Home decoration and home furnishing are my passion. I want my home and furniture to be practical, economical, safe, sturdy and pretty. To that end, I have studied books and magazines both old and new.
And frankly, I think books on home decoration have gone downhill ever since the 1980’s.
For one thing, older books are all about furniture you can make. Newer books are all about furniture you should buy. Older books are practical, the propose arrangements that do not waste space or energy. And they explain how to do that,.
Newer books sacrifice space to make homes look like magazine pictures. Practicality is no longer important. For instance, in order for rooms to get “a spacious feel” you’re supposed to rid them of everything you actually use, and replace that with an essentially bare room with a big couch, big art on the wall, a big vase of expensive flowers, and one focal useless object, like an ginormous vase with a dead tree in it. Try dusting that. Meanwhile, the family does their living in the basement den. The magainze seems to assume the family would rather watch the dead tree then actual TV.
Another advantage of older books is that time has filtered out all ideas that were just the fashion of the time. It is fun sifting thought the ideas and seeing the ones that still work, that work again because they are back in fashion, and the ones that are currently being turned back because we now like what is underneath all that wood wainscotting. To see how fashions like kitchen-dining trap doors, sitting pits, fireplaces, aquariums, etc have come and gone makes you more wary of spending lots of mony on the current fashions.
Modern books don’t have that filter yet; ideas taken form those books could very well be ridiculously obsolete in less then five years time.
Older books truly give me practical ideas. Newer books just make me both angry and envious.
One last advantage of older books is reading them is a true nostalgic pleasure. Nice to see hints of the homes I grew up in or visited.
So… does anyone have recommendations for modern books on home finishings that are not thinly veiled commercials?