Apartment Therapy’s new book aims at Millenial homeowners

In an exclusive interview, founder Maxwell Ryan tells us why today’s homebuyers care more about making their home happy than perfect
Maxwell Ryan
Maxwell Ryan, founder of Apartment Therapy

The pioneering blog Apartment Therapy may no longer be just about apartments, but founder Maxwell Ryan is still more of a therapist than a decorator. His holistic mission—helping homes become “beautiful, organized, and healthy”—has not changed as his eleven-year-old blog has expanded to cover houses, condos, and other living spaces throughout the world. If anything, his soon-to-be-released book, coauthored with the site’s executive editor Janel Laban, is even more devoted to crafting well-adjusted abodes.

Apartment Therapy Complete + Happy Home
Photo by Melanie Acevedo

The title, Apartment Therapy: Complete + Happy Home, is no accident, Ryan told us in a recent interview. “Whenever we [blog] about things you can do to be happy at home, you can just watch the [web] traffic,” he said. “Those posts just fly off the shelves.”

“We didn’t want to sell a decorating book. That’s not really what it’s about any more,” he explained. He believes Millenials are a new breed of homeowners with different priorities. “I grew up in a Martha Stewart world, but our readers no longer respond to that call. She told you how to do things, but there was a right way and a wrong way. We’re teachers, coaches, and connectors to resources, and Martha was too. But I think we’re more accessible. We’re real people in real homes.” For today’s young nesters, perfection is taking a back seat to personality.

Ryan’s new book is a sort of manifesto for a new way of homemaking—one that avoids reliance on trends or the right “stuff.” Three sections cover the gamut of home ownership: house hunting, furnishing, and maintenance. The comprehensive reference source is packed with practical details like the most indestructible houseplants, where to put the sofa, or how to pick a properly sized lamp.

Dozens of wildly diverse rooms also provide inspiration, from Shaker-like minimalism to Hollywood glamour. Styling is refreshingly genuine and natural—down to the flowering vines creeping right inside a beach shack bedroom. “We want your home to look the way it works for you,” says Ryan. “I delight in the ways people find to solve problems and make things their own.”