cover image House Rules: How to Decorate for Every Home, Style, and Budget

House Rules: How to Decorate for Every Home, Style, and Budget

Myquillyn Smith. Revell, $29.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8007-4474-8

The Nester blogger Smith (Welcome Home) outlines 100 interior design principles in this middling manual for decorating one’s home. Among the “rules” are recommendations for readers to utilize a few large items instead of many small pieces when trying to fill a space and purchase covers for tissue boxes and other products to ensure their commercial design doesn’t disrupt the composition of a room. Smith sheds light on her design principles with anecdotes about how she’s decorated her own home, as when she encourages repurposing items one already owns and tells how she painted a new design over a factory-printed canvas after she grew tired of the original image. Other rules touch on the importance of contrast (“For that white room, try adding darker pieces”) and the principle of threes (“If you want something to look purposeful, either group it in threes or repeat it at least three times”). Despite a few useful tidbits, other suggestions feel redundant (“Timelessness is here to stay” and “find your own timeless classics,” for example) and Smith’s decision to only feature photos of her own home will turn off readers unmoved by her minimalist aesthetic, whose muted tones can border on bland. This comes up short. Agent: Karen Yates, Yates and Yates. (Apr.)