Book Review: Young House Love (Sherry Petersik)

Young House Love, cover Young House Love, lamps
Young House Love promises “243 ways to paint, craft, update & show your home some love.” This is a good basic book of simple home crafts, written in an unpretentious style that will especially appeal to people who feel intimidated by the prospect of decorating. It’s written for homeowners, but apartment-dwellers will find plenty of projects here too.

The first thing I noticed about this book was the text. This isn’t simply a book of fancy photos with teensy captions sprinkled about – the Petersiks share details about their home, their lives and evolving taste in decor. I especially liked the part where they talk about how when they first got their home, they painted every room a different color just because they could. Ultimately they settled on a more cohesive color scheme. This book captures their ideas at a particular point in their lives, and I’ll be interested to see how their perspectives might grow or change five or ten years down the road.

Young House Love, stencil art

The projects themselves are a mix of fresh and same-o. I really liked all the DIY art and framing options, which included sewing cardstock, geometric paintings, silhouettes from photos and maps, abstract art using silverleaf and tissue paper, stenciling, shadowboxes, etc. There are also multiple projects for headboards, mirror embellishments, pillow decoration, furniture makeovers and uses of wallpaper. There are loads of inexpensive projects, and many that won’t take more than an hour or two on a weekend. Most are pretty simple, the kind of thing you can figure out just by looking at a clear photo of it. The blog tends to have more photos and details than the book does, but there’s enough info to get you started. The back has an excellent resource list.

There were a few I didn’t care for – a faux fireplace, anything involving chalkboard paint – but overall there are more hits than misses. This is a good solid book of projects, but I do have a feeling this book will get more hype than it deserves for being ‘Decor Craft 101’. It’s not a must-have if you already own a bunch of books of this type, but it’s a fun addition and very beginner-friendly if you’re just starting out.

This isn’t a coffee table book and the production values could be better. Mine arrived with dented corners, and the matte white cover doesn’t seem like it’ll wear well. This is a thick volume printed in full color, but some of the photos are poorly lit and a little grainy, giving it an amateur look. Since the focus here is different craft projects rather than stunning roomscapes, it’s not that bad. It would still make a nice housewarming gift, especially if you include supplies for one of the projects.

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