The 6 Best Interior Design Books That the Experts Always Reference
You’ll want to leave these out on your coffee table.
Published Sep 1, 2021 5:13 AM
In our humble opinion, the best interior design books check three boxes: They should be inspirational, educational, and aesthetically pleasing. These tomes aren’t meant to gather dust after a single read; instead they should serve up style points and enduring design inspiration in equal measure, whether it’s topping off a stack on the coffee table or filling one last gap in a bookshelf arrangement.
But since there’s no shortage of inspiring design books (including The Book of Decorating by yours truly), we decided to defer to the pros. The books listed below have not only served as rainy day reading material for these experts, they’ve fundamentally influenced their decorating styles. Ahead, find the six best interior design books that they reach for time and time again, from photo-forward designer retrospectives to no-frills how-to guides.
- For color inspiration: Steven Gambrel: Perspective by Steven Gambrel
- For free spirits: Haute Bohemians by Miguel Flores-Vianna
- For rookies: The Interior Design Handbook by Frida Ramstedt
- For traditionalists: Billy Baldwin Decorates by Billy Baldwin
- For art enthusiasts: For Art’s Sake by Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian and Jean-François Jaussaud
- For nature lovers: Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating by Lauren Liess
Designers’ Top Picks
Steven Gambrel: Perspective by Steven Gambrel
Steven Gambrel’s second book is a look at the New York City–based architect and designer’s acclaimed work, specifically 12 new projects across the U.S. and Europe. Gambrel peels back the curtain on his unique design process and rich, colorful interiors, from a Manhattan apartment to a villa in Zurich. “As you’ll see in my work, I’m somewhat obsessed with junction points and molding, and Steven is a master at these details,” says Sibella Court, Australian designer and owner of The Society Inc., who lists Perspective among her favorite design books. “He always considers the history and character of a space when creating his signature look, and his projects make my heart sing. Let’s just say my copy is well thumbed and marked.”
Haute Bohemians by Miguel Flores-Vianna
The Interior Design Handbook by Frida Ramstedt
Billy Baldwin Decorates by Billy Baldwin
For Art’s Sake by Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian and Jean-François Jaussaud
Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating by Lauren Liess
Habitat could be considered an ode to author Lauren Liess’s two greatest loves: interior design and nature. Throughout the 272 pages, the Virginia-based designer reveals 25 beautiful homes that epitomize her signature style, creating an aspirational guide to decorating with nature. But this book isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s also a handy educational reference that dissects the art of interiors. “This is one of my absolute favorites. I reference it often during design projects, especially when tackling a challenging layout,” says Sadaf, the Chicago-based designer. “Lauren’s approach to interiors is so thoughtful but always effortless and natural.”
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