A beautiful home interior can give you years of enjoyment, but you don’t need years of training to design one. The best interior design books ground you in essential decorating principles, inspire you with examples, and guide you in developing a personal design philosophy to put into practice in your own home.
Designing a Life: From House to Haven (2018)
In just 52 pages, this short guide walks you through 10 beginner-friendly steps for designing a beautiful home based on your needs and budget. Rather than offering paint-by-numbers instructions or examples to copy, it aims to empower you with an understanding of design fundamentals, so you’re comfortable developing and expressing your own style. It starts with guidance on establishing your design vision, then moves on to solving common design problems and putting it all together in a way that works for your daily life.
The HGTV’s Fixer Upper host’s first design book focuses on designing a home that reflects your personality and fits your lifestyle. Meant as a practical guide for any homeowner, this 350-page book tours one room at a time, using abundant photos and illustrations to teach you how to identify and blend styles, spot and address common pitfalls, and draw inspiration from Gaines’ iconic style.
To keep the focus on form and composition, the rooms included are predominately neutral colors, particularly grey and beige. Insights and anecdotes from Gaines’ career are peppered throughout to bring the images to life. At the end of the book, you’ll find a design template and step-by-step guide to drawing up your own design plans.
Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style (2016)
Mark D. Sikes
This 250-page book showcases sophisticated, yet approachable designs that work well in any home. Each of the eight chapters explores a distinct style, including traditional “Timeless Neutrals,” casual “Garden Greens,” the coastal cottage “Sun Faded Hues,” and Sikes’ signature style in “Blue and White Forever.” All styles included lean toward breezy and modern, drawing inspiration from laid-back California indoor/outdoor living. While the book offers plenty of tips and examples on furniture placement, they’re aimed at larger homes and not always practical for small homes and family living.
If the concept interests you, but you’re looking for more up-to-date styles, try the sequel More Beautiful: All-American Decoration (2020), which covers five decorating styles.
A celebration of twenty-first-century spaces, Interiors delves into the details of exactly what contemporary design means in the current era. Each chapter invites you to contemplate modern tastes in color placement, materials and texture, and accessory choice and presents Korban’s fashion-forward advice for achieving a truly up-to-the-minute look. A selection of high-end locations including detached houses, townhouses, apartments, and even boutiques offer inspiration. These interiors demonstrate Korban’s skill in combining rich, luxurious textures with neutral color palettes to create rooms that are both modern and elegant, yet warm and inviting.
This HGTV host’s first book, Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves boasts “1000 design ideas.” Based around Henderson’s 10 easy steps to styling any space, it guides you in design basics, including creating contrast, choosing a color palette, and working with balance and scale. Because the focus is on styling, rather than redesigning, you’ll find tips for making the most of your existing decor as well as uncovering hidden gems at flea markets and antique shops.
The book starts with a quiz meant to be a loose guide to finding your style, from well-known Scandinavian, Traditional, and Rustic styles to more adventurous “Totally Eighties” and Industrial. While it covers several styles across 75 rooms, it focuses heavily on mid-century modern and maximalist boho style. Henderson’s tips help you create visual cohesiveness, but she also encourages blending styles to get the look that suits you best.
A Point of View (2018)
Design legend Veere Grenney’s first book is a treasure for those enchanted with English interior design sensibility. Organized by room, it walks you through entryways, living rooms, bedrooms and more in a range of homes, from spacious country houses to chic urban apartments.
Throughout, Grenney shares his influences and his philosophy for interweaving the grand with the modest, and classicism with modernism.
The book explores the defining features of English interiors with their generous stone fireplaces, cozy libraries, and simple, welcoming kitchens. Alongside this, Grenny offers guidance on how you can achieve this ambiance through composition, lighting, and other design elements.
Inviting Interiors: A Fresh Take on Beautiful Rooms (2021)
Learn award-winning designer Melanie Turner’s secrets for creating understated sophistication with an emphasis on functionality. This book’s 240 pages are organized by look, with a focus on creating everyday beauty. In “Calm,” you’ll find minimalist white rooms enriched with luxurious textures. “Colorful” shows what’s possible with soft, nature-based palettes. “Cool” transports you back to the 1970s with rattan, macramé, Moroccan leather, and other boho favorites. Essentials such as balance, color, and light are discussed along the way.
This is Home: The Art of Simple Living (2018)
This highly-rated 240-page book features 16 interior design case studies from around the world. Meant to inspire rather than instruct, it guides you in discovering a decorating style that’s in tune with your personality, then offers tips on creating balance and selecting items with emotional appeal to create spaces that express your authentic self. The 200 photos include numerous close-ups to show detail. Although Walton emphasizes individuality and meaning, the homes included primarily feature a sophisticated, minimalist aesthetic with little diversity.
Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life (2014)
In the 336-page Elements of Style, Gates combines frank design advice, ideas, and inspiration with lessons she’s learned throughout more than a decade of professional experience. Rich with personal anecdotes and essays, it takes the chatty, casual approach of a friend sharing their talent and experience through text, photographs, and illustrations. Each chapter explores a room, including the entry, dining room, and nursery, and includes practical tips for choosing and arranging furniture and decor in each. The designs featured are contemporary and colorful, but the guidance aims to help you design rooms that express your personality, whatever your style preference might be.
Dream Décor: Styling a Cool, Creative and Comfortable Home, Wherever You Live (2016)
In 250 pages, Will Taylor’s second book aims to help beginners define and achieve their own personal dream interior without getting bogged down in design theory. The first section, Dream Elements, teaches you the basics of color, pattern, texture, form, and lighting, and explains the interplay between these elements. The second section, Dream Styles, offers 11 different styles, including Coastal, Industrial, and Rustic as sources of inspiration. The spaces chosen reflect Taylor’s love of color, but keep things simple with relatively similar styling.