The 11 Best Home Design Books That Everyone Should Own

The 11 Best Home Design Books That Everyone Should Own

Curate a stylish bookshelf with these must-have interior design tomes.

By Patricia Cunningham
Design Books

Whether you are a budding designer, a decorating pro, or just a lover of finely feathered nests, interior design books are always good to have on hand. Yes, there are an insane amount of #homeinspo images available on Instagram that let you scroll quite literally until the cows come home. But can you curl up with those images on a rainy day? Are you able to display them on your beautifully curated étagère and coffee table? When guests come over, can they leisurely peruse the pages, impressed by your taste level? 

There is nothing that quite compares to a bright and sparkly stack of interior design books, so we’ve assembled our best of the best into a handy list. Many of these tomes contain not only dazzling inspirational images, but helpful information, secrets of the trade, and even a few projects to try out as well. Some are classics of the field, others are destined to be, but all of these books showcase a love of design and the transformative power of making the most of your living space. 

Inspired Design: The 100 Most Important Designers of the Past 100 Years

Inspired Design

So you never got a design degree from Parsons. Don’t worry, with this book you won't need it! Author Jennifer Boles provides a comprehensive overview of the last 100 years of design and the top 100 most important designers. 

Boles also includes sections on what we can learn from these designers and how they changed the art of interiors for good. Inspired Design truly is inspiring and informative at the same time.

Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves

Styled

Blogger Emily Henderson has taken the design world by storm, and she shows no sign of slowing down (which is good, because we're kind of addicted to her Instagram). In Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms from Tabletops to Bookshelves, she shares practical tricks of the trade for styling a space.

Styled contains more than 1,000 unique ideas from 75 inspirational rooms and truly helps you curate what you have and reimagine your space as it should be.

Finer Things: Timeless Furniture, Textiles and Details

Finer Things

As the founder of DwellStudio, Christiane Lemieux built a career on good design. In Finer Things: Timeless Furniture, Textiles and Details, she provides a compendium of the basic elements of home decor, from paint and wallpaper to upholstered furniture and ceramics, and shows how to identify quality and true craftsmanship.

Finer Things is an extremely well-researched resource that is also a delight to read. It’s a must-have for would-be designers. 

Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave

Homebody

The home design book of the moment is definitely Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, Joanna Gaines' tome on how to create a home that reflects the personalities of people who live there (instead of incorporating someone else’s tried and true formula).

Using her farmhouse as well as other carefully crafted homes as examples, the Fixer Upper host walks readers through the design process and helps them hone in on their own authentic style. There is also a handy design template at the back of the book, which provides a step-by-step guide to dreaming up and sketching out design plans.  

Farrow & Ball: How to Decorate

Farrow and Ball

Farrow & Ball are to paint what Einstein is to relativity. They are simply geniuses at what they do —and in their case, that means developing sublime paint colors. In How to Decorate, the British paint company lays out its expertise on color, providing readers with insights on how to transform a space through paint and wallpaper.

With detailed information on everything from how light affects various hues to which colors work best for accents walls, this book is a deep dive into understanding the science of color. It’s also a pleasure to look at. Written by Farraw & Ball veteran and admitted “paint geek” Joa Studholme, How to Decorate should be a mainstay on any design shelf. 

The domino Decorating Books Box Set

domino

Domino casts a huge net of influence in the home design sphere, whether through its print magazine, its Instagram account, or its website. The domino Collection Box Set brings it all together with stunning photography and art, sidebars, tips, tricks of the trade, and resources.

The first book, The Book of Decorating, takes readers through a home looking at each room, breaking down the elements and creating spaces that are personal and functional (it also includes a helpful updated resource section). The second book, Your Guide to a Stylish Home, shows readers how to use key elements like rugs, lighting, and fabric to build a space and how to develop their own style. This set gets bonus points for its display-worthy covers, too.

The Perfect Bath

The Perfect Bath

If you’re the type that obsesses over tile and faucets and bath fixtures, look no further than The Perfect Bath. Written by Barbara Sallick, the founder of luxury bath fittings brand Waterworks, it not only provides endless inspiration, but shows readers how to create the perfect bath and avoid all the major pitfalls.

Sallick shares her favorite features of well-designed baths, talks with top designers about their work, and offers practical advice and insights. With step-by-step guides for planning and designing, this book is definitely a valuable resource.    

New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes

New Bohemians

Justina Blakeney is the patron saint of all things boho. Her book, New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes, came out a few years ago and was an instant classic. Lush with inspiring images, it features the homes of 20 creatives around the country — boutique owners and bloggers, entrepreneurs and ex-pats, artists and urban farmers, each with their own well-honed personal style and insanely curated spaces with loads of character.

Blakeney also includes DIY projects and a Plant-o-Pedia, which explains how to care for the many plants featured in the book. With its sublime imagery, New Bohemians is a true guilty pleasure that belongs on every design bookshelf. 

Elements of Style

Elements of Style

Elements of Style is blogger Erin Gates’ practical guide to decorating. At the book’s heart is the notion that designing a home can be an outlet of personal expression and an exercise in self-discovery — an idea that has resonated with many readers and turned this tome into a New York Times bestseller.

It features many beautiful images along with essays from Erin on lessons she learned through her design journey — including mistakes and real struggles along the way. 

Get It Together!: An Interior Designer's Guide to Creating Your Best Life

Orlando Soria

Orlando Soria is the design friend we all need: Not only will he get your space together, he’ll help you get your act together, too! Needless to say, this is not your typical design book. It does include an array of inviting photos and tips of the trade, but there is also Soria’s irreverent humor and brutal honesty.

Some of the subjects tackled include: how to throw a dinner party when you're broke, hanging art like a gallery owner, and preparing your home for an unwanted guest.

The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals

12

If you don't follow @thehomeedit on Instagram... well, you should be, so trust us and start doing so now. Home organizers to the rich and famous (clients include Gwyneth Paltrow, Khloe Kardashian, and Reese Witherspoon), Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin are the United States' answer to Marie Kondo. And their results are just a wee bit prettier, thanks to color-coded items contained in a variety of woven baskets, glass jars and plastic bins.

One look at their work and you'll be headed to The Container Store faster than you can say, "Home edit, please!"

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