How to Make a Plant Love You
Summer Rayne Oakes
In 2016, millennials were responsible for 31 percent of houseplant sales, the New York Times found in a recent profile of millennial renters who felt compelled to liven up their apartments with greenery. Leading that charge is Oakes, whose own abode boasts 1,000 of what she calls her “plant children.” In her first book, the environmental scientist shares advice on how to create your own sanctuary while seeing the world through a plant’s eyes.
My Small Space
You can tell someone how to arrange their space, or you can show them. Photographer Ottum brings her experience documenting homes for lifestyle publications to this resource on how to make any space an expression of yourself. The guide is helpfully split into Communal (roommates or significant others), Campus (college dorms), and Solo (the dream), offering practical advice for the less-fun parts of cohabitating and delighting in DIY hacks.
“Dream | Downsize | Dwell” is the motto of @tinyhouse, the incredibly popular Instagram account founded by Heavener. His visual manifesto for spare and sustainable living translates Instagram’s squares into 250 full-color photographs. These in turn make up a coffee table book that is itself small enough to actually fit in any of the homes documented, from a dome in Patagonia to an off-the-grid A-frame house in Finland to a bus-turned-camper in Oregon.
The Home Edit
If you do have more than a studio to work with, it can be paralyzing to stare at cluttered rooms and not know where to start. Consultants Shearer and Teplin mix traditional organizing with interior design in this room-by-room guide full of tips, inspiration, and a starter set of labels. While the Edit and Assembly sections are key, most vital is Upkeep—because the point of The Home Edit is to maintain your space in the long run.
The Minimalist Home
After helping people maximize their lives by minimizing possessions in The More of Less, Becker turns his attention to living spaces. Separating a house into “us” and “me” rooms, spaces that stimulate the mind and feed the heart, he lays out how to unburden yourself from the weight of nostalgia and how to get a second chance at a great first impression for future guests.
The Conscious Closet
Elizabeth L. Cline
Being more thoughtful about where your clothing comes from and where it goes doesn’t mean depriving yourself of new trends or a personal style, but rather curating a sustainable closet. Cline helps you ditch fast fashion (her book Overdressed explains why) and learn how to pare down your clothes while upping your environmental awareness. Plus, there are Q&As with experts on everything from high-quality shoes to the recent trend of renting entire wardrobes.
Living with Color
After helping people identify hidden patterns in their own homes in Living with Pattern, textile designer and consultant Atwood takes readers through the entire color wheel in this new guide. Before you can live with color, you’ll have to understand its lingo, feel it according to different seasons or even times of day, and find it by color scouting to recreate the ocean from a beloved trip or a hue that takes you back to your childhood home.
The Tiny Mess
If you thought tiny houses were impressive, consider the ingenuity it takes to construct a tiny kitchen, and actually be able to cook in it! The Tiny Mess tours the kitchens of sailboats, treehouses, and converted railcars, which make up for their lack of elbow room with personal designs and a lot of heart, whether they’re whipping up some cowboy coffee or Kitchen Sink Quiche. (And yes, there are recipes!)
Outer Order, Inner Calm
Tempted by minimalism but turned off by rigid rules? Rubin, who found fulfillment in The Happiness Project of writing one sentence a day for a year, explores decluttering as a way to free the mind. This illustrated guide establishes best practices like “never label anything ‘miscellaneous’” with the knowledge that being able to control one’s stuff contributes to feeling able to control one’s life.
Don’t have the budget for top-to-bottom decorating? The key is in styling—the little details that draw a room together. Former prop stylist Henderson guides you through tweaking every corner (literally) of your space and finding the perfect balance between feeling and function. Photos of 75 rooms deconstruct the thought process behind quirky details and unexpected flea-market finds, to help you follow Henderson’s mantra (“style and play, every day”) or even make up your own.
Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home
“A complete and happy home is so much more than a series of pretty rooms,” reads the introduction to Apartment Therapy’s biggest book yet, collecting over a decade’s worth of research into how this generation creates and exists in drastically different abodes. From floor plans to need-to-know repairs, this comprehensive guide leads you through every step of setting up your home to living in it to (most importantly) maintaining it.
A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind
You may know about Zen living, but how about Zengosaidan? It’s an expression used by Buddhist monks that describes putting effort into each day so you have no regrets. These are the kinds of lessons that fill monk Shoukei Matsumoto’s charming explainer, in which he shares everyday cleaning methods from Buddhist temples that will help someone across the world to cultivate their mind and make the world brighter.
The Inspired Houseplant
Whether you dream of a perfect array of mini-succulents in jewel-colored planters scattered around your space, or a hanging garden to breathe new life into a room, Stearns’ guide will set you up to fill your home with as many or as few plants as you like. Along with a guide differentiating between desert and tropical greens, you can explore your perfect style, from Desert Boho to Midcentury Modern to Urban Oasis.
If you’re a millennial, chances are you’re more likely to rent than own, or at least for much longer than your parents did. But just because your space is temporary shouldn’t mean it’s not a reflection of you. These gorgeous guides—written by HGTV alums, Instagram influencers, and even a Buddhist monk—speak our language by using vivid photographs to depict dreamy homes and then deconstruct them. It’s house porn meets how-to, from making the most of a tiny house (with an even tinier kitchen) to optimizing your wardrobe. Even the guides for homeowners make for vicarious fun and accessible inspiration for your space, whatever the size.
Featured image: @jennyteo via Twenty20