Books as Design Inspiration

The Book Stops Here by Kate CarlisleA friend of mine recently took All Summer Long by Susan Mallery to the paint store to find a pale lilac paint color that matched the cover. Then she painted her home office that color, and it looks fabulous.

A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate CarlisleWhich got me thinking about the cover of my next Bibliophile Mystery, THE BOOK STOPS HERE. I absolutely love the pop of color that the blue wing chair gives to the crowded old attic on the cover. It works, I think, because the walls are a neutral color, and that blue immediately draws the eye. (I hope it will draw readers’ eyes when it lands in bookstores this June!) It’s very similar to the blue accents on the cover of A COOBOOK CONSPIRACY. (I love my book covers! Can you tell?)

Because I’d love to find a chair that color (and because I had a proposal due to my editor and needed a specific way in which to procrastinate), I did a Google search for blue wing chair. Here are some of the chairs I found…

This one is too small:

These are too big:

This one’s not eggsactly what I’m looking for:

This one is just right! Don’t you love it?

What book are you reading right now? Does anything on the cover give you design inspiration for your house?

Posted in , , , , ,



  • Helen says:

    Is he staying here ?

    Have Fun

  • Jane says:

    I love those chairs, Kate. I always wanted one of those big comfy leather chairs with a matching ottoman. I’m currently reading Joss Wood’s “Too Much of a Good Thing.” The cover is features a couple in the pool, so no inspiration there.

  • Helen says:


    I do love those chairs and the colour is lovely but alas I read mostly e books these days and although the cover is there it is not in colour I just starting reading For One Night Only and it is a lovely beach scene of the ocean and rocks very soothing.

    Have Fun

  • Wow, Kate, I’ll fight you for that chair. Isn’t it fabulous? Actually one of the really fun things about writing historicals is that the genre gives you a bit of leeway to write things like fantasy houses and rooms and furniture. I always furnish the hero’s library with wonderful chairs and tables and books from floor to ceiling. That chair would fit right in!

    And I love your covers too!

    I’m currently reading Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon by Nancy Atherton which is a rather bilious green with a cartoon knight riding a dragon on the front. So, no, no design influence there! Unless I want a crocodile handbag!

  • Shannon says:

    I think I’m somehow missing the visual element in my genes. I think that’s why the background in my photos always distracts from the subject. So it’s no surprise that I almost never buy based on a cover; it’s always the back blurb. And with e-books, the cover has become less important. My biggest complaint about ebooks is that I cannot read the back blurb. So if have several unread books on my Kindle, I have to go back to the website to chose my next read.

    That said, I love your blue chairs. My sofa and chaise is a shade of blue, so I have concluded we both have an excellent sense of color.

    I will say that I have noticed when I do stand in front of a romance section in a store that still carries books that there’s a trend toward pink covers, like there’s no other color that captures romance. Or it may be the books are timed for Valentines Day?

    • That’s so interesting, Shannon! I haven’t noticed a pink trend, but I’ll have to be more aware next time I’m at the bookstore. Of course, then I’ll end up with a big, pink sofa!

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    Since I am reading Davis by RaeAnne Blake and there is a handsome hunk on the cover, it inspires all kinds of thoughts just not about my house! Lol!

  • Kate, I never realized there were so many types of wingback chairs! That last is particularly nice. And leather chairs are so luxurious. *sigh*

    And just btw, the cover fairy has blessed you again! That’s a great cover. When do we get the actual book?

    I’m currently reading Jesse Hayworth’s Winter at Mustang Ridge. The cover is lovely, a golden retriever romping in the snow in front of a log cabin at sunset, but doesn’t offer any inspiration for decor.

    • I know! I am just giddy about the cover of THE BOOK STOPS HERE! I love it so much!!! The next Bibliophile Mystery will be out in June, but it’s available for pre-order now.

      I’ve seen the cover of WINTER AT MUSTANG RIDGE. It’s gorgeous! That cottage looks very cozy amidst all the snow.

  • Caren Crane says:

    Kate, I love those blue chairs! I bought a huge purple chair with overstuffed arms especially for reading and had to cram it in a corner of my library. It is enormous!

    I am currently reading Christina Brooke’s The Greatest Lover Ever. It has inspired me to buy a large estate in Chestershire with a damp grotto and cover the walls in seashells! πŸ˜€

    I love to read books where the author talks about the color of the paint and the details of decoration in special rooms. It really gives me a vivid picture of the story and adds so much to my reading. Of course, when I read historicals where the house has a lovely library with leather-bound books, comfy armchairs and a fireplace, it just makes me envious!

    • Not just historicals! I’ve been able to write many fantasy libraries into my Bibliophile Mysteries. Of course, they often end up as murder scenes, which is not quite as high on my wish list. πŸ˜‰

      You know, that gorgeous red from the cover of THE GREATEST LOVER EVER would look fantastic in a pillow against your beautiful purple chair.

  • Liz Straw says:

    Love the chair on the cover, while I love the leather chair, not sure I want one with a kitten around, hasn’t learned all the rules yet. Although my pretty blue spray bottle is getting the message across to her. I am in the need of a new small chair for my living room, but it needs to be a darker blue. *sigh*
    Starting the Chocolate Castle Clue which has a trophy if a castle in chocolate colors, justs gives me a craving for chocolate. Then to read about those chocolates… I think I put on weight just reading some books.

  • Connie Fischer says:

    I’m reading an ARC of Laura Lippman’s “After I’m Gone” due to be published in February. However, the front cover only shows a diamond earring lying on the floor. If it was a set of earrings, I could afford to do some serious redecorating! πŸ˜‰

    • That’s so interesting, Connie, because that doesn’t sound like the cover that shows on Amazon at all. The cover on Amazon has half of a little girl’s face. She has beautiful, thick eyelashes… maybe something with fringe? πŸ˜‰

  • Diana Huffer says:

    I’m reading Deidre Knight’s Parallel Desire and I absolutely LOVE the cover! The various shades of blue are striking! It’s like the blue chair on your cover — it reaches out and grabs you! πŸ™‚ Blue is a predominant color throughout my house, on the walls and the decor.

  • catslady says:

    I just finished reading Vanessa Kelly’s Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard and it has some lovely colors – blue and teal. The one I’m reading now is very dark colors – Warrior Untamed by Melissa Mayhue, blacks and browns. I love Your Book Stops Here cover – books and cats πŸ™‚

  • Hi Kate!

    I’m reading RITA books at the moment so can’t say much about them. I’m reading a paranormal though, so think dark. LOL

    My first thought when I saw your new cover (which is beautiful) was… who has an attic that’s so clean? An painted in a color sure to highlight dust webs? πŸ™‚ But then we do write fiction.

    • LOL! Very true, Donna… except, the attic in this case is a TV set from the show This Old Attic. (Similar to Antiques Roadshow.) Brooklyn has been asked to serve as the book expert on a series of episodes being filmed in San Francisco. Unfortunately, a woman whose book Brooklyn appraises is murdered soon after…

  • Nancy Roessner says:

    I’m reading January Thaw by Jess Lourey and while the picture of ice skates doesn’t inspire me to redecorate, the colors, blue, turquoise, white and buttery yellow got me thinking about crocheting an afghan.

  • Nancy Roessner says:

    I meant to mention that all your covers are beautiful. Every time I sat down to read A Cookbook Conspiracy I took a moment or two to gaze at the cover.

  • Cassondra Murray says:

    Kate, I love all those chairs.

    Well..maybe not the tiny one…and okay not the eggshell one so much.

    Okay the one you chose is my favorite…next to the one on your cover, which is gorgeous.

    A pop of gold color in a room is a little scary when you’re choosing it, but it makes all the difference.

    And yes, you’ve had fabulous covers from the start with this series. I’m so excited for the next one!

    Thanks for a peek at it!

  • Cassondra Murray says:

    OOOOHHHH…and I love it that there’s always a cat on your covers.

    Cats and mystery…they seem to go together.

  • Pat Cochran says:


    I’m reading My Champion, Book 1 of The Knights
    of de Ware series by Glynnis Campbell. The heroine
    is wearing a dress almost the exact color of the chair you selected. I’m more interested in the color of the trim on the dress. I could use a chair in that color for my living room.

    Pat Cochran

  • Kate, that blue leather wingback chair is too delicious for words. I’d be afraid to sit in it for spoiling its pristine look. And how would you characterize that blue? Not aqua, not turquoise, not copper sulfate blue, ???

    I’m currently reading a boring memoir called “Weathering Winter” and it’s a mainly gray color. Given how much gray there’s in Seattle’s skies, I would never let that color inside my house. πŸ™‚

  • Laurie G says:

    I’m reading a book by Cara Colter It has a deck with a hammock. I’d love to have a hammock in my backyard.

    Since the temps are below zero AGAIN! I’ll wait until summer to look for a hammock.