Make a Decorating Book

Our mantle decorated for autumn.

My fall decorations are out. I love when the seasons/holidays change and the place takes on a slightly different look due to the decor of the season.

I am not a natural at decorating. I learned it from a friend.

My friend Carmen is one of the most creative gals I know when it comes to decorating a home. She has an eye for color. How else can I explain the fact that she talked me, Miss Nice and Neutral, into painting my cathedral-high living room walls a bold shade of “gum leaf” green? When she showed me the swatch, I wasn’t quite sure I could make the leap. But Carmen has tried many daring hues on her own walls, always with great success.

In fact, I never quite know what color her kitchen walls will be. She seems to paint them to achieve a different look often.(She talks her husband into letting her paint every few years because she tells him it is cheaper than therapy!)

She also has a way with so many other components of decorating: seasonal centerpieces, creative displays of photographs, painting techniques, nontraditional candle holders, and the list just goes on.

I asked her one day how she ever came to be so skilled at styling her home. “Let me show you,” she said as she took an old-style photo album off of her shelf—the kind with pieces of clear film to be peeled back in order to place the photographs on the page.

Carmen had used this album to collect magazine clippings of decorating and centerpiece ideas, painting techniques, and must-try recipes. She had them arranged by category for ease in locating. If she saw anything that struck her fancy or an idea she thought might be fun to try out when hosting a party, into the album it went.

You see, my friend has never taken a formal class in decorating. She doesn’t hold a degree in design. She has gotten her education the old-fashioned way, by observing, studying, and making a point to remember what she has seen.

Most of these magazines she obtains from her mother or others who are getting ready to toss them. You can do the same. Doctor’s offices, hospital waiting rooms, and public libraries get rid of their magazines on a regular basis. Check with them to see if they have any titles you would be interested in taking from them. Many garage sales have boxes of magazines for a dime a piece or less. Thumb through a few to see if they can inspire you in your quest to spruce your place up a bit.

Then, you can start your own idea book too.

Happy decorating!


  1. Love it…a great way to collect favorite looks and to lessen the clutter of so many magazines! I’ve used folders in the past, then couldn’t find the folders when I needed them. The notebook idea is great!

  2. I agree that new decor in my home is so refreshing and energizing! Definitely helps me have a fresh feeling for the spaces in my home… My husband teases me about changing things, but we laugh about it and he lives the new looks!

  3. I also use Pinterest for this. I love being able to access my “scrapbook” from my Kindle or phone anywhere I go. :)

  4. When we were building our home I had a carry file holder. Each slot was labeled: walls, kitchen, bath, carpet, bedroom, landscape, front porch ideas, etc. Everything I could think of I put in the file and found it very helpful when we in the building phase. Especially when we were the actual builders/labor work. Took us a long time but worth it in the end : )

  5. I have a book that is divided into sections by rooms, plus a section for recipes. No more magazines stacking up at the house! Thanks for sharing your picture… I need to get on the ball with some fall decor myself =)

  6. To both earlier comments. I agree with the idea of using Pinterest as a “scrap book”. I do the same. As far as clearing out articles from my magazines, I’ve done this but always fall behind in sorting and organizing them! Then several months later, I toss them all and start all over. I will try this again and see what happens. Thanks for the ideas, Karen. (I too, have a great friend who is so talented with decorating, that my husband cringes every time I say “Martha says……….”(I refer to her as Martha Stewert) He just knows it’ll cost him a small fortune! Then I just tell him it’s cheaper than trading him and the house in for something I want!) LOL

  7. I do this! I had so many magazines that I’d saved through the years, that I sat down for a few days and tore out anything I wanted to save and tossed the magazines. I put all the recipes/style ideas/decorating ideas in a binder and categorized them. It’s a lot easier to do this than to have 50 magazines sitting around.
    Thanks for the idea, I’m glad I already do it!

  8. I do this with Pinterest. I have quite a few boards that I keep organized by season or room. When I get ready to do something new I write out my shopping list from the project I want to do and then bargain hunt for the items I need. I have three wreaths I am gathering materials for right now. Two front door wreaths for Autumn and Christmas and one backdoor wreath for Autumn. I did a whole autumn table theme for about $20 that I found on Pinterest.

    I am like your friend. I re-paint every three to four years. I just crave change!

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