top of page

A 'wealth' of design books for your shelves

Blame it on the cold weather or people's love of trends, but either way there has been a lot of talk surrounding books lately. I am personally a little confused by the trending phrase 'book wealth' but I'm not confused about the value of having a plethora of books on myriad topics to inspire and direct your design eye.

Last week on Instagram I shared thoughts on my dozens of design books and the response was not surprising! People are ready for more page turning (less scrolling) and hearing what others are reading during these cold winter months.

Let's dive in.

Looking Back

This all started when a follower asked me to share more of the books I was using for inspiration at Gwen Hefner's home (@themakerista). Her home is a new build with influences from Greek Revival. A home with history. So, I leaned into books on that era and beyond. Here are some others that are on my side table at the moment.

Old Homes, New Life by Clive Aslet
Old House, New House by Michael Gaughenbaugh
Biltmore Estate by Laura Baldwin Daly


Another great way to find solutions to design problems is in the primer category. All of these books present helpful information along with beautiful images to illustrate their process.

Habitat by Lauren Liess
The New Traditional by Darryl Carter (no longer in print)
Collected Home by Darryl Carter - on the psychology of design
Made for Living by Amber Lewis
On Decorating by Mark Hampton - a true classic
New House Book by Terence Conran - a plethora of information on so many topics. He has others!

British Influence

Who doesn't love the way British design is working its way into our lives? Layered, textured, comfortable, inviting, historic. Here are some of my favorites.

English Decoration by Ben Pentreath
Perfect English Style by Ros Byam Shaw
International Country Judith Miller and Martin Miller
A Slice of England by India Hicks
Robert Kime by Alastair Langlands

Apothecary Style

Love eclectic, patina-ed, collected homes. Have a look at these classic (with a dash of bohemian) beauties.

A Tale of Interiors by Louisa Pierce and Emily Ward
Kabinett & Kramer by Sean Scherer - lots of taxidermy!
Thomas O'Brien: Library House by Thomas O'Brien - this book is also in the whole home category.

The 'It' books

What's hot now? These books. Making their way in a world of monotony these design books are nothing but bland.

Arent & Pyke Interiors: Beyond the Primary Palette by Juliette Arent and Sarah-Jane Pyke
Billy Cotton: Interior and Design Work by Mayer Rus and Stephen Kent Johnson


Trends be gone. Ever wonder why certain designers do what they do? Or where their style originated? This group has history on their mind and loves to live with one foot in the past. Note: most good designers do, but these folks have books to prove it. :)
Note: I've added a few more books each author has written.

Parish-Hadley Tree of Life by Brian J. McCarthy and Bunny Williams - the history of the legendary design firm.
An Affair with A House by Bunny Williams - one of my favorites
Love Affairs with Houses by Bunny Williams
Designing History by Michael Smith and Margaret Russell - a book about the Obama White House
Michael S. Smith: Kitchens & Baths by Michael Smith and Christine Pittel
Michael S. Smith Houses by Michael Smith and Christine Pittel
Thomas O'Brien: Library House by Thomas O'Brien - I want to live in this house!

Designer Homes

Wish you could sit down for a chat with all of your favorite designers? Well, these books allow you to do just that. Most are conversational and all have beautiful images of designers in their personal homes. Best enjoyed with a cup of coffee (or tea)!

British Designers At Home by Jenny Rose-Innes
Australian Designers At Home by Jenny Rose-Innes
Rare Birds, True Style by Violet Naylor-Leyland and Andrew Farrar
Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone
Sacred Spaces by Carley Summers
Near & Far: Interiors I Love by Lisa Fine - NOTE: this one is pictured below


Obsessed with a certain topic? Lots of topics out there but here are some I've enjoyed.

Rattan: A World of Elegance and Charm by Lulu Lytle and Mitchell Owens
Uncommon Kitchens by Sophie Donelson - the new old way to do kitchens
The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair - love this one!
Near & Far: Interiors I Love by Lisa Fine - places and their owners!
Decors Barbares by Nathalie Farman-Farma - for the love of fabric!
An Entertaining Story by India Hicks
Island Style by India Hicks
How to Live with Objects by Monica Khemsurov and Jill Singer


These vintage books sure are fun and help get the wheels turning when looking for a solution to your current home.

Tiffany Table Settings by Tiffany & Co.
The others are out of stock buy you can find many at estate sales and thrift stores.

True Coffee Table Books

Looking for a beautiful book to set on your coffee table? These fit that bill. Large, beautiful, and the perfect conversation starter. Kinda like me. :)

Houses: Atelier AM by Alexandra and Michael Misczynski
Interiors: Atelier AM by Alexandra and Michael Misczynski
Francois Halard by François Halard
Francois Halard 3: New Vision by François Halard

Top Shelf

These are some of the best design books in my stash. Always inspiring. Always relevant. Always a good read.

A Place to Call Home by Gil Schafer III
Home at Last by Gil Schafer III - coming February 2024
The Great American House by Gil Schafer III
Notes on Decorating by Markham Roberts
Decorating the Way I See It by Markham Roberts

Top Top Shelf

And at the very top are these books. I can't describe how I feel when I leaf through them but I am transported to design heaven.

Perspective by Steven Gambrel
Time & Place by Steven Gambrel
Bunny Mellon Style by Linda Jane Holden and Thomas Lloyd
The Gardens of Bunny Mellon by Linda Jane Holden


Don't forget magazines! A monthly dose of dopamine. Frederick Magazine is my favorite.

Collect what you love

And finally, collect what you love! Anything that moves you outside the realm of interior design books. Like these art books that inspire me with their unique color combinations, thrilling patterns, and unexpected moments. Design is everywhere!

**As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
bottom of page