Solve Your Decorating Problems

How to solve your decorating problems with Barabara Taylor Bradford

How to solve your decorating problems

Barbara Taylor Bradford has shown up on our site for her nonfiction decorating books. (I am so glad she turned to fiction.) For the time, these were pretty decent books, although I just about die a thousand deaths with this example.

Depending on the library’s mission, I don’t think one has to keep everything simply because the author is “significant”. No doubt that Bradford is significant. Hanging on to older titles because the author is “important” is not enough of a reason to keep something clearly outdated. Larger or specialty libraries can do this, but for the average public library, this is probably outside the scope of the library mission. Always remember your core audience and mission.

In this case, weed to save society from some seriously outdated decorating. (The prints are killing me!)


garden decor

nook for a table decor for a man windows bedroom attic couch


  1. Well, it is true that you don’t notice the architectural issues any longer with these “solutions”! I think it’s a case of the cure being worse than the disease. Way, way worse.

  2. They really loved their wallpaper in the 70s, didn’t they? Most of these rooms would feel claustrophobic to me, especially when you wallpaper the ceiling, too.

  3. What’s with the cover of the book?: Is this her dissertation she had to defend to gain her PhD in Decoration and Functional Arts? Goes great with the black and white photos: if they had used color in the pictures that would have probably triggered seizures….like in a Pokémon cartoon.

  4. In response to only color photo: Christopher Lee just got home from filming another vampire movie in the 1970s: he wants his living room back.

  5. Aieeee!

    So busy. I’d be nervous and claustrophobic all the time. It’d be all “The Yellow Wallpaper”.

    Never wallpaper the ceiling. Just don’t.

    1. The text says the attic room wall paper is dark blue flowers with matching dark blue wood. I could not live there without being badly affected – especially in the dreary fall/winter days.

      1. Ugh. There’s never much light in an attic room anyway, and doing that (particularly the ceiling wallpaper) would make it a downer any time of year, and have people jumping out the window in winter.

        It should have been left painted white (or a warm pale color), and had small patterns, maybe some nice outdoor photos, and much less junk. How could you even walk around in it? That would have been cheaper and easier too.

        As it is, the improvement that could be made is “burn it with fire!”

        Pity the next person to rent it.

    2. Never say never! I wallpapered the ceiling in the living room and dining room of my previous house. When I was scraping off the old popcorn stuff, I discovered a patterned paper underneath- it was a very subtle cream on cream floral design and I fell in love. I found the closest thing I could to that and redid it and absolutely loved it in my 1921-built craftsman.

      1. cream on cream sounds like an attempt at The Yellow Wallpaper, however it was OK so that is good. My grand mother’s place had rooms like that and she had the intelligence to use very light colored papers.

  6. While I don’t like any of these rooms myself, I do like that that they are attempting to fix problems through decorating. If presented with similar challenges on an HGTV show today, they would say “this is a total gut job. We need to take it down to the studs and start over” in every case.

  7. She doesn’t mind calling things “ugly” and “awkward” or “architectural abnormalities”. Her solutions aren’t always improvements on them.

    1. Yes, how self important of her. Maybe she’s forever trying to redecorate her childhood home: her parents caused the ugly, awkward architectural abnormalities.

    2. No, what they did to that little bay window (an oriel on the outside, perhaps?) is a crime! Calling it ugly to start with was an offense, too.

  8. When everyone gets on the bandwagon these things can be made to sound pretty bad. But I disagree. On the page they may seem garish, but I think if I walked into one of those rooms today it would seem amazing and retro, and any one of us might be impressed. Most people come here just to make jokes and snide comments, so let’s have at least one straightforward comment.

    1. If a book meant to advocate and sell these decorations makes them seem garish, it isn’t doing very well for its purpose and deserves questioning of its collection value.

      1. Exactly. This might have been OK in 1976, but now it’s not. It’s taking up shelf space for no good reason and needs to be replaced with a book published this decade.

        Or just to free up some shelf space for anything else, including empty space (good to have when you’re reshelving).

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