In a Range of Tastes, Books to Inspire Redecorating

As temperatures drop and Canada geese catch thermals, one’s thoughts turn to redecorating for the indoor months ahead. This fall’s crop of home design books offers the usual inspiration and escapism. In “Now I Sit Me Down: From Klismos to Plastic Chair: A Natural History,” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25), Witold Rybczynski chronicles a genre of furniture we never stop fussing over. Given astonishing form by the ancient Egyptians and perfected by the ancient Greeks, chairs eventually stretched, rocked and rolled. Designing an effective chair is never easy. “Any culture that decides to sit on chairs,” Mr. Rybczynski writes, “must come to terms with a challenging reality: human posture.” The title and lists of Parisian vendors notwithstanding, there is nothing particularly French about Sarah Lavoine’s “Chez Moi: Decorating Your Home and Living Like a Parisienne” (Abrams Image, about $25). Except maybe the easygoing way in which Ms. Lavoine, a French design celebrity, appears to throw a room together with a bold stripe of wall paint here and a mosaic of floor tiles there. This book is most endearing when she gives etiquette advice — for example, never burden a hostess with flowers when you arrive at a party, but send a bouquet ahead of time.


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