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For almost two decades now I've lived in dorms and apartments, which of course has severely limited any opportunities to customize my living space. But now that Jim and I are buying our own place and we can decorate however the hell we want, I have no idea where to begin. The pressure is keeping me awake at night.

Can any of you artsy-smartsy folks out there recommend some good books or sites to inspire the designing woman in me (and Jim)? The more basic, the better (seriously, do I need to use primer before painting the walls? I have no idea). My tastes are fairly simple -- I'm not into Victoriana or sponge-painting or rooms that look like they were purchased intact from a catalog. Our new place is a century-old vintage with big rooms, high ceilings, and lots of cool molding. I prefer earth tones over rainbow hues, but a little glitter never hurt anyone. Mostly, I want it to look cozy. I want people to want to come over and hang out.

Any ideas?

Replies: 4 Confessions

Peter and I looked at a lot of bungalow books, especially one called "Bungalow Kitchens." We bouught a 1916 Craftsman type bungalow with lots of great wood and somehow the colors in bungalow kitchens were very helpful.
By the way, the living room is "Squash," which looks a lot better than it sounds, and the landing is "Chai Latte." And the parlor is RED. And this all works.

elavil @ 04/18/2007 10:41 AM CST

Hmmm, that book sounds like a good possibility.

So far I'm feeling pretty good about "Sapling" for the living room, "Blue Button" for the bathroom, and possibly "Wood Box" for the dining room.

AmyC @ 04/18/2007 02:45 PM CST

God, I hate to plug something Oprah related, but her decorator dude Nate Berkus is awesome. Here are a bunch of his tips:

the other amy @ 04/19/2007 04:08 AM CST

Two more tips, both learned through sometimes painful personal experience:
1) Behr paints (sold at Home Depot) offer little jars of paint and tiny roller kits. You can buy these online in the colors you think you might like. Then you get a big piece of posterboard and paint it with your chosen color and carry the posterboard around the room to observe it in different lights. This is way easier than painting samples on the walls.
2) Instructions for how to paint (in exhaustive but useful detail)can be found in This Old House magazine, along with a lot of ther useful tips for people generally unfamiliar with things like muntins and chop saws.

elavil @ 04/19/2007 06:22 AM CST

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