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I recently wrote about beginning to learn how to make my home beautiful, and why this matters to me. I have begun to realize how much simple happiness it brings me, and because beauty is not fluff or “extra” to God. It’s intentional, and meant to delight.
On top of that, for some people, making home beautiful is their primary form of creativity. It may look like repainting every six months, or moving furniture around, or keeping things super neat, or something totally random or unusual. But it’s part of creating, and that makes it important.
Below are the books that have inspired me, motivated me, and provided practical advice that actually feels doable.
1. The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith
I read this one last, but it is possibly my favorite. This one doesn’t provide as much visual inspiration (for me) as much as it offers a mindset of thankfulness, authenticity, and joy with which to view the idea of home.
Myquillyn’s writing style is laugh-out-loud hilarious, and her stories of living in over a dozen different homes were entertaining, honest, and very encouraging—if she can do it, so can I! And though most of her decorating is not my style, her tips and tricks were solid suggestions that I could apply to my own way of decorating.
This is definitely the pick for renters, too, as she offers some ideas specifically for those who may feel like their hands are tied in the decorating department because they don’t own the space. (And the story at the end. You will probably cry. It’s powerful.)
2. The Inspired Room: Simple Ideas to Love the Home You Have by Melissa Michaels
This one was my favorite to look through, and glean ideas from. The decorating, photography, and style are all stellar. I didn’t spend as much time reading it as I did looking at the pictures, figuring out what made it attractive to me, and then deciding how I could implement something similar.
Melissa Michaels also has a few spin-off books, Simple Organizing and Simple Decorating, and I was looking through all 3 of them at about the same time. I made small, simple changes in my home while going through these books—things like organizing items in my drawers in empty candle jars that had been sitting in my cabinet collecting dust, and using pretty bath items as display-worthy decor instead of storing them under the sink.
Putting some of the visual suggestions in these books to use took maybe ten minutes, and rewarded me with intense satisfaction. I highly recommend them. And The Inspired Room itself is a gorgeous hardcover, well-deserving of coffee table exhibition.
3. Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update, and Show Your Home Some Love by Sherry and John Petersik
I hate crafts. At least, I thought I did. The Petersiks converted me.
This funny, conversational-style book took away a lot of my fear of tinkering with, toying with, or trying out things in my home. So many of the ideas they offered were simple, and no-fuss. They also listed time, money, and difficulty estimates for each project. YHL gave me the confidence that if I should ever need to recover a dining room table chair, I absolutely could. Plus, I’ve also been hatching a plot to rescue a poor, dilapidated, quirky side-table from the porch, and refinish it. The Petersiks made me believe I can (or made me do it, if it fails).
So those are my favorites! I’m also reading Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness, by Ingrid Fetell Lee, but I haven’t finished it yet. So far, it’s fascinating.
What about you? Do you have any books or blogs that have consistently inspired you to add beauty to your home?