The most recommended home decoration books

Who picked these books? Meet our 14 experts.

14 authors created a book list connected to home decoration, and here are their favorite home decoration books.
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Book cover of Dictator Style: Lifestyles of the World's Most Colorful Despots

Daniel Kalder Author Of The Infernal Library

From my list on dictators.

Who am I?

I lived in the former Soviet Union for ten years, primarily in Moscow, the home of many a brutal tyrant. My obsession with dictator literature began after I discovered that Saddam Hussein had written a romance novel, following which I spent many years reading the literary output of all of the 20th century’s most terrible tyrants, from Mussolini to Stalin to the Ayatollah Khomeini. This monumental act of self-torture resulted in my critically acclaimed book The Infernal Library: On Dictators, the Books They Wrote, And Other Catastrophes of Literacy

Daniel's book list on dictators

Daniel Kalder Why did Daniel love this book?

Most books about dictators are written by scholars and academics, but Peter York has a different background — he is a style guru and cultural commentator who writes about trends for magazines and newspapers in the UK. His approach, therefore, is very different from the other books on this list and in Dictator Style he casts a witty, acerbic eye over the interior design choices of some of the world’s most evil men. Multiple photographs are provided to document their crimes against taste, and York skewers everything from the leopard skin rug of Romania’s Nicolae Ceacescu to the soft porn sci-fi fantasy paintings collected by Saddam Hussein. Whereas most authors focus on the depths of evil contained in each dictator’s soul, Yorke shines a spotlight on their shallows, revealing in the process that they are also frequently banal and vulgar in their tastes, and easily seduced by shiny baubles.

By Peter York,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dictator Style as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to the fabulous lifestyles of the cruel and despotic. Running with the idea that our homes are where we are truly ourselves, Peter York's wildly original and scathingly funny look at the interior decorating tastes of some of history's most alarming dictators proves that absolute power corrupts absolutely, right down to the drapes. Mining rare, jaw-dropping photographs of interiors now mostly (thankfully) destroyed, York's hilarious profiles of 16 inner sanctums of the scary leaves no endangered tiger pelt unturned, from Saddam Hussein's creepy private art collection to General Noriega's Christmas tree to the strange tube and knob contraption in…


Book cover of Life Unstyled: How to embrace imperfection and create a home you love

Joanna Thornhill Author Of My Bedroom Is an Office: & Other Interior Design Dilemmas

From my list on how our interiors can support our wellbeing.

Who am I?

I’m a lifelong interiors obsessive, which I’ve managed to turn into a multi-stranded career: I style commercial photoshoots and set up events for brands, write about interiors trends for magazines and a trend forecasting agency, have authored several interiors books of my own, and recently I’ve begun teaching my own blend of authentic yet actionable interior design tips to others, through courses, workshops, and creative consultancy. I am always interested in the why behind what makes us feel a certain way when it comes to design, and believe that creating a home that reflects and supports our emotional needs will ultimately support us in all aspects of life.

Joanna's book list on how our interiors can support our wellbeing

Joanna Thornhill Why did Joanna love this book?

I’m a big fan of Emily’s personal take on interior design: she’s been a long-time champion of decorating in a way that rails somewhat against the identikit perfectly curated homes we often see in magazines and on social media, and instead encourages her readers to find the beauty in the imperfect, unpolished, and sometimes rough-and-ready places that might not grace the cover of a glossy design tome, yet show a creative, relatable, and inherently charming style. Named after her blog, this book aims to encourage others to be brave enough to create a space that you truly love and that feels personal to you, regardless of what the proverbial Jones’s-next-door might say.

By Emily Henson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life Unstyled as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We are bombarded by perfect interiors, images that aren't attainable because they have been styled to the point where they bear no resemblance to reality. These interiors may be stunning, but they aren't an honest reflection of how we really live.

Life Unstyled is about taking inspiration from real homes that are beautiful, creative and inspiring but at the same time a little rough around the edges, with signs of everyday life evident throughout. The first section, 'Homes Unstyled', sets out Emily's manifesto for creating a stylish home that is beautiful but lived in. A Home is Never Done advocates…


Book cover of A Modern Way to Live: 5 Design Principles from The Modern House

Michelle Ogundehin Author Of Happy Inside: How to harness the power of home for health and happiness

From my list on homes for health, happiness, and healing.

Who am I?

Since I was old enough to move my bedroom furniture around I was profoundly aware that my environment was as important to my wellbeing as food, sleep and exercise. It was the invisible hand that shaped my behaviour. I went on to study architecture and my first proper job was as Editor in Chief of ELLE Decoration magazine. As such I’ve seen inside thousands of homes and my passion is based on proof. I know this stuff makes a difference because I’ve healed myself through my home. And today, what I knew intuitively is now backed by science. Better homes mean better health. 

Michelle's book list on homes for health, happiness, and healing

Michelle Ogundehin Why did Michelle love this book?

Matt is the driving force behind the cult website, The Modern House, an online estate agency that does so much more than just sell houses. It’s a portal into homes to obsess over and a window into a world of domestic possibility, and his book condenses all the knowledge he’s gained through twenty years of property scouting into five guiding principles behind happiness at home. In other words, why some homes absolutely resonate with the joys and some just suck. 

By Matt Gibberd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Modern Way to Live as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Find happiness at home with five guiding principles from cultural phenomenon THE MODERN HOUSE.

'A source of fascination, inspiration and fantasy' Guardian

In 2005, childhood friends Matt Gibberd and Albert Hill set out to convince people of the power of good design and its ability to influence our wellbeing. They founded The Modern House - in equal parts an estate agency, a publisher and a lifestyle brand - and went on to inspire a generation to live more thoughtfully and beautifully at home.

As The Modern House grew, Matt and Albert came to realise that the most successful homes they…


Book cover of The Interior Design Handbook

Laura Calder Author Of The Inviting Life: An Inspirational Guide to Homemaking, Hosting and Opening the Door to Happiness

From my list on making and running a welcoming home.

Who am I?

Laura Calder is a recognized advocate for living well at home. She is the author of four cookbooks and received a James Beard Award for her long-running television series, French Food at Home.

Laura's book list on making and running a welcoming home

Laura Calder Why did Laura love this book?

Finally, a book for regular people that spells out the golden rules of design in a way that’s easy to understand and to apply to the homes we live in, whatever they may be. Ramstedt guides us through everything from lights to flower vases to the arrangement of furniture to choosing white paint. A book to help us see the places where we live with fresh eyes and tackle the kind of tweaks that will make us feel more at home in them than ever.

By Frida Ramstedt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Interior Design Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BESTSELLING SWEDISH PHENOMENON

What looks good and why?

Design consultant Frida Ramstedt runs Scandinavia's leading interior design blog. In this book she distils the secrets of successful interior design and styling to help you create a home that works best for your space, taste and lifestyle. Filled with practical tips, rules-of-thumb and tricks of the trade, The Interior Design Handbook will help you to think like a professional designer.

'Frida has created this BIBLE to interior design ... such useful info that has taken me years to learn, all in one place' Rebecca Wakefield, Studio Fortnum

'Beautifully illustrated with…


Book cover of The Iconic Interior: 1900 to the Present

Stephanie Travis Author Of Sketching for Architecture + Interior Design: A Practical Guide on Sketching for Architecture and Interior Design Students

From my list on introducing architecture and interior design to everyone.

Who am I?

I am a design-obsessed George Washington University (Washington, DC) professor, author, architect, interior designer, sketcher, modernist, city lover, traveler, and University of Michigan alumni who writes about topics on architecture and interior design for people of all ages and backgrounds. Everyone lives in the built environment, but not everyone understands it. For example, sketching is one of the best ways to understand a piece of furniture, interior, or building. You will never see the object the same way after you draw it! All of the books on this list are approachable, interesting, fun, and most importantly inspiring. Enjoy!

Stephanie's book list on introducing architecture and interior design to everyone

Stephanie Travis Why did Stephanie love this book?

This stunning book features 100 inspiring interiors across the globe, and is a great resource to get to know some of the world’s best designers. There is just enough text to provide an understanding of the history, concepts, and ideas behind each project, while the core focus is on the photography of rooms and details. Quite simply, you may want to study interior design after reading this book cover to cover.

By Dominic Bradbury, Richard Powers (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Iconic Interior as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This compact volume features over 100 of the most spectacular interiors from across the world, spanning the entire 20th century to the present day. It includes interiors assembled by artists and fashion designers, architects, interior and set-designers, bringing together diverse design talents from Piero Fornasetti to Alvar Aalto, Marc Newson and Matthew Williamson. Twenty short profiles are presented in the introduction, with a single iconic photograph and a concise, informative text; the interiors are arranged by chronological order, with superb colour photography and texts recounting the stories of these remarkable designs. Representing every style from minimalism and Art Nouveau to…


Book cover of Country Living Tiny Homes: Living Big in Small Spaces

Laura Fenton Author Of The Little Book of Living Small

From my list on small space design.

Who am I?

I know small spaces from first-hand experience. As a writer based in New York City, I have lived in a series of impossibly small spaces, including a 6’ x 8’ bedroom in an apartment with no living room and a teeny-tiny studio that was made livable by installing a Murphy bed. Today I live in less than 700 square feet with my husband and son. When I set out to write my own book, I wanted to inspire readers to make the most of their own small homes and discover the freedom that living small provides. I have an extensive personal library of books about small space design, but these five are my all-time favorites.

Laura's book list on small space design

Laura Fenton Why did Laura love this book?

Do not be deterred by the words “country” and “tiny” in this book’s title! This is a fantastic collection of small-ish homes that ran in the American edition of Country Living magazine. There are only a couple of actual tiny homes—most are more in the range of 1,000 or so feet. Likewise, very few of the homes are deeply “country” in style; instead, the overall look of the interiors is a fresh take on farmhouse style – with urban apartments and minimalist homes in the mix. The photography is beautiful, and there are so many homes included that this is a great value for its cover price.

By Country Living,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Country Living Tiny Homes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bigger isn't always better: Country Living offers a look inside more than 25 tiny homes that maximize function and style.

Downsizing has become a big trend--and many people are choosing to live small and smart in compact houses that don't require huge mortgages or upkeep. Country Living showcases a coast-to-coast collection of sustainable dwellings, all ranging from 100 to 1,500 square feet. Take an inside tour of these impressive little abodes, like a converted 1840s schoolhouse in New York, a 22- x 24-foot kit barn in California wine country, a 1914 New Hampshire coastal row home, and a renovated 1950s…


Book cover of The Sensory Home: An Inspiring Guide to Mindful Decorating

Joanna Thornhill Author Of My Bedroom Is an Office: & Other Interior Design Dilemmas

From my list on how our interiors can support our wellbeing.

Who am I?

I’m a lifelong interiors obsessive, which I’ve managed to turn into a multi-stranded career: I style commercial photoshoots and set up events for brands, write about interiors trends for magazines and a trend forecasting agency, have authored several interiors books of my own, and recently I’ve begun teaching my own blend of authentic yet actionable interior design tips to others, through courses, workshops, and creative consultancy. I am always interested in the why behind what makes us feel a certain way when it comes to design, and believe that creating a home that reflects and supports our emotional needs will ultimately support us in all aspects of life.

Joanna's book list on how our interiors can support our wellbeing

Joanna Thornhill Why did Joanna love this book?

Pippa has artfully woven her visual expertise as a stylist and art director, with her research and understanding of the role that designing for the senses plays within our overall wellbeing. Inspired in part by the needs of her autistic daughter (and in turn, others on the neurodivergent spectrum who may have sensory differences and sensitivities), there are lots of brilliant ideas in this book for everyone wanting to learn about the role of colour, texture, and material when it comes to helping soothe our often-frazzled nervous systems.

By Pippa Jameson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sensory Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Embrace mindful decorating and create a comfortable home that is kind to your senses and improves your wellbeing.

The Sensory Home will help you to understand whether your home is working for or against you. Layout, colour, texture, scent, lighting and more can be used to create a calming or stimulating environment according to your family's unique needs, including for neurodiverse individuals. This book offers hints and tips as well as long-term solutions to bring your vision of a warm, inviting and harmonious home to life. Chapters covering each room of the house include sensory checklists to help you identify…


Book cover of Geography of Home: Writings on Where We Live

Alan Hughes Author Of Interior Design Drawing

From my list on exploring interior design and our understanding.

Who am I?

As a child my heroes were designers and I thought designers could design across many disciplines, this was what I understood and aspired to. I'm fortunate to have been a designer, illustrator, and design teacher for many years. Passionate about the process I firmly believe if you can design in one area you can design in another. Understanding your material's potential is the key. As a tutor and author my job is to unwrap a student’s talent, support and encourage that unique view through skills building and advice to help them. I believe good design can solve many of the world’s problems and passing on that message is valuable.

Alan's book list on exploring interior design and our understanding

Alan Hughes Why did Alan love this book?

Recommended to me by one of my students this is a witty exploration of the places in our homes, what we call them, kitchen, bedroom, dining room and how they often don’t live up to or exceed their names. A view of the rituals and complexities of the American home and what it houses as it explores memory, aspirations, and the real meaning of home. This book is a trigger to encourage the reader to look at their own spaces and the pattern of how they use those spaces through habit, muscular memory, and cultural norms, all playing a part in how we define our living spaces.

By Akiko Busch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Geography of Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The house is home to many things. Far more than four walls and a roof, it contains our private and public lives, our families, our memories and aspirations, and it reflects our attitudes toward society, culture, the environment, and our neighbours. In a literary tour of the spaces of our homes, this book reflects on how we define such elusive qualities as privacy, security, and comfort. It uncovers the hidden meanings of seemingly simple domestic spaces, in chapters ranging from "The Front Door" to "The Garage" and many others. These writings about the home touch on our culture's fundamental issues:…


Book cover of Colin Cowie Chic: The Guide to Life as It Should Be

Dawna Pitts Author Of Entertaining Is My Love Language

From my list on for inspiration when entertaining at home.

Who am I?

My name is Dawna Pitts. I am passionate about entertaining and always have been. I realized I actually have much to share from my experiences of entertaining for many years and living on different continents which made me write my book Entertaining is My Love Language. I wanted to inspire people to have more get-togethers in our homes build sweet, delicious memories, and understand home entertaining doesn’t always have to be proper and perfect and no need to be intimidated by foreign exotic food ingredients.

Dawna's book list on for inspiration when entertaining at home

Dawna Pitts Why did Dawna love this book?

I have been a fan of Colin Cowie for years and this book totally lived up to my expectations.

He wrote how he did things and why in the most chic way possible. I have adapted several things into my life from this book. For example, I organize my dried spice rack alphabetically and have host/hostess gifts ready at all times so I am always ready for any invitation. I felt my life was more organized when I finished this book!

By Colin Cowie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Colin Cowie Chic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A handbook for living well in the twenty-first century

From legendary lifestyle expert Colin Cowie comes the last word in living a gracious, sensuous life on any budget. Colin draws back the curtain on his own chic, passionate, 120-miles-per-hour life, revealing how to create and entertain in an inviting home, garner respect in the workplace, and travel with ease and comfort. No matter how or where you live, or whatever your personal style may be, Colin Cowie Chic will place you on the fast track to experiencing life to the fullest.

This immensely practical handbook offers step-by-step instructions on everything…


Book cover of Made for Living

Matan Korin

From my list on planning a remodel of your house.

Who am I?

Matan has over a decade of experience at Ecoline and has helped 3500+ clients to renovate their houses. He has earned the title of the best window & door expert of the year for four consecutive years, from 2013 to 2016, helping countless homeowners to create their dream houses. Matan has built a team of 50+ professionals across Canada for Ecoline. His leadership and mentorship have enabled his team to achieve remarkable success, consulting homeowners and helping them choose and install the best products. He looks forward to helping you!

Matan's book list on planning a remodel of your house

Matan Korin Why did Matan love this book?

Visualizing the end result of your remodel is crucial. And Made for Living is one of our favorite books for imagining what your house could be. 

No matter which room you are remodeling, this book has you covered. It is gorgeous, with 250 photographs showing styles and ideas. The author is an award-winning designer focusing on mixing style and practicality. She walks you through selecting materials, colors, and furnishings that fit your lifestyle. 

By Amber Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Made for Living as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The trendsetting designer known for her effortless style shares the secrets of the art of layering, with more than 250 gorgeous photographs of her signature interiors. 

“Livability is my true north. The materials I use time and again all change with age and wear. Not only is that okay, it’s how you achieve more than a re-creation of what you’ve already seen, or what somebody else has done. You can do this, too—I promise.”—from the introduction

Designing a room with all the vibes comes down to how you layer your décor. The more you can mix the…