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How to Decorate: The Best of Martha Stewart Living Paperback – August 20, 1996


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Product Details

  • Series: Best of Martha Stewart Living
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (August 20, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517887800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517887806
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.4 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The editors of Martha Stewart Living, one of America's most successful home living magazines, have gathered in one convenient place the stories and projects that have defined their approach to decorating the home. The book is organized in a fresh and sensible way, looking at how the rooms are actually used, not at what they are called. Step-by-step instructions for each project are included, plus an extensive resource section. 200 color illustrations.

More About the Author

Martha Stewart is the author of dozens of bestselling books on cooking, entertaining, homekeeping, gardening, weddings, and decorating. She is the host of The Martha Stewart Show, the Emmy-winning daily syndicated television program, and founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which publishes several magazines, including Martha Stewart Living; produces Martha Stewart Living Radio; and provides a wealth of ideas and information on her website.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Lisa (lisagary@cobweb.net) on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book because although I'm not stricly speaking a "fan" of Stewart's, I admire the way she combines elegant colors in ways no one else seems to think of. I was not disappointed - Martha clearly explains principles of color in ways the average person can understand, and the colors were every bit as rich and beautiful as I expected. In fact, reading this book made me investigate her line of paint for K-Mart (developed after publication of this book), and in my opinion that collection contains by far the most beautiful interior colors I have found anywhere, including those $40.00 per gallon specialty stores. The colors are in many cases very close to the palettes in the book. However, before I knew about the K-Mart paint, I eagerly turned to the "Guide" section of this book for information on Stewart's paint source because I immediately wanted to buy some ...only to find that the paint she used in her various homes starts at $24 for 750 milliliters and goes up to $75 for 2.5 liters (slightly more than a plastic soda bottle). Further investigation revealed a $14,000 table, a stainless steel sponge holder for $326, and an $1800 telephone stand. Martha gets such fabulous results in her homes because she has unlimited means. Everything looks expensive because it IS expensive. If you're looking for an educational book about color, by all means buy this one (and check out the K-Mart paint), but if your combined household income is less than seven figures and you want to get the Martha Stewart look, you'd better look elsewhere. The true Martha Stewart look has a very high price tag.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Sharon A Lieberman on December 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
I couldn't wait to get my copy of this book, but was very disappointed to find how few ideas in here applied to me. We live in an apartment in NYC, and I was looking forward to ideas on how to make the most of a small space, how to brighten up a dark, windowless foyer, etc. None of these concerns are mentioned here. Instead Martha's "how tos" focus on spacious houses, with tons of natural lighting. Doesn't anything look good when you've got a huge light-filled house to work with?
Another disappointing thing about the book is its lack of practicality. The author often refers us to "Martha's collection of antique Wedgewood crystal vases", or "Martha's Louis XVI chairs" or something of the sort. Most people I know don't own priceless antiques. It's obvious that if we did it would be that much easier to make any room look spectacular.
Bottom line: many of the how-tos in here are no-brainers if you've got unlimited space, fantastic natural lighting, and a deep pocketbook. For the rest of us, keep searching for truly useful decorating pointers.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
Austere, simple design combined with unique color treatments characterize this Martha product. Despite the incredibly elegant chandeliers, this book focuses on the use of many furniture and accessory times that could be acquired and used by non-Hamptonites, i.e., real people. For example,this book shows a highly industrial and modern kitchen with her Fire King dishes, an unexpected combination. Painted furniture, graphically framed photographs, battered painted bookcases, beautiful lamps, old wicker, simple molding framed mirrors, lovely dishes and window treatments all play together in a uniquely modern way. The book's strongest point is its colors, an unusual pallete used throughout the book. I'm not a purely bred fan of Martha's but she and her stylists are very affective in awakening one's decorating sensibilities and drawing one's eye to the less obvious, but beautiful possibilities. Glad I bought it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "cub4bear" on April 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
The introductory chapter on choosing paint colours is particularly excellent. Martha explains when to use dark colours and when to use light colours, how changing light throughout the day should impact your choice of paint colour, and gives ideas on how to coordinate colours for walls and ceilings of adjoining rooms. While some of the projects, such as the outdoor shower, are fanciful, most of the ideas presented are very solid, and the book does a good job of explaining basic principles. Martha's choices are offered as ideas to get you thinking about how you can apply those principles to your own living space.
Other reviewers get hung up on the fact that Martha has expensive furniture. But the most expensive furniture will look sad and out -of-place without attractive surroundings; fabulous Wedgwood china will look really out of place in a poorly decorated dining room, and modest everyday dishes can look perfect if they're displayed properly in a tasteful room. That's what this book helps you to do: make your living space look as tasteful as you can.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rozarooni on August 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
In this collection of ideas from Martha's "Living" magazine, nature and serenity is the order of the day.

Her colors choices are serene and are plucked right out of nature...with soothing blues, brilliant greens and soft, sandy tones that contrast with earthy browns..her monochomatic color schemes are a welcome rest for the eye. Her articles on color are well written and the photographs are absolutely beautiful. You achieve a restful home with contrast that pops and sparks not only your interest, but that of the guests who enter your home. Her tips have proved invaluable over time.

This informative and fun book walks you through the art of texture, contrast, accessory and furniture placement as well as lighting. It is a recipe for designing a soothing home that lifts your spirits while remaining practical. Martha is often accused of being impractical, but as any true Martha fan knows, those impracticalities rarely extend over from her entertainment suggestions into her home design.

This book never looses site of the importance of a home being a haven. If primary colors and mish-mashed furniture placement with harsh lighting is your game...pass on this book. If you love a New England, traditional, modern or country flair then this book should be a welcome addition to your decorating collection. Unlike some decorating books, this is a great READ as well as a feast for the eyes.
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