Home Made Lovely [Book Review] | Simple Design Tips

Home Made Lovely, written by Toronto interior designer Shannon Acheson, makes creating a beautiful home accessible for even the most design-inept.

Image is a styled, minimalist photograph of a white table with a teal coffee cup, a small cactus, and a white picture frame on it. Overlaid is an image of the book cover for Home Made Lovely by Shannon Acheson.

Design-inept people like me!

Decorating and styling are things I try to stay away from if I can, mostly because I’m so insecure about my taste. As in, do I have any?

Although to be honest, interior design is something I have an urge to figure out. Because I love how colour and decor and placement can make such a huge and special impact on the way people feel.

Interior surroundings have the ability to evoke either a negative or positive emotional response. Everything from colors, to natural elements, to ceiling height and lighting affects how we feel when we walk into a room.

Home Made Lovely, 17

Seems like magic. I want to do magic.

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Home Made Lovely: Creating the Home You’ve Always Wanted Review

The book’s beautiful cover, the blurb and the subtitle’s promise I could create the home I’ve always dreamed of were the trifecta. I needed to read this book.

And when Home Made Lovely arrived I dove right in, flipping to find all the exciting and modern inspo I’ve been craving, especially since being stuck at home for the past year.

And…quickly learned this is more of a words-driven book than images-driven book. Like, there are some, but not many.

I don’t know why, but I expected lots of styled images to demonstrate the decorating tips and tricks. I guess because that’s what I’m used to in design books.

So I set the book aside for a bit until I had more time to go through the text-heavy glossy pages with more mindful intention.

Good news though, I came back to it. Because I really do want to figure out this design thing. And what I mean by that: I want a low-maintenence, comfortable and inviting home I want to hang out in and am proud of.

Here’s what I discovered.

Author Shannon Acheson says there are four steps to creating a lovely home.

  1. Decide to love where you live
  2. Declutter and make room for life
  3. Decorate in an uncomplicated way
  4. Embrace lovely, “scruffy” hospitality

I’ve written before about how I’m a nervous host. Like, I do enjoy hosting people (deep, deep down) but I get all in my head about it, stressing about everything ahead of time and then worrying during the visit.

  • Are they having fun?
  • Are they bored?
  • Did I do something wrong/offensive/etc.?

A bit later in this section, Acheson says the right kind of decor can calm even the most anxious heart. I love the idea of creating a safe space that can have this powerful positive effect. (For myself and others.)

Can I do that on my own? Is it possible? Do I have the creative wiles?

Before getting into the actual prescriptive “how to make your home lovely” tips, there’s a chapter on learning how to be grateful for your current home. There’s even space to write down what you DO love about your home.

I love the idea of focusing on abundance rather than lack. Such a good place to start.

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The 3-Step Decorating Process

Part three of Home Made Lovely focuses on these steps.

  • Find Your Decorating Style (Step 1)
  • Create Your Master Plan (Step 2)
  • Decorate One Room at a Time (Step 3)

In Step 1 you learn about the different home styles and design styles, as well as what shapes, colours and decorations help represent that style. There is space to jot down your personal preferences and discover your style.

In Step 2 you learn about colour…and colour theory…and how to create a colour scheme. So helpful!

And in Step 3 it’s decorating time! There are lots of lighting tips as well as some review of wall coverings and art. While there are some sketches and photos, I would have definitely loved more examples here. This is where I really struggle with design insecurity.

Do these items go together? Does this work? Is this cluttered?

The final section of Home Made Lovely focuses on hospitality. There are all sorts of tips for creating a space for entertaining visitors in a way that is comfortable and relaxing for everyone.

I love this section so much. I thought I was looking for design tips (and, well, I am) but I think figuring out how to create some “house rules” and welcoming spaces is going to make more impact that what colour I paint or which lamp shape I end up choosing for my sitting room.

Acheson says a big part of the “lovely home experience” is, in fact, the experience. But many of us (ME) make excuses to avoid inviting people into our spaces because we think our homes and hospitality should look a way we aren’t managing to pull off.

Decorating should be about those who live there, rather than making your home into a magazine-worthy spread.

Instead, what if we focused on creating a welcoming space?

Somewhere people feel like they can relax and be themselves…and where you can too. Isn’t that better than having the most up-to-date styling and Instagrammable wall coverings?

To me? Yes.

Home Made Lovely: Creating the Home You’ve Always Wanted SYnopsis

Everyone wants a home that is beautiful and clutter free. But most of us are unsure how to get there without breaking the bank. Popular interior designer Shannon Acheson takes the guesswork out of creating a lovely home. Home Made Lovely is a mind-set: decorating should be about those who live there, rather than making your home into a magazine-worthy spread. Shannon walks you through how to

  • decorate in a way that suits your family’s real life
  • declutter in seven simple steps
  • perform a house blessing to dedicate your home to God
  • be thankful for your current home and what you already have
  • brush up on hospitality with more than 20 actionable ideas that will make anyone feel welcome and loved in your home

In Home Made Lovely, Shannon meets you right where you are on your home-decorating journey, helping you share the peace of Christ with family members and guests.

About Shannon Acheson

Shannon Acheson is a mostly self-taught designer, decorator, writer, and stylist. Although she has completed her interior design training, she’d much rather teach you how to decorate your own home than do it for you. She is the editor and designer behind the design and lifestyle company and blog HomeMadeLovely.com. Her happy place is in the suburbs of Toronto, where she is a Homebody with a capital H, a Jesus girl, a happy wife to Dean, and a homeschooling mom of three teenagers. Learn more at www.homemadelovely.com.

Other Book Reviews

Home Made Lovely, written by Toronto interior designer Shannon Acheson, makes creating a beautiful home accessible for even the most design-inept. Design-inept people like me! Decorating and styling are things I try to stay away from if I can, mostly because I'm so insecure about my taste. As in, do I have any?

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Thanks to Graf-Martin Communications for providing a review copy of Home Made Lovely.