Do you have a hard time ordering decorating books online? It’s hard to tell if a design book is worth buying when you look at it on Amazon. I wanted to keep a list of my favorites just in case you’re looking for one.
Before you go buy any of these books, you should know that many of these books are not the kind of decorating books that you flip through for the beautiful photos. A few are, but many of them are more educational rather than inspirational. For example, they explain how to make decorating decisions for your home. They don’t just show you their beautiful homes.
I plan to keep adding to the list as I get new favorites over time.
I wrote a whole post about the Cozy Minimalist Home because I loved it so much. If you don’t follow Myquillyn Smith (@thenester), you should. Her signature style is a home that feels warm and comfortable, but not overfilled with things. She has decorated many homes that she doesn’t own, which I like. It’s not directed at the decorating expert, it’s made for people who need to know where to begin and that’s why I love it.
Living With Color by Rebecca Atwood is a gorgeous book inside and out. So many people struggle with what colors to use on the walls, in your fabrics, pillows, upholstery. One thing I love about this book is that if you have a color you know you like, you can go directly to that section and see what pairs well with that color.
I love their podcast, Young House Love, so I had to buy the book. This book isn’t so much a decorating book as it is a DIY idea book. I really like their approach to decorating and transforming a space without spending a lot of money. It does make it easy to build in your own wall of books shelves when you have a husband that is super handy and loves to build things, which I don’t. Sherry and John have so many great ideas and I enjoy their sense of humor. The book is organized by room.
I guess I really love Rebecca Atwood’s books. Honestly, I didn’t realize these two books were by the same author. Amazon knows me too well. I think patterns can be even harder for many people than color. I wish the font was bigger. It’s a little woo-woo but there’s a lot about color and texture in this book if you feel uneasy about mixing patterns. She does a really great job of showing you cool vs. warm color palettes. For example, she shows you a cool neutral color palette and a warm neutral palette. This really helps you to see which one you like better.
I love the mood-board images in the book, but some of the text leaves me feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing. It isn’t the best book for beginners, but I like the inspiration.
This book is not like the rest. Betsy has a design podcast where she takes questions and she teaches design. She’s a designer for real people. She doesn’t talk about specific styles, she talks about the nuts and bolts. It’s a great book if you are moving into a new house. She gives you a step by step method for how to decorate each room from scratch. The photos in the book are not styled vignettes, they are real life rooms. She is all about the basics, so don’t buy this if you want a book full of beautiful photos.
This Emily Henderson book is also instructional. She started out her career as a prop stylist, so she knows what makes a beautiful photo. She shows you a room and then she explains how and why it works. She deconstructs all of the furnishing and decor to explain why she chose each piece and how it completes the look. She also has fun sections like “1 Sofa 4 Ways”. I really like her style, even though it isn’t the same as mine.
What are your favorite decorating books? I’m always looking for new books that are more than just pretty pictures.