Top 24 interior design books.

Design books (or style/decor, architecture books) are the new magazines.  Since there are fewer magazines for me to hoard (although Europe and Australia are still killing it these days) I’ve been collecting, nay hoarding, pretty books for me to flip through, tag and style with.  

They can be expensive I know, which is why they are such good gifts to give.  But ultimately you are supporting the publishing industry, designers, art directors, and photographers and those people need support.  

Plus, they make you look very smart and interesting and that’s really what reading is all about.  

First, there are the books of more attainable lifestyles, with furniture and accessories that i can afford and done in beautiful ways that people can be inspired by.  You probably have these, but if you don’t, get them already.  



Flea Market Style, EtceteraDesign Sponge at Home, The Find   

The Find is the only one that I don’t personally own (and yes, I still purchase these books, I haven’t figured out how to get free ones yet…)

Then there is the ‘when I can’t travel but want to feel exported to somewhere foreign and exotic,’ I go for these books, books that are, yes, global.   


Survival Kit: DesignLiving Architecture, The Palais Bulles, Marrakesh by Design

Simply ScandanavianApartments de GarconsAfrican InteriorsThe Splendor of Cuba

Some of these aren’t even out yet, but i’m gonna go ahead and pre-order them because they look that good.  I have African Interiors (which I love so much for so many different reasons) and the Cuban book, but I’m dying to buy all these Japanese design books that look kinda amazing online, but i haven’t actually seen them in person.  


In case you want to see how the other half lives. And by ‘half’ i mean 1/2 of one percent of the population.  But it satisfies my inner fantasy needs…..what am I talking about, it makes me want to be super rich.  Filthy rich. Swimming in money a la Scrooge McDuck.  But until then, at least I have these books:


Domestic ArtMore is MoreThe Well-Lived LifeVogue Living

American Fashion Designers at HomeCreating a HomeHueLive, Love, & Decorate 

They are all over the top, totally unattainable and absolutely beautiful. 

  1. Danielle

    I just saw that Decorate book at Anthropologie yesterday and it looks amazing! Thanks for all the other great ideas/suggestions, too!

  2. Great suggestions. I have Design Sponge and I love it. I was price checking all the books , some have real good deals(under $10 if I buy used) @ Amazon and some really expensive (for me anything over $25 is expensive )

  3. Love Domino and Decorate! Don't own any of the others… yet. :)

  4. Emily,

    I'm so thrilled to see that you have my labor of love as among your favorites. Email me your address and I'll see to it that you get a copy.

    X Stan

  5. Monique

    where can I find that really cool blue rug in the picture below

  6. RD

    She wuz robbed.
    I'm sorry, I have never been more disappointed in hgtv. That ending was fore-ordained. I only wish that if they were so certain they wanted Danielle that they had set her up with a designer who was more mediocre.
    I think the criticism of Brittany's design was staged. The clip was edited to emphasize the homeowner's saying they wanted modern. She gave them plenty of modern. What did they expect? Minimalism? If the homeowners really wanted stark modern, youd think that something in their spaces would have indicated that from the beginning. I LOVED the oversized art she used in the living room and she delivered 150% on lighting. Those spaces practically sparkled with light. They were drop dead gorgeous rooms.
    That's not to say that Danielle didn't do a good job but I'm just not interested in watching "good". I want the rooms to knock my socks off and I don't think I will ever get that in a Danielle room. I'm sure she'll get better with time but she'll just never be a draw for me. There's plenty of meh on hgtv but few designers with a truly gifted eye. But Britany's not just gifted, she's fricking unflappable with amazing organization skills. I'd hire her to do any room in my house and never be disappointed. What a wasted opportunity.

  7. Kelly

    Great post. I'll look forward to acquiring a few of these over time. My favorite decorating book is Furnishing Forward by Sheila Bridges. I think she is fantastic!

  8. Hi Emily, I'm a book editor at Abrams, you featured our Tony Duquette book and Vogue Living in your list. Thanks! Happy to send you copies of any Abrams books you want to take a look at!

  9. Lucy

    @ RD thanks for commenting on Design Star. It's been a week and I'm still angry over the results. I agree that it would have seemed like less of a set up had they pitted Danielle against a lesser talent. Hoping Britany gets another shot at a show ala Casey Noble on Design on a Dime.
    @ Kelly, I will check out that Sheila Bridges book, I agree she's terrific.

  10. Rebecca

    Love this post. FYI, the link to "The Well-Lived Life" goes to the "More is More" amazon page. You might want to fix it. Look at me! I'm helping!

  11. Woven

    Domino decor book is awesome!

  12. Kimberly

    I own and have read all of the books in the attainable lifestyle section except for etc… (which has been on backorder with Amazon for like 3 months now and they just sent me an E-mail yesterday saying it's going to be another couple of weeks) and 'The Find'. I am going to promptly add that to my Wish List. If Emily says read it, then I read it. Haven't been disappointed yet in any of her suggestions. :)

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