Summer could be, in theory, a perfect time to put some effort into redecorating. It’s a time of newness and revamping. It’s talked about as an aspirational period (“get things in shape for summer!”), everyone ushers in the new season of light, bright colors, breathable fabrics, and you may even (if you’re lucky) have your hands on some new space in a summer home or beach house. Despite this, summer undeniably also ushers in a whole lotta heat, idleness, and lounging around. This is why for CassaBlog’s July Book of the Month we chose Jill Vegas’ Speed Decorating. It appeals to both the ambitious and time- or energy-strapped sides in you. Want to make over your home without spending daunting months upon months and a fortune doing so? Vegas is your woman! As Jonathan Adler says, “Speed Decorating is a must for anybody who is impatient and loves decorating.”
Vegas, referred to as a “pro-stager” (giving homes on the market a face-lift so they’re more appealing to buyers), puts a strong emphasis on a willingness to get your hands dirty, think creatively, and reinvent what’s already there. She contends that if you approach speed decorating step by step and room by room, you can have a fabulous fresh home in a week or less. Sweet deal, right? She actually makes this all seem plausible through Speed Decorating‘s room-by-room chapter breakdown and her backbone of the seven principles of decorating: calm, condition, style, arrangement, light, color & texture, and details. These 7 elements are consistently kept in mind as the book explores the possibilities and quick fixes for every room in your home, with plenty of tricks and tips provided along the way. Speed Decorating is laden with helpful boxes containing her insight and musings on everything from “A Note About The Television” to “Lighting Rules to Remember” to “Fast, Fun Touches for Kids’ Rooms.” Additionally, scattered throughout the chapters are what Vegas calls “Bootcamp” boxes with intensive pointers that get down to the nitty-gritty on topics like “Focus On The Fireplace,” “Foyer Furniture Shopping,” and “Create a Bombshell Bookcase.” Even further, there are boxes throughout entitled “Magic-Wand Makeover” that provide results-driven advice on projects such as “Revamp Your Coffee Table” and “Dress Your Bed.”
These chapters are infused with Vegas’ to-the-point voice and helpful sayings and mantras like “A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen” or “Subtract before you add.” Despite Vegas’ reputation as a “pro-stager” known for “dressing up an apartment so that it looks unfit for human habitation, but in a good way,” as the New Yorker said in 2007, she is definitely writing this book for real people with real design tasks and desires to make their home both chic and, yes, fit for human habitation! This is proven through helpful touches like the “Resources” section at the end of the book with “Places I Love” that provides websites, phone numbers, and store addresses to contact for all your decorating needs. One downside of the book is the abundance of tidbits makes the book feel a bit disorganized, and the index in the back isn’t extensive enough to direct you to information covered in all the “extras” boxes. Our solution: Go for Speed Decorating, but buckle down with post-its in hand!
Bottom Line: Speed Decorating is stocked with clear, easy information and guidance about a stylish approach to decorating on a temporal budget, conveniently resulting in spending less money, as you realize how many outlets there are in the home for expressing yourself or making a statement that don’t require full design overhaul. At $15.99 on Amazon, this is a steal. Buy it here.