One of my all time favorite decorating books is Creating a Beautiful Home, by Alexandra Stoddard. What I love most about her books is her contagious enthusiasm for making a house a home by reflecting your own personal aesthetic and love of life.
From Chapter One:
We live in houses, and when they transcend into homes, they envelop our personality. Whatever is right and good about our lives, whatever is authentic and beautiful, will be reflected in the atmosphere as well as in the details that mirror our souls in meaningful, tangible, physical ways....
A home is a compelling experience that goes far beyond the architecture, no matter how beautifully proportioned and gracious. It is the ultimate assimilation of life's opportunities, and requires far more than attractively decorated rooms, an efficiently run household, or polite behavior. Pure contentment is brought on by our visceral enjoyment of the total home experience-the pleasure we take in our physical surroundings; our sense of satisfaction in the work we did ourselves to bring about these results; and the feelings we have about ourselves and the people sharing our lives.
I've checked out this book from the library on many occasions and read it cover to cover. The only color photographs are on the front and back cover. So this isn't exactly a book for sitting and gazing at lovely photos. It is for enjoying her inspiring and encouraging thoughts on bringing life and love to each room of your home.
For instance, it is my desire that our home reflects our love of our God, each other, and our country. Therefore, the American flag flies proudly outside our door everyday. Today, my heart sang as I stopped to watch it waving in the breeze with the roses nearby in full bloom.
See if you can find a copy of her book at your library. I think you'll find it truly inspiring.
God Bless you today.