Interior Design Books for Teaching and Inspiration | kellysplace.co
Interior-Design-Books-for-Teaching-and-Inspiration on Kelly's Place. design ideas, designing your home, gift ideas

Interior Design Books for Teaching and Inspiration

Oct 18, 2021

When you start to day dream about your perfect home, you will likely find yourself searching for inspiration. Maybe that search leads you to Pinterest or Instagram. Maybe movies or a drive around a neighborhood. But for me, I’ve had the best luck with interior design books. Both old and new. Though movies and Instagram trail close behind. And those drives can be pretty dang fun.

Today’s post is all about my three favorite interior design books— as of now anyway. Lord knows I’ve read many a design book over the last year and a half. And I don’t see that stopping any time soon. Some books were a quick flip through. Others I devoured and didn’t want to bring back to the library.

These three books are no exception to the latter. They do more than show you pretty pictures with long text that you likely will not read. They teach you and guide you through the process. If you are open to it, these interior design books can help give you confidence to start imaging your rooms and spaces in a way that speaks to who you are. They can show you that it really is a fun process; not something to push to the side saying, “Yeah, but I’m not creative like that.”

You might find that all three books speak to you. You might find that none of them do. But regardless, my hope is that these books lead you to resources that will help make your home a perfect reflection of you. One that makes you excited for what will be.

And when you make it to the end of this post, you’ll find a bonus tip on where to gain timeless design inspiration.

[Check out the house projects my husband and I tackled last]

1. The Interior Design Handbook: Furnish, Decorate, and Style Your Space by Frida Ramstedt

As the saying goes, learn the rules so you can break the rules.
This is a nuts-and-bolts book that will help you do just that. Freda walks you through everything: Theory, lighting, color, rules of thumb, all of it. This is one you will likely want for a reference. But as a word of caution, while knowledge is power, it can also be paralyzing. So if you can relate to that sentiment like I can, take this one in pieces.

Interior-Design-Books-for-Teaching-and-Inspiration on Kelly's Place. The Interior Design Handbook by Frida Ramstedt. design ideas, designing your home, gift ideas
The Interior Design Handbook (2020)

Where to Buy: Amazon; Barnes and Noble

2. Down to Earth: Laid-back Interiors for Modern Living by Lauren Liess

This book, man. I felt like Lauren was speaking directly to me in the opening chapters. Her philosophy on design and how to make a home your own is so easy going. I had a deep appreciation for how she explained her process. She is a breath of calm air. And I’m itching to get my hands on her new book, Feels Like Home.

Interior-Design-Books-for-Teaching-and-Inspiration on Kelly's Place. Down to Earth and Habitat by Lauren Liess. design ideas, designing your home, gift ideas
Down to Earth (2019)

Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

3. Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone

This book reads like a pretty collection of Instagram posts— each page gives you not only rooms to study, but also a snippet of something to consider design wise. Plus you hear not only from Athena, but from a handful of other creatives too, broadening the book’s perspective. 

Interior-Design-Books-for-Teaching-and-Inspiration on Kelly's Place. Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone. design ideas, designing your home, gift ideas
Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone (2021)
Interior-Design-Books-for-Teaching-and-Inspiration on Kelly's Place. Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone example page. design ideas, designing your home, gift ideas
Example page from Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone

Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Interior Design Books Bonus

Head to the interior design aisle at your local library and look through the older books– to find the aisle you can either ask the libraian, look for the call number in the computer catalog or aimlessly walk around the Non-Fiction section like I do. One way might be more efficient. One way might be more fun.

Once you are there, scope out the older books; usually the year is printed on the spine sticker, like in the photo below.

Interior-Design-Books-for-Teaching-and-Inspiration on Kelly's Place. Stack of library books at library. design ideas, designing your home, gift ideas
aisle of interior design books at library

Grab a few books that catch your eye and enjoy the road down memory lane.

Interior-Design-Books-for-Teaching-and-Inspiration on Kelly's Place. Better Homes and Garends New Decorating Book. design ideas, designing your home, gift ideas
Decorating the American Home, Better Homes and Gardens (2001)

Study the photos for what still works today: the cabinets, area rug, lamps, side table, etc. And notice what speaks to you that isn’t currently trending. If baggy jeans can have a comeback, so can that soaf. Maybe even relive some childhood memories.

Interior-Design-Books-for-Teaching-and-Inspiration on Kelly's Place. design ideas, designing your home, gift ideas. Decorating the American Home, Better Homes and Gardens
Decorating the American Home, Better Homes and Gardens (2006)

Same is true when you are at a thrift store. There are a gems to be found there, too!

TL;DR

If you find yourself in need of interior design or decoration inspiration, here are three books to consider: The Interior Design Handbook, Down to Earth and Live Beautiful. And while you are at it, try flipping through those older books at the library and thrift stores, too. You might be surprised what secrets are hiding in them!

And if you have any favorites, please share them below!

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