The Field Guide to Decorating

This is one book I’ve waited a long time to check off my list and it was worth the wait.

Not only does Lauren Liess have a way with words, she has a way with interior decorating.

She has a formula- or rather several formulas- in which she shares throughout this book of hers: Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating. In fact, she spills a few of her secrets and inspirations to achieve her laid-back but sophisticated look. While she is inspired by her travels, she is inspired almost entirely by nature and you definitely can pick that up in her designs. Lauren’s designs generally maintains that quietness you get from being outdoors, but she throws in some textures and patterns. Even when you’re outdoors, there’s always something to look at and it’s not always quiet, like a field of wildflowers in all the colors of the rainbow.

Referring back to Lauren having a way with words, she started out with her own blog, Pure Style Home, which then led her to opportunities for a career in interior decorating and a book.

The way she defines and labels each chapter is unique; she was inspired by a field guide that she came across as a little girl. This enabled her to break down each chapter in definition and detail. The book is divided into three sections, which is broken down even further into the details in which you need to think about when designing a room, such as floor plans and the mood settings.

She has words of wisdom for each category she writes about and towards the end, when she’s discussing a specific room, such as a living room or a kitchen, she provides a list meant as a suggestion of things to think about in pulling it all together.

If you need inspiration, well, there’s absolutely no shortage of it in this book. Plenty abound!

This image, above, is one of my favorites. Despite it being all white walls and floors, there’s still plenty of interest. I’m particularly intrigued by the soft yellow couch and the art piece off to the side by the stair case, but what really makes the space for me are those lighting! Those are my dream lighting! I just didn’t squeeze them into this post as there are plenty of others to drool over.

She has a great interview on La Dolce Vita here.

For some reason, I just love, love, love the combination of the dark wooden coffee table with the wall gallery collection of Indians and old photos.

“There’s luxury in uniqueness. Original works of art, handcrafted items, and one-of-a-kind antiques all tell a story and are more interesting than mass-produced pieces.” Lauren Liess

There’s also another great interview here over on Ballard Design.


This book review is one of the best book reviews I’ve read. I love how she took one aspect of the book and turned it into a whole discussion and design lesson of having that unique and odd chair.

This is my ultimate favorite of all the rooms she’s done. I love everything blue and I love everything animal! Those framed prints of animals is just the icing on the cake. It’s classic black and white, yet the angle these animals are in shows that this room does not take itself seriously. Plus blue and orange is one of my favorite color combinations. This image is also a great example of the book review I previously mentioned regarding odd chairs. This room has two of them. I’m in love with the black and white one from its pattern to its overall form.

If you’re in need of design guidance, pick up this book! This is one I’ll refer to again and again for ideas and tips.

Have you read this book?

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