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

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  976 Ratings  ·  138 Reviews
The Perfectly Imperfect Home: Essentials for Decorating and Living Well Book Description
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Potter Style
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Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
May 30, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jan 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
This was a quick read with many great ideas and I like that the author is playful and doesn't take home decorating too seriously. I wish the watercolor illustrations were photographs instead. It was hard for me to visualize the rooms she displayed. The watercolors did add an artistic feel.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this because it was Fancy-ish in some ways, but mostly just pragmatic, good humored, and with lots of nice tips about how to think about home decor and what you want out of a home environment. It was also inspirational without making me so gung ho I want to knock down walls or something, which is great because I'd like to rearrange some furniture this year but know I won't be able to afford, like, pulling up the carpet. (Waves to Melissa -- thanks for the gift, m'dear! *g*) Loved the w ...more
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: art, gifted, home, how-to
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
Aimee Kollmansberger
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved her writing style and that her decorating advice is very real and accessible. I didn't find the use of watercolor illustration helpful was lovely but I find actual photos to be more helpful and transferable to my space.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Beautiful illustrations. I was excited by the title. Unfortunately while the aesthetic was beautiful, I felt it was too much perfect and not enough imperfect. More focus on the terms of decorating than how to take what you can and live well with it.
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: interior-design
The Perfectly Imperfect Home is really beautiful and really fun. I think most of my reviews contain a proclamation that the book is "fun", and it's really because I choose them that way, but the tone of writing and beautiful watercolour illustrations (one of my favourite artistic mediums) are both comforting and 'quirky' - exactly what this book aims to instruct on in decorating.

Full of lovely little tips and hints, such as how to make a bed in the 'fancy' method, and the best height for lamps
Lori Paximadis
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2011
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
Erin Hendrian
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homemaking, endeavors
The best decorating book I've ever picked up. Playful watercolor illustrations, a warm, conversational style, great insight into why it's important to decorate in the first place, and practical suggestions to get started no matter what your budget. I love that the focus is about the feel of a home, and how to achieve that warm, personal, welcoming beauty and comfort that enhances the life you live within it's walls (not to make a magazine-spread tableau that can't be loved and lived in).
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great decorating book for a novice decorator like myself. (I'm not even at novice level because it's not something I ever aspire to!) I enjoyed the whimsical sketches of actual rooms in homes, along with practical advice presented in a way that doesn't talk down to the reader. Thanks, Laura T., for loaning it to me!
Despite the fact that my decorating budget extends only as far as Target and Ross, I still enjoyed reading this book. I got a lot of nice ideas from it and even though it suggested things like lacquered walls and ceiling wallpaper which are definitely beyond my budget/interest. It's a fun book with delightfully rendered illustrations as well as being low on the snobby scale. Refreshing.
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
My favorite little coffee table book. So many cute ideas for how to make your home cozy and livable. The suggestions are easy to implement and the book itself is well-written and easy to read. I also love the illustrations So glad I picked this up a few years ago! I have gotten a lot out of it.
Marzhana K
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked that book, I figured out for myself what I want, what I love. From the point of if, there is something new I got? Hm, not so much. But very good to figure out for yourself and kind of brainstorm and find inspiration. Excellent book, for those, who doesn't know these things.
Lexi Wright
Jan 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: design, nonfiction
I read home design books for the photos. This had illustrations. Yes, they were lovely. No, I wasn't inspired.
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Loved it. Great illustrations, practical tips, helpful hint, fun writing style, and the best part: you don't need a ton of money to make an ordinary house into a special, personalized home
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Surprisingly, in The Perfectly Imperfect Home, imperfection was not a main idea, just receiving 2 mentions throughout (first on page 164 and again at the narrative's conclusion).

How about titling it The Perfect Home? Deborah Needleman has copious and precise opinions of what exactly is best. She takes the novice by the hand, kindly leading him through the house, dispensing wisdom and pronouncements like “Polka dots are always cheerful” or forbidding the use of plastic shower curtains.

Needleman d
Chelsey McNeil
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this years ago and am only reviewing it now, so I don't remember everything about this book except these things:
1. I like her writing style.
2. The furniture-arranging tips were new to me at the time and really helpful.
3. She is reasonable -- not expecting you to go out and buy up everything to "get the look."
4. The art is lovely.

I didn't like the whole "have a drink station" sort of entertaining style-- some of that is a bit to fancy for me, but I do care about good hospitality-- it's jus
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was a pleasure to read, but mostly to look at. I found author Deborah Needleman’s advice helpful (and learned a few things I’m doing wrong that are easily fixed), but mostly I feasted my eyes on Virginia Johnson’s exquisite illustrations. Any time I want to reduce my stress, I’ll pick up this book and imagine myself in one of these charming rooms.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book with handy tips, by reading it I got inspired and have learnt some good lessons about the interior. Illustrations are so cosy and very helpful. Would go through it again while renovating my apartment or just cleaning it up.
Lisa Wright
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Practical and beautiful.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Vague and yet, specific. Not really applicable to my life. I found the illustrations odd and unhelpful.
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fic
The pictures are drawings, that was different for a decorating book. Gave me a lot of great ideas when it comes time to decorate my newly renovated home :D
Rachel Nelson
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Delightful go-to for you decorating imagination. The illustrations are whimsical renditions of actual people's homes and it is just fun.
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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.” 1 likes
“Life is messy and gloriously imperfect, and some signs of wear and tear indicate a well-loved, well-used home.” 0 likes
More quotes…