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Elements of Style: Designing a Home a Life

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  434 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
From the rising-star designer and author of the hit blog, Elements of Style, a full-color, fully illustrated book packed with honest advice, inspiration, ideas, and lessons learned about designing a home that reflects your personality and style.

Elements of Style is a uniquely personal and practical decorating guide that shows how designing a home can be an outlet of person
...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Simon Schuster
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JDAZDesigns
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Of course I went into this thinking I'm really going to learn something. Right. I'm going to learn to stop reading books by bloggers.

If it wasn't for the personal stories, most notably her wedding day and eating disorder, I would have considered it one star and a total waste. But there's a sucker in me who just likes to know the rest of the world is human. Ms. Gates does make the reader aware of that fact.

I long for the day when publishing goes back to publishing work by authors, not bloggers.
G R
Oct 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
I wrote a review of Erin Gates' "Element of Style" on Amazon and gave it a one star rating. Erin and her husband Andrew wrote snide and rude comments to my review. Then they started calling me names and bullying be on Amazon. It became so bad that Amazon had to delete the comments they were saying to me. Erin had done damage to her profession of interior design and her credibility as a writer. I can not believe that Simon & Schuster will tolerate bullying behavior from anyone including their ...more
Martha
Dec 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: home-decorating
This one is pretty and has some great visual ideas, but is verbally weak and annoying...Oh! the STRESS of being a clever designer, how HYSTERICAL it makes a gal feel, etc. Could have done without the histrionics, because the designs are quite nice, not too high end, and the author has a very pleasing sense of color.
Jay
Jun 04, 2014 rated it liked it
ARC provided by NetGalley on behalf of the publishers

a very nice book, just not quite my style.
Catherine
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
To be fair this book came out in 2014, and would have knocked my socks off! Four years later it stands the test of time, but you will have seen a lot of the concepts in various blogs, magazines and other media. Worth reading. Erin Gates is candid, funny and warm. She’s someone you would want to be friends with and have decorate your home, no matter how large or small.
Neha Sharma
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
“While a home provides shelter and a place to gather, it is also the safe place where we can express our feelings and enjoy some of the most important and meaningful events in our lives.”

Like any aspiring writer, my head keeps juggling with more ideas than it can ever handle. This book came in my life around one such phase when I was deciding where to place the new table in my house and ended up reading a book on interior designing for that! I don’t understand just why people were able to come u
...more
Ada-Marie
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Erin's fearless candor while discussing very personal topics. I also liked her designer tips on small details that can get overlooked but make a big difference. I enjoyed seeing spaces that I hadn't seen before, but in an effort to fill the glossies, some of them felt kind of dated. Oh, and I love the pretty jacket cover!! I can't wait to find a good spot for it on my bookshelves. :)
Tina
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
The REAL title of this book should be "Elements of a Very Specific Kind of Style: Time and Money Consuming Ways to Design a Home and a Posh Life." I stopped reading after the part where the author is telling her husband, "those are OLD pillows, silly man (three months old, in fact) and these are our NEW fabulous pillows!" Um....what? That's not my life and ain't nobody got time for that.
Carol
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Eye candy for the design-obsessed!
Madisson
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-read
I so enjoyed this book! I love the author's honesty, style and wit. Great ideas!
Maddie
May 23, 2015 added it
This book is fantastic!
Shasta Cornett
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up while looking for organizational books in the non-fiction section of the library. I am a person who "judges a book by its cover" and this one grabbed my attention the second I saw the beautiful black and white stripped spine with gold accents! I think the moment I saw the book cover I wanted to know more about the person who's words were inside. The author does an amazing job with really being down to earth while also knowing her stuff. This is a wonderful book full of practical ...more
Clara
Jan 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I don't believe in tons and tons (and tons) of pillows or candles as an essential part of any room, but the pictures in this book were seductive, and I definitely learned a few things about decor. For example, bathrooms should be awesome--you want a steam shower AND cowhide walls AND a skylight? Dude, go for it. Also, now I know that the rug in my living room is too small for the space, that the most important part of any kitchen is its layout (I mean, duh, but it's nice to hear that layout trum ...more
Cecilia
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: style-design
Though I picked this book up for its design element, I couldn't put it down because of the highly-engaging personal essays that began each chapter. It doesn't matter that Erin Gates' style doesn't quite match up with my own; I gleaned design wisdom from her, of course, but it was her writing that really touched my heart and left me feeling as if I had just had lunch with a close friend. I was not expecting this from a design book!
Kelly
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The text in this book was so refreshingly different than other design books! I was not expecting it to be so funny and personal, I loved it. The interiors featured were not really my style but they were interesting to look at. I couldn't put the book down once I started reading, it's written not just about interiors, but also life as a 30-something.
Kazue Evans
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: home-decoration
Nice designs. Houses in greater Boston area have space limitations. The author is based on Boston and she does a beautiful job working around the limitations! This book was also very fun to read. The author is very honest and shares a lot about her life. Really liked it! I would recommend this book especially for those living in cities.
Julia
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Just what I'm looking for in a design book. The only thing I wish there had been more of was a "defining your style" section and more how-to's... But I did get some great ideas AND a great resource list at the back of the book.
April
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
While I didn't care for her style, her stories were very entertaining!
Shelly Kittell
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is written by a design blogger. She has a way of writing that doesn't bore. She covers how to decorate each room. I look forward to trying her ideas.
Vicky
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Entertaining and educational. I usually love looking at the photos in these kinds of books, but find the words beyond dry and boring. This one was the complete opposite and I read every word. Sharing life experiences (warts and all) and humour is such a pleasant surprise. Will follow Erin Gates' blog.
Alex
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Overly self-indulgent.
I would not have bought it or read it except for it being available in my local library.
The lack of stars may be closely tied with disagreeing with her interior design style. One look at the bathroom wallpapers had me shaking my head.
Heather
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
4.5. She's very likeable and there is plenfy of practical advice.
Hannah • So Obsessed With
What makes Erin's book so different from other decorating books (at least for me) is that I sat down and read it straight through - from cover to cover. I rarely read decorating books because they don't usually capture my attention. I just want to look at the pictures for inspiration! That wasn't the case with Elements of Style.

This book is divided into eleven sections based on the different rooms in a home: the entry, the kitchen, the bedroom, the office, etc. Each chapters includes a personal
...more
Edythe Hamilton
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Erin Gates designs homes for a living and lived in five of the homes she designed. She intertwines tips for designing your personal space whether an apartment, condominium, or house with a personal memoir of starting her design adventure. The chapters coincide with each room of any abode that includes The Entry, Living Room, Kitchen, Family Room, Dining Room, Nursery, Office, Outdoor and Sun Rooms, Bathrooms, Bedrooms, and even a chapter on Closets.

Each chapter includes crisp before and after ph
...more
D
3.5 to 4 stars

i didn't quite expect to love this book. the blogger/author, erin gates, has a style that's a titch more formal and severe than i usually appreciate, but in the end i loved seeing how she pulled together rooms to suit clients and, most especially, to renovate her own boston home.

specifically, i appreciated the details in her own renovation -- which necessarily would have had a smaller budget than many of her wealthy clients' would have. it's much easier for me to appreciate the en
...more
Amy
I've been thinking a lot about home design lately so when I saw this Erin Gates book, I thought it might be exactly what I was looking for. This is a really solid design book with a lot of personal anecdotes from the author and some very good tips and tricks!

The photography in the books is beautiful and looking at the variety of spaces that the author highlights was very inspiring for me! I loved how each section of a home was highlighted by its own section with really good tips and tricks (and
...more
Elizabeth Kanouse
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I saw a finished copy of this at the publisher’s fall preview for librarians and thought it was a beautiful book, but wasn’t expecting much from it. I thought the style would be too young, (after all, it was written by a 30-something blogger) but I was pleasantly surprised.

Gates conversational style won me over immediately. She devotes each chapter to a particular room, including offices, nurseries, and outdoor spaces and sunrooms. Throughout she intersperses bits of her personal life, her move
...more
Lori W
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am an avid reader of Erin's blog, so I am not surprised that I love the book. Like Erin's blog, Elements of Style, this is a great blend of high and love, design and life, serious lessons and humor.

Although I love her home, lifestyle and fashion posts, it's Erin's authentic, honest voice that keeps me coming back for more. Some home bloggers leave you feeling that their projects were completed by Disney mice and birds, a la Cinderella. Some fashionistas make you feel totally inadequate if you
...more
pati
I started reading this book with a bit of skepticism because design books are usually out of most people's payscale. As I got further into the book I began to see the message inherent in most every page. Decorating is what we do even when we just load a room with furniture, Ms. Gates helps us see the possibility of stamping our own personality on the space in an affordable way!

What really made me like the book though was the brutally painful self reflection buried deep in the middle of the Refl
...more
Nancy
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: domiciles
This was such a pretty book, full of color photos of rooms giving you ideas of paint colors/carpets/furniture arrangement/style. I loved how each chapter focused on one room and the personal narrative about the author's experience at renovation was pretty funny. She also discusses various types of styles and points out examples in paint color, fabric swatches, and furniture that best represent that style. This is definitely a book I'll want to refer back to when I have time and money to do somet ...more
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