Making a home is a lifelong pursuit and it starts with your very first place. Good Bones, Great Pieces shows you how to make the best choices for a comfortable and welcoming home.

Suzanne and Lauren McGrath, a mother-daughter design team, operate the popular blog Good Bones, Great Pieces. At the core of their philosophy is the belief that every home should have seven essential pieces that can live in almost any room and will always be stylish. The authors explain how to place iconic items of furniture like the love seat and the dresser and rotate them throughout the home as the style or need changes.

Illustrated with photographs of homes and apartments that the McGraths have designed as well as apartments by famous designers, this book is a wonderful resource, whether you are starting out with your first apartment or rethinking the design of your home. (description from publisher)

Here is a fun do-it-yourself guide to transforming the smallest of spaces into functional living areas easily and economically featuring tips on organization, personalization, and using colors and vintage materials.

A fireplace on wheels? A chandelier light by Xerox? A shrink-wrapped designer closet? These are just a few of the more than one hundred innovative projects in Living in a Nutshell, a DIY guide of decorating ideas that fool the eye into seeing and believing a little lair is larger and more glamorous than its four walls. Here are fresh ideas for enhancing every living area of a tiny space. All are simple, affordable, portable, and big on style. An illustrated survival tool kit as well as extensive listings of untapped, off-the-beaten-track design resources and a select buying guide round out this invaluable book. (description from publisher)

Of course, there’s nothing new about going to flea markets and thrift stores to find treasures to decorate your house, but the current emphasis on recycling and green lifestyle make the old hobby of shopping secondhand seem hip again. Restore Recycle Repurpose by Randy Florke is just the book to inspire you.

Arranged by area (entryways, kitchens, home office, bathroom, outdoor) Florke gives you tips on what to look for – how to determine the quality of a piece and whether it might be salvageable as well as fun and unique ways to use items in new ways. While the majority of the rooms would be considered “country” or “cottage”, they are all refreshingly open and clutter-free; it is not hard to imagine the same rustic pitcher or chair fitting in comfortably in many modern or eclectic rooms. Throughout, Florke effortlessly combines practicality, comfort, eco-friendly options all while honoring the past.

greenchristmasYou can enjoy a colorful, festive holiday and still be eco-friendly. Check out I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas by Anna Getty for lots of simple and creative ideas.

Getty touches on nearly every aspect of Christmas preparations – recipes, decorations, gifts – and also includes lots of general tips. There are the usual “green” recommendations with a focus on Christmas. For instance, buy local (purchase your tree from a local tree farm, and food and decorating materials from the Farmer’s Market), use what you have (create decorations from natural materials in your yard or common objects in your house) and recycle (make pillows out of worn out sweaters or ornaments out of tea bags) A lot of the suggestions have an old-fashioned charm – stringing popcorn for tree garlands, making wrapping paper out of newspaper – that have the added bonus of fun projects to share with children. Scattered throughout the book are lots of eco-tips which are useful at any time of the year. For instance, Getty has several recommendations for “green” shipping, claiming that UPS has the most environmentally friendly shipping policies and the largest alternative-fuel vehicle fleet.

Enjoy a greener and healthier holiday!

dreaming-greenInterested in making your home more “green” and eco-friendly? Afraid that that means that you’ll have to live in a cave or a tiny, windowless shack far from civilization? Then you need to turn to Dreaming Green by Lisa Sharkey and Paul Gleicher – you’ll be amazed at just how beautiful, modern and stylish being ecologically responsible can be!

The 15 featured houses range in location from urban to suburban to rural,  and are scattered throughout the country. While the house styles are mostly modern, they also include a cozy farmhouse, a traditional southern manor and a classic saltbox with a twist. While all of the houses are gorgeous, they are not merely for show – these are family homes that are loved and lived in.

While many of these homes are new-built, many are also renovations showing that being eco-friendly doesn’t require starting from scratch. Beautifully photographed, each house includes a list of “green features” that will inspire you on just how much can be done and there is an extensive list of resources at the back of the book to help you with your own quest for green. There is an emphasis on details – small changes can make a big difference – and going local both with labor and materials. All of the homes take advantage of location and make strong connections to the outside environment. All of it is beautifully done, with style and sophistication.

Ahhh, Spring!  It’s a fresh start for everything — including your home! April just happens to be National Decorating Month, so if you’re looking for some ideas to update your lovely abode, stop by the library and check out what we have to offer.  These books have beautiful photographs and offer simple (and inexpensive) solutions to your decorating dilemnas.  You know, all you need is a new coat of paint or a change of pillows on your couch! Well, maybe a little bit more.

For more detailed ideas, here are some great resources for some creative new home decorating ideas:

the-nestbefore-and-after baths style-by-nature

HGTV Before & After Decorating

Better Homes and Gardens Beautiful Baths

Style by Nature: Beautify Your Home with Pattern, Color and Texture by Rebecca Jerdee

Can’t Fail Room Makeovers by Lucianna Samu

The Nest Home Design Handbook by Carley Roney

Just paging through Merry and Bright will put you in the holiday spirit. Full of ideas on how to brighten your holiday, there’s something for everyone from crafts to recipes to decking the halls.

As you would expect from Country Living, the emphasis here is on the simple and homey. Most of the projects can be accomplished with things you have on hand already – buttons, ribbons, paper – and encourages you to dip into your collection of ornaments and holiday decorations and use them in new ways.

Beautifully photographed, most of the ideas are quick to finish and yield big results. Antiques, collectibles, nature and tradition mix with the new ideas for an old-fashioned Christmas with a fresh, bright look.