By Deborah Needleman
Clarkson Potter, $30.00, 254 pages

The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well by Deborah Needleman is not a book that lays out style options accompanied by neat little photographs of how a house “should” look. Rather, it’s a guide to style, on how to find and create your own style, on making a house a home, making it inviting rather than sterile, to find and create elegance that makes your family happy, and a guidebook to creating a background for the best life possible in your home. Needleman describes light, entryways, “cozifications”, bedrooms, books, and scented candles, among many, many other aspects of the house, explaining how one thing or another affects the overall sense of the room, helping the reader create their own styles and themes. For instance, overhead lighting is the enemy of cozy warmth and lamps with adjustable arms and double-bulb lights for a medium and soft setting are highly desirable, especially for the bedroom. The watercolor illustrations that accompany Needleman’s collection of essays on decorating and living well reinforce the sense of fluidity, that decorating is an art, an evolving thing, not a stage set decided by professionals, but something that grows and changes with you and your family.


Reviewed by Axie Barclay,