The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well
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The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  457 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Style is a luxury, and luxury is simply what makes you happy.

Over the years, founding editor in chief of domino magazine Deborah Needleman has seen all kinds of rooms, with all kinds of furnishings. Her conclusion: It’s not hard to create a relaxed, stylish, and comfortable home. Just a few well-considered items can completely change the feel of your space, and The Perfect...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Potter Style
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Combined with Domino: The Book of Decorating, this book is a must-read for decorating nuts (like me!) and will set you on the right track when you're staring at a blank space and wondering what to do with it. The Perfectly Imperfect Home focuses less on the step-by-step how-tos and more on the insipiration and philosphy behind developing your personal style, living well, and making your house into a home. Needleman's text is friendly and often feels like you're being pulled into a conversation,...more
I never read Domino, and never even heard of it until it was defunct, so I am new to Deborah Needleman. The title of the book is what caught my attention. Initially I was disappointed to see the book filled with watercolors rather than photographs, but then I decided that the book was better without photos. Photos are static and can make the decorating ideas seem unattainable, whereas the watercolors provide the hint of a suggestion as to how to create your space, and make it all seem much more...more
From the title, I was expecting this book to be a refreshing look at the obsession with perfection that so many of us have toward our homes, and a reminder that no, we don't have to be perfect all the time, and neither do our living spaces. Maybe with some awareness that not everyone has the time or money to make their homes look fantastic, and some basic advice for making things look good without spending all your time and energy on decorating.

Sadly, it seems to be filled with just as much this...more
Jun 13, 2013 Lize rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
"Growing up, I was struck by the fact that our house had nothing personal in it. Nobody ever tacked up a picture she found amusing. No memento was brought back from a holiday and put up on a shelf. No bunch of flowers was ever cut from the yard and stuck in a vase.

In fact, nothing ever got moved around or changed, until the day the decorators were brought back for an update. There were certain rooms, like the dining room and the living room, that we rarely entered. And there was a piano that no...more
I was hopeful when the introduction to this book focused on living a joyful life and having a "spirit-filled home" that embraces your individual personality, but when I dove into it, it was just more of the same old, boring advice. There wasn't anything remotely connected to bringing a sense of individual spirit into your house, and as one other reviewer said, the author assumes we all live in a giant mansion full of multiple rooms. There was no acknowledgement of how to deal with small spaces a...more
Lori Paximadis
I miss Domino so, so much -- it's nice to have this book on decorating by Deborah Needleman to fill the void. She has lots of solid advice for creating a beautiful but not overdone home.

Having illustrations instead of photos was a little off-putting at first, I think mostly because I'm so used to seeing decorating books loaded with photos, but in the end I think it was a better choice because it forces you do focus on the concepts rather than the particularities. Photos tend to date a book fast...more
I was pretty disappointed in this book. There wasn't anything in it that I haven't seen a bunch of times before and the content is really light-weight as well. It took me about twenty minutes to read the whole thing. The illustrations were pretty but they also made everything look very same-y. Considering all the lip service the author gives to appreciating imperfect spaces and making any home feel perfect, it would have been nice to see some design examples that didn't belong to upper class Man...more
Surprisingly readable, which makes sense considering this isn't a typical decorating book filled with photos. It's more about mood and coziness and the little things. It wouldn't necessarily be helpful if you were actually looking for specific visual inspiration, but I did find the illustrations to suit the mood of the book perfectly. I read the whole thing in one sitting, thinking of ways the concepts could apply to an apartment.
I loved Domino and recently moved, so I picked this up for some inspiration. Given the title, I found some of her advice to be very formal (there are 'rules'), though she includes a lot of quotes and ideas from other, more famous decorators, which gave her some more credibility and added a sense of history to the book. There are some good ideas here, but more for inspiration. It's not particularly budget-friendly, and far from a how-to book.

On the up-side, at least one full star was awarded due...more
Fun read by the founding editor of Domino Magazine. The watercolor illustrations are the same as from Kate Spade's Style.

I think that Needleman is writing for someone who is more fashion forward than I am, so I took some things with a grain of salt; For example, her recommendations to have an antique piece in every room and using small animal tchotchkes to decorate are not ones that resonate with me. I am not going to go antiquing nor am I going to collect knick-knacks when I would rather displ...more
I always like little "tips and tricks" about decorating and was hopeful that this book would bring something new. Especially with an title like "the perfectly imperfect home". But it was more like advice from a professional decorator on planning how to not be perfect (uninteresting). Tips like having statement pieces, or not being too matchy-matchy. Check, got that. But the writing was cute and fun and I enjoyed the illustrations versus the traditional photos that would typically be in a book li...more
Reading the other reviews of this book is fascinating. People are giving the book one star or five stars for the exact same reasons. Different strokes...

Personally, I found it very helpful. There were tips I could incorporate immediately, with no shopping, sewing, or renovations. Needleman focuses more on coziness and functionality than picture perfect designs that have no personality. She seems to truly believe that a space should reflect the owner rather than a decorator or retailer.

Some revi...more
Rachel Nelson
I really loved this book! I think this is the perfect "coffee table book," filled with short little sections of fascinating information with a lively cover and pictures inside to match. I would have, however, preferred photographs to the drawings, just because sometimes it was hard for me to see what they were trying to express and photos would have done that better for me. That being said, the pictures matched the feeling of the book, which in some ways did more to show what the book was about...more
Lisa Schmeiser
Okay, so a book about home decoration illustrated by adorable drawings instead of photos is going to age well (no tell-tale trend giveaways, because each picture looks timeless), but this alleged guide to decorating in a "Oh, this? Of course I'm both tasteful and casual about my excruciatingly good eye for gracious style!" kind of way really would have benefited from photos.

Because it is a GUIDE, and therefore meant to be read by those of us who are not tasteful and casual about our excruciatin...more
Just the kind of "intro to interior design" book I had been looking for. Deborah Needleman, former editor of Domino magazine, provides a lovely and lively discussion of all of the little elements that make a home comfortable, cozy, and customized to our personalities and desires. Lots of great little tips for people like me, who don't exactly know what they are doing when it comes to arranging the elements of my home. Encouraging and practical. Needleman doesn't make you feel like you need to go...more
"The point of decorating is to create the background for the best life you can have" -Deborah Needleman. Many home decor books are full of inspiration but fall short on the actual "how to" of adapting an idea for your real, lived-in home. Needleman fills this book with lots of helpful information - such as how to fill bookcases in a way that is useful but also beautiful, and how to hang pictures in groupings that look fun and not too posed. The only negative for me is that this book fills every...more
Kayla Cagan
I consider this a companion book to the Domino Book of Decorating that came out a few years ago. If the Domino Book of Decorating is a lamp, The Perfectly Imperfect Home is the shade.

The Perfectly Imperfect Home sheds light through soft watercolors instead of realistic photographs. It presents images and impressions of rooms and furniture modeled off professional designer's and artist's homes, and gently suggests how we can apply the same ideas to our own spaces.

I would really recommend readin...more
This book has design sketches and no photos. So keep that in mind if you wanted photography. I loved the book and found it so helpful for a crappy decorator like myself.
Jo Oehrlein
About the perfectly imperfect home, but no hints on special things like kids bedrooms or playrooms. Lots of references to famous designers that I'd never heard of. Her idea is that a picture-perfect home like you see in magazines is bad, but although she says that "lived-in" is the ideal, there aren't any real tricks she gives for making an almost magazine house more livable. Instead, there are formulas for the types of pillows on your bed and the number of different types of chairs in the livin...more
Loved the visual glossaries, but overall, I was disappointed. The illustrations are beautiful but not very practical for an "imperfect" decorating manual.
Marcy Graybill
Sadly it didn't have photographs. The drawings were nice, but photos would have been much better.
This book was a quick read that gave some useful reminders about how to make a house a cozy home. I found myself wishing for the money to implement all of the wonderful ideas presented.
Great ideas. Lots of possibilities opened up reading these pages. I'm trying to see what I have in a different light and use what I have instead of buying all new pieces. I'm trying to learn patience and wait to see what sort of great find I may come across wherever I travel or when I'm with friends--I'd rather have pieces with memories rather than just Amazon-purchased.
Warnie B.
Really beautiful illustrations--those are kind of my favorite part of this book. The decorating tips themselves aren't terribly original, and a lot of them seem more geared towards rich people than I would like (I should iron my sheets? Really??? Who on earth has the time or energy for that?), and I can't say I loved the writing. But there are a lot of good, solid ideas, and really, the watercolor illustrations are just super pretty! It's certainly worth a peek, if you're looking for some basic...more
There are two types of books that should ALWAYS have lots of photos: cookbooks and interior design. I am making an exception on this title though. Needleman writes in a light-hearted, tongue in cheek style while discussing aspects of decorating that make a house a stylish home. Her ideas are practical yet effective. Throughout, the book is illustrated with beautiful, whimsical watercolor illustrations of the sort I want to frame and put on my wall. A must read for interior design fans.
This book is fabulous. For someone wanting to learn how to decorate this book takes you from room to room, table top to walls. I love her style tip boxes and nice things to know. Each chapter starts with a poignant quote and it's full of watercolor illustrations. I learned some great new words like glamifications and tablescapes.

One of my favorite quotes:

Decorating has to do with people and beauty and the timeless activities of domestic life. ~ Mark Hampton
Robin Ripley
Unlike some decorating books, which are little more than captions strung together, this one was very readable. Needleman brings the same optimism, attitude and energy to the book that she had with Domino magazine. I found the illustrations charming. But I will admit that they seemed a bit cloying after a while, with everything in muted in pastel shades. I found myself longing for photographs of the real places instead of the illustrations.
What a great book! I got so many good ideas for decorating my home. I love that the book is illustrated with watercolors by Virginia Johnson instead of with photographs. Johnson's illustrations are lovely and whimsical, giving you an idea of the decorating concept Needleman is discussing but also providing more scope for the imagination than a photograph, which can seem more prescriptive.
Started off filled with kind of dull info that I'd read before, but there were some hidden gems in here. Plus the illustrations were cute.
I love the whimsical illustrations and the carefree attitude of this book. It also taught me that I already do a lot of the things that an "expert" would recommend, so that is a nice pat on the back. ;)

The one downside to reading this book is that I now feel quite convicted about my lack of table lamps. I still can't figure out where the cords are supposed to go...
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“Our home tells a story about us, so we may as well take the opportunity to make it a stylish one.” 0 likes
“Life is messy and gloriously imperfect, and some signs of wear and tear indicate a well-loved, well-used home.” 0 likes
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