Design*Sponge is a blog that evolved into a pretty major design magazine online. I was enjoying my October issue of Bon Appetite and came across an interview with the blog’s/magazine’s author, Grace Bonney. The brief interview was enough to convince me to check out the sight and order the newly-released book, Design*Sponge at Home, on the spot. Over the past two weeks I have enjoyed the “Sneak Peek” pictures of the home decor choices made by artists, designers, and Design*Sponge contributers as they strive to make their homes beautiful, comfortable, and inviting all on a budget. I think that last part, the budget aspect of this book and blog is what has caused Grace Bonney’s blog to become what it is today.

I grew up in a “fixer-upper” house and I had the epitome of do-it-yourself parents, so while interior design and home decor may not have been on my radar formally, I spent a lot of time witnessing its effects. When I was in third grade we painted a wall with black chalkboard paint (it was way harder to erase stuff back then!); when I went away for a weekend dance competition I came back to find a huge hole in the wall between the kitchen and dining room (it became a lovely breakfast bar); when my sister and I graduated from sharing a bed to bunk beds, we put in windows that covered two walls of the room; when we put the house on the market, we painted the living room a golden color (it looked horrible before it dried!) and re-upholstered the couch to compliment the new wall color. I won’t say I showed a natural inclination to it…honestly I couldn’t believe my parents would paint the walls a burnt golden color…but now that I’m on my own and trying to decorate my own home (albeit an apartment for now), I appreciate the braveness it took to do bold things like that with our home. Looking back, I love what I learned from those times and what I enjoyed about Design Sponge at Home is that it provided a lot of ideas that seem far more doable than the big projects that my parents undertook. I am grateful for stepping stones while I bide my time in apartments and this book (and blog) are overflowing with great everything. You like do-it-yourself projects? Check out the DIY column on the blog or the entire section of ideas and instructions in the book. You want some awesome ideas on ways other people decorate their homes with flea market and Goodwill finds? Check out the Sneak Peak column.

I am endlessly fascinated by the way people’s belongings and homes can tell you so much (or so little) about the person/people who live there. One of the first things I did when I was on my own was buy a red couch. I slept on it more often than I slept in my bed for the first year just because I was so thrilled with having such a cool piece of furniture. I designed an entire room around it…and let me tell you, big book shelves completely stacked with books + red couch = awesome combination for a living room. A lot of the sneak peak pictures from the book showed book shelves being used to hold and display books as well as lots of other artifacts next to, between, and even in front of the books themselves. I couldn’t help but laugh when I cam across these pictures, because I looked up and realized that every bookshelf (and I have a lot of them) in my home was not only over-flowing with books, but covered in wine-glass candles, a drum from Turkey, post cards from Japan and stick-figure masterpieces, my pine cone collection and anything else that didn’t quite seem to have a home yet. I love the business and brightness that books bring in to a room, but I also love how they line the walls but become centerpieces and conversation starters.

Design Sponge highlights a lot of design features I already know and love, but introduced me to even more ideas and projects that I had never even thought of before. For anyone, experienced or entirely new to the home decorating scene, this book is a must-have. I coupled this with the book, The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky and have come up with some pretty cool ideas for my own apartment. Mixing reflections on color (and stone) with design ideas has encouraged me to be a little more creative in the finishing touches on my apartment…shadow boxes and framed books are definitely in my future. So check it out and have a blast deciding what your home can say about you.

I believe 110% that if your home truly reflects who you are and, at the same time, can continually inspire you, there is very little that you couldn’t accomplish. Take Grace Bonney’s advice: be a sponge soaking up every design tip, technique, and idea that comes your way!


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