I can’t even with this cake. When I first saw it, I put down my coffee and stared.

I know it’s rude to stare.

I get it.

I understand.

I was raised in the south where it’s rude to do a lot of things like hold your spoon incorrectly and comment on someone’s football team and forget to write a thank you note and book a party on a Friday night during football season.

But really.

Just between us, I could never bake a cake like this.  Never ever with blueberries and strawberries and blackberries on top.  My cake journey would start and end with that plate and trying to figure out what the herb on the top is.

But this picture?  It inspires me to be better.  It inspires me to hope and dream and believe in a world where cakes are art and flowers reign supreme.

It comes from a new book by one of my best blogging friends in the world, Courtney from French Country Cottage.  Here’s a glimpse of all that amazing that is Courtney’s book and eight decorating books that inspire me as well.

A post full of inspiration.

With strawberries on top.




Decorating books that inspire me.

I’ll start with French Country Cottage, Courtney’s book.

It’s full of pages and pages and PAYYYYYGGGES of this.

And this.

And this.

But the best part of this book?

Courtney’s heart.

She just wrote a post about the courage it took to put this book together.  Here’s a Courtney quote:

“Like the powerful wizard of oz- who was a man full of confidence and made magic happen.
But behind that curtain facade-  was merely an ordinary man afraid to share his realness with the world.
But the more I blogged, the more I  stepped out of my comfort zone
the more I found myself and one day,
I was ready to step out from dancing behind that curtain
and dance on the stage.”

You go girl. I am so proud of you that my heart is bursting.

You didn’t just dance.

You created an entire ballet.

You can read about Courtney and her book here.  You can buy your very own copy here.

French Vintage Decor

This is a DIY project filled book on all things French Vintage Decor written by my friend Jaime.

You can learn how to make a trumeau mirror or clay bowls or a zinc bistro set or a rustic french tray or a concrete bowl or plaster-dipped flowers.  My favorite thing about this book was the projects weren’t that overwhelming.  Most of them were things you could make in an afternoon.

And her photography?

She has a way of showcasing the ordinary and transforming everyday items into art.

Read more about the book here and if you’d like to order you can click here.

The Inspired Room

I actually have all Melissa’s books, but this one is my favorite.

Mostly because of the pictures.

And the ideas.

And the solutions.

And did I mention the pictures?

I’m working on a book with Melissa that is coming out next year.  Just between us—I’m a little in awe of her and her author self.  She’s funny and kind and sweet and thoughtful and inspires me every day.

You won’t be disappointed with all the tips and ideas and inspiration that she includes in this book.

Read more about Melissa’s book here and order your very own copy here.

Pottery Barn Home

I’ve loved this book for as long as I can remember or 2005, whichever comes first.

It was the first decorating book I ever bought.

I’ve lost the cover long ago and now it’s just a khaki book that sits on my bookshelf and waits for me to pull it out when I’m feeling like I need a reset button on my decor.

The ideas are timeless.

The book is 192 pages of ideas that are timeless and cozy and relevant today.

I wish I still looked at cute as I did in 2005.

Read more about the book here.  You can order your very own copy here.

Domino:  Your guide to a stylish home

There are actually two books in this series.  One that was published in 2008 and this second book that was released in 2016.

It’s a little out of my style zone, but that’s why I love it.

I read it for all the ideas I’m going to have, I just haven’t discovered them yet.

And for all the navy blue velvet couches that are in my future.

You can read more about the book here.

And buy your very own copy here.

And now we come to the book that I know are going to inspire me that I haven’t actually read yet.

These are ones I’ve either pre-ordered or want to order or I know I’m going to order and then wrap them in brown craft paper and try to guess where they are on my bookshelf.  Kidding.  I’m actually working on labels so I don’t have to play guessing games with my books any more.

Let me start with the one I’m SO EXCITED ABOUT.

You’ve probably pre-ordered it already, too.

When you get your copy—let’s discuss.

It’s Joanna’s new book Homebody:  A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave.


I’m all about never leaving home and decorating with Joanna.

Reese Witherspoon has a new book out called Whiskey in a Teacup:  What Living in the South Taught me about Life, Love and Baking Biscuits.

She also has a fun book club, too.

I also have this book in my cart—mostly because I loved the cover.

And I love Veranda.

And all rooms with giant paintings and antiques and chairs with pink throws.

It’s called just Veranda decorating.

And of course.

No post on decorating books would be complete without this cutie, The DIY Home Planner right here.

It’s written by this amazing author who is sometimes funny.

And sometimes wise.

And sometimes full of a brilliant decorating idea or two and occasionally, randomly talks about herself and her planner in the third person.

It’s on sale over on Amazon right now.

You can order your own copy here.

And now?

I still have my Amazon cart open.

What are some of your favorites?

Share them below.

Especially if they involve cake. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

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  1. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    Well, i do have the first two books you listed. In fact, I just received the first book last week. It's a lovely book!! KariAnne, aren't it Joanna Gaines' products now in Target?? Was she on T. V... some sort of Home Network/DIY program? One last thing... what is the name of the online video that offers many, many varied creative courses? You can usually get the first month free. Thanks Can't wait to read your new collaborative book venture... 👍

  2. Image for Karen Mary Karen Mary

    Received Courtney's book last week, and it's gorgeous! I also have a couple of the other books but am so happy to have your suggestions. Would love for you to regularly recommend your faves! Thanks KariAnne!

  3. Image for Deanna Deanna

    I love your books so much. Can'r believe you're going to have another one come out soon! Your posts are so fun to read, since you have the best sense of humor! I'm ready for some cake and sweet tea!

  4. Image for Linda Miller Linda Miller

    I've always loved anything by Rachel Ashwell. Her latest Couture Prairie and Flea Market Treasures is a sweet book with lovely photographs.

  5. Image for Kris Kris

    I bet you are even cuter than you were in 2005. Seriously! These books all look beautiful. I just like to drop in on Courtney's blog sometimes to stare at her pictures. They are peaceful and timeless.

  6. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    The herb on the top of the cake - rosemary, but are those blush-colored raspberries? I'm with you... enthralled by the cake... WHO DOES THAT??? My decorating books seem to end up just being part of my decorations, except for yours, and I actually USE it.

  7. Image for Crystal Crystal

    I still recommend Miss Mustard Seed's "Inspired You" (2012) it still inspires and when I need to get myself re-energized I pull that one out. And any book by Tricia Foley, my idol and who I want to be when I grow up or get a house that I can decorate however I want...... Plus the City Farmhouse and Salvaged Style books that I ordered not too long ago. Lots of inspo!!

  8. Image for Mary from Life at Bella Terra Mary from Life at Bella Terra

    I just received my copy of French Country Cottage and the entire book is beyond words~~so lovely and elegant. I especially love her story on how she started her blog with only one subscriber for the first 6 months. Boy, do I know how that feels! I am genuinely so proud of her success. Of course, I have both your books as you were such an important part of my early inspiration to start my blog. For that, I am truly grateful. Melissa Michaels book, Love the Home You Have (I believe her first book?) was so instrumental in getting me to love my home again after months of caring for my Dad here. When he died in our home, it was filled with sadness. Her book truly helped me look at our home again as a warm and loving place. Words cannot describe how bloggers, people I have never met, have positively impacted my life over the last few years. It is a wonderful sisterhood in this digital age. I consider myself so lucky to be part of this. As always, thanks for sharing things that inspire you.

  9. Image for Gina Gina

    Thank you for sharing the Wizard of Oz quote from Courtney. So good. All the bloggers/authors sharing their passion, allowing us to know them in a special way. Grateful.

  10. Image for Teresa Teresa

    I just put several of these on my amazon wish list, including yours. It looks like a great guide to decorating.

  11. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Love the Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic books. Love any vintage Laura Ashley books (when you can find them!). Love, love LOVE books by Victoria Magazine...especially At Home with White, The Heart of Christmas and Intimate Homes. I never tire of pouring over their pages! (especially while swinging in a hammock under the dappled trees!)

  12. Image for Courtney Courtney

    Love you and your heart so much KariAnne. Thank you thank you thank you for your kind words and for sharing with your readers- you are not so close to amazing- you are BEYOND. xo

  13. Image for Lisa Sanderson Lisa Sanderson

    Go straight to amazon....look up Carolyn Westbrook....and order everyone of her books!! She has several decorating books, including her first one about her own home, and a cookbook! I have all but the latest one and I love them so much!! I have met her several times and she is so down to earth. And....you HAVE to have Bunny Williams book, An Affair With A House, because, after all, don’t we all have an affair with our homes??? My favorite books are the ones where the decorator writes about their own home’s story.....just like your blog. ❤️

  14. Image for Jane Jane

    I have all the books except Courteney's, and we go waaaaaaay back. Need to get that ordered. And of course I will get Joanna's. I simply love decorating, gardening, and cookbooks with a huge passion! I agree that the Domino book isn't everyone's cup of tea but I love the illustrations, much like yours in The DIY Home Planner. And I don't have the Pottery Barn book, I wish they would do something like this again. I do however, have a dining room table and chairs from PB that is 28 years old and truly timeless! Great post, KariAnne! Jane

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