yet the authors keep the design frugally no-nonsense. The book's chapters are divided by spaces - bedrooms, kitchens, etc - making it easy to find ideas for specific rooms. A classic budget decorating book for all but the most contemporary of styles.

Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design by Christiane Lemieux

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Written by the founder and creator of Dwell Studio - yes, that fabulous woman - this is one of my favorite decorating books. Finally, someone who is willing to say it: Forget staging and resale and generic value. Instead, create your home to reflect who you truly are. Featuring 20 homes across the country, this book does not focus on tight-budget decorating. But the homeowners have taken such care with their spaces that this book can't help but inspire. (And one can always find ways to recreate the ideas on a budget!)
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