15 Best Interior Decorating & Interior Design BooksThis post contains affiliate links; if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you
Everyone can learn to decorate their home. It’s an acquired skill that every homeowner should at least look into.
If you’re tired of not knowing how to decorate then these books will help.
There is no correct style of decorating and everyone has their own preferences. Thankfully these books don’t assume anything so they can teach you many different styles leaving the decorating choices up to you.
Elements of Style: Designing A Home & A Life
Designer Erin Gates runs her own blog under the name Elements of Style. It has grown wildly popular over the past few years and she’s a well-known designer with a lot of great advice for beginners.
Her personal decorating book Elements of Style: Designing A Home & A Life is practical and super easy to read.
This guide can help anyone learn to design and create rooms that most reflect your personality.
Each chapter covers a different room with unique ideas and tons of photos. From living rooms to home offices, closets, kitchens, you name it.
However I mostly recommend this book only for beginners since the topics are very basic. Once you know a little about home decor you’ll probably want to delve into other titles.
Interior Design Master Class
As the name suggests, this book is a massive resource for anyone trying to teach themselves interior design.
Carl Dellatore’s Interior Design Master Class spans a whopping 350+ pages with a clean organizational style. Each chapter covers a different idea starting with the theory behind room design, then slowly moving into practical style choices.
Much of the design process comes from intuition and visual responses. Patterns, symmetry, space, color, all these ideas blend together and hit you whenever you walk into a room.
With this guide you’ll learn all the fundamentals of interior decorating with advice from a skilled practitioner.
This also includes specific tips on decorating techniques like Americana decor, spacious living, and utilizing feng shui in every room.
Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home
Looking for cool ideas you can apply to any room in the house? Not sure where to start?
Then you need a copy of 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick. Both women are European designers who frequently publish home decor ideas online.
And this book really lives up to its name offering tons of unique styles you can replicate.
You’ll even find tips on how to curate decorations that match with your own style.
You can always follow the DIY route to build something yourself. But you can also hit up flea markets or browse Etsy shops to find handmade/vintage items that match your home.
Even if you don’t know any design styles you can still work through this book. It’s an excellent resource for beginners who aren’t sure where to start.
Interior Design: The Best Beginner’s Guide For Newbies
Professional interior designers go to school for years to understand the fundamentals of room construction and design. But a homeowner can learn a lot of the basics without 4+ years in college.
Interior Design: The Best Beginner’s Guide For Newbies is very short and very concise. It’s 66 pages long explaining the basics of interior decor and styles.
You’ll learn about color matching, material selection, and room organization to help the space breathe. If you’ve never really designed a room before then you might have no idea where to start.
I like this book as an intro but it’s definitely not the whole picture. It’s a quick read that’ll whet your appetite for home decor but it’ll leave you wanting more.
Domino: The Book of Decorating
Just living in a house doesn’t make it a home. The emotions and moods you feel in your day to day living space really affect that at-home feeling you get in your house.
Decorating is one of the best ways to create an at-home feel, but knowing how to decorate properly is not so simple. Domino: The Book of Decorating brings advice from industry designers who share tips for homeowners decorating by themselves.
This book is super easy to work through and it really makes you feel like anyone can decorate their own home. Because anyone can!
Much of this book feels very theoretical so there aren’t any hard & fast rules.
But you’ll learn a lot of different styles you can replicate on your own, and with some creativity you’ll have no trouble expanding these ideas to different rooms.
One of the toughest parts of decorating is building confidence in your choices. How do you know if your wall clock will blend with the room? Will your new curio cabinet turn into an eyesore?
With the book Styled you’ll learn how to make design choices with confidence and design rooms that best fit your lifestyle.
You’ll learn how to analyze any room and break up the parts you can change, while working around the things you can’t change. Decorating is very much a creative pursuit and it requires a lot more than just logic.
The best way to learn is by doing it and seeing what works. It also helps to study other designs and that’s why this book is packed with photos.
Styled teaches you not just how to decorate a room, but how to decorate it your way and build confidence in your design choices.
The Color Scheme Bible
Color is a massive subject when it comes to decorating. Even just picking a color like blue yields many related options(turquoise? aqua? teal?).
The Color Scheme Bible by Anna Starmer explains how color schemes work and how to match them to a room. With over 200 examples and tons of photos you’ll learn to develop your eye and match colors accurately with the style you want.
Anna teaches you how certain colors interact and how you can plan color interactions with ease. Certain color combinations can energize a room while others can make it feel more tranquil or baseline.
Plus you’ll learn how to pick accents that compliment a color scheme so they blend nicely with the space.
I’d say this is a must-own resource for anyone looking to redesign their home. Color choice is a huge subject and this book has everything you need to know.
The Nesting Place
Author Myquillyn Smith is a self-taught decorator who runs a blog called The Nester. She writes about interior decor for the average person and offers tips for anyone just starting to learn.
The Nesting Place is her design book centered around everything she’s learned over the years.
Early chapters explain a little about her history and her experience in decorating her 13 homes(a baker’s dozen!). But she writes more on practical ideas for bringing a room to life with color, space, and furniture choices.
The best chapters come later in the book where you learn how to tweak rooms that just don’t look right. Sometimes you may not be sure how to fix something, but you at least know the room feels off.
Myquillyn’s book will help you solve this issue so you can design rooms you love.
The Inspired Room
There’s always something to complain about with any home. Maybe your bathrooms are too small or the kitchen feels too linear.
Whatever complaints you have with your living space there are ways around them. The Inspired Room by Melissa Michaels shares decorating tips that work with any type of room, any size, and any style you choose.
Each chapter is packed full of photos so you can see a hodgepodge of different styles. Granted you can find interior photos on Pinterest, but Melissa’s advice is what makes this book worth adding to your collection.
If you’re looking for simple advice on design then you’ll find this book pragmatic and easy to read.
And it works nicely as a coffee table book that you can leave out and sift through.
Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design
Sometimes it feels like home decorating comes with all these unknown rules and regulations. But with Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design you’ll learn there’s much more to designing a great room than rulebooks.
Undecorate looks into twenty different homes across America with tons of high-quality photos and breakdowns of each style.
You get to see a ton of unique yet powerful decorating styles that’ll surely grab your attention. The goal of each chapter is to break down the home and understand the owner’s decorating style in their own words.
With some imagination and a creative mindset you can learn a lot from this book.
It certainly won’t make you an expert decorator but it will expand your mental library of ideas and it shows how decorating is much more free-form than you might think.
Home Decor Cheat Sheets
Home Decor Cheat Sheets takes a hardline “rules” approach to decorating. This book doesn’t exactly say there are specific rules you have to follow for a nice room.
But it does outline some general do’s and don’ts for creating a living space that’s stylish and functional.
It’s a pretty short read with only 128 pages but this is something you can reference many times over. You’ll learn about interior design lingo and how to pick furniture for an existing room. Carpets, drapes, doors, accents, everything is covered with plenty of real advice for personal decorating.
The nice thing about this book is it doesn’t feel constricting.
It reads like an A to Z list of guidelines but they’re exactly that: guidelines. You’re free to improvise on top of these all you like, but this at least offers a starting point for anyone new to decorating.
Design*Sponge at Home
One of the most popular design blogs on the web has to be Design*Sponge created by Grace Bonney. After years of running the site Grace finally put together an amazing book on home decor showcasing 70 real-world interiors.
Design*Sponge at Home is a very practical guide without much frill. It’s absolutely massive with 400 pages and certainly hundreds of full-color photographs.
But the beauty lies in its diversity of content and style. You’ll find inspiring photos and tours of home designs, plus various DIY projects and how-tos you can follow at home.
Her step-by-step tutorials can teach you about painting your own walls to doing your own upholstery and making your own curtains.
Other tips include flower arranging, picking the right materials for any room, and how to build a deeper knowledge of decorating that applies to your entire house.
Alexa Hampton: The Language of Interior Design
Interior designer Alexa Hampton is one of the best and her knowledge goes far beyond the typical designer. With years of experience and dozens of homes & apartments in her portfolio Alexa decided to publish a book with her ideas all in one place.
Alexa Hampton: The Language of Interior Design curates a variety of designs from her portfolio all around the US. You’ll find examples of eclectic designs to marine decor and cabin styles with living spaces from the suburbs to the city.
But this isn’t just a simple photo book. Alexa spills all her secrets explaining how(and why) she makes design choices for certain rooms.
Each chapter covers something a little different with focal points on color, paint, and balance in a room.
Even if you don’t know Alexa’s work this book can still prove incredibly valuable. It’s something you might flip through year after year and still pick up new ideas.
Monochrome Home: Elegant Interiors in Black and White
Some people prefer a minimalist design style which typically avoids much color. Designing a B&W room may seem tasteless but when done correctly it can look magnificent.
Monochrome Home: Elegant Interiors in Black and White is the ultimate guide to modern design without fretting over color schemes. Author Hilary Robertson is an interior designer and writer for many large publications where she shares advice for hobbyist designers.
This 190-page book is her compendium of advice for anyone decorating with a B&W minimalist’s eye.
Early chapters explain the basics of monochrome decorating and how to match shades of black/grey together. Then you’ll check out some real-world home designs to see how these ideas work in a real living space.
A brilliant book for anyone leaning towards the minimalist design route.
Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating
Last in my list(but certainly not least) is Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating by Lauren Liess.
Lauren is a skilled interior designer who often shares advice on her main site. This book acts like a compendium of advice for many different rooms, decorating styles, and furniture sets.
You’ll learn how to match different types of woods and how to pick the right fabrics for your living room sofa. Other chapters share tips on picking decorative items like wall art, centerpieces, and stylish rugs to match your decorating style.
Habitat’s structure breaks into three overarching sections:
- Fundamental design ideas
- Design concepts(mood, charm, tone)
- Room-by-room design guides
The entire book hits 272 pages so there’s a lot to go through. I definitely recommend this as a learning resource for anyone regardless of decorating experience.
But no matter what your design goals are or how much experience you have there’s gotta be some books in this list just for you. Take another look over these titles and see if any catch your decorator’s eye.