What I learned from Elle Decor this month

I’m quite the design magazine junkie. I just love nothing more than to peruse a home decor magazine and gather ideas. Still, sometimes I question what I really learn from these magazines. After all, I don’t have $10,000 to blow on a sofa or $200 for a yard of fabric. So why do I read them?

I’ve actually learned quite a bit from these magazines and the beautiful pictures within. The trick is learning how to translate the design advice to fit my budget. And training my eye to recognize what works and what doesn’t… no matter how high or low the cost. As an example, take this quote from the April issue of Elle Decor. In her editor’s letter, Margaret Russell states:

“An extraordinary number of projects cross our desks that are very nicely designed but so restrained that they’re simple banal. Shy, quiet rooms might be peaceful to live in, but they don’t deserve attention in a magazine focused on style.”

This got me thinking about my bedroom makeover. I don’t need the finished room to qualify for high-end design magazine status, however, I do want it to be really stylish and peaceful. So, I decided that (for example) when I pick a chair for the room, instead of going with the matching ottoman, I’ll instead look for a fun, patterned footstool or imported, colorful pouf. This is just one example of a takeaway from a design mag… push the look a bit instead of going with the safest choice.

I was also reminded that pattern is really trendy right now and I’m drawn to the interiors that utilize pattern in unexpected ways. While I may not have the means to spend $200 or more for a yard of fabric, I do have a gift certificate to this fabulous fabric store and I’m already scheming up a couple pillows for the bedroom makeover.

Photo Credit: Elle Decor

I also learned that Target has a new line of bedding in their DwellStudio collection that is gorgeous and affordable. This is the Suzanni pattern:

Photo credit: Elle Decor

I also realized I might want a folding screen for the living room. Elle Decor ran a feature on using screens to add interest, layers, and privacy to interiors. Even though the screens they featured run from around $800 to over $19,000, I’m certain I could find one for a couple hundred bucks. Or even less if I keep my eyes peeled. Or maybe almost free if I re-purpose materials and make something myself.

I’m also a sucker for these types of features where a person picks ten or twelve things they love, from artwork to cheese to books to towels to stationary. This month designer Nate Berkus included a novel, The Help, on his list that I want to check out.

What about you? Do you like design or fashion magazines that feature items out of your budget? What are your takeaways from these sorts of publications?

Or do you avoid them altogether?

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