My family and I just moved into a new house. Initially we thought, “hey, this is the first house we’ve lived in where we don’t have to do anything.” What do they say – famous last words?


The house we moved into has good bones. However, despite the large windows, it is so dark inside. The previous owner, though lovely, had a very different decorating style than we do.

We are more “beach chic.” By this I mean we like lighter blues, greens, white, with a pop of color here and there. Pictured below is the same living room as above but with a completely different feel. Ditto with the dining room.

The house we purchased though is about the furthest thing from beach chic. For one, it’s a Tudor. Now I don’t know about you, but I rarely see Tudors on my beach vacations.  The rooms all had dark paint, dark wood windows and dark brown hardwood floors. Knowing our style, a book that caught my eye is Pale & Interesting: Decorating with Whites, Pastels and Neutrals for a Welcoming Home. If you are a fan of either Shabby Chic or HGTV’s Fixer Upper, this book seems to be a blend of those two styles.


That being said, we will work with what we have. We have only been in the house since last September. The main focus has to been to paint. Out of curiosity, I searched the phrase “paint your home” on the Library’s card catalog. Nearly 40 titles popped up! Some are new and some are older but all can provide some inspiration.

As of this writing, nearly every room in the house with exception of the kitchen has been repainted. However, I am really chomping at the bit to paint the cabinets. Everything in the kitchen, with exception of the appliances, is a shade of brown: dark brown cabinets, brown speckled granite, brown window panes, brown light fixtures, brown window shades, tan paint, a tan floor and our kitchen table is brown. UPS reps would be jealous of all the brown in this kitchen!

Working at the Library I have the benefit of having great co-workers who can suggest books. One of the books recently suggested was New kitchen idea book by Heather J. Paper. This book has been helpful for generating a lot of ideas.

In addition to decorating books, I am living on Pinterest. But on Pinterest, I am looking for very specific and detailed things. Currently I’m looking at entryways. Again, our entry is very dark.  I found the first photo on Pinterest and would like to replicate it since our floors are very similar.

I do not like clutter. To tackle the clutter issue I’ve been looking through, a copy of Better Homes and Garden’s magazine, Storage. I’ve also been using the Library’s online magazine app, Zinio. With Zinio I can search current and past issues of HGTV Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes & Garden, Country Living and many more.

In addition to constantly fighting against clutter, I also have an aversion to knickknacks. This is a photo of the bookshelves in my living room.

As you can see, I do need to add something to it to bring it to life. I’ve started browsing through a book called Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves.  The author is a former HGTV personality and offers a different perspective on arranging items in your home. As spring approaches, I’ll probably start hitting garage sales and such to find some new-to-me items that reflect our current tastes. As you may have guessed by now, the Library has a vast array of decorating with flea market finds.

One of the books I wish I would have read prior to moving is the new Property Brother’s book, Dream home : the Property Brothers’ ultimate guide to finding & fixing your perfect house / Jonathan Scott & Drew Scott ; photography by David Tsay.  Property Brother’s is another HGTV product. After reading their book, I have new respect for what I see them do on their show. The book details how the brother’s started working on home projects very early in their lives and how they came to have their own TV show. Chapters also offer tips on what to ask yourself when you are thinking of moving.  It’s definitely worth a read if you are debating on whether to stay in your current home or move.

So as you can see, there is a lot that goes into moving into a new house. I want to get everything done now. But that’s not realistic due to time and finances. Rather than try to tackle 10 things at once, I’ve decided to start a list of what I’d like to have done and assign a timeline to it. That way I’m not all over the place and feeling like nothing is getting accomplished. Rather than check out 30 books on design, I’ll check out the books (or magazines) that are more specific in topic. Or browse through them then make myself a note if I want to revisit that book in the future. And I need to keep reminding myself, Rome wasn’t conquered in a day and neither will my home.

If you have any ideas for lighting up a dark home, shoot me an email at or comment below. Until then, I’ll be wondering the aisles of Lowe’s hoping to get stopped by the Kitchen Crashers team.


Robin Klaene is the Public Relations & Development Director for the Kenton County Public Library. She is a wannabe interior designer and swears her grandma was the original house flipper.


Some of the newer design books to check out:

Making Midcentury Modern by Christopher Kennedy, 9781423646495, pub date 2/07/17  Created to help you make midcentury modern by offering one hundred foolproof tips for introducing modernist design into a contemporary home.

Modern Vintage Style by Emily Chalmers and Ali Hanan, 9781849758024, pub date 2/07/17   Modern vintage style is all about trusting your instincts and taste and using a bit of imagination in seeking out the right items to create a perfect balance of old and new (to be ordered next week)

DIY Industrial Pipe Furniture & Decor by James Angus, 9781612436067, 2016     Featuring 25 step-by-step tutorials and 200 full-color photos, a DIY guide presents innovative new projects for transforming plumbing fixtures into all types of beautiful, useful items for home living.

Domino: your guide to a stylish home: discovering your personal style and creating a space you love by Jessica Romm Perez, Shani Silver and Nicole Sforza, 9781501151873, 2016     From the editors of Domino magazine

Celebrate Everything!: Fun Ideas to bring your Parties to Life by Darcy Miller, 9780062388759, 2016  Bursting with advice, inspiration, ideas, crafty projects, and recipes, Celebrate Everything is the definitive guide to help you throw an unforgettable party every time. Darcy Miller, the founder and editorial director of Martha Stewart Weddings—and one of the world’s most influential celebrations experts—provides the ultimate compilation of party ideas and resource lists to help people plan their parties from beginning to end, including chapters on Stationery, Décor, Activities, Food and Drink, Cakes, Sweets, and Favors.

Better Than New: Lessons I’ve Learned from Saving Old Homes – and How They Saved Me by Nicole Curtis, 9781579656676, 2016  Part celebrity memoir and part self-help book, Better Than New goes behind the scenes with an entrepreneurial single mom who worked her way from waitress/real estate agent to home renovation expert, preservationist, and television star.  Curtis has opened her fans’ eyes to the beauty of older homes and the value of reclaiming and reusing authentic original materials rather than sending dumpster loads to the local landfill.

Simply Styling: Fresh & Easy Ways to Personalize Your Home by Kirsten Grove, 9781454918226, 2016   Get the stylish home you want—without breaking the bank or your back! Renowned stylist Kirsten Grove guides you every step of the way, going room by room and item by item, giving you the tools and tricks needed to create a space that captures your personality and taste. She explores options for entryways, shelves, mantels, dressers, sofas, and nooks, as well as those all-important statement-making details.

Vern Yip’s Design Wise: Your Smart Guide to a Beautiful Home by Vern Yip, 9780762459858, 2016  Vern Yip is one of the most beloved and recognizable interior designers in America. Over the course of his near-decade at HGTV, he has counseled thousands of people on beautifying their homes on limited budgets.

Country Living Rustic Homes by Hearst Books, 9781618371775, 2016   Country Living offers an abundance of inspiring ideas and gorgeous photographs to help you find your design style, whether it’s Classic Down-Home Charm, Eclectic Country, Reclaimed Rustic, and more!


Reinventing IKEA by Isabelle Bruno and Christine Baillet, 9781419722677, 2016   Ikea is a destination for everyone who wants to simplify the process of decorating a home. Offering modern, ready-to-assemble furniture, Ikea proves that spaces can be functional and affordable. But sometimes you’re left wanting more: furniture that’s adaptable, creative, and most important, in line with your taste. Reinventing Ikea shows you how. The book features 70 customization projects conceived from popular Ikea products.

To find more titles search by Subject: Interior decoration.  Sort by Date: Newest to Oldest

Book list courtesy of KCPL librarian Julie Cropper.


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