Category Archives: recommended sites

Recommended design source: EST Magazine

One of my favorite design sources is EST magazine from Australia. The magazine is a free quarterly digital design magazine and when you subscribe you also receive weekly emails containing articles that aren’t featured in the magazine. (And don’t worry they are not intrusive or deluge you with emails.) The designs are terrific: clean, contemporary, and not just from Australia. And it’s all free! Can’t beat that! Visit their website at  to subscribe.


From castles to paper dolls: the graphics fairy


Vintage designs in over 80 categories including holidays, botanicals, animals, birds, travel, children’s illustrations, and paper dolls can be found at

                                                     Kate Greenaway Illustration



They offer over 4,000 images from vintage to contemporary design:                           great for crafts, cards, and small wall art.

free printable vintage valentine     thegraphicsfairy           

              This is another really fun site to explore. Just in time                                                             for Valentine;s Day. 

Treasure trove from the NY Public Library

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There are over 800,000 images at the digitalgallery from the New York City Public Library. 

vintage print from ny library

My favorite categories are posters including vintage magazine covers and book covers, vintage post cards, and illustrations from vintage children’s books. Most of the images date from about 1885 to the early 1920’s. If you love nostalgia…. 

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I copied and pasted, promising myself I would stop at 20 images, then at 30, then at 40…and it was just the tip of the iceberg.



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 I found illustrations from some of my favorite artists: Maxfield Parrish, Aubrey Beardsley, Lautrec, Arthur Rackham, and Alphonse Mucha.

arthur rackham ny library 1920








Arthur Rackham 1920

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I found designs for almost every room in the house….





                     a child’s room…


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the laundry room...


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the kitchen….



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And even if you’re not especially into nostalgia or cute, take a peek anyway…you never know what you might find. 

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Exploring this site made me wild to go buy frames…lots of frames.This is a site worth spending time exploring.

Victorian charm:

valentine cupid

rosesIf you love the charm of old-fashioned Victorian design,then you’ll want to
vintageholidaycrafts site featuring images appropriate for cards, crafts, scrapbooking, certificates, and small wall art. The site features designs for all the major holidays including birthdays. Contemporary designs are also included. Check out the Valentine Day designs and create unique Valentine cards for your family and friends. These designs are just too cute and too much fun!

Broadening Horizons: The Style Files

Last year, about two-thirds of the way through the interior decorating program, I grew really concerned because I really disliked most of the room designs I was seeing. Uh oh! Did it mean I had chosen the wrong field or did it ultimately mean I had no taste…no style…no class? I knew I would never be able to create the kinds of rooms I was seeing because I truly disliked 90% of them. They were overly-furnished, crowded, busy, frenetic, garish, ostentatious, commercial, contrived, pricey, or sometimes just plain ugly. The rooms lacked authenticity.

 Drum roll……enter The Style Files, a site by Danielle de Lange originating from the Netherlands and featuring décor, fashion, and products. Such a relief! At last, rooms and décor that I loved! I visited every post, going back to the first entry in Oct 2006. I copied and pasted a gazillion images into my files.

 So what was the difference between the Style Files and the many sites, magazines, and books I had been viewing? I’m not absolutely certain but I suspect that it might have something to do with design that comes from consumer-based societies vs. design where there is less emphasis on product.

 Or perhaps it’s the difference between the brand spanking new fabricated, imitation, Tuscan-style kitchen in Topeka and the aged-brick, weathered-stone, and genuine-wood kitchen in Tuscany.  

 The Style Files has an international perspective and features homes and designs from Greece, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Australia, Portugal, France, Brazil, Uruguay, Morocco, South Africa, Germany, China, Britain, and occasionally the U.S. The designs on the Style Files generally seem cleaner, more relaxed and less contrived. The emphasis is less on “stuff” and more on other things: sunlight and shadow, view, materials, architecture, shape, form, contour, texture. I especially love the use of wood, stone, concrete, and brick in many of the designs. Not everything is new and bright and shiny. Sometimes the setting is aged but the style is always contemporary. Rooms are often elegant in their simplicity making other rooms appear garish and vulgar by contrast. These are not cookie-cutter rooms; this is not formula decorating. Are they pricey? Mostly I see a mixture of old and new and since generally there is less emphasis on “stuffing” a room full of furnishings, art, and accessories, the total cost is probably lower than for a more ostentatious design. 

The Style Files is my favorite design site and while I don’t love every single room I love about 90% of the designs. A far cry from the 10% I liked from other sources. Whatever your taste or design preferences visit the Style Files and explore the archives. Style Files offers a broader world view, and since we can’t all be world travelers, it’s an easy and inexpensive way to broaden design horizons. Thank you Danielle!

Click here to visit the Style Files.