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It’s hard for me not to turn my review of The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate & Live Well (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2011) into an out-and-out love letter to its author, Deborah Needleman. Full disclosure: When I claim that I live with “approximately one million old shelter magazines” in my bio on the blog, 3/4 of those are the mag she founded, Domino. If you were also a fan of the dearly departed Domino, you’ll find a lot of its guiding whimsy and wisdom in these pages.

perfectly imperfect home cover

The main premise of Needleman’s new second book is that great homes showcase signs of life, not a meticulous look that a decorator has crafted for its inhabitants. In each of the chapters, she touches on the elements you need to make your place stylish, yet preserve its warmth at the same time.

The practical tips on things like bed height and proper placement of a rug in a room are helpful, but the book really shines when Needleman encourages personality. “Jollifiers” (i.e., “sentimental things that spread a little joy every time you cast your eye upon them”) and “Cozifications” can easily be neglected or ignored if one is too busy worrying about more superficial aspects of decor. The book is a great reminder to have fun with your spaces and focus on getting the best possible set-up for the life you actually live, peculiarities and all. The cute watercolor illustrations by Virginia Johnson have a charmingly dashed-off feel that further highlight and embody the casual-chic spirit of the book.

I’m thinking The Perfectly Imperfect Home would be a wonderful “jollifier” to add to any design junkie’s coffee table this holiday season.

5 Responses

  1. [...] Review: The Perfectly Imperfect Home HGTV Design Happens Mon, November 21, 2011 12:00 PM UTC HGTV Design Happens Rate this story Share (function(){var [...]

  2. MizzyD says:

    I love the idea of a "jollifer". When slowly decorating and stocking my home, I have tried to approach it with the attitude that everything I buy (i.e. light fixtures, rugs, artwork etc) has to make me happy when I look at it. It makes things much easier to reject. If I don't love it, and if it's not going to make me happy every time I look at it, then it's not in. Of course, there can be exceptions (i.e. light switches are find in the standard white), but for pieces that you take with you, it's great.

    Here is an example of a piece of art that makes me happy. It took me months to find, and has been in my dining room ever since, making my dining room a happy place.

    There are other pieces with poppies on them I would kill to get, but the bf has a low tolerance for flowers all over the house so this is all I'm allowed.

    • Briana@HGTV says:

      That's definitely a happy piece of art to look at every day! Isn't it easy to forget that when you're agonizing over what the "best" couch/rug/drapes in a room would be? There's no best, just what makes you happy. :)

  3. [...] I’m still feeling the vibe of Virginia Johnson’s quirky watercolor illustrations from The Perfectly Imperfect Home, because this watercolor wallpaper by Karla Davison of Black Crow Studios is dazzling me right now. [...]

  4. Simon says:

    I believe that there is no such things as a perfectly designed interior home. The most important part is being comfortable and accepting our house for as it is. I may not have the best shutters perth, but I am proud of what I did DIY.

Briana MowreyBriana is a writer and senior editor for HGTV.com. Her self-described design style is "mid-century modern magpie." She lives in a Brooklyn apartment with her husband, their spoiled dachshund, Chauncey,...


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