Sharon Hanby-Robie, QVC's home decor expert and frequent on-air personality, shares her 30 years of interior design expertise in Decorating Without Fear: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Home You Love. She recommends a personal, thoughtful approach: Your home should tell the story of your life. . . . I want you to learn to trust your instincts and follow your heart. The book's language may veer into clichŽ territory, but Hanby-Robie's principles are sound: Before embarking on a design project, it's wise to consider which styles are appealing and appropriate, how the rooms function, where the light falls and other essentials. She offers suggestions for making rooms more efficient, as well as techniques for rendering challenging areas (ceiling too tall? space too open?) more livable. And it's refreshing that the loads of color photos including plenty of before-and-afters are of livable, not-too-fancy rooms, rather than the shots of palatial homes and fussy furniture found in many interior design books.

Reading Decorating Without Fear does require commitment: The text is plentiful, but so is the good advice. And isn't it better to spend more time sussing out what works now, rather than scraping off an unfortunate wallpaper choice later?

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