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Books That Helped Me Design My Dream Home

When we began remodeling our fixer upper, I knew I wanted to design everything on purpose. Our last house was a custom home we built, as well as our first house. My dad, home builder extraordinaire, walked us through everything as we built on a very tight budget. I had NO idea what we were doing or what I wanted, and with my dad's guidance we built a little home we adored.

With this home, though, I made every choice (of the billion you have to make in a remodel or build) intentional, and that was I part due to these books I read:

Home Sweet Maison by Danielle Postel-Vinay

I went through a little French phase (pre-COVID) where I dreamt of visiting Paris someday but in the meantime was happy to just learn about French culture. That's how I stumbled upon this gem in the library. It was SO GOOD that I immediately bought it, and here's why: it completely changed the way I thought about designing my home.

I made the shift from designing my home based on how I wanted it to look, to designing based on how we wanted to live.

I designed every space of our house to reflect our values, priorities, and how we wanted to live, and then the aesthetic followed. It was incredibly fascinating to read about "the French art of making a home", and I adapted so much of what I learned to our own home. One of my favorite chapters was about the "L Entrée", or entry way. I had always thought of the entryway is a place to have people take off their shoes and dump their stuff before really coming in. Then I read this chapter:

"The entrance is where the personality of your home-meaning your personality and the personality of your family-is most clearly articulated. It is the point of connection between outside and inside worlds, where one leaves the random happenings of the street... and steps into the controlled, protected, and intimate sphere of your life." -Postel-Vinay

This book was also instrumental in me not going crazy knocking out walls to create an "open concept" that felt wrong to me but every person that looked in my house as we were demo-ing said I should do, and adding a fireplace to my living room while forgoing dresser space because of how I knew we wanted our bedroom to feel and function (best decision ever!). This book is a must read, and I will share more about it in the future as I show how I designed rooms.

Home Body by Joanna Gaines

I mean, I feel like I don't really need to elaborate on this. It's Joanna Gaines. Writing a book about home design.But elaborate I shall. This book was so incredibly helpful when it came to narrowing down style and aesthetic, and then picking colors, finishes, and textures that go along with my personal style.

Gaines shows different houses, explains the style influences, and how to choose and design based on your own personal aesthetic. This book is especially helpful when you don't know where to begin, or are unsure how to describe your own personal style.

Home Body is also a book for every body: for example, I used it to design my house (my style is a mix of Modern Traditional, Rustic, with a touch of French country meets English cottage), and my sister-in-law is using it to design her gorgeous modern farmhouse out in the country. It's a must read!

The Home Edit by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin

This book is like eye candy for the organization-minded. I used Shearer and Teplin's tips to plan out kitchen and closet organization, and am so happy I did. This was a fun (and gorgeous) read as well; their voice and sarcasm makes organizing fun.

When it comes to organizing in a way that actually works, and making systems that you will actually use, this book takes the cake. It's also fun to see how the author's organized celebrity homes. I haven't read their new book yet but it's on my list!

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith

I stumbled upon this book when we lived in our first house and it was life changing. I had not really figured out my own style yet, and was decorating based on my stylish friends' homes and what was popular. Maybe I should rephrase that: I wasn't yet brave enough to have my home reflect my own style, so was decorating with what was popular.

Consequently, I was constantly buying different things: thrifted furniture to refinish and piece together, target runs for meaningless tchotchkes, or the pillowcases my friend had ordered too from amazon. I had too much stuff in our little house, and somehow none of it seemed to really fit us as a family. Enter Myquillyn Smith's book:

"I wanted, no, I needed, more style with less stuff, and along the way I realized less stuff gave way to more life." -Myquillyn Smith

Smith's book gives permission to have a stylish home, but get rid of all the clutter you don't need. With her help, I design rooms now that have a place for your eyes to rest instead of useless decor everywhere, and a home that feels cozy with no clutter. Smith helps reduce clutter, pick lasting and meaningful items and furniture for your home (the sofa chapter was soooo helpful), and even teaches how to arrange furniture. She also has a new book out that is on my Christmas list (hint hint hubby).

To see the books on amazon, click on the pictures, titles, or click below:

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