...because home doesn't happen overnight.

An old 3-ring binder (from my college days) and loads of inspirational tear-outs…

Plus a $7.77 pack of page protectors…

Equals an organized, anytime flip-through of eye candy and endless ideas.

Or as I like to call it, My Little Black Book.

I strongly encourage anyone who is thinking of painting, decorating or buying new furniture to make one of their own.  In the end, this underestimated book will save you time and money.  Simply tear out magazine pages of rooms that you are drawn to.  Don’t think (yet) about why you like them or if you can afford them.  Just rip ’em out for about 6 months or so before you do the aforementioned painting, decorating or buying.  Then compile all pages into a binder with page protectors.  (Punching holes into thin magazine paper results in torn holes and lost pages.  Believe me, I know.)  Organize them by room… kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. 

Periodically, go through and study your book.  Remove pages that you are no longer drawn to (because we all like to change our minds!) and look for a common theme in the pages you keep.  This should really help nail down a feel, style or color scheme.  Do you like bold, bright colors?  Or are you drawn to more serene rooms?  Is your taste pretty traditional or do you lean more toward straight lines and no frills?  Are the rooms in your binder mostly formal or casual?

Once you can pinpoint a feel, your projects and shopping lists should become more focused.  I didn’t do this for the first year we lived in our home.  I had all these little ideas but no overall concept of how I wanted our house to look.  Needless to say, I wasted some time, money and paint on things that didn’t turn out ‘right’.  I was in a hurry to get it done.  Once I took the time to compose My Little Black Book and discover that I like light, airy, neutral rooms with pops of color (especially green), texture and geometric details, it was easy to start working towards a cohesive vision.  Go ahead, try it for yourself!




What decorating magazine’s do you like the best? I always look then never buy, because I hate spending money on magazines! I really want to start collecting my thoughts on my “style”…..suggestions?




Personally, I only subscribe to three magazines: Better Homes & Gardens, House Beautiful and Real Simple. BHG is great for inexpensive ideas for real houses. House Beautiful features rooms that are over my budget but very inspirational. Real Simple has useful, straight-foward info for organizing, cleaning and decorating. All 3 of these have helpful websites that I turn to on occassion also. Another glossy that I like (but don’t buy every issue of) is Budget Decorating which I usually find at Lowe’s. I’ll flip threw the current issue at the store to see if there’s anything in there that makes it worthy of buying. I buy it maybe twice a year. Those are the only ones I spend $ on (and two of my subscriptions are gifts that I always ask for!), so I don’t spend a lot of moola on mags.

However, Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn, Frontgate, West Elm, Crate & Barrel, CB2, Room & Board, Home Decorators Collection and IKEA all have my mailing address and send me catalogs that I also tear my inspiration pages from. If I can’t go through them right when I receive them, I save ’em up and peruse them later for ideas (not necessarily for their products). Get on their mailing lists, it’s free! And you can always recycle what you don’t want.

Happy ‘style’ hunting!

[…] in January, I showed you how I organize my home decor inspiration pictures in a 3-ring binder.  Plastic sleeves protect the magazine tear-outs and I file them by room (i.e.  kitchen, living […]

[…] walls in our house, so this didn’t work for us.  Always stick to your idea book (i.e. your Little Black Book).  In hindsight, there are no green rooms in my inspiration […]


I have one too! I’ve had it for so long. I recently took some things out from years ago that I didn’t really care for too much anymore but I thought it was funny how much I still liked certain styles. I would have thought some things would be more outdated but I still pretty much love it all! Clean white trim, white kitchens, built-ins, etc. Love.