Playing House: A Starter Guide to Being a Grown-Up

Playing House: A Starter Guide to Being a Grown-Up

by Celeste Perron

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Overview

Ready to graduate from dorm
decor and mismatched furniture?

Now it's easy to create a perfect, stylish space for entertaining and relaxing. Playing House is the bible for the girl who knows she has an aspiring domestic goddess inside her but doesn't know how to make those impulses meet reality. Page after page of advice on cooking, decorating, cleaning, and entertaining will provide you with everything you need to turn your bachelorette pad into a welcoming, cozy haven, including a stress-free formula for making any room look elegant and inviting for little money and minimal effort; tips on transforming an apartment filled with mismatching furniture into a well-choreographed pad; time-saving strategies for dinner parties that can be prepared 80 percent in advance and on a tight budget; advice on making a bedroom that looks like a sanctuary rather than a dorm room; and more!

Featuring the budget-friendly tips and advice of top interior designers, chefs, and event planners, Playing House will help you achieve blissful domesticity with minimum fuss and maximum fun.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060741631
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/26/2005
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 7.37(w) x 9.12(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

Celeste Perron is the former lifestyle director for Cosmopolitan and is currently a freelance writer. She lives in New York.

Read an Excerpt

Playing House

A Starter Guide to Being a Grown-Up
By Celeste Perron

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Celeste Perron
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060741635

Chapter One

Feathering Your Nest

Rules for Decorating Your Space So It's Stylish, Serene, and Totally You

So you're ready to let your dormant domestic side wake up and thrive? The first and most essential step is to make your living space one you want to awake in every morning and return to at the end of the day. Your apartment or house should be a place where your needs for both physical comfort and mental peace are met. It should also be a place you're proud to welcome friends into -- not because you've spent a ton of money to fill it with impressive stuff, but because you've put effort and creativity into making it a wonderful place to hang out, one that expresses who you are.

As you've noticed by now, some homes are just really inviting -- and others aren't. I first really learned about this from observing my friend Amy. When I was in my early twenties, it seemed as if everyone I knew decorated their apartments in one of two styles: sloppy-dorm redux (the category my first apartment fell under); or spanking new, one-hundred-percent Crate and Barrel. The first look was comfy but a little bit depressing, and the second seemed really grown-up but impersonal and soulless. But Amy's place was neither of these, and it was inevitably the one we'd all hang out in for hours. With a little ingenuity (but without spending any more money on décor than the rest of us) she managed to turn her alcove studio apartment (a fifth-floor walk-up, no less) into a really warm, welcoming little home. Her recipe for an inviting room had simple ingredients: cushy sofas and chairs, soft lights, lots of little tables to rest drinks on, and cool wall-hangings and other unique touches that really expressed her personality.

The next time I moved into a new apartment and set about decorating it, I very deliberately tried to copy the look of Amy's place. I didn't go so far as to buy the same throw pillows, or anything too Single White Female like that. But I paid very close attention to what I liked about her place. Because she had a lot of softly lit lamps, I ditched my big bright halogen one in favor of a few table lamps. I observed that she had a very tight color scheme, camel and crisp white accented with pale blue, so I pared down my color scheme to just three or four hues -- and packed away the multicolored tapestries and jewel-toned vases that didn't fit into the scheme. Yes, I felt a bit weird about apartment-stalking my friend, but I wound up with a look that was much more stylish than that of the place I'd been living in before. The essential principles I picked up from copying Amy aren't complex or difficult to comprehend, but it's unlikely you'll stumble upon them yourself when you're decorating for the first time.

Now's the time for you to brush up on these basics so you can turn your own home into a haven. Maybe your current place is just the spot where you sleep and store your stuff, with décor you don't even think about or just sort of tolerate. Or maybe you've put a lot of effort into making your living space look great, but still feel it comes up short. In either case, there's a whole lot you can do to make your pad a place you can't wait to get back to, because it makes you so damn happy when you walk in the door.

Of course, during the starting-out stage of your life, decorating can seem really daunting. You're limited by your budget, and the need to spend on things like shoes and bags and trips and socializing seems much more pressing than the need to tend to your home. And since you're most likely living in a rented space, it's hard to get inspired to invest energy or moolah in how it looks -- you don't know how long you'll be living there anyway. Also, it can be really tricky to decide what style you want to achieve -- contemporary and trendy? Mid-century modern? Traditional and luxurious? Do you want it to feel like a sleek mod party pad or a cutely disheveled country-style haven, or posh and fit for a Park Avenue princess? It's so hard to choose, and especially confusing since you're not starting totally from scratch -- you've probably inherited a bunch of furnishings (from parents, exboyfriends, former roommates) you can't afford to replace.

But no matter what sort of stuff you're starting with, and regardless of how little you've got to spend, there's still a ton of things you can do to get your place looking like that fantasy pad in your head. Here I've pulled together the most helpful advice I've heard from interior design pros. First, I'll share their insights on how to decide your decorating goals and then upgrade the fundamentals of your space. It's important to get major elements like the walls, rugs, and windows right before you move forward. Then I'm going to share their wisdom on choosing the right furniture or making over the stuff you already have, and their rules on how to light your space in the most flattering way. Once you've got all that down, you can add the fun finishing touches, the little things that express your style and mark your home as your own. All the experts I cite here are cool modern women like you (who just happen to have killer taste and super-successful careers in design), and I guarantee that if you follow even a tiny portion of their pointers, you'll wind up with a home you're much more into and, hopefully, totally proud of and passionate about.

Continues...


Excerpted from Playing House by Celeste Perron Copyright © 2005 by Celeste Perron. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsvii
How This Book Beganix
Chapter 1Feathering your nest: Rules for decorating your space so it's stylish, serene, and totally you1
Chapter 2Making Food That Tastes Delicious: Easy ways to ensure everything created in your kitchen comes out just right55
Chapter 3Wine and Boore Basics: How to pick wine with confidence and mix cocktails that hit the spot119
Chapter 4Perfect-Hostess Pointers: Advice on throwing gatherings your guests wish would never end165
Chapter 5Taking Care of Domestic Business: The key principles of keeping your home clean, tidy, and totally livable207
Chapter 6Four more Grown-Up Skills to Master: More know-how you need to live happily in your home and feel like a bona fide adult229
Sources243
Index247

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