MG Giveaway! Design Rules book

Sunday, November 01, 2009 | Category: Books, Contests, Decorating, Designers

What if I told you that a notable interior designer (who was named one of House Beautiful’s Top 100 designers in the country) was willing to share all of her deepest design secrets with the public?

I imagine you would be pretty excited (as would I!!)


Well, that notable designer is Elaine Griffin and she did recently share her deepest design secrets with the public.   All 238 pages of them!  Her new book, Design Rules: The Insider’s Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator, comes out November 3rd and we couldn’t be more excited.  I was sent a sneak preview of it (ok, it wasn’t really a preview, I read the whole thing in two days!) and I was so thrilled that someone so credible FINALLY came up with a “step-by-step practical approach” (in the words of Colin Cowie) to home decorating.  It is SUCH a great reference.  I had always wondered why someone hadn’t written a book like this sooner.


Yes, we all have the book, The Time Savers Standards for Interior Design and Space Planning, and don’t get me wrong, it’s a classic, but that book is like lifing weights (on a good day!)  It’s not easy to tote around and almost has too much detailed information in it that it makes my head spin.  And not to mention the fact, that Time Savers doesn’t address the reader with terms of endearment such as “honey”, “sugar”, and “baby” (like Elaine does).  Elaine makes the reader feel very comfortable.  Reading this book is like having coffee with your best friend (ok, your very talented and knowledgeable best friend).


Not only is it entertaining, Elaine’s book “demystifies the process with a smart and savvy, no-nonsense decorating primer” (in the words of Margaret Russell)

So why am I telling you all this?  Because one lucky reader will win a copy of Design Rules!


To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post (between now and Sunday November 8th at 11:59 pm), stating a design question that you have ALWAYS wanted to know the answer to.

One reader will be chosen at random and the winner will receive a copy of Design Rules through the mail.

**Even more exciting, Elaine will answer each question that was posted and we will be featuring the answers in an upcoming blog post!**

(When leaving a comment, please leave your email address or a way for us to contact you in case you win)





{Images from Elaine Griffin Interior Design}

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62 Comments to 'MG Giveaway! Design Rules book'

nora 01 Nov 09 at 5:25 pm

How do you manage the eyesore that is a through-the-wall A/C? If she answers that she is my new best friend 🙂

sheista 01 Nov 09 at 6:00 pm

I just discovered your wonderful blog. This book looks fantastic!

Sarah 01 Nov 09 at 6:10 pm

I have a hard time with dining rooms? How can you make a dining room look less “dining roomy”? they can be and look so predictable especially when you can’t buy new dining room furniture everyday and most people are working off the same grouping of furniture they’ve had for a long time! I’d love to make it look “fresh” and less heavy…help?

Reem Abdulqader 01 Nov 09 at 6:59 pm

How do I make gifted furniture (that can’t be replaced) that is not my style at all, work with my style?

Sheila 01 Nov 09 at 9:16 pm

I painted my great room a color I thought I loved but now I don’t know what goes with with it in terms of color for drapes, pillows, etc. Maybe I should have picked fabric first but now thatv I’m this far, what should I do next?

Thea 01 Nov 09 at 9:51 pm

With the increase of people telecommuting from home, how do you combine an office and a guest bedroom to create a room with high design and functionality without the room looking cluttered/thrown together.

Looks like a really useful book.

Thank you!

molly ferguson 01 Nov 09 at 11:44 pm

How can you make a big white apartment feel less cold! (Without paint) I think this is the dilemma of most renters!

Nancy L. 02 Nov 09 at 7:38 am

How do you make a two story room feel more warm and inviting?
Thank you.

What are the rules for mixing patterns? I always have trouble with this!
Have a fabulous day!

Sarah 02 Nov 09 at 8:33 am

What is the best way to hide wiring with TV’s and computers…I hate the way it looks and feel like it is a major design flaw in a room. My bedroom TV is up on a bureau rather high so the wiring is REALLY on display and ugly!! help!!

Thank you!!

Dawn 02 Nov 09 at 8:54 am

What can one do to make recessed can lights in ceilings either less noticeable or dress them up in an interesting way? Thank you!

Kate 02 Nov 09 at 9:51 am

How do you add and balance color without it looking too calculated or planed out? Especially when adding blues and greens to a neutral room!!

Linda in AZ * 02 Nov 09 at 9:51 am

OK, so pleeeeease advise…. I’d LOVVVVVE to know how one copes w/ a “fickle” attitude/love affair towards colors???

The best solution I’VE been able to come up with (SO FAR anyway), is a beautiful, soft, neutral background, to which I can add different pillows, etc… but what about COLLECTOR quality artwork that I love but which obviously doesn’t “work” w/ “everything”?…… Do I add on a “gallery”??? (And if so, I’m not so sure my darling husband will send you a proper “Thank you” note, but you could forgive him for that couln’t you? Grins!)

Linda in the AZ desert *

Jacky 02 Nov 09 at 9:59 am

How do I effectively combine different design elements in my largely transitionally-decorated home(pop art, asian influence, items collected traveling the middle east) without looking like I’m schitzophrenic? And how do I “merchandize” without making it look to cluttered?

I welcome this book if it gives me real “how to” advice…I’ve been looking for a resource like this for years!


Katharine 02 Nov 09 at 10:19 am

How do I decorate in a way that will please both me and my husband?

Linda in AZ * 02 Nov 09 at 10:31 am

P.S. Ordered her book… sounds yummy, so I can’t wait to get it!

Sarah 02 Nov 09 at 10:50 am

What are your thoughts on hanging a mirror over a mantle, where is it too high for someone to actually see any reflection in it? Should it be treated as art and just admired for its innate beauty, or is the whole point of a mirror to see a reflection?

Elizabeth 02 Nov 09 at 11:05 am

My dilemma is figuring out how to make my whole house look like a cohesive design scheme while still making each room unique and interesting.

MJ 02 Nov 09 at 11:24 am

If decorating for others is supposed to be about displaying their personality, style, and taste… how do you comfortably and confidently bring your own sense of style into it when the two are nothing alike? Thanks!!!

Brooke 02 Nov 09 at 12:10 pm

I just love your blog! It is always full of inspiring photos and knowledgable insight. I look forward to reading your posts daily. Keep up the great work!

Karen 02 Nov 09 at 12:14 pm

How do I keep my house looking fresh and current without getting rid of all of the artwork and accessories I really love?

Carol Ann 02 Nov 09 at 12:28 pm

Ok, a question…the room is 20′ high and the client wanted to know why I would not…would not put the bottom of a piece of art starting at the 11′ mark and going up from there…she said there is a window up there on the next wall and people could see it from outside…some days I get clients that just want the stupid…I just said no to anything up there so high and dropped the subject…
keep in mind her hubby said before I left “anyone can do your job, why did you got to school…you wasted 4 years of your life…” So days it is nice to leave a clients home, and go home for a nice glass of wine…

GINA 02 Nov 09 at 1:40 pm

How can u decorate with floral ? without making it look too girly or dated?

Allison 02 Nov 09 at 1:59 pm

Does bedroom decor have to match the rest of the house?

Susan 02 Nov 09 at 2:48 pm

I will be giving my kitchen an update in 2010. I need to remove wall paper, paint, clean and stain base boards, paint cabinets, add handles, install new floor, install pantry, new window treatments, lighting and electrical work, new flooring, counter top and faucet. Now my questions. Where do I start my makeover? Is there a logical order that will make this an easier transition? I am overwhelmed by sooo many options is there an easy way to narrow down my choices to make selections?

Melanie 02 Nov 09 at 3:29 pm

My boyfriend hates armoires. I hate seeing the TV all the time. What’s a good compromise?

Jaime 02 Nov 09 at 3:33 pm

Cool giveaway! How do I work with a room that has so many white walls and I can’t paint!?

Tara 02 Nov 09 at 3:54 pm

I am looking forward to reading this book! How do you convince a client they would love wallpaper?

Tammy 02 Nov 09 at 6:40 pm

Love your blog! Here’s my question: I’d like to change my entire 2nd floor carpet to wood. Should I bite the bullet and change the entire 2nd floor all at once or can I do one room at a time? Thanks!

amy 02 Nov 09 at 9:24 pm

How much lighting do you need in a master bathroom? Is a single sconce on each side of the mirror enough? Maybe with a can light overhead? Or do you need to go with a double or triple sconce directly over the mirror?

Marsha Perri 03 Nov 09 at 8:33 am

How do you pick the right rug? Pattern, colors, is it supposed to match or contrast. I never know what’s right. I end up buying and returning, buying & returning, then just go neutral because I can’t seem to find the right one.

Anna 03 Nov 09 at 9:27 am

sofa pillows: welt, flange, or none? do you “karate chop” the pillows or just fluff them?

delaney d 03 Nov 09 at 10:22 am

What should I consider when selecting paint color in a room? I am loving all the grey that I am seeing lately – I want to paint my kitchen a dark shade but have white cabinets, dark green w light grey grout floors, large west facing windows, etc. – I never know what to consider when selecting paint colors.

MS 03 Nov 09 at 11:31 am

How do you warm up a rental apartment when you cannot paint it?

Sharon B 03 Nov 09 at 3:19 pm

I have a 36w x 60h” window over my master bath tub. I’m using lots of chrome/crystal/mirrored accents (“glam”) – but cannot come up with the right window treatment. Drapes have the right formality, but will get wet. I have blinds for privacy, but they’re not the right solution. Not sure I want a garden-variety valance over the blinds either. Please help!

Alicia 03 Nov 09 at 4:12 pm

I LOVE Elaine Griffin shes SO fun and nice to work with. PLEASE LET ME WIN!!!!!!! I’d love to know how to use the color red better….?

Katie 03 Nov 09 at 4:17 pm

We just bought a new house and I need lots of ideas to make it mine!

Portia 03 Nov 09 at 8:25 pm

If you could go back to when you got your first apartment, what would be the one investment piece you would buy?

susan 03 Nov 09 at 9:58 pm

How do you decide what size rug(s) to use in a room with one or more furniture groupings to make it look cohesive?

Alam 04 Nov 09 at 1:56 am

I always thinking! Why every houses prefer white skirting than natural wood color skirting ?

Tammy@InStitches 04 Nov 09 at 11:14 am

What do you think of mixing metal finishes in a room ?

Charlene 04 Nov 09 at 11:54 am

What should I do with knotty pine walls in my entry?

Jeannine 04 Nov 09 at 3:03 pm

love the kitchen!

Jeannine 04 Nov 09 at 3:06 pm

How do you acheive an appropriate balace of mixed finishes in a kitchen space (stainless steel appliances but the owner loves copper finishes)?

Elizabeth A. Williams 04 Nov 09 at 3:20 pm

*I am a young designer looking to break out in the field of Residential Interior Design from Commercial design, any suggestions?

Beth 04 Nov 09 at 4:33 pm

Wondering how to know where to hang mirrors in living spaces.

eileen 04 Nov 09 at 5:58 pm

Is there a cheap source for simple curtain rods?

Mellissa 04 Nov 09 at 7:48 pm

What type of walls look good with used brick floors in a bed/bath?

Michele 05 Nov 09 at 12:32 pm

How do I train my eye with regard to scale? As my personal style progresses, I feel I am making better choices all the time, but that is the one mistake I still consistently make. Is there a formula I should follow?


Jeanette 06 Nov 09 at 8:39 am

Do you know where to buy a silver soaking tub like the one above, at a discounted price?? We’re remodeling our master bath and this is my fave bathtub style! I have found a vendor but they are very pricey. Would love to know of any discounted places for tubs like this…..

Andi 06 Nov 09 at 10:27 am

I live in a cookie cutter suburban home, but my taste is not bland. How do I mix my style (colorful modern art, neutral furnishings and eclectic textiles with a touch of modern elegance) without disregarding the “style” of my home?

Thanks for your help!

Nancy 06 Nov 09 at 10:43 am

Does one paint a dark room a light color or enhance the no light factor with darker paint?

Love this blog site!!!!! Thanks for all you!

Lauren 06 Nov 09 at 11:00 am

Any tips on determining if a new design is just a fad or something with real staying power? I want to invest in timeless decor, but it’s hard to not get caught up in the trend of the moment.

Molly 06 Nov 09 at 5:14 pm

I love too much-chairs, settees, tables, lamps, shelves full of collections, pictures, and books- is there a way to have it all in a room and keep it from looking like a store instead of a home?

Eilla 06 Nov 09 at 5:47 pm

Is it a bad rule to have a mix of modern furniture and a few antique pieces for contrast in a room such as living room or bedroom?

Rebecca 07 Nov 09 at 1:41 am

WIth eclectic taste and so many great, new ideas on blogs like yours and books like Design Rules, how can I possibly commit to a design theme without feeling like I want to change it all up every year or so? Or… what are your tips on having a great, well designed small home on a small budget?

Unique Unique Design 07 Nov 09 at 3:26 pm

This is more about kitchens. I’m tired of granite counter tops (except honed black). I love marble, concrete, slate (like you see in labratories). I have seen some quartz counter tops that look great…even honed quartz. What do you think will have staying power and/or desirability if you should put your home on the market? Thanks!

Robin 08 Nov 09 at 8:50 am

I live in a 208 year old home with a huge colonial fireplace (approx 4 X 8 foot opening) and a woodstove in it. Is there anyway possible way to decorate around something like this? Especially when I like a more feminine, cottage style?

tamstyles 11 Nov 09 at 1:32 am

I live in a new home with small circular windows at the top of the normal windows…should I do something with those? How many colors is so many in a house? How many floor types can you have. Meaning..marble in the foyer, wood throughout, tile in a guest bathroom, carpet in bedrooms??? Are ceiling fans out? Can you view a photo of my formal and tell me what you think…(LOL)…thanks i would love this book.

Cecelia 12 Nov 09 at 7:13 pm

How big is too big for wallpaper patterns in a small powder bathroom?

This blog is the boom!!!!

Thank You

Sophia 23 Nov 09 at 6:17 am

I have a dining room decorating dilema. First I have a few things that are in the room that can’t be changed:

large gorgeous persian carpet with reds, blues, roses, etc

lots of painted woodwork – one wall of it and wainscotting as well – all painted a dark, colonial green.

What type of color, pattern, wallpaper should i consider for the 3 walls above the wainscotting?

I would love some insights and there is nothing on the web in an image that is even remotely similar to this dining room decor….

Ken Allegra 16 Nov 11 at 8:25 am

We are a gaggle of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable information to work on. You have performed a formidable activity and our entire community might be grateful to you.

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