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Flip! for Decorating: A Page-by-Page, Piece-by-Piece, Room-by-Room Guide to Transforming Your Home Paperback – April 7, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


“Learning decorating tips from Elizabeth Mayhew is like spending time with a good friend who has your best interests at heart.”—Katie Couric

“Finally! A book that really shows you how to put a room together. A book that explains what really works, and why. A book about finding your own style and being comfortable, too. Decorating has never been this much fun.” —Stephen Drucker, editor in chief, House Beautiful

“Elizabeth Mayhew’s breezy, confident, and glamorous decorating style has long been envied by design experts in the know. Fortunately for us all, she now shares her insider’s view on how to achieve her particular brand of high/low chic with Flip! for Decorating. I think it’s pitch-perfect.”—Miles Redd, interior designer and creative director, Oscar de la Renta

“Point of view – prescriptive, descriptive and definite – is what distinguishes…Flip! for Decorating…It is extremely satisfying, like watching a stop-action film, and very, very useful.”—New York Times

About the Author

Elizabeth Mayhew is the lifestyle expert for NBC’s Today show and is special projects editor for House Beautiful magazine. Previously she was editorial development director at Real Simple magazine. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, she now lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Original edition (April 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345507517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345507518
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,237,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. Coon on April 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the book to buy if you actually plan on decorating a room instead of just thinking or talking about it. Lots of practical instruction and step by step photos covering topics like "how to make a room appear larger." The author recognizes that we all have different budgets. Lots of ideas can be done cheaply or expanded based on available budget (wallpaper instead of paint for instance). Some suggestions help make more out of a room without buying anything at all. Highly recommended for anyone starting a decorating project.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jill S. on April 28, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read a lot of decorating books. I've even written some. It's the rare book that actually gives you useful advice in a very accessible manner. Elizabeth Mayhew has come up with a clever, fun concept--a flip book in which you see how each of four rooms come together, step by step. But she's also filled this book with tons of practical advice that helps you narrow down the overwhelming breadth of options out there, and cuts to the chase by coming right and saying what you need to know--sisal isn't really practical, what coffee table to buy if you can't choose, no-fail paint colors, why you don't need elaborate swoopy curtains, and how to style a tabletop so it looks fabulous. It makes decorating look fun and do-able. Even if your style isn't anything like hers, you will find lots of valuable advice here.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Susan E. Iacovacci on April 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I always watch Elizabeth on Today and read her monthly column in House Beautiful, so I knew purchasing her book was a no-brainer. It had to be good, and I was right. I'm doing a house renovation and her book couldn't of come out at a better time. I felt stuck in a rut with my decorating scheme, even though I wanted a change I kept going back to the same things I've done before time after time. Elizabeth's book helped me pick a whole new color scheme for my house. Elizabeth's first chapter titled Color is my favorite. I was obsessing through the Benjamin Moore palette for weeks until I read her book. FLIP is full of great tips and ideas and it has a great resource guide at the end. You won't be disappointed. I'm already looking forward to her next book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By amazon's fan VINE VOICE on April 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an interior design student, I've met design teachers who are great designers but not good teachers.

Trust me, it is NOT easy to articulate "Why this and that would look good together." One of my experienced and certified designer teachers said to us that "This can't be taught. You have to feel it yourself. When you practice enough, you will know when it works." as a response to my question of how to put things together with a designer feel to it.

Well, I am so glad that someone could! The author of the book does a marvelous job at explaining in great details how to combine different elements to make a beautiful presentation on a corner or a side of the room. She is specific, concise, and easy to be understood.

The only flaw I'd be able to point out is the color of the text. I'd suggest the black color for the major part of the text, instead of the olive color that looks good but is not easy to read in print.

I love the book, and I find it to be very useful even to myself as an interior design student.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Swee10 on March 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
So many home decorating manuals are discouraging. The pristine, polished interiors photographed inside seem entirely unattainable. After looking through them any urge to start a remodel project typically evaporates. Elizabeth Mayhew's new guide Flip! For Decorating is a welcome change because it's both inspiring and practical. There are photographs of beautiful rooms inside, but also step-by-step instructions about how to get there.

The book breaks the decorating process into smaller, manageable tasks. The chapter about designing a living room, for example, consists of guidelines about selecting a couch, a carpet, tables, chairs, lighting and accessories. In addition there are sequential photographs showing how each element is installed in an actual room, so that you can literally flip the pages and see the design come together. Someone decorating her own living room can follow these steps methodically or search the book for specific information, like what kind of sofa filling is most durable, or how high a coffee table should be.

Refreshingly, Mayhew isn't governed by a single style. Her process is to start with one element, like a paint color or an artwork, and assemble the rest of the room around it. This leaves plenty of freedom to mix and match between different styles. She says, "Follow your gut and buy what you're crazy about and you'll see a style called 'You' emerge." That seems like the perfect mantra for someone furnishing a home and trying to make it her own.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hooked on November 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pros: This is a really cool concept. It takes an empty room, then shows how to add each element to get you from nothing to complete. It details what paint colors work on walls, furniture placement, how to add art and accessories etc. as you build a room. It makes even us decorating challenged think, "Hey, I can do that." And that was my first mistake.

Cons: The color section is good in that it details how to make a room look bigger, smaller etc. with wall color. But the cool thing about this is that it lists specific foolproof colors in the examples. (It's a bit of a shill to Benjamin Moore, as only this brand is used.) But I was geeked on her brown choice: "Benjamin Moore Wood Grain Brown #2109-30". I bought it for my living room. Mistake. The color I bought was ridiculously off from the color printed in the book. (Imagine caramel vs dark chocolate. Way off.) The skin tones in the book looked normal, and even with intense studio lighting, I don't know how the color could have been so different from the color in the store. I was pretty ticked at the book (and myself) and am now stuck with a very, very dark brown paint I don't know what to do with.

As another reviewer mentioned, the type is olive, not black, which makes this harder to read. But photography and layout are very nice.

Overall, I liked the book's concept, but it fell short on what I really wanted, which was specific color recommendations. 3.5 stars.
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