The Well-Dressed Home — Books

Here’s the deal. You can put an outfit together, right? So why not apply some of that knowhow when it comes to outfitting your home?

That’s Annette Tatum’s approach in The Well-Dressed Home, Fashionable Design Inspired by Your Personal Style (Clarkson Potter, 2009). Here’s Tatum’s theory: You’ve taken the time to choose styles, colors and textures you love for your clothes. Use that inspiration you have in your own wardrobe and in your fashion preferences to guide your home style.

The Well Dressed Home by Annette Tatum

Tatum helps you assess the contents of your closet and build what she calls your ‘personal fashion profile.’ And like a well-stocked closet, the inspiration on these pages is plentiful. She shares photos of stylish outfits, accessories, and packed designer-storyboards around eleven popular fashion themes:

  1. Romantic
  2. Couture
  3. Classic
  4. Casual
  5. Bohemian
  6. Retro
  7. Resort
  8. Modern
  9. Eclectic
  10. Vintage
  11. Eco

Before I bought the book, I found myself thinking, ‘Can a blouse or a skirt really set the
tone for a space?’ But once I saw the striking side-by-side photos of how a fashion theme can go from apparel to room, I was on board. It was refreshing to feel the personality in
the spaces.

It takes a leap of faith to let a beaded cashmere cardigan and a pair of flowered sandals fuel a kitchen makeover…

— Annette Tatum

I found the rooms to have a depth of design, and to be far more visually interesting than many room designs. For example Tatum says, “It takes a leap of faith to let a beaded cashmere cardigan and a pair of flowered sandals fuel a kitchen makeover, but the results can be sensational.”

Sounds strange I know, but dive in to the book you’ll understand. The designs are classy, yet full of life. And pay attention to Tatum’s guidance on “Literal” vs. “Inspirational” application of a fashion. Just because you are inspired by your string of pearls doesn’t mean you need to drape them from your chandelier. Perhaps a satin or eggshell finish in the paint might do the trick.

So let your wardrobe guide you. And if you are adventurous, Tatum encourages stepping out of your comfort zone by testing a new style or tweaking what you currently favor. In fact, for the balance of the book , Tatum presents mashups of the eleven main themes into many unique expressions. What about ‘Eco-Eclectic’ (think natural elements and a collector’s eye) or ‘Retro-Resort’ (think flamingo pink with a spot of kitsch). Lots to spark your creativity here.

You’re not moved by fashion? Well let’s just say I’ve not been a fashionista for most of my life — while young, too much time spent in Speedo swimsuits and sweats, and later what was quick and easy for a working mommy. But in this middle phase of life, I find myself more and more taken by fashion, and I was genuinely excited by the rooms and ideas in this book.

It’s an invitation to the opening of your exclusive runway collection. To clothe your spaces in your own signature style. Like Tatum says, “Open up your closet — your guide to designing a well-dressed home awaits you.”


Have you used your wardrobe (or a part of it) as inspiration for your home decor? Do tell….

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One Comment for “The Well-Dressed Home — Books”

I have used wardrobe as an analogy many times with clients because most people do know how to put an outfit together, or at the very least can recognize when something does not work. We once had a client’s husband insist that their old accessories were “just fine” with their new modern furniture. When I told him it was like wearing crocs with an Armani suit he got it!

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