10 design books to read before you decorate!

design books fit to inspire & instruct

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Whether you’re moving into your first (or second or third) home or apartment, making your new place a comfortable, inviting haven that reflects you is definitely a priority. You probably also have about a million questions, like how to maximize natural light, define and refine your style, and most importantly, how on earth you’re going to fit all of your clothes into that tiny closet! These 10 design books span an array of styles, budgets, and inspirations. What they have in common is that they all include sage and tried-and-true advice from industry professionals. Read on!

Photography byemily henderson

styled: secrets for arranging rooms, from tabletops to bookshelves

by Emily Henderson

Beloved stylist and designer Emily Henderson’s Styled is a recent release, but it’s destined to become a classic for its inspiring and useful tidbits. The TV host and winner of HGTV’s Design Star helps readers define their own style, which in turn leads to helpful suggestions when choosing elements like color palates and materials. Henderson also breaks down a variety of design scenarios and shows how to make each one shine.

Photography by apartment therapy

apartment therapy: complete + happy home

Apartment Therapy knows that it is the details that bring a home together, and the team’s latest book is an exploration of that idea. Delving into technical and aesthetic aspects of design and style, Apartment Therapy’s latest, also include helpful hints during the home buying process and moving process, virtual floor-planning tools, and a calendar for maintaining your happy and healthy home. If you are moving into an apartment or a smaller space, try Apartment Therapy’s Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces to prove that less can be more!

Photography by the new bohemians

the new bohemians: cool and collected homes

by Justina Blakeney

Justina Blakeney, known for her blog and jungalow style, showcases a variety of hip homes and the elements that define them. Whether you identify as a modern, romantic, earthy, folksy, nomadic, or maximal bohemian, the rich textures, cool color compositions, and lush, vibrant  décor will draw you in. Plants are abound in this book and a plant-o-pedia is included at the end; recipes and DIY projects are interspersed throughout.

Photography by domino

the book of decorating: a room-by-room guide to creating a home that makes you happy

by domino

Not to toot our own horns too much, but we (obviously) stand by this one. With a room-by-room guide, the book features tips for room arranging, furniture, and a handy guide for matching accessories for maximum visual impact. Drawing on domino staffers’ extensive and diverse cumulative design backgrounds, you’ll return to this for projects both big and small over the years.

Photography by design*sponge

design*sponge at home

by Grace Bonney

Design*Sponge’s blog has attracted legions of followers, and Grace Bonney’s book is a continuation and expansion of the original design source. We love that the rooms and trends she details look real (as in, someone might actually live there instead of just using it for the background of a photo shoot). Curated without being fussy and eclectic without being messy, the homes and design advice in Design*Sponge at Home makes having a cool, personal, inviting home seem doable.

Photography by celerie kemble

to your taste: creating modern rooms with a traditional twist

by Celerie Kemble

Celerie Kemble may be a designer to the stars, but her pedigree doesn’t get in the way of offering sound and realistic advice on arranging your home. Presenting a wide variety of homes, from the ultra-modern pad to an antique-filled haven,  Kemble encourages the readers to create a home and a style they love. If you are more into monochromatic, check out her black-and-white bible: Black and White (and a Bit in Between).

Photography by the first apartment

the first apartment book: cool designs for small spaces

by Kyle Schuneman

Many 27-year-olds are still trying to squeeze a few more years out of budget furniture buys and hand-me-downs in their first apartment. When Kyle Schuneman was 27, he released a book for this exact audience to inspire them to do and try more design-wise. Using actual apartments and inspired by the people living in them, he tackles and explains how to make a space look bigger, create a unified look on a budget, and overcome other common apartment hurdles. Approachable DIY projects abound!

Photography by habitat

habitat: a field guide to decorating


Lauren Liess

Bringing the outdoors inside is a way to make homes feel organic, serene, and natural—and Habitat: A Field Guide to Decorating does that beautifully. But don’t think this new release is only for the hippie granola set. Liess’s interiors are elegant and classic while incorporating natural elements like wood, stone, plants, nature-inspired art, and both rich and neutral color schemes. Liess is a mom of four, so she also knows how to create livable, yet beautiful spaces with kids in mind.

Photography by home style by city

home style by city: ideas and inspiration from paris, london, new york, los angeles, and copenhagen

by Ida Magntorn

Home design books often focus on the “big picture” aspects of creating and curating a home. Home Style by City focuses on the details, reminding us that it’s often the little touches or gems found in people’s homes that really give off a certain vibe. Describing the style in a variety of countries around the world, Home Style City identifies key elements and how to incorporate them into your own home. We love how the suggestions and include a local list of flea markets as well as reading lists and playlists to get you deeper into the feeling of a particular place.

Photography by decorate

decorate: 1,000 design ideas for every room in your home

by Holly Becker

If you want usable decorating ideas and advice from the pros, this tome should be your guide. Expanding on everything from the nuts and bolts of creating a basic furniture plan to accompanying loads of photos with text identifying why a specific style or arrangement works, Decorate calls upon design experts including Jonathan Adler and Kelly Wearstler for tips. And with 1,000 ideas, you are guaranteed to come away with at least a handful for your own home.