Be Your Own Decorator, a beautiful hardcover book by Susanna Salk, is a pleasure to leaf through. It’s very nicely put together and filled with almost 250 full-page photographs of home interiors by today’s renowned designers. With crisp, thick pages and a manageable size, it is also quite satisfying to hold in your hands.
The photographs of featured rooms are divided into seven sections: Color, Mix, Arrangement, Balance, Whimsy, Accessorizing and Rule-breaking. Accompanying each photo is a brief analysis of the room’s design as it relates to one of the lessons, via either a direct quote from the room’s designer or a comment by the author.
Leafing through it is akin to browsing Houzz.com except I find the rooms in Be Your Own Decorator to be more colorful, layered and unique with more art, antiques, custom and vintage pieces included.
In my opinion, the title is its only flaw as the beautiful photographs and brief comments do not add up to the instructional book you may envision. In the introduction, the author herself begins by writing, “(t)his is not a how-to design book, but a why not book”. She later admits that, “(t)his book is about emboldening you so you can embolden your rooms”. One can definitely see where she’s coming from but if we are to simply judge the book by its title and cover we’ll feel a little misled.
In summary, it is a beautiful book filled with colorful, bold photographs in a wide variety of styles, however, it is most definitely more of an inspirational photo album than an instructional manual.