Book review: Novel Interiors

Novel Interiors

If you’re looking for literature- or interior-design-related eye candy, this book fits the bill. It’s divided into sections inspired by different styles/periods of literature, and the interior design that goes with each style is evocative of the feelings that style elicits. It’s not strictly one era or another in terms of design, and some of the styles combine a variety of authors and times to create the sense of the world of a particular genre. This sounds like a haphazard mish-mash, but it seems carefully thought out and actually works really well for me. A lot of what we love about a book is that feeling we get reading it and the accompanying desire to live in or visit the world it portrays. This is an extension of that, exploring how we could make our surroundings feel like living inside our favorite books.

The first section, entitled Shall I Put the Kettle On?, gives us the feeling of being in a Jane Austen or George Eliot novel. It’s a romantic, cheerful, slightly disordered but extremely charming celebration of domesticity and the comforts of a cozy home. Can you tell that this appeals greatly to me? If you were to give me a room that was a faithful recreation of this time period, it would undoubtedly be too fussy for my taste, but here the rooms pictured are somehow not so – the clutter is contained and there’s not too much chintz. The gardens are also completely my taste – cozy and crowded and full of little mysteries to discover. I also dig the Emily Bronte/Anne of Green Gables section, “Living Au Naturel.” Lots of exposed wood in rich tones, a very appealing minimalism, and simple ways of extending the garden inside the home. There are also sections inspired by (among others) Evelyn Waugh (“Remembrance of Things Past”), The Great Gatsby (Oh, the Glamour of It All”), Isak Dinesen (“Anything Goes”), and Oscar Wilde (“Sometimes a Fantasy”), all of which are lovely but just don’t suit my tastes as closely.

That’s the fun of this book: most readers are likely to find at least one of the styles a good fit and to find a little inspiration in all of them. Even if you’re not looking for home decor ideas, it’s fun to look at all the details in each room and appreciate the little touches the designer put into them. The rooms are beautifully shot and there’s a nice mix of wide and close-up photographs. For someone like me, who is dreaming about her next home and the ways in which it can be personalized with things old and new, this is a perfect tool for feeding those fantasies.

Full disclosure: reviewed from a complimentary copy provided by Blogging for Books.

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