One of the things I inherited from my mom, aside from our shared love of reading, is a love of interior design.
I can’t tell you how many interior design books and magazines passed through our house during my growing up years.
If I’m not afraid of painting, it’s because my mom painted every room in our house at least twice
She made curtains and hung wallpaper (including on the ceiling in my room!) and even painted a plaid pattern on the wall of one of our bedrooms (it looked AWESOME. If I ever find a photo of it, I’ll share it).
She and my dad laid tile in our kitchen by lantern light when all the power went out just as they’d finished mixing up the cement.
She recovered at least a dozen couches and chairs during my childhood.
Now, I’ve totally become my mother (although I don’t anticipate recovering any furniture) and I can’t say no to a good interior design book (or magazine).
I love looking at beautiful homes, both in print and in real life.
In fact, when we lived in North Carolina, some friends invited us over for dinner to their beautiful house and when my parents came for Bart’s graduation, I asked my friend if my mom could come over and see her house while they were visiting.
And. . .could my grandmother, who also loves beautiful homes, come too? (My friend graciously said yes).
Basically, there’s no escaping my love of pretty houses – it’s in my blood.
These are some of my favorite interior design books, most of which I own my own copies of.
I look through them every time we move and I’m trying to figure out how to use new spaces.
Bonus that they all look so beautiful on my bookshelves.
My Favorite Interior Design Books
The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith
I read this book shortly after we moved to Arizona and our house was very far from perfect. This book was so inspiring to me to love where I lived right now, even with so many undone projects, and to appreciate what I did have and make the most of it, while slowly making progress. I highly, highly recommend this one. She also wrote Cozy Minimalist Home last year, and it’s also fantastic.
Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide by Gabrielle Stanley Blair
This interior design book is just FUN, especially when you have children and know that nothing is every going to stay perfectly styled and part of your design decisions need to include how to store 1000 LEGOs. It’s packed with beautiful photos, clever ideas and lots of DIY projects. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to flip through this one.
Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave by Joanna Gaines
You might remember that I put this one on my Christmas wish list and I’ve LOVED looking through it. She features about 16 different homes, all in different styles, so you can see how kitchens, bedrooms, entries, dining rooms and more are designed depending on the look you’re going for and how people use awkward spaces or make the most of the house they are in. As you’d expect from Joanna Gaines, it is stunning.
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
This is definitely the odd one out on this list because it’s less about decorating and more about designing your house to reduce waste, but I LOVE this book and it’s been super helpful in every house we’ve lived in to think through how we can make our lives at least a little more environmentally friendly (are we ever going to be a family that produces 2 quarts of garbage PER YEAR? No). I wrote a full review of this one years ago and I still think about it ALL the time.
Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy by Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello and Dara Caponigro
This was probably the first interior design book I ever owned (my mom gave it to me as a gift) and I love how it breaks down each room, shows you different styles for that room and how you can use different items to bring different looks (I also own the second Domino decorating book, but it’s not nearly as good, in my opinion).
Hygge & West Home: Design for a Cozy Life by Christiana Coop and Aimee Lagos, photographed by James Carriere
This is the newest addition to my collection of interior design books and I love these peeks into 20 different homes, all designed to be cozy and comfortable. It has interviews with each homeowner, explaining what makes the house home to them and what their favorite design choices have been (and sharing trouble spots in their house too!). It also makes me have sudden dreams of owning a cabin.
And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!
Any other favorite interior design books I shouldn’t miss? I’ve got a whole house just asking for inspiration!
Photos by Heather Mildenstein
I’m really looking forward to Amber Lewis’s book (from Amber Interiors) coming out next year. If I could afford to put my house into someone else’s hands, she’s the one I’d pick….although even if I could afford it, I don’t know that I’d give the process to someone else. I love the process of designing a room, even if things often move more slowly than I’d like because I have to budget and save up for things.
I’ve also been realizing lately that my mom has influenced my affinity for interiors. I hadn’t really thought of my mom as someone into interior design because, well 80s and 90s style is not the look I’m going for, but she and her best friend were always at one another’s houses rearranging furniture, wallpapering, or painting.
Great selections! I also love Emily Henderson’s “Styled” and also both books by the Young House Love couple: “Young House Love” and “Lovable, Livable Home”.
Great List! I LOVE design books – currently refreshing all of our rooms, because we’ve just sort of lived with it as we bought it for WAY too long. I also love the Young House Love books. Design Mom is definitely at the top of my list. And, The Cozy Minimalist had a BIG impact on how I envision my rooms design-wise.
Jill Skousen says
Yes! I own a couple of these, and my friend recently recommended “The Nesting Place” and I picked it up at the library last week. I can see why you both found it inspiring. I would add “The Not So Big House” by Susanka, it’s a bit older but the concepts of meaning and purpose in a home have always stuck with me, and “The Simple Home” by Nettleton.
That was my sister-in-law’s home that you took your mom and grandma to visit back in NC! She has such a gift for interior design, doesn’t she??
Janssen Bradshaw says
She is AMAZING! And that’s such a fun connection!
I’ve followed The Nester’s blog for a few years and also liked the book. For me this book is more like advice on how not to compare yourself to others and to be content with imperfection in your home decor.