So many fantastic decorating books were published in 2014 and 2015, so I thought I’d put together a roundup of my favorites! If you’re looking for home decorating ideas, these books are a great place to start.
You’ll find 11 of my favorite recently published interior design books below!
Remodelista – Julie Carlson
I’m a longtime reader of Remodelista – their online content highlights talented modern designers, and celebrates the old William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your house you do not consider to be useful or beautiful.” The editors of Remodelista share homes that feature a blend of high and low, vintage and new, to highlight beautiful modern interiors that are minimalist, but never monastic.
I’m a fan of the pared-down Remodelista aesthetic, and the homes featured seem to be a thoughtful reflection of their owners’ lives. Each of the twelve homes featured in the book feel lived in and loved, and while their styles are wildly different, they all feel sophisticated and are filled with heirlooms. At the end of each chapter, the editors share how to “steal the look” from each home, and offer practical advice on how to capture the unique aspects of each space.
The Life Changing Magic of Cleaning Up – Marie Kondo
While Marie Kondo’s book came out in English in 2014, it’s been a huge part of the zeitgeist this year, with a new think piece popping up every week about using the Konmari method to transform your life. This isn’t the first home organization method to attract a cult following, but I’m a fan of Marie Kondo’s unique approach to decluttering. I deeply respect the central message of her book, which encourages you to bring things into your home that you truly love, and to discard the things that don’t spark joy or serve your needs.
After reading this book, I felt very motivated to try the Konmari method in my own home. While I haven’t managed to declutter every category of my belongings, I have seen some dramatic changes to my closet, and I’ve found that decluttering even just one category of my belongings helped me to feel more relaxed at home!
Apartment Therapy: Complete + Happy Home – Maxwell Ryan and Janel Laban
This book is a great reference for anyone who is decorating a new place, whether you just rented a new apartment, or bought your first home. It condenses many of the “greatest hits” of Apartment Therapy’s blog into a handy manual for creating a home you love. The book is divided into three sections: setting up, living in, and maintaining your home. In this way, it’s different from a lot of the other interior design books I enjoyed this year, because it’s more of a manual for how to enjoy your home to the fullest, rather than to capture one unique style of living.
One of my favorite features of this book was the section about finding your Style DNA — the writers captured a huge range of potential styles that you could integrate in your home, including Happy Modern, Eclectic Collector, and Organic Modern. Understanding your own style is such a huge part of both designing and decorating your home, so I love that they included a comprehensive guide with lots of style examples to choose from. More than just telling you what to buy, the Apartment Therapy book will inspire and teach readers to set up their home for everyday ease and enjoyment.
The New Bohemians – Justina Blakeney and Dabito
Bohemian style has has gone through a major renaissance, thanks in no small part to Justina Blakeney’s eye for all things boho on her blog, The Jungalow. This book is a fantastic catalog of contemporary bohemian style, with beautiful photographs of real homes, and adorable, achievable DIY projects (illustrated by my friend Katie Wilson!)
The twenty homes profiled in the book fall into six bohemian categories: modern, earthy, folksy, nomadic, romantic, and maximal. I tend to gravitate towards the modern bohemian style, but there are gems in every category throughout the book. One of the best things about this book is how personal each home feels. In each interior portrait you get such a strong sense of the backstories of the people who live there — we see their collections, get peeks of mementos from their travels, and hear about the pieces that are truly meaningful to them.
Commune: Designed in California – Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, Pamela Shamshiri, and Ramin Shamshiri
Commune is a design collective, established in Los Angeles in 2004, responsible for some of the most gorgeous and distinctly “new California” interiors of this decade. Their mission is to enhance life through design and to embrace all of the rich stylistic history and spirit of the West. This monograph is a fantastic introduction to their work.
I had previously encountered Commune’s work at the Ace Hotels in LA and Palm Springs, which are completely unique design experiences. Their style freely mixes old and new, and they collaborate with talented artisans and makers to capture their unique, highly personal interiors that just ooze California style. You don’t just gather home decorating ideas while flipping through this book, you start to see the unique design traits that make up the California aesthetic.
Sage Living – Anne Sage
I’ve been a fan of Anne Sage’s blog for a long time, so of course I was super excited to pick up her new book, Sage Living. This book is anything but superficial, and really delves into the deeper meaning of decorating a home. Anne shares her tips for creating a home that can echo your values, and this mindful approach to decorating can lead to some big changes in the rest of your life. It makes sense that interior design can go far beyond the frivolous: we can make intentional choices in shaping our homes that could help propel us forward into the life we want to create.
I especially loved how each chapter focused on how to channel a specific value — connecting with calm, entertaining with artistry, connecting with character, or entertaining with altruism. These are ideas that go way beyond a specific style, and have the potential to create a much more meaningful space to share with loved ones. This approach can be adapted to specific rooms (ie: decorating a living room for connection, and a bedroom for calm), or to your home as a whole, to help nurture the values that you embody in your life as a whole.
Bright Bazaar – Will Taylor
Will Taylor is one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram, because his feed is just pure color joy. His book came out in 2014, but I have been poring over it this year in the search for new color inspiration. I love his philosophy about using bold, bright color at home with confidence, and the interiors in Bright Bazaar are popping with juicy hues.
I really loved the modern colorful interiors in this book, especially that bright Scandinavian modern dining room. The room is gorgeously saturated with color, but carefully balanced between warm and cool hues, so it doesn’t feel to matchy-matchy. His advice to build up your color palette slowly, just a few pieces at a time, rings true for me — I love a room that has been decorated slowly over time with meaningful pieces, not just things that matched with the rug or sofa. By taking a slow and steady approach, working with color can feel more manageable.
My favorite section of the book were the “color cocktails,” which highlighted color pairing suggestions that really pop. Sunshine lemon and salmon pink, wisteria and racing green, mint cream and french rose… the combinations are so tempting.
Decorate with Flowers – Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring
This book isn’t strictly about interior design, but I believe that flowers and plants are one of the most important additions to our homes — they make a space feel truly alive. This book contains some great inspiration for new approaches to using flowers in your home, and I love the playful and colorful approach. This book goes way beyond how to style flowers in a vase, and gave me tons of ideas for how to integrate fresh flowers into my home in new ways.
Styled – Emily Henderson
This book is all about the details, and all the little finishing touches that make a home feel truly personal. There are tons of tips in Styled that were new to me, but perhaps the most surprising was Emily’s suggestion that, “If you love color, don’t paint your walls.” Her philosophy that you should ignore your color instincts shocked me at first, but it makes sense: if you love color, you likely collect beautifully vibrant pieces in your home, and a brightly painted wall could compete for attention. Keeping your walls neutral or white helps to let your colorful accents sing.
This book is would be a good buy for “The Stylist’s Notebook” section alone. It contains all her favorite resources for sourcing everything from furniture to paint, and would be a great guide for anyone looking for home decor shopping ideas.
Clean Design: Wellness for your Lifestyle – Robin Wilson
This book just recently got on my radar, and I love Robin Wilson’s four principles of design: sustainable, reusable, recycleable, and non-toxic. It’s become commonplace to look for natural, organic ingredients in the food we eat, as well as the beauty products we use on our bodies, and Clean Design takes these healthy ideals a step further, into designing and decorating a home.
It’s hard to argue with the idea that the “home is the foundation to health,” and her insights into creating a home that is stylish and promotes good health makes for a great entry-point into green interior decorating.
Tile Makes the Room – Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic
Heath Ceramics is one of California’s most beloved home goods companies – their ceramics are known throughout the world for their incredible craftsmanship, elegant designs, and their expert use of color and glaze. I covet pretty much everything in their LA showroom, especially their ceramic dinnerware, so I was curious to dive in to Heath owners Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic’s exploration of the beautiful designs that can be achieved with tile.
Tile Makes the Room captures the work of leading designers and architects in over 50 projects from around the world. While there are lots of different styles of tile featured, the overall viewpoint is distinctly modern and fresh, and I found myself making mental notes of these enviable design elements to revisit when I become a homeowner. Plus, I loved seeing all of the different patterns that could be created with just a few simple shapes — a triumph of creativity and imagination.
My favorite case study from the book was a place called Yardhouse in London. It’s a creative studio with a tiled exterior, and all the tiles are made with concrete. Each tile was dyed by adding color directly to the concrete by hand, which accounts for the beautifully random variation in tones. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.