Valley Dispatch contributor

Being a designer requires a bit of personal creativity. However, as any designer will tell you, we don’t come up with all of our ideas ourselves. We are constantly looking for new ideas and inspirations.

Of course, HGTV and TLC have loads of great shows that are helpful, but there are also a lot of books that are wonderful as well. Here are some of my favorites.

The first of my favorites is 77 Habits of Highly Creative Interior Designers by Sarah Lynch. I refer back to this book often. This book is fantastic because it gives you great advice like “A living room should be formal enough for entertaining but never fussy,” and “furniture arrangement should start from logic.” This advice is then interpreted by several top designers so you get many perspectives. The net result is really wonderful advice and lots of ideas, stories, and real-world experience to back it up.

I have always admired Martha Stewart, especially the soft, gorgeous colors she puts together. The Best of Martha Stewart Living Decorating with Color provides you with many predesigned color palettes. There is a section at the beginning of the book where they explain how they choose their color combinations. I, however, prefer to cheat and just use the ones they put together for us. They are just beautiful and so unusual. Surely, there is something for everyone. I do recommend reading the introduction though because they also discuss how they use wood and painted finishes in a room to emphasize the other colors they have chosen. Often these elements are overlooked in a color scheme and therefore the final effect can be lacking.

Another of my favorites is Colorscapes. This third book by Susan Sargent would be a beautiful addition to your library. I have to admit that I am partial to this book because I am a big fan of Susan’s and because I went to many of the photo shoots for this book. However, this book really shows you how to use bold color in your home without having it look busy, chaotic or childish. Susan photographed all sorts of spaces throughout New England to really illustrate the fact that color works in any kind of home. Chapter six is my favorite because she features her own Beacon Hill home in Boston. It is an old four-loor brownstone that she transformed from a white wonderland to a colorful, creative and sophisticated home. This book will give you the confidence to take the plunge and use the colors you really love in your home.

Julie Chrissis is a professional home stager and interior decorator based in Nashua and Malden. She can reached at