New Decor by Elizabeth Wilhide

While the thrill of the hunt is invigorating, the thrill of the blindly stumbled upon can sometimes delight even more. Over the winter while browsing the local Barnes & Noble, I found a $13 book that spoke to me on every level in the most unexpected place - the nobody-loves-me-anymore bargain section. How a new release ended up there, I'll never know. Call it fate. New Decor, written by London-based designer and writer Elizabeth Wilhide and photographed by Lisbett Wedendahl, is packed with gorgeous imagery and decorating tips.

It embraces that European urban bohemian style we love, referred to as Modern Euro Country in some magazines, but I'm beginning to think I should call it Bohemian Euro and leave it at that, it's quicker to say and gets to the core of this most appealing look.


As a side point, New Decor appears to have different covers and titles in other parts of the world, so it's easy to get confused. The ISBN is 978-076078-944-5 in case you want to find it in a store where you live. In Germany, it's titled Inspiration, and in the UK, it has a totally different cover look altogether.


I have to admit that upon first glance, I wasn't impressed by the colors on the cover (something about violet and beige combined, but that's just me), so I walked by it a few times. But the more I looked over at it, it kept calling to me -- almost batting it's eyelashes with the giant discount sticker slapped on the front. One cannot at least look into a bargain, right? But the bait that really lured me in was the border shown on the cover, something about it felt familiar and I had to investigate further, so I satisfied my curiosity and read that it's wallpaper designed by none other than Ms. Orla Kiely herself for Habitat's VIP collection in London. Ah-ha! The second I saw her name this rush of excitement ripped through me, for anything involving Orla Kiely must be good. And this book is very good. Drool-inducing pages of gorgeousness, one after another. I felt as though I'd discovered gold that day in the middle of big box bargainville.


I refer to New Decor regularly for ideas and inspiration. It has opened my eyes to color and pattern, and I was already confident (or so I thought) in using both and thought I was pretty open-minded about design until New Decor entered my life. It's a great reminder that when it comes to design, I've only just begun! I need to continue to develop my eye by experimenting more, leaning less on what I know to guide me (comfort) and more on what I do not know to steer me in exciting new directions (exploration, going beyond what's comfortable). Yes, a mere design book with pretty picture can do that.


Beyond imagery though, it's packed with topics spanning everything from monochromatic color schemes to brightly-colored wallpaper, there's truly something for everyone including display techniques, window treatments, how to mix a variety of patterns in a space, and tips on paint selection. There's even a how-to guide in the back and a stocklist. I'll try to look through that later today and share some of those with you here, as a few of the resources cited do not sound familiar to me. I need to comb the stocklist to locate these curtains below because I want to buy them for an upcoming project I'm involved in. It's called decorating my new city apartment. More on that in months to come. :)


I seriously suggest that you purchase a copy and find a cozy chair immediately, it may open your eyes to a few non-traditional approaches to design too.

(images from new decor and holly becker)