Book Review: 500 Quick and Easy Decorating Projects and Ideas

Country Living 500 Quick & Easy Decorating Projects & Ideas

This book was a delightful and generous gift from LindsayT who picked up on my love of the now defunct Cottage Living and Domino Magazine. I’ve always called my personal decorating style Urban Cottage and this book will easily help develop it. Country Living is also where my favorite bake-at-home cake recipe is from.

Despite being a total city girl, I’m in love with cottage / country decor. What I love about the country / cottage looks is the extreme use of fabric. What appeals to me about this book is that the aren’t trying to tell you that you can do anything when you can’t. Rather, they just want to show you the possibilities. This is not a book of how-tos, but rather photos with short descriptions of the how the color, fabric, flowers, etc. work for that room.

There is minimum text and beautiful photos straight from the pages of Country Living magazine. It covers Entries and Hallways, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Living Rooms, Dining Rooms, family and Great Rooms, Bedrooms, Kids’ Rooms, Home Offices, Small Rooms, Laundry Rooms, Porches and Outdoor Spaces, and Seasonal Decorating. But, some of the sections like Outdoor Spaces are all of two pages long.

What it will also do is make me crave:

Pink kitchens. Seriously. I think I petted this page.

More quilts and a long banister. I love the use of quilts to decorate.

Lots of layers, white and frills. If I made my bed, this would be so pretty.

and a pink typewriter. Which has nothing to do with this book. I just want a pink typewriter. Bad.


  1. Like you, I am MOST VEXED that Cottage Living and Domino are gone!! The pink kitchen is just TOO wonderful! I love this style because it’s so comfortable and warm. I’ll keep my eyes out for a pink typewriter! (in the meantime, it’s amazing what one can do with a can of spray paint!)

  2. I’d love a pink kitchen too! My last house was all pink and navy blue – it was a sweet dollhouse and when we sold it (in two hours after it was 1st shown) the buyers said they loved it because it was pink. So go ahead and indulge yourself. There are lots of country style pink lovers out there. My current house is more modern, but I do sneak a quilt here and there. Makes a nice contrast

  3. It’s a fun book to look through, right? I pick up home dec books all the time from the company bookstore, just so I can dream. I’m toying with the idea of painting my living room walls a pale ’50s pink…

  4. Oh now.. an orderly sewing basement? Great. Quilts along the banister? Sure, very nice. But a made bed? That is a total waste of time :-).

  5. My whole house is wallpapered, with heavy drapes, because I love fabrics. Fortunately for hubby, I’m not obsessed with doilies, so the end tables are not fabric covered. My sons swear that their houses will be furnished with concrete furniture and naked windows. Stupid boys.

    I have a pink iron, doubtless late 50s vintage, that I bought myself at tag sale when I was 13. It’s one of my favorite appliances.

  6. Hubby and my’s first apartment had pink metal cabinets in the kitchen and a huge picture window overlooking a park. People were often taken aback by the pink cabinets, but I loved them.

    I’m really enjoying the book reviews, too.


  7. Didn’t you hear, unmade beds have fewer dust mites? In fact, my allergist has me fold back my bedcovers and top sheet every morning to air out my bed.

  8. I live in the country in a big old 150 year old farmhouse and I love this look, too. However, if I were to decorate my house with that much fabric I can guarantee that every single fold, every nook, every cranny and certainly every single one of this flowery things on the quilt would have a potter wasp cocoon built into it on day one. The mosquito net would be home to a colony of micro bats by the end of the first night. As it is, with no curtains or blinds, the wasps still manage to build little mud cocoons under the cushions on the sofa and the pillows on the bed. I firmly believe if you fall asleep on the verandah in summer they will build a cocoon in your nostrils.

    As for the pink kitchen, I want it now. I love the 50’s combo of the soft pink with the black and white tile floor. I’ve been wanting to have that floor in my kitchen for a good many years. They even have pink canisters! I can see why you stroked the page! Thanks for this review, the book is gorgeous.

  9. “..extreme use of fabric..” You know, that phrase is now implanted in my brain. I’m thinking of a sign for the door going into my sewing room, saying, “Caution…extreme use of fabric” or something like that. 🙂

  10. Nice review. Makes me want to get this book even though i have no plans for decorating/re-decorating/spending money.

  11. My house in pretty cottage-y. It’s only 28 years old, so I can’t say it’s authentic, but I love the soft colors and the airiness. Hubs doesn’t even mind the roses and soft greens.

  12. My grandmother had all pink appliances in her kitchen and also a pink Cadillac parked in the garage. Loved seeing your pink kitchen. Sweet memories.

  13. I love the pink kitchen — I don’t think my husband would go for it, though. Lovely ideas — thank you for sharing the books!

  14. I was very upset when they discontinued Cottage Living and Country Home. Even worse, they thought that sending me Sunset and Family Circle would make up for it!!! I definitely feel your pain!

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