Home Decorating for Dummies

Create beautiful, functional interior designs that reflect personal style with tips from professional home decorators.

Home decorating entails many challenges, including making and sticking to a budget. The 2nd edition of Home Decorating for Dummies, by Katherine and Patricia McMillan, contains tips and techniques to help anyone decorate like a professional home decorator.

Planning an Interior Design Budget

The basic planning section explains how to bring a decorating vision to life. There are some realistic steps to help plan an interior design budget, including grouping small projects together and hunting for bargains. Evaluating a space and understanding design principles will also help build a decorating road map.

Colour, Pattern and Texture

Professional tips, such as creating surface interest, are well detailed, including understanding and using colour, pattern and textures. A troubleshooting chapter can help figure out what’s wrong with a room and point out ways to fix it.

Decorating With Style

A style and substance section of Home Decorating provides specific guidance for those living in historic homes, decorating with contemporary styles and determining a personal decorating style. The chapter on furniture will help anyone make wise choices in quality furniture.

Backgrounds: Wall Lamps, Chandeliers, Tin Ceilings, Window Blinds, Hardwood Flooring

Create beautiful backgrounds by considering the many options available, including wall lamps, chandeliers, tin ceilings, window blinds and treatments for unfinished hardwood flooring.

Consider a unique ceiling treatment, such as lattice work or ceramic tiles, to disguise a problem. Decide whether to go all white or paint a room in big splashes of colour. Opt for hardwood or stone floors. Costs and comfort considerations are provided for each option.

Tough Rooms: Kitchen, Bath & Home Office

For those who work at home, a home office requires a bit more design consideration than simply sliding a desk against a wall. Comfortable home office furniture, the need for privacy, and electrical outlets must be paired with a design that fits in well with the remainder of a home. Tips for designing a functional home office space include:

  • Locating work space
  • Measuring the space
  • Lighting
  • Equipping the office with electronics & furniture
  • Wiring
  • Colour scheming
  • Accessorizing

Easy Rooms: Bedroom, Living Room, Dining Room

Learn to make the bedroom serene by incorporating storage space, choose the best nightstands and tables, and beautify the bed. Living rooms can benefit from clever furniture layout and a bit of drama on the walls and floor. You can find a great selection of budget beds here. A dining room can be large and formal, or cosily incorporated into another room. Attics, basements, porches, patios and even the laundry room have also been covered in Home Decorating.

Art and Accessories

Buying artwork can be intimidating. Learn to acquire art that’s beautiful to live with, whether it’s for investment purposes or simply for decoration. Find the right home for a piece of art, and consider creating a background for it. Help is offered in choosing accessories of all kinds, including:

  • Pillows
  • Mirrors
  • Coloured Glassware
  • Stained glass
  • Ceramics & tiles
  • Flowers
  • Collections
  • Quilts & throws
  • Screens
  • Hardware & found objects


Whether a decorating novice, or seasoned homemaker, Home Decorating for Dummies has plenty of useful information, all shared in the easy style that is the Dummies’ series signature style. Except for a small colour layout in the centre, the book is short on pictures. But this is not a coffee table tome to flip through. It’s a useful reference with short concise instructions on everything necessary to make a home beautiful.

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