Review of House Beautiful’s 750 Designer Secrets

This is the first, in a 7-chapter review of House Beautiful’s 750 Designer Secrets. In case you just joined me, this is a 7 week project, where, we will have a discussion of sorts, on a few of the ideas in this excellent decorating book. And, the primary reason I feel this so exceptional a design book, is, it gives real designer secrets without a lot of red tape. It is a pictorial with design ideas that accompany the images. 750 Designer Secrets gives essential ideas that will give your home that extra special touch. So,…right now, I’m enjoying a cup of tea. Won’t you join me?

House Beautiful 750 Designer Secrets


Here we are, welcome! We’ll explore a few ideas in each chapter review to give you a reference point of what you can expect from 750 Designer Secrets. As a starting point each chapter is divided into three sub-chapters. The sub-chapters for Chapter One are;
1. The Big Picture which gives general design ideas for use wherever needed.
2. Understanding Scale and Proportion which deals with room size as it relates to furnishings and accessories therein, and
3. All About Furniture which shows how to add definition to rooms lacking in architectural character, and, how to showcase furniture to its maximum ability.

Now for the design ideas;
Idea #5 “Allowing life to unfold is more important than the perfect pillow,” Victoria Klein. This tip could apply to every design idea in this book. Each and every idea in this book, is about allowing the character of the home to be realized through its occupants. I think this so important; that a house, my home, your home, be livable. A primary example is, one can still find homes where the sofa and chairs are covered in plastic. Even the lampshades still wear the protective cellophane. How sad! In an attempt to preserve the “newness” of the furnishings, the true life of the house-the comfort of its inhabitants-is lost. So in designing, remember to design for livability of all the occupants. Our homes should be our bastion of comfort, refuge and solitude. Thankfully we can achieve that, in part, through decorating.

Idea #40 “Forgo symmetry in an oval space.” Many lay-people when designing tend toward symmetry. A lamp on each side of the main table, a pair of vases to grace a window, a chair here and one there…in an oval room-it just won’t work. By nature of the shape of the room, singletons work best. Items in triplet might also work well. Jagg Xaxx on also suggests, “…divid[e]ing the room [optically] into three sections.” The theory behind this is-creating three areas takes away from the irregularity of the shape of the room and creates focal areas instead of a “panoramic” view where the beholder doesn’t know where to look and is “lost.”. The same would be true in a round room. Pairs serve to disorient. Unusual shapes call for unusual (odd) numbers.

Idea # 66 “Add a touch of luxury to a guest bath with a slipper chair and an Oriental rug.” You can view this idea in the stock photo above. I just love the ambience the slipper chair and rug gives the bath. Not only is it inviting, but your guests will feel very special. Playing up a guest bath in this fashion, I think is wonderful.

Idea #73 “If you’re on a tight budget, splurge on a superbly built sofa-everything else can come from Pottery Barn.” Isn’t this truth? Isn’t this what most young homes are made of? Furnishing a living area with a great sofa makes it easier to “downscale” if necessary, all the other furnishings in the room.