I’ve been renovating my flat since I moved in four years ago. It’s not even nearly finished. It’s exhausting and exciting and all sorts of other words I can’t currently think of because my brain’s so focused on waiting for an email from the builder who came over earlier today, made a sucking noise through his teeth and gave me such a long list of things which need to happen that I can only remember about 50% of them.

Right now it’s the living room’s turn, and I can’t even say that looks better now than it did when I moved in, since it’s currently covered in dust sheets and bits of wallpaper which I’ve been gradually stripping over the past year or so.

The builder today told me the reason the stripping has been so hard is because of the kind of paint they used under the wallpaper, and also the fact that they’ve used several layers of woodchip. I mean really, who does that?

Anyway, the most fun part of decorating isn’t the actual stripping the walls and doing all the work, obviously. It’s the planning. Planning is FUN. Pinterest boards! Magazines! Pretty books!

Here are some of the pretty books I’ve been perusing while I procrastinate.

Anna Starmer’s Colour Scheme Bible is great if you have a rough idea of what you want, but you need inspiration about what’s going to go with it. I bought it because I loved the colour scheme on the front, and amusingly enough that turned out to be the closest to what I want, although I’m probably going to be more saffron & turquoise than orange & blue.

Buy it if: you’re not sure which colours will go with the main one you’ve picked out, or you want some baseline inspiration from which to start your Pinterest habit.

In The Mood For Colour by Hans Blomquist is a lovely book that draws inspiration from the world around as us well as the insides of other people’s houses.

A matt book with a nice scratchy fabric cover, it will sit beautifully on your coffee table even if you never actually open it. But if you do, you’ll find a wealth of ideas and inspiration inside. Here are some of the pages I bookmarked for potential house ideas.

My walls already look a bit like that last picture: not deliberately, just because I’ve been stripping wallpaper. While I’d love to just leave them like that for the sake of laziness, I think I’m going to paint them rather than going for the Shoreditch cockail bar look.

As you can see, I got a lot of inspiration from Blomquist’s book, and I think you probably will too.

Buy it if: you have some idea of what you want, but you’d like some thoughts on finishing touches or interesting colour/texture combos.

Abigail Ahern is currently the darling of Pinterest, spearheading the dark colours movement and encouraging people to be bold in their decorating choices. It was because of her that I originally decided to paint my living room dark green, before giving up on that idea and deciding instead to go for something brighter. I am still, however, ‘banishing beige’.

The pages of Ahern’s book are very glossy, making them hard to photograph, and I found a surprising lack of inspiration inside. However there were some interesting tips, especially when it comes to painting.

And of course, if you are planning to go the bold colour route, you’ll find several options laid out for you. None that you wouldn’t find for free via her online presence though, so if you’re not buying the book for the decorating tips, maybe skip it and just read her blog.

Buy it if: you’ve got your heart set on a dark colour palette, or you just want some decorating tips.

Where do you get your decoration inspiration? 

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