Home renovations and decorating are two of the hottest topics out there right now. With the surge in popularity of networks like HGTV, plenty of publishers are trying to cash in on the phenomenon by releasing books and how to guides that show you how to decorate your home in the most popular styles. Choosing just one can be tough, so we'll zoom in on a popular example of the genre and try to help you figure out if it's the right book for you. The subject of today's focus is The New Decorating Book by the team at Better Homes and Gardens.

What's it about?

The New Decorating book is essentially a textbook for grown ups on how to plan, design, and create a home with functional, elegant, coordinated rooms. The book is organized into two sections, the first of which is devoted to the different types of rooms you might find in your real estate (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc.) and their decorating challenges. The second section focuses on the designs themselves, which types are appropriate where and how to achieve the look you want. The book includes over 500 photos.

Who should read it?

Popular perception has it that only women like to toy around with the wallpaper and paint in their property, but the New Decorating Book is for both men and women because designing and creating a space that is functional and aesthetically pleasing is not a gender specific activity. Anyone who is looking to redesign or redecorate a home or room and doesn't know where to start should read this book. It would make a great housewarming or wedding gift.

Where can I get a copy?

The latest edition of the New Decorating Book was released in 2003, so many retail bookstores no longer carry it. You might find a copy at your local library, at a used bookstore, through an online reseller, or at a book liquidation store. Since many of the copies you will find have been used in other people's homes, prices vary from a dollar or so to upwards of fifteen dollars. The book contains a total of 408 pages and is quite large and heavy, like a university textbook.

Who is this author anyway?

Many sources list The New Decorating Book as being authored by Denise L. Caringer, and while it's true that she did write most of the content, the important connection is to the Better Homes and Garden's magazine. Better Homes and Gardens is one of the most popular decorating magazines in Canada. You will find copies on the coffee table of most homes and they are widely recognized as one of the foremost authorities on traditional and cottage decorating.

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