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Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,017 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
From not enough space and too many things to not knowing what color to paint the living room walls, many of us struggle with our homes. Now Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, frequent makeover expert on HGTV’s Mission: Organization and Small Spaces, Big Style, shares the do-it-yourself strategies that have enabled his clients and fans to transform their apartments into well-organize ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Bantam
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May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
It is not often that I read a book more than once - in fact, pretty much never. There are too many books in the world to do that! This book is an exception. It also catapulted me into action one Sunday. I rearranged our living room and reconfigured our guest room. Watch out, this book is dangerous!

The author is a consultant who calls himself an Apartment Therapist. He goes into peoples' homes and helps them create a home they are happy with. He has a very holistic way of looking at the home whic
Aug 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of home organization and design
some good, actionable advice marred by psychobabble that made me alternately giggle and roll my eyes a little bit.

*** The Quiz (you can substitute house for apartment, if need be) . . . ***

List your favorite in each category:

television show
clothing (designer or store)

How would you describe your style (3 words)?

Personal History
Where have you lived?
Where you were born:
Where you grew up:
As an adult:

Whom would you consider a role
Sep 23, 2009 rated it liked it
I learned a lot of things from this book, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. I never really think about how I'm affected by my living space. Small touches go a long way. More than anything else I learned that getting rid of stuff you don't need is essential. Although I doubt I'll place candles around the house or buy fresh flowers every week, the advice about color, artwork, and furniture placement will be useful once I settle down a bit.

Interesting tips:
Always leave the shower curt
Sonja Reid
Jan 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: how-to
An interesting take on home design and organization. I enjoy the apartmenttherapy website, and so had to take a look at this book. Gillingham-Ryan definitely wants you pare back what you have, and to plunk down quite a bit of cash on what you choose have. While I like the idea of choosing once and choosing good quality when it comes to larger items, his cost suggestions (for sofas, lamps, etc) seem high to me. But then, I'm really not in the position to buy or renovate.

On the other hand, my favo
M. Jane Colette
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the first part of this book, and I quite like the overall approach it presents -- the detail of the eight week program was a little too shopping and list-making focused for me.

It remotivated me to start my spring cleaning ritual early, though. :)

And I did appreciate that this was a book about designing / organizing / living in small spaces. First time I read a book about organizing/designing that was written by someone who lived in a smaller space than I do!
Apr 11, 2008 marked it as never-finished
Recommends it for: anyone with a general, unidentifiable, dissatisfaction with their home
Recommended to Kerri by:
I'm not going to rate this book with stars because I feel it would be unfair. I've been a big fan of, and purchased this book as soon as it was released, which also happened to be right around the time that I purchased the townhouse we'd been living in for years, so I was really excited about bringing it to its full potential. Well, I forget about the book for a couple (few?) years, and just recently remembered it when it came up in discussion again. Since that time, I've pu ...more
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I guess I'm on a home improvement kick? Which is funny because I live in a wee apartment on a wee budget, so there's not much I can do besides get rid of things. This book was not for me--there will be no painting of walls, no remodeling of kitchen, no leather couches, sir!
May 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
I found this book really useful, and will definitely be using it again when I move to a larger apartment. It made me think a lot about living spaces, and the creation of home. It has also inspired me to pay more attention to cleaning my kitchen!!
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
if you are twenty-something and interested in "nesting" in your apartment, this book is the guide. a great read and a great reference.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
A super helpful guide to auditing your living space through close examination/cleaning over a number of weeks. I made a number of changes based on it, and can definitely see going through it again and focusing on a different room/issue. Recommended!
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some great tips on how to turn an apartment into a home. I suspect I'll be reading this one again.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it
A little dated by now since it was published in 2006, but still full of good ideas. The idea is that if you "cure" your home's problems you will live a more peaceful life. Worth checking out from the library.
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: home-improvement
Psst! I secretly like the precious psychological stories. They help me regain my sense of humor when I'm feeling particularly stuck on the home front.

The original Apartment Therapy book is a purse-sized paperback guide to putting one's home in order, in a way that's supposed to be welcoming and nurturing.

There are pieces I frankly disagree with. For instance, there's a big emphasis on walking to the store on Sunday night to buy food for dinner. Try that in Phoenix, and it's a two-mile hike in th
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook
If you are a big fan of Apartment Therapy, then this book is actually probably NOT for you. This book is designed for people who are just entering the home design realm - it gives a realistic, simple plan for quickly creating a home you love. I did learn some really good tips, and it was a quick pleasant read. It touches lightly on a whole range of home-improvement, and even self-help, topics. It's designed to whet the appetite for these things, but doesn't go in depth in any one subject. Overal ...more
Jul 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book balances precariously between being profound and precious.

On the profound side, it collects in one spot a great deal of useful information on arranging furniture, choosing paint colors, handling lighting, and decluttering. And it sets everything into a schedule to help you not bog down.

On the precious side, there are embedded assumptions that you're seeking an idealized lifestyle that involves tenderly cleaning your home with organic cleansers, strolling to the organic market to get th
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Marcy by: In a roundabout way, Kirstin -- it was on Amazon next to another
This book has torn my life apart for the last 2 months as I "flip" my whole apartment, go through everything I own and start over with a "NEW" apartment. It gave me the justification I needed to put some money into a rental and I think once the wood floors in my room are finished and the new countertop installed in the bathroom, (there are new floors, paint, lighting, and window treatments throughout!!!) I will feel like a brand new person. Even with all of the organize/feng shui/declutter/home ...more
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I got this book from the library so felt I had to rush through it. Fortunately, a friend passed me her copy when she was done. I am happy to have it and will pay it forward to the next person in need.

This book has some great ideas on clueing the clutter from your home. For me, I enjoyed the ideas and advice on how to go through and choose what to keep and what to remove from your life. I also like the idea of putting something aside and not deciding for a week what to do with it. I think the ste
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I just reread this book after reading it for the first time in 2008. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this book changed my life. It completely changed my way of thinking about what a home is and how to take care of it, and the results have been positive. The only reason I gave four stars instead of five is because the examples in the book are kind of ridiculous - for example, the author describes working with someone furnishing their Manhattan apartment so they have a place to go when th ...more
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who lives in an apartment
Shelves: reference
This is a real neato book that can be applied to both apartment dwellers and home owners I think. This is great for anyone who wants to makeover their apartment and can benefit from an 8-week makeover plan. I participated in the Spring 07 cure and now I'm participating in the Fall 07 cure.

At times, the book can be a little hokey and "hippy-ish," encouraging readers to perform exercises such as running their hands along the walls of their apartment to determine "hot" and "cold" areas. However, if
Mar 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Although the specific tips in this book are mainly non-revolutionary, the author suggests a good system for a complete reworking of one's home to suit one's needs better, no matter how good or bad the home may start out. In other words...if you live in a home that more resembles a trash heap, you can use his advice. But if you live in a perfectly decorated home, you can also find helpful tips inside.

Most helpful, however, is the basic attitude of observing one's home in different ways. The idea
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone vaguely dissatisfied
This book changed my life-literally. One of the points Max makes is that what goes on in your home is going on in your life. In one of the first chapters he shares how his apartment was stuffed and so was his life-with a languishing relationship, an unfinished thesis, and piles of work-when he pared down his apartment so did his life-the relationship ended amicably, the thesis was finished, he had time for a social life. Each time I take the course I move within the 8-week period, this has happe ...more
I haven't spent a lot of time on the apartment therapy website. From what I saw, I thought that the website was basically just pictures of different cool, not necessarily expensive apartments. I didn't really know what to expect in this book.
Turns out it's about half DIY redecorating guide, half self-help book. It's not the first time I've seen this combination, but I never find it that compelling.
There are some assessment questions toward the beginning of the book meant to help you figure out w
Oct 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very helpful and interesting. I got this after seeing the apartment of a friend that is very small and unimaginably cozy, welcoming and warm. I moved to a new place and this helped me do a lot of decorating. It also helped with joke-making because most of the way through the book, I discovered my apartment is riddled with parasites and vermin. i hope he puts in a warning-signs chapter. Beware layers of paint, overfriendly roommates, giving landlord who lets you skip steps.

Still, "don't put your
Mar 22, 2013 added it
Shelves: read2013
Like Clearing Your Clutter Through Feng Shui and the old Unclutterer forums (that is, before the destructive redesign this month), this is a good prod to upfurbishing your nest. If you have the time and money (lots of money) to carry out the full cure, it's probably quite effective. Just reading it casually induced me to fix and throw out some things. Editors might want to cut the statements of the obvious, the useless forms in the back, and the blatant product placement next time around. Also, ...more
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Picked this up when I was newlywed, in my late 20s, and the book had just come out. It gave direction and focus in setting up our nest, and was the first to truly help me feel comfortable with giving away stuff I didn't use. It was the first place I heard "Do I use it? Do I need it? Do I love it?"
The edges are worn, and got some water on a couple pages, but this one is a keeper for me, and I refer to it when we've moved, or it's time to refresh my home. Unfortunately, I don't get around as much
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
Picked this up because I've been using the associated blog to teach myself about room design. The blog focuses heavily on design trends and DIY solutions to high-end decor, and I hoped the book would cover more general topics.

I wasn't disappointed. The book is evenly split between discussions of design theory, personal narrative, and decorating/cleaning exercises. The title advertises an 8-week "cure" for badly managed spaces, but that's only one aspect of the whole book. I'm currently between
Jul 21, 2008 added it
I am currently making my way through the "8 week home cure" and really am finding this book provides a useful template for determining what to do with your home and how to do it so that your home is a place that you love. Although it is geared toward single or partnered urban professionals living in apartments (as opposed to say, suburban housewives or stay at home parents) that does not make it less useful. He draws on both his experience as a former Waldorf teacher and an interior designer to ...more
Jan 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Informative and probably quite helpful if read at the proper time. By this I mean, anyone interested in tackling a home project may want to put off reading this until you are actually ready to start the project (so perhaps if I reread this while working on a home project, I may be inclinded to add a star to the rating). Otherwise, it is filled with some good ideas, tips, and suggestions, but a lot of it will be a quite useless if you are not actually following his 8 week plan. Also, be weary, th ...more
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Really good! Apartment Therapy was as enjoyable to read as it was edifying.

I'd recommend this book to a person interested in improving his or her lifestyle via a living space revitalization.

While its language is at times a bit trendy, the basic message is really timeless - this isn't some Hippest Apartments of 2008 piece of trash that is going to lead you into creating some dated disaster. It's a sort of primer for making your home more "homey" and healthy for living, regardless of your design p
Sep 14, 2007 rated it liked it
I completely lost momentum here. After the first two weeks or so - complicated by a week's vacation - I found it too repetitive, and too slow. Not enough here to tempt me to revisit, but at least I cleaned my kitchen and got rid of some books/media.

okay, on the second try i made it all the way through in one day. in many ways, this is aimed at people way, way out of my income and lifestyle bracket, but there's some solid advice here that i will put into practice when revising my place in the com
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“I realized that “being prepared” can sometimes be a euphemism for being scared to let go. How much we carry—whether it is on our bicycle, in our bag, or in our home—is often directly related to how little we trust in life to guide us well, and in others to help us out in a pinch. To this day, I have found that traveling light yields a far richer experience.” 3 likes
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