Interior Design Book Review: Made for Living

Okay, I love Pinterest and use it all the time, but design books hold a special place in my heart. For whatever reason, I never tire of looking at them over and over and over again. Each time I find something new to appreciate. Plus, I love reading about design. Design books aren’t cheap and many aren’t sold in brick and mortar stores. I’ve made a goal to build an interior design library for myself and thought I would share the book reviews here.

The inaugural book is “Made for Living” by the prominent Amber Lewis. The book was just released in October of 2020, but it’s already a classic. It’s a quick read that you can get through in an afternoon or two. The writing is conversational and casual. The photography is gorgeous and the featured interiors are inspiring. Amber gives advice throughout the whole book to help the reader achieve her style. But there are several other design gems that would appeal to anyone (not just those trying to emulate her style).

Picking the Perfect White

First, her section on white paint is the best I’ve ever seen. There is so much discussion on the internet about how to pick the RIGHT white paint, but there isn’t much info given beyond designers sharing their favorite ones and touching on undertones. I haven’t seen any articles that tell you the factors which influence a white-paint decision. Amber gets into the nitty-gritty details about this. Undertones, of course, play a role, but she talks about the importance of light, environment, and feeling. If you are feeling stuck on picking the right white, bookmark this section of her book. You won’t be disappointed.

Mixing Shapes

An interesting concept that I never really thought about before, at least consciously, is the impact of mixing shapes in a design. This is something that people may do unconsciously, but reading her explanation for why mixing different shapes matters made so much sense. It shined a light on something I never really thought about.

Shopping Vintage

If you are familiar with Amber, you already know her brand is synonymous with vintage. So it’s no surprise that the book goes into great detail about vintage shopping and the things you must keep in mind. You don’t need to have access to Round Top Texas to be able to use her tips. They’ll help you at your local thrift shop or flea market.

No Filler, Only Facts

Lastly, her room-by-room suggestions are straight to the point and pack a punch. There’s not a lot of filler here and each tip is thoughtful and right on target. Some of these tips may feel familiar (use durable flooring in a mudroom), but you’ll walk away with some new ones too.

Overall Impression

As I mentioned, this book is already a classic. I was familiar with most of the pictures in the book (there may have been a few projects that I haven’t seen), but nothing felt surprising or new. It’s nice (and educational!) to have Amber discuss the details of the project and the thought process behind the design. It gives you a sense of how the spaces came together. Overall, a beautiful book with useful information.

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