Your home is your castle. It reflects who you are, your unique personal style, your preferences and tastes. It's you. It's crucial you feel secure and comfortable in your home both mentally and physically. Psychologists, architects and interior designers agree that environments that are inviting and attractive, functional and organized have a positive effect on you. Creating such an environment is an art that can be learned. We hope to assist your learning process by recommending you a few of the best books out there and also provide a list of suppliers for everything you might need in your renovating project from plumbing to lighting and fabrics.

My favorite books

1. The Meaning of things by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Eugene Rochberg-Halton

The Meaning of things The authors describe the research they conducted regarding everyday objects found in people's homes. They conclude that things that surround us are important not only because they are an expression of ourselves but even more because they also shape us. We get attached to them because they embody goals, evoke special memories and feelings and thus they acquire a new meaning. The home contains the most special objects and these are the ones making up the dweller's identity

2. Emotional Design by Donald Norman (psychologist)

Emotional Design Donald Norman states in this book that attractive items are perceived to be easier to use even when they are not functionally different from their counterparts. The explanation lies in the positive effect of attractiveness over a person's mood. In other words, beautiful objects, with or without any practical use can affect your mood in a positive way. And more interestingly, they have an impact on the creative problem solving strategies we use in our dealing with various problems.

3. The Nature of Order and A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander

The Nature of Order While psychologists try to clarify why things surrounding us are important, architects and interior designer explore the "how". How can we create an environment that is full of life, inspiring, healthy, beautiful and functional?
Christopher Alexander and his colleagues at the Environmental Structure have articulated the idea that people should design for themselves their own houses or even their own larger environment. The reason: the most wonderful places in the world are made by the people.

Some buildings, streets or neighborhoods seem to be inviting, feel right, are timeless and full of life. Alexander and his team have identified the design concepts that are reflected in the making of these pleasant and lively spaces. These concepts called "patterns" by the authors are in fact answers to design questions. Together they form a "language" of design guidelines that can enable a person to make such a design for almost any kind of built environment.

Both books make for fairly difficult but extremely rewarding reading.

4. Patterns of Home by Max Jacobson, Murray Silverstein and Barbara Winslow

Patterns of Home Max Jacobson, Murray Silverstein and Barbara Winslow a trio of prestigious architects, inspired by their previous work at the Environmental Structure present the most important design issues that influence the creation of timeless home design. These "patterns" include for example the relationship of the house with its environment, the shaping of the spaces (positive space vs. negative space), the use of light, the flow through the rooms, the use of materials and many others.

5. The Domain Book of Intuitive Design by interior designers Judy George and Todd

The Domain Book of Intuitive Design The authors interpret style as a yearning for and as an effort to create the "one beautiful place where we belong". This "place" can only be created through knowing one self and the personality category one belongs to, whether Visionary, Artisan, Idealist or Adventurer. The opening quiz of their book helps position the reader between the four intuitive types, after which George and Lyon provide a cornucopia of decorative ideas by personality type and room of the house, so that all of us readers can attempt to create our special place where we belong.