Design Rules

The Insider's Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator

Elaine Griffin - Author

ePub eBook | $16.99 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9781101162934 | 272 pages | 03 Nov 2009 | Gotham Trade Paperback | 18 - AND UP
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Recipient of the Gold Medal in the Living Now Awards-Home Improvement

The essential do-it-yourself guide from one of the top designers in the country that uncovers the secret home design rules used by the pros

Many design books are filled with lavish photography of perfect rooms that most of us can only dream of re-creating. Without any practical advice, the look is unattainable. That's where Design Rules comes in. Here, Elaine Griffin, one of the country's 100 top designers (House Beautiful), explains all the practical decorating standards that professionals use behind the scenes to create flowing, balanced, gorgeous design. Packed with helpful illustrations and hundreds of step-by-step tips, Design Rules includes essential advice such as:

•Pick a pleasing color palette (that really works)

•Correctly size their bedsize tables (so they don't tower over their beds)

•Enhance the visual appeal of windowless rooms (so they're not dungeons)

•Design furniture arrangements that function and flow

•Style up even the most forlorn kitchens, baths and yes, basements and laundry rooms (honey, no space is too dreadful to be made ultra fab)

•Brighten up their kitchens with a can of paint and a burst of strategically- placed color (location, location, location!)

•Figure out which styles of furniture go together (there is a rule and it's easy!)

•Make their own personalities shine throughout their homes (because they should)

•And oodles more!

Design Rules is for the growing number of savvy, novice home designers who are well-versed in what good design looks like, but need advice on how to translate it into their own home. It is the home design bible people have been waiting for.


As an established interior designer, I thought, quite frankly, I was the cat’s meow. I imagined ladies all over the country wistfully longing to engage my services. I just knew they secretly coveted my counsel, wishing for the payday that would allow them to have me come work my mojo on their manses. Who on earth, reasoned I, would want to tackle the thankless task of decorating their own home when they could hire an expert to magically transform it into an Oasis of Paradise in the mere twinkling of an eye? Surely a winning lottery ticket was the only thing keeping us apart. Darling, how wrong I was! Nothing could have been further from the truth! Newsflash! American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) polls indicate that most (49 percent!) American homeowners prefer to handle their own decorating—only 14 percent of them used an interior designer’s services, whether on a beer or champagne budget. The more I thought about it, the more sense it all made: You want your home to look like you and nobody else, you take pride in where you live and how faaabulous it looks, nothing feels better than saying, “I did it all myself!” when it’s finished, and who wouldn’t want to save on all those fees decorators (have to, to be fair) charge?

So I got with the program, picked up a pen, and set out to put to paper some of the practical decorating standards and timeless rules that are second nature to the design professionals who implement them daily, but ones that most folks don’t know about. These are the design truths that transcend style, era, and aesthetic; the tips, proportions, and trade secrets that will help you create flowing, balanced, warm, and great-looking rooms that are delights to behold and to be in, whatever decorative style you favor.

It’s the secret stuff your decorator would have told you if you were hiring one; the design musts without which you can’t successfully do a room but don’t want to pay a pro to learn about, either. They’re the questions that people who do use a designer ask, too. All for the price of the book! Honey, What! A! Bargain!

I’ve made it all shamelessly simple (whew!), and packed Design Rules with the information that knowledge-seeking do-it- yourself designers of both sexes shouldn’t live without, wherever a sofa meets a chair. If you have an idea of how you want your space to feel when it’s finished, but aren’t quiiiiiiiiiite sure how to get there, then, sugar, this is the book for you! We’ll go room-by-room throughout your entire house and show you exactly what you need to know in order for everything to flow and be visually successful. We’ll attack furniture placement, size, and layout; color, lighting, window treatments, painting, flooring, cabinetry, materials, finishes, specific proportions and dimensions, and, of course, accessories, darling! We’ll cover everything you need to know about decorating . . . and have a giggle or two while we’re at it, because as Dorothy Draper once famously said, “Decorating Is Fun!” So let’s get started.

"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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