Over the years, I’ve discovered some of the best interior design books — decor books that are not only beautiful but also inspiring and functional. Being very particular about what I purchase, I look for home decor books that are not only filled with beautiful imagery but also teach. The interior design books I’m sharing today will help you find what resonates with your personal aesthetic. These are the go-to design books that have taught me how to decorate a room like a pro, and best of all, every single one is more than just pretty coffee table decor.
Updated September 20, 2021
If flipping through a beautiful decor book sounds heavenly, then this post is for you. There’s just something about curling up under a cozy blanket, holding a book with some weight, and turning the pages to discover a beautiful new home. Quiet time that is comforting and familiar. Tangible items like interior design books and home decor magazines have fired up my imagination.
Quick Links To The Best Interior Design Books Of 2021
Keep reading if you’d like a brief explanation as to why each of the above interior design books was chosen.
Best Interior Design Books — New Releases
As a devoted follower of Studio McGee, I jumped for joy when Make Life Beautiful was released. You’ll learn exactly how Syd and Shea McGee went from flat broke to design superstars. In this book, they teach you how to prioritize values, define goals, and put your dreams into action too!
DISC Interiors: Portraits of Home was released earlier this year, and I might have been first in line to purchase it. This design book walks the line of coffee table books. What I mean by that is, you’re not going to learn the secret sauce of putting a room together, but you will be inspired by earthy color palettes, beautiful flooring, vintage furniture, and one-of-a-kind rooms that are both contemporary and traditional. Will you learn? Yes. But it is not a step-by-step guide.
Learning How To Achieve That Eclectic Lived In Look
Laura Liessis one of my favorite home decor bloggers, and she has written 2 of the best interior design books. Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating encourages you to bring nature inside by mixing foraged items with eclectic collections of modern and quirky vintage decor. You’ll learn the fundamental elements of interior design, how to create a mood, and how to tackle decor challenges.
Laura’s second book, Down to Earth: Laid-back Interiors for Modern Living, focuses on creating a lifestyle that inspires creativity and functionality. She walks you through the decorating process step-by-step and shares her design aesthetic so you can create a home that is creative and functional.
If you love bold colors, chinoiserie prints, Hollywood Regency, or crazy maximalist decor, this book may not appeal to you. Try this one instead. Design Remix: A New Spin On Traditional Design by Corey Damen Jenkins is filled with unexpected mixes of old and new. I recently purchased this interior design book and love how Corey demystifies his approach to color and pattern and fearlessly breaking the rules. This ditty is also a perfect holiday gift-giving book for the decor lover in your life.
The interior design book I’m most excited to read is The Beauty of Home: Redefining Traditional Interiors by Marie Flanigan. Her style is classic, soulful, and timeless with every room being better than the last. Marie gives you a peek behind the curtain and shares her creative process and the elements needed to recreate her signature look. It might just be the best interior design book of 2021.
BTDubs, Marie also designed one of my favorite kitchens. Shazam it’s gorgeous.
Best Decor Books For Decorating With Color And Pattern
Textile designer, Rebecca Atwood, has written 2 interior design books that are absolute gold when it comes to home decor. The first, Living With Color: Inspiration and How-Tos to Brighten Up Your Home breaks down the right combinations of hues and helps you personalize a color palette. This is the best interior design book on teaching you how to transform your home decor from ordinary to magical.
The second is a best seller and also Rebecca’s first design book, and it demystifies decorating with both color and pattern — an interior design concept that stumped me for the longest time. Living With Pattern: Color Texture, and Print at Home is my go-to book when I’m having trouble injecting a punch of color into my home decor. She breaks the process down and teaches you how to seamlessly mix and layer prints and color perfectly.
Gift Ideas For The Interior Design Lover
When I find myself in a decor pickle, my go-to interior design books happen to be written by my two favorite home decor bloggers. If you’re here looking for a gift idea, these next two are a must-have and are also the perfect interior design books for beginners.
Although my home decor is nothing like Justina’s coined Jungalow look, I love the knowledge she drops in The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes — which in my opinion is the best book for aspiring interior designers because she’s relatable and easy to understand. Unless you’re a hardcore traditional design lover, there’s something for everyone in this book. She shares 20 homes with incredibly unique styles along with interior styling and shopping tips.
The adopt-an-idea section that wraps up each chapter in a neat bow is chocked full of ideas and crafts that spark ideas and creativity. BTDubs, this powerhouse designer just released a new interior design book, Jungalow: Decorate Wild. It’s been declared Justina’s biggest, boldest, and most beautiful home decor book yet.
Now let’s talk about the gal that really inspired me to decorate and share my home online – Emily Henderson. When I first discovered the HGTV show, Secrets From A Stylist, I snoopy danced. Emily’s sense of quirky, mid-century modern decor was my jam. Her book Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookcases is written from the perspective of a stylist versus an interior designer. Meaning, she teaches you how to create that lived-in, cozy look that is uniquely you.
Although this book was released over 5 years old, I declare it the best interior design book of all time because her teaching method is relatable and easy to understand. My copy of Styled is a book that I return to project after project.
Your Home, Your Style: How To Find Your Look & Create Rooms You Love is a hidden gem. This interior design book is a guide to understanding your style strengths and identifying and overcoming decorating weaknesses. Learn the basics of styling a bookshelf like a pro and how to create a cohesive gallery wall.
Best Interior Design Books For Beginners
If you don’t know the rules then how do break them? Learn the basics of interior design with The Interior Design Handbook: Furnish, Design, and Decorate Your Space. The author teaches you how to design a room rather than focusing on what you decorate with. You’ll also learn the golden ratio, golden spiral, how to size a coffee table in proportion to a sofa, how high to hang a light fixture, how to create a mood board, and more. Basically, this interior design book is the bible of decorating.
When Alexa Hampton writes the forward, you know it’s got to be good. New York School Of Interior Design: Home: The Foundations Of Enduring Spaces is basically design school in a book — a comprehensive education on home design and decor, from color theory to choosing furniture for a room. It’s an essential book for both design students and decor enthusiasts.
Design Book For Vintage Decor Inspiration
My love of decorating with vintage and antique decor runs deep, so when I heard Sean Scherer wrote an interior design book decorating with vintage, I immediately had to purchase it. Kabinett & Kammer – Creating Authentic Interiors teaches you how to best display your collections, beautifully layer vignettes and decorate in a way that is authentically you. Every page is filled with interesting ways to curate your collections of whimsy and wonder.
Best Design Books For An Organized Home
After binging Get Organized on Netflix, I was motivated to pare down, edit, and purge all the things. Never in a million would I think my ADHD brain would be buying storage and organizing bins, but these, how to organize your home, books have helped me greatly.
Think of The Home Edit Life: The No-Guilt Guide to Owning What You Want and Organizing Everything book as the how-to organize bible. Learn the basics along with tips and tricks on mastering home organization like a pro. And no, you do not have to live like a minimalist or purge every single thing you own. Contain the chaos and apply these genius ideas to every room in your home without having to Marie Kondo.
If you’re looking for a gift-giving idea, Beautifully Organized: A Guide To Function And Style In Your Home is the interior design book for you. The author shares her 5 steps to organizing your home like a pro. Assess, declutter, clean, organize, and beautify. A step-by-step guide that covers every room in the house from cupboards to the powder room. A must-have book for those wanting an organized space that is also peaceful and beautiful.
Side note: Don’t miss my Organization Tips For Home blog post!
Past Top Design Books That Are Still Winners
My updated list of home decor books can always be found online. Since these favorites are difficult to narrow down and always updated, here are a few that have dropped off the top 11 best interior design books but are still incredibly inspiring. Before I sign off, leave me a comment if you have a favorite interior design book not listed above would like to share with me.
The Remodelista book is a classic as is Joseph Dirand’s drool-worthy book of residential interior design work in Paris. Both organizing books by The Home Edit girls are great, but since one was already on the list, I didn’t deem it necessary to include A Guide To Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals as well.
Another design book full of vintage decor inspiration is Steven Gambrel: Time And Place. His designs have a fresh approach to color and composition, and he’s a genius when it comes to mixing modern and traditional decor. Although it’s a notable design book, it’s more of an inspiring coffee table book versus one that teaches.
Travel Home: Design with a Global Spirit is an interior design book written by Caitlyn Flemming and her mother. Together they share a laidback California Cool design that focuses heavily on neutral home decor. If you love Nate Berkus‘ decor aesthetic, this book belongs in your library…oh, and Nate and Jeremiah’s home is featured here as well.
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