Finally, a design book designed for 'real' people

January 30, 1994|By Gary Krino | Gary Krino,Orange County Register

Lots of design-type books come across our desk. Most of them are ho-hum or full of out-of-reach stuff, like transforming your house into an Italian villa for just $2 million or creating a 3,000-square-foot country kitchen.

But once in a while, a book shows up that not only looks good, but is packed with practical design information we can actually use.

"Interior Design on Your Own," by English designer Jill Blake and the editors of Consumer Reports Books, is one of them.

For starters, this 182-page gem is easy to read. It takes itself seriously, but not too seriously. It does have some pretty pictures, but is not a pretty-picture book, like too many design books on the market.

It starts at the beginning of the design process and carries the reader through to the conclusion of a variety of projects.

This book assumes nothing and takes readers on a guided tour of various styles including traditional, Colonial, country, Victorian, Mission/Art and Crafts, art deco, modern minimalist, eclectic, contemporary/post modern and Southwest. It also discusses the shapes, colors and accessories of each of the design styles.

Here are a few of the tips included in the book that are especially interesting:

* Brilliant white woodwork will make any off-white items in the room look dirty.

* Wallpaper visible plumbing pipes in older homes. With a striking pattern, the pipes are hardly noticeable.

* Glass shelves placed across a window sill can display a collection of colored glass or plants. They are a good treatment for a window without a view.

* Always consider lighting and electrical outlets at the initial planning stage and plan for enough. You always will need double the number you thought were sufficient.

* If a guest bedroom is to double as an office and will be used only occasionally for guests, it should be planned primarily for its main function.

* If you are undecided about a plan for the dining area, think about your favorite restaurant and try to analyze its atmosphere. See if you can re-create some of that feeling in your own home.

* Split a tall bedroom (one with an extra-high ceiling) by raising the bed on a platform and installing a storage unit or a desk underneath.

* A few well-chosen pieces of large furniture can make a small room appear larger.

* Avoid the temptation of cluttering an L-shaped room with a divider, unless you need to cut off a corner for a particular reason, such as for a quiet study or hobby area.

* If you have a triangular-shaped room where one corner dominates, disguise it by using pale colors and simple patterns on the two walls that form the "point," and treat the other wall more boldly in a strong paint color paint or with a distinctly patterned wall covering.

"Interior Design on Your Own" is $27.95 hardcover. Check at your bookstore or call (800) 272-0722.

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