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Design Rules: The Insider's Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator Paperback – November 3, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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  • Design Rules: The Insider's Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator
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  • Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves
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  • Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Ignore the sugars, honeys, and dollfaces you may find here, and avoid any sentence ending with an exclamation point. Once you look beyond the cutesy trying-too-hard-to-be- colloquial prose, New York City interior designer and magazine contributor Griffin does have decorating secrets and tips to share—and to use. Much of her knowledge is revealed through black-and-white illustrations, a better perspective on home realities than fancy four-color photographs. And much of the book’s value lies in the very pragmatic ideas and techniques promoted. Afraid of color? Remember that if the combination exists in nature, it’ll work in your home. To ensure that bathroom wallpaper endures (at least for a while), open the door (and window) right after a shower or bath. Looking for empty decorating space? Try over the headboard or beneath the hall table. Don’t let the book’s very traditional organization—by room—dissuade you from more than a glance; despite some seemingly arbitrary likes and dislikes (for instance, go to the big-box store for kitchen and bath design!), Griffin’s know-how will successfully populate any room in the house. --Barbara Jacobs

Review

"It's by far one of the best practical decorating guides to come down the pike."
-Jennifer Boles, Peak of Chic

"Elaine Griffin is the Diana Vreeland of decorating. Ignore her smart and stylish directives at your own risk! This book has the answers to so many seemingly simple decorating questions-- I love it!"
-Kate Betts, editor of TIME Style & Design

"Creating one's own style at home can be daunting. Elaine Griffin demystifies the process with a smart and savvy, no-nonsense decorating primer. Translating the basics of chic design for the nonprofessional, she provides irresistible, foolproof tips that make sense for every taste, style and budget."
-Margaret Russell, editor in chief of Elle Decor

"[A] great new book...I love Elaine's accessible writing style, a breath of fresh air in the often stuffy atmosphere of decorating. Thrilling!"
-Temo Callahan, creative director, Studio Printworks

"Elaine nails it with her step-by-step, practical approach...Design Rules is a great tool and inspiration for all."
-Colin Cowie, designer and author of Colin Cowie Chic
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Avery; 1 Original edition (November 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592405061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592405060
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Waldron on November 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a book to make decorating more approachable, then this might be a good book for you. If you are looking for more advanced guidance - beyond "wallpaper looks great in X room" to "the best sources for wallpapers are A, B, C" - beyond "mix two or more stains [for wood floors]" to "this mixture looks great on white oak: XYZ" then this book will not be satisfying. I have read countless decorators say that mixing several stain colors produces better results, but which colors? Which brands of stain? What percentages of each color?

I was excited about this title because I saw it reviewed - very positively - in two shelter magazines I read, but it is disappointing because it is so very basic. This book may be useful if you have never decorated a room before and have no intuition for how to do so, but it lacks depth. I have read it cover to cover, and I have not learned anything I did not already know (and I am not a professional decorator). Perhaps because I was expecting the book to be a resource, I was also annoyed by the "we're close friends having coffee" tone of the book (the reader is "sugar" "doll" and "honey" throughout). The conversational tone makes weeding through the chit-chat for the information even harder.
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Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like this book as I am decorating my home on a budget and felt that learning a few decorating tips would enable me to avoid costly mistakes. First and foremost, this is the first decorating book that I've read that lacks photographs. There are a handful of sketches of room layouts and furniture styles, bur absolutely ZERO photographs. I understand that the book has an instructional objective, but photographs would have been most helpful.

The book is also not well organized. There are many sections in the book that are six or seven paragraphs long and have no bullet points or lists to highlight the important information. Additionally, I found the author's rambling, Southern style of writing ("Designer Girlfriend can't have that honey") to be quite annoying.

While the author may offer a few helpful tips, the book lacks photographs and is not pleasingly organized. I would not have purchased this book had I flipped through it at the bookstore.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Love Elaine Griffins work, love this book, think she's a genius. I refer to this book all the time, and I have hundreds of design books that I read once and never refer to again, ever. This is good practical advice from someone who is clearly one of the best in the business. How far apart should your coffee table be from your sofa? Elaine tells you. What are your best window treament options for your style windows, and why? Elaine tells you. What details in your home should you "play up" or "play down" in your home... yep, she tells you that too. She addresses things in this book that I have not seen brought to attention before. And her writing style is fun too.

I just wish she'd write another book!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't buy the writing style, which is only mildly amusing for me, but the information and advice given are great. The booked is packed with tips, explanations, and graphs, showing what to and what not to do to your home. Just as the title says, it points ourt Design Rules, not trends or style, how long should your curtains be, not what color or pattern.
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By BS on November 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am loving this book! It makes decorating so easy and simple. I actually like that the design layouts are sketches and blueprints because then its easier to imagine your own style in the space. I am not bothered by her "flavored" speech...its not over the top in my opinion, just sprinkled throughout. It does help make it a little more fun, and not so technical. However, she does NOT skimp on the technical details...she gives measurements and ratios for EVERYTHING under the sun. I will definitely be taking this along with me before I buy furniture again. If you are decorating for the first time, this is a GREAT book to purchase!
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Format: Paperback
What I love most about Elaine's book is that she teaches. Most decor books are all about "showy" interior pics and aspiration-al living that most people can't live up to. But Elaine's book teaches us how to work with what we have and how to love it. To me that's what a good decor book is all about.
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Format: Paperback
I LOVE this book! I think it's a brilliant departure from the traditional interior design books out there, which usually just show instead of teach the readers! Elaine, who in my mind is my best friend who advises me on every major purchase decision, FINALLY gets that readers need a little finessing and a little teaching! I don't know composition, so to see the line drawings - instead of pictures - I finally started to learn! The book can't teach you taste, but Elaine definitely helps readers define/refine theirs!

And wow how refreshing was it to see BROWN type, instead of black! It was so unexpected - and yet so easy on the eyes!

So Thank You Elaine for sharing your tips - and being the voice of support I needed in my home makeover!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Got it in hardback, loaned it out, and it never came back. So good that I got a Kindle copy so that I can carry it with me and always know where it is. If you are decorating a room or remodeling a house, you need this book. The best that I have found - and I looked at a LOT of design books.
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