Blog Tour: Room Recipes

room recipes blog header

I am so excited about featuring Room Recipes on my blog today! I also would like to welcome the author, Tonya Olsen, who is stopping by for an interview.

Author Interview

Thanks for visiting my blog today, Tonya! I love the whole concept of using a recipe for this interior design book! You talk about your inspiration in the intro of the book. Can you share a little bit about that?

I get most of my design ideas from other sources of inspiration such as Pinterest, interior design books and magazines, blogs, websites, etc. Actually, just about anything can inspire me! I truly feel inspiration is the key to everything. Great ideas are out there, it's fun to take those ideas, tweak them, and add some personal flavor to make them my own.

How do you think that inspiration, of applying the idea of a cooking recipe to interior design, actually played out when you put together Room Recipes?

I've always been frustrated by the concept of teaching others how to design interiors. It's not easy to translate concrete instructions because each space is so unique and personal. As I said in the intro, I'm not a great cook, but I can follow a recipe - especially when each step is outlined. I thought it would be interesting to apply the same concept to decorating. Again, because of the individuality of each person's space, the recipes can be taken with a "grain of salt" and customized per each persons taste.

There are several interior designers used for Room Recipes. I liked how you get a little bit of a different style and outcome depending on who designed the room. I am really curious as to how you decided who would be designing for this book and the process behind finding rooms/homes to design. Would you tell us about that?

My first choice of designers for the book were the talented designers at my store, LIV Showroom. Pam Jensen, Deboni Sacre and Kristen Holm have the most projects in the book. Robert McArthur has always been one of my favorite local designers (plus he's designed two custom homes for us and I've lived in a home he designed), so he was an obvious choice. Jennfier Hudgins is actually a friend of mine from grade school. I was writing the book at the same time that she was renovating a bathroom. I though it would be interesting to include a common, do-it-yourself project by a common, everyday person who was not professionally trained. While working with Jennifer, she introduced me to River City Trading in Tulsa. I HAD to use some of their spaces.

River City Trading Post - Jenks, OK
Picture courtesy of River City Trading Post's Facebook Page.

Basically, I wanted to include professional interior designers, non-professionals, DIYers, clients, homeowners who work with designers, homeowners who like to do it themselves, high-end projects, inexpensive projects, etc. I wanted to show the gamut of individuals/projects and how no matter what your level of expertise, you can create a fun, exciting interior.

I love how this book is organized! I have two favorite things: 1) I love that the rooms are titled by what you do in them and not by their names (i.e. welcome, live, eat, etc.) and 2) I love how you have some do-it-yourself projects or ways that individuals can apply designs themselves by explaining why something works (i.e. the black walls in the bedroom to make the room seem longer and the dark color on the bottom of the walls in the dining room and lighter wallpaper on top, etc.). What influenced you to include those things?

I approached this book from the perspective of how I look at a common cookbook. For example, cookbooks are usually broken down by Appetizers, Main Course, Desserts, etc. It's easy to navigate a cookbook when the recipes are broken down categorically. I also wanted to include some of the "why's" of interior design. A lot of magazines and books I read give great ideas and suggestions, but I always want to know WHY. Why paint a room yellow? Why add a duvet to the end of your bed? Why accessorize in odd numbers? As a designer, I love to make rooms make sense. I love pragmatic design.

Image courtesy of  dreamstime.

What is your favorite room, idea, design, accent, or thing from Room Recipes?

One of my personal favorites is the Industrial Farmhouse Dining Room by Kara Paslay (pg. 84). I LOVE Kara's sense of style and the way she organically puts a room together. Each project she does is so unique and full of personality. Her rooms combine store bought items, antiques, DIY projects and each homeowner's personal decor. There's a lot of symbolism and meaning behind her design.

Do you have a favorite room at home, and if so, which one and why?

My house is in a constant state of remodeling and redecorating! I have access to so many great things that I often buy furniture and accessories, place them in my home, then transfer them to other projects I'm working on! For example, I bought a great dining room hutch with a ladder. I had it in my house for about six months while I was working on another project in someone's loft/library. I thought the hutch would make a perfect book shelf/display case, so that's where it is today! I've constantly got my eye out for new items.

A picture of Tonya's kitchen taken from her blog.

What five words would you use to describe a fabulously designed room?

Personality, character, proportion, balance, and love.

Do you have anything you can share about future projects?

I have a couple of design book ideas I'll be presenting to my publisher in the next few weeks. I'm also busy at my store, LIV Showroom, with plans to expand and grow. I've also started a blog,, in conjunction with my book, where I'd like to introduce an assortment of room recipes on a weekly basis. I want to take existing rooms and break them down into a list of ingredients with instructions for how to duplicate the room in your own space. I'm also the lead designer for Rainey Homes ( and I am super busy working with clients in Park City, Daybreak, North Salt Lake and Farmington, Utah.

Tonya's design crew and her showroom from her blog.

Thanks again, Tonya, for stopping by! I'm excited to continue working with you on my entryway. I am also really looking forward to seeing the recipes you post on your blog and any future projects. 

Room Recipes: A Creative and Stylish Guide to Interior Design
Room Recipes: 
A Creative & Stylish Guide to Interior Design
by Tonya Olsen
Interior Design
September 24th 2013 by Plain Sight


From exciting entryways to DIY dining rooms, professional interior designer Tonya Olsen has just the right recipes to make every room in your home a showstopper. Room Recipes: A Creative and Stylish Guide to Interior Design is the ultimate resource for homeowners looking to spice things up or decorate a space from scratch. Inside this guide you’ll find:
  • eye-catching examples of beautiful, budget-friendly designs
  • step-by-step instructions to recreate even the most elaborate rooms
  • palettes that break each room into individual patterns, colors, and textures
Create a kitchen or whip up a washroom with these no-fail design formulas and transform your house into your dream home, one room at a time.

My Thoughts

I don't normally showcase crafty things or home projects on this blog. But when I saw this book come up for tour from Cedar Fort I just had to sign up! I have really been wanting to do some things to our home. We're renting, but it's from my in-laws so they're a little more lenient with what I do, especially if I can change it if need be later. And we will be here a while and I'm tired of not liking what I see everyday. This was perfect timing to help me fix that. Although, my husband probably won't agree. ;)

I absolutely LOVE this book! I love how she applies the cooking recipe concept and how well it works! The book is broken into six sections: Welcome, Live, Eat, Sleep, Work, and Wash. Then there are several projects/spaces designed in each section and each of those spaces are then also broken down. First you have the palette, which are the colors/patterns used for the space. Next are the ingredients, such as the furniture, paint or features on the walls, flooring, etc. used for the space. Third you have the recipe, which tells you how to put it all together. Finally, there is the garnish, which might be how to make something yourself, get a certain look, or a suggestion for a space.  

The directions/recipes for each space are organized in such a way so that anyone can use them as inspiration or even duplicate them in their own home. It is the most easily applicable interior design book I've seen, which is probably why I love it so much. 

I told Tonya about wanting to apply her book to a space in my house and she said that she would love to help me out with it. I was so excited! I mean that is time that she was willing to put in and so very generous of her. I picked my entryway, which definitely needs some help and is the first (and sometimes the only) thing that people see when they come to my house. I definitely want it to be really inviting, but also functional for our needs. You can see the project I'll be working on with her here. This also is a terrific example of the designs in her book, so if you like what she did there, you'll love her book. 

I'll be posting my progress in the coming weeks, so come back to see how it is evolving. I am super excited to see how it all turns out!

About the Author

Tonya Olsen has always had a passion for designing charming, budget-friendly rooms and projects. She loves to combine traditional interior design principles with personal, do-it-yourself flair. Tonya shares ownership of LIV Showroom, a full-service interior design firm and retail showroom, and holds a master’s degree in interior design. She is also the lead interior designer for Utah homebuilder, Rainey Homes. Tonya has over 20 years of professional design experience, bargain shopping fortitude, and do-it-yourself gumption. She spends her spare time gleaning inspiration from interior design books, magazines, blogs, and websites. Tonya and her husband have three boys and live in their recently renovated home in Bountiful, Utah.


One ebook copy (for Nook or Kindle) of Room Recipes (US and INT as long as you can download to a Nook or Kindle or computer.).

All my usual requirements apply. Please use the rafflecopter below. Ends 11/1/13.


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