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New York Times / Life - Entertain

Design Books to Kick-Start Your Decorating Projects

Here are six new books to help you put plans for renovation, reorganization and other stalled projects into action.

The London townhouse of Nikki Tibbles, a florist, is featured in “It’s Beautiful Here.” Brooke Holm 2017

March: It’s the official start of spring, of course, but let us not forget that the word is also a directive to move forward. March! For homeowners, this means putting plans for renovation, reorganization and other stalled projects into action. Here are six new books to inspire you.

“It’s Beautiful Here,” by Megan Morton, a stylist (Thames & Hudson, $45, 240 pp.), showcases 19 international homes that are united by daringly original design. In the Notting Hill, London, townhouse of Nikki Tibbles, a florist, petal-pink walls play off riotous botanical-themed curtains, pillows, couches and throws. Phil Van Huynh, another florist, sprinkles his Melbourne, Australia, house with curiosities like French milk bins from Marseille and dairy feed sacks repurposed as pillows. And Olivier Abry, a lighting designer in Lyon, France, enlivens vintage décor with his own spidery sconces and lamps.

For those itching to really switch things up, look no further than Jane Webster. The Melbourne entrepreneur and mother of four became the doyenne of a French chateau after buying and gutting the neglected 19th-century property on a whim. Ms. Webster’s latest book, “French House Chic” (Thames & Hudson, $45, 256 pp.), illuminates the sometimes-elusive appeal of French interiors by breaking them down room by room (the entrance, the bedroom, the kitchen) — and then even further into the elements that define those rooms (paneling, toile, bergère chairs).

If your aesthetic inclinations are still shaky, Donna Garlough’s “Your Home, Your Style: How to Find Your Look & Create Rooms You Love” (Rizzoli, $45, 208 pp.) offers to help you discover your “design disposition”: Self-Expressionist, Pragmatist, Historian, Dream Weaver or Tinkerer. The book’s second half suggests ways to transform your home accordingly. It’s an easily digestible guide that may turn the pain points of renovation into creative epiphanies.

Oftentimes, better organization is all you really need to make your home more livable. Cue Joanna and Peter Ahlberg’s “Diary of Your Home: Ideas, Tips and Prompts for Recording and Organizing Everything” (Rizzoli, $24.95, 255 pp.). Here you can catalog room dimensions, recipes, shopping lists, contacts, wall colors and the status of maintenance projects — all in a friendly format that encourages deep thoughtfulness. The book will help you make your home “better functioning, better at meeting your essential needs, better at expressing and nurturing your own identity,” Ms. Ahlberg writes.

Once you’ve mastered the art of concealing clutter you’re ready for the 37 renovation projects that Francesc Zamora Mola chronicles in “Open Concept Houses” (Harper Design, $35, 480 pp.). Be it a skyline-facing San Francisco residence with an unfortunately isolated kitchen or a Victorian rowhouse in need of light, these spaces have been reinvigorated by more gracious, flexible floor plans. “The homeowners had a common request: open rooms to each other and to the outdoors,” Mr. Zamora Mola says.

In “Hudson Modern: Residential Landscapes” (The Monacelli Press, $60, 262 pp.) David Sokol highlights 18 homes in the Hudson River Valley of New York, revealing how the bucolic region that inspired landscape painters now supports forward-thinking design. For the LM Guest House in Dutchess County, for instance, Katherine Chia and Arjun Desai created a wood-paneled master bedroom that practically seems to levitate within the foliage, while Robert Siegel designed his House 432 in Katonah with a rooftop courtyard that resembles a living room with the ceiling sliced clean off — a novel way to watch the seasons change.