Books + Magazines

Cheap Chic by Emily Chalmers

January 26, 2010

Ready for a book review? I’ve been dying to share this one because I’m guessing anyone who pairs old with new and who has a thing for feminine bohemian style must have a crush on Emily Chalmers. Right? Emily is a London-based author, stylist and the shop owner of Caravan who has a brand new book set to release on February 28th that you simply must get your hands on. It is called Cheap Chic published by Ryland Peters & Small. Here are a few views of my personal copy from the publisher. Want to take a peek?

Cheap Chic by Emily Chalmers

If you loved Flea Market Style then I highly suggest Cheap Chic. It is soft bound, so it’s easy to toss in your work bag and flip through during your commute or in a cafe during lunch. It is also accessible in that it gives you tons of inexpensive advice on how to create a distinctively stylish home by explaining how to mix things that you already own with flea market treasures and chain store finds.

Cheap Chic by Emily Chalmers

Cheap Chic by Emily Chalmers

Cheap Chic by Emily ChalmersMy dream kitchen shown above.

The first part of the book, The Elements, discusses pattern, color, fabrics, window coverings and furniture. There are also sections on storage, display, lighting, flooring, accessories and materials used indoors. Then you begin the next part, The Spaces, which features chapters on cooking, eating, relaxing, sleeping and bathing areas and home work spaces. A lot is covered but thankfully it doesn’t feel overwhelming because there is a equal mix of imagery and words to keep it flowing from page to page without moments of zone out or the feeling of giving up and moving on to the next decorating book.

In fact, this is one of the few recent titles that I want to finish reading because the author seemed to “get” that most people who love decorating books do not want to read detailed explanations and long-winded personal opinions in every single paragraph. It’s uncomplicated, straight forward, no-frills, and not a dose of smugness. Emily shows that money does not buy style and that budget interiors are nothing to be ashamed of – in fact, it is a badge of honor when you use intuitive and style to create a budget-conscious home that is also style-conscious.

Cheap Chic by Emily Chalmers

Cheap Chic by Emily Chalmers

Cheap Chic was photographed by one of my favorite interiors photographers, Debi Treloar, so each of the 200 photos are light-filled and composed expertly. It’s important to note that I’ve not already seen the homes featured in other books or magazines already. My biggest complaint with decorating books is that some tend to recycle what has already been published, almost relying solely on stock photos, so the result is too often a book that you open and instantly feel like you’d seen it already — and it feels about as fresh as last week’s headlines. Cheap Chic, at least in my opinion, seems to have paid attention to ensuring photography and homes were fresh and interesting.

Cheap Chic by Emily Chalmers

So that’s my little review of my new favorite book. But I’m not finished yet as there is a terrific quote I must share. When the author opened with words from Andree Putman I knew I was a fish in her net, “[To have] style is to see beauty in modest things”. Amen.

Disclaimer: I’m an Amazon affiliate and earn 4% on the sale of this book if purchased through this link.

(images: holly becker for decor8)


  • Reply Sarah January 26, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Oh man, I so want this. As soon as I saw the title, I knew it was love. Then I saw the pictures, and I was sunk. Thanks!

  • Reply Blayne Beacham January 26, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I love these photographs! So happy you shared about the book.

  • Reply Lucy January 26, 2010 at 11:01 am

    SOLD! I LOVE the book ‘Flea Market Style’ so the fact you have compared it to that makes me soooooo excited!!! A wonderful review, thanks Holly…

    Lucy x
    .-= Lucy´s last blog ..Soon to be launched: Lucy Loves… Cushion Covers =-.

  • Reply Lizzie January 26, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Hi, just wondering if this is a special edition or if its being newly released? I have this book its also called ‘style on a budget’, it is a really good book with lovely photos!

    • Reply decor8 January 26, 2010 at 11:20 am

      This is a new release, I know she had one of the same title from 2003 but the published released this version with a new ISBN number so it appears to new. I didn’t read the first one though.

  • Reply Melissa Allam January 26, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Looks like a beautiful book. I’m going to put it on my Amazon wishlist. Thank you for the review. I’m not sure I would have ever found it, if you had not reviewed it.
    .-= Melissa Allam´s last blog ..Knack =-.

  • Reply simplygrove January 26, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I need to get my hands on this! I am sure that it is sold on Amazon??
    .-= simplygrove´s last blog ..Fly to me… =-.

  • Reply Hazel January 26, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Love it. Love the quote. I feel the urge to paint everything white now.
    Resembles Yvonne’s taste.

  • Reply Jane January 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Looks lovely – thanks for the review Holly! Is there any information on where to buy stuff or on the furniture pictured in the book? Actually this is the one thing that I find very annoying in decorating books – no information whatsoever on anything you see. I understand that a decorating book is meant to inspire the reader and not comparable to let’s say an Ikea catalogue, but still. Sometimes I just want to know where the heck I could possibly find a certain piece of furniture… like the wardrobe with the fabric cover ;))

    • Reply decor8 January 26, 2010 at 12:06 pm

      Jane – Hello! :) It does have a resource guide in the back but it doesn’t pick out objects and list where they came from. Most of the decorating books you see out there are of private homes that were photographed for the book and since decorating is usually “built” over a lifetime, most people cannot list where they found everything and if they did, it would not be very relevant now because most of the time the things that we buy are off the shelf and gone forever once the store retires them. I’m guessing this is the reason so many decorating books don’t detail the items shown.

  • Reply My Owl Barn January 26, 2010 at 11:26 am

    I love that book. Full of inspiration! Btw, that quote is so true!
    .-= My Owl Barn´s last blog ..Rifle Paper =-.

  • Reply LisaMarie January 26, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Ooh the kitchen looks just lovley ^^
    .-= LisaMarie´s last blog ..tisdag =-.

  • Reply Nuit January 26, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    I looove!! thanks Holly what a great review, and this book looks stunning.
    .-= Nuit´s last blog ..Open Storage – I heart……. =-.

  • Reply lisa h. January 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Oh, I’ll *definitely* have to check this one out – “Flea Market Style” is one of my absolute favorites. Thanks for the sneak peek!
    .-= lisa h.´s last blog ..My weakly post. =-.

  • Reply LaDonna January 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    The first 5 photos are identical to Style on a Budget, I’m going to need to see some more to determine if this is a new book or just a soft cover version.

  • Reply Jane January 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Yeah, I know! Bought it anyway ;)

  • Reply Mama Without Borders January 26, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Cheap (but not ugly) is definitely what I need right now! I shop mainly thrift stores and Craigslist right now due to budetary concerns but I don’t always know exactly what to do with my finds. And I, too, adore work by Debi Treloar so this is going on my wish list. I hope my home book club has a good sale soon!
    .-= Mama Without Borders´s last blog ..A boy’s book-filled room =-.

  • Reply Sarah W. January 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing!
    I think it needs to a place on my shelves.

  • Reply kay January 26, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    hi! i found a picture in your flickr stream ( and in your old posts ( of what seems to be the same book. since you’ve read both books can you comment if they are the same? i would rather buy the old version since it is hardcover.

    • Reply decor8 January 26, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      Kay – Great question. I will look into this. But the publisher did not tell me that this was a re-release but a new book. But it is odd that it has the same title. I’ll write to the publisher and ask. I have the one in those photos so let me see if I can find it and compare…

  • Reply Floss January 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Oh, my favourite author and photographer together for a new book! Thanks very much for letting us know about it, and the helpful review. Sadly, as I’m doing the Challenge of the Utmost Kind, I won’t be buying it until one comes up second hand. But I think I’ll just pop it on my Wish List!
    .-= Floss´s last blog ..Lalabibaby made me do it! =-.

  • Reply Shanon January 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Flea Market Style was so richly wonderful, this one looks like it’s full of airy goodness. And dang, that quote shuts it down. Amen indeed! =)
    .-= Shanon´s last blog ..Made my first treasury… =-.

  • Reply laura trevey January 26, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Looks amazing…. beautiful photos! I will check it out!
    .-= laura trevey´s last blog ..Tuesday Giveaway ~ Be My Valentine =-.

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente January 26, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Ooh….I cannot wait! It looks absolutely beautiful and thanks for this fantastic review hun!
    .-= Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog ..Monday: Inspired by telling fear where to stick it =-.

  • Reply Anna January 26, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Cheap and chic is what I’m always trying to aim for!

    Lovely images. Will put it on my birthday list……
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..This carefully edited version of my life….. =-.

  • Reply suzanne January 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    great quote… I totally & completely agree with it.
    can’t wait to see this book…i’m a big fan of Emily Chalmer’s work…

  • Reply Mel January 26, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Oh, I love the wardrobe. I was thinking of taking the doors of my old (and almost rickety!) wooden wardrobe, and replacing them with fabric. Either white linen or calico, or perhaps something colourful from IKEA?
    .-= Mel´s last blog ..~* vintage books, french soup, and a reorganise *~ =-.

  • Reply Laurie Jones January 26, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Great now I have another book to buy! Twist my arm! I just finished The Find by Stan Williams which is also about decorating with thrift shops and flea markets, I love repurposing what I already have, the best form of green design!
    .-= Laurie Jones´s last blog ..Silver Leaf Table =-.

  • Reply Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists January 26, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Gorgeous! This one is going on my wish list for sure. You’re right, it’s so refreshing to get lovely, inspirational photos without a ton of text. Just enough is just fine with me!

  • Reply Genelle January 26, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Lovely book and so inviting! Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Genelle´s last blog ..Birthday Card, Free Shipping =-.

  • Reply simone January 26, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    New cover, but the rest of those photos are from Style on a Budget. Beautiful book though. Highly recommended if you’re a fan.

  • Reply Jen January 26, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    I love that even when you take photos of book pages, they’re composed so prettily with sweet background details.

    This book looks lovely! On my wishlist now…
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Weekly Etsy: Climbing The Walls =-.

  • Reply Brooke January 27, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Just ordered a copy through your link! Thanks for introducing us to what looks to be a fab new book! xox
    .-= Brooke´s last blog ..Signatures =-.

  • Reply Karen January 27, 2010 at 4:04 am

    I enjoy the most great decorating done on the tightest of budgets!
    Looking forward to getting a hold of this book :-)
    Cheers, Karen
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Happy Australia Day – drop in to my party! =-.

  • Reply Ana January 27, 2010 at 5:21 am

    Another book for my ever growing wish list!
    And Holly, as now you’re living in Europe, why not thinking about setting up an european Amazon bookstore? I only order from Amazon UK or FR as the shipping prices and the taxes we have to pay in Portugal for shipments from the US is soo expensive! Think about it!
    .-= Ana´s last blog ..Chic Food =-.

    • Reply decor8 January 27, 2010 at 9:55 am

      Ana – Great idea. I will look into this. :)

  • Reply karen January 27, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Publishers often “recycle” older books and publish them under a new name, pretending it is a whole new book. I have several “dublicats” with different covers in my shelf. Sometimes they mix in a fex new pictures. It is annoying, I agree!

    But it is nice for the stylists, who don´t earn very much on the books in the first place. This way they get a little more for their great work.

  • Reply Nadine January 27, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Thank you so much for this review. I love Ryland, Peters and Small. Their books are fantastic and you definitely sold this one to me.

    Thanks so much!!!

    .-= Nadine´s last blog ..The Sartorialist in Madrid =-.

  • Reply Lizzy January 27, 2010 at 7:33 am

    This reminds me a lot of Jane Cumberbatch’s “Pure Style” book, which is fantastic. Do you know that book, as well?
    .-= Lizzy´s last blog ..I learn by going where I have to go =-.

    • Reply decor8 January 27, 2010 at 9:54 am

      Lizzy – Oh yes, that is a beautiful book…

  • Reply Cary January 27, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Holly -I love when you photograph the book/magazine instead of scanning it.

    • Reply decor8 January 27, 2010 at 9:54 am

      Cary – Thank you! Although I don’t have a scanner so I cannot scan them. :)

  • Reply Rachel @ Little Aviary January 27, 2010 at 10:29 am

    So glad you did a review on Cheap Chic! Although it’s only reenforced just how much I NEED it!
    .-= Rachel @ Little Aviary´s last blog ..I LOVE =-.

  • Reply 31everything January 27, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I’m SOLD! I need a copy! :)
    .-= 31everything´s last blog ..Think Outside the Frame =-.

  • Reply Danielle January 27, 2010 at 10:39 am

    LOVE IT! I am such a flea market/second hand junky! I will be buying the book asap. Thanks for posting! I LOVE decor8.

  • Reply Kristina - Kix Koll January 27, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Wow, I like this. Emily is new for me and I can see she has more books – I would like to read them all! I´ll blog about this and link to you, hope it´s ok? Thanks för at great blog by the way! :)
    .-= Kristina – Kix Koll´s last blog ..Svart golv =-.

  • Reply Bookgirl January 27, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    HELLO TO ALL THE COMMENTS ON THIS BEING THE SAME/SIMILAR BOOK TO ‘STYLE ON A BUDGET’. It is the same book but in paperback form! You know how novels come out in hardback first and then paperback a few months later….well non-fiction titles do exactly the same! They just change the title occasionally too. It helps give the book a longer life and also means that those people who can’t necessarily afford to buy a hardback can buy a copy in paperback at the cheaper price. Everyone happy! :-)
    Great post Holly and pretty, pretty pics. I’m already a Ryland Peters junkie and you’re encouraging my habit :-)

    • Reply decor8 January 27, 2010 at 3:40 pm

      Bookgirl – My only wish is that book publishers, when they mail out books for potential review, would disclose these things! The book before it was published in 2003 and under a different name, and I have not compared the two yet to know if this is really the same book in soft cover but it could very well be. Well, it’s still beautiful so I am happy that I was able to review it but I will have to write to them to ask them to please disclose this in the future. Thank you Bookgirl!!!

  • Reply Karin A January 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Oh, I adore her work. Her home was featured in the latest Femina (Swedish magazine) so I’ll add this book to my wish-list. I so agree with you about you, the same homes are featured all the time. The photos looks os fresh and gorgeous!

  • Reply Renee @ January 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    well i’m sold!! thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Evie January 27, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    How do I not already own this book??!! And how does one become an Amazon affiliate?

  • Reply Jill Sorensen January 27, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Nothing is better than walking in to a house that completely alters your reality.
    .-= Jill Sorensen´s last blog ..Surviving buying a kitchen at IKEA =-.

  • Reply A Whimsical Girl Named Debbie January 27, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Others mentioned this in their comments, but I too have this same book but it is titled, “Style On A Budget”, which was published October 2003. I actually flipped through my book and compared the pictures to the ones you posted, and they’re the same. I highly recommend the book, though!

    Holly have you read, “The Comforts of Home” by Atlanta Bartlett or “Vintage Fabric Style” by Lucinda Ganderton? They are both wonderful books if you love the Cath Kidston / shabby chic / vintage style of decorating.
    .-= A Whimsical Girl Named Debbie´s last blog ..Boy Meets Girl =-.

    • Reply decor8 January 28, 2010 at 3:47 am

      Whimsical Debbie – Oh yes, I have both and they’re soooo beautiful. My favorite is At Home With Light by Atlanta Bartlett. Do you have that one?

  • Reply Yasmine January 28, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Loads of loveliness!
    Giveaway by any chance?!
    .-= Yasmine´s last blog ..Decorating With Pink =-.

  • Reply Carmella January 28, 2010 at 7:38 am

    This looks like my kind of book! Thanks for the great review that helps steer us in the direction of the good books that don’t waste our money!
    .-= Carmella´s last blog ..Nest this House: Art =-.

  • Reply A Whimsical Girl Named Debbie January 28, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Hi Holly –

    No I do not have “At Home With Light”. But I’m definitely going to look into purchasing it. Thank you!

    .-= A Whimsical Girl Named Debbie´s last blog ..Tinker Belle =-.

  • Reply Terry January 29, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    lovely book indeed!

  • Reply Rachel February 2, 2010 at 1:30 am

    I need this book. I’m always looking for cute, affordable decorating ideas.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog .."Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. " William James =-.

  • Reply Sandy February 2, 2010 at 6:28 am

    The photo with the dress on the door is re-used from page 41 of this book:

    your home as a sanctuary, published by ryland, peters & small, written by Josephine Collins. Lovely book, I recognized the photo right away.

  • Reply melissa February 20, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    I’m glad to know the photos in this one aren’t stock photos that I’ve seen before. I love Emily Chalmers, so I’m glad to know about this title. And even if it was published before, I don’t have it. Looks like another one I need to add to my collection!

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