Best Interior Design Books: 2023’s Inspirational Guides

Interior design books serve as both guides and sources of inspiration for professionals, enthusiasts, and anyone looking to enhance the aesthetics and functionality of their living or workspaces. These books often showcase a variety of styles, from contemporary to classic, offering a plethora of visual examples and practical advice on achieving a desired look or atmosphere. They can cover a broad range of topics including color theory, furniture arrangement, and the latest trends in décor. Not only do they provide creative ideas, but they also delve into the technical aspects of design, such as spatial planning and materials selection.

An essential aspect of selecting the best interior design books is considering the author’s expertise and the book’s focus. Books written by renowned designers or those with a strong reputation in the field can offer valuable insights based on years of experience. The specific product type, be it a comprehensive manual for beginners or a specialized volume on a particular style or technique, should align with the reader’s interests and needs.

When making a purchase, the content’s depth and applicability, the quality and quantity of photographs or illustrations, and the book’s physical format are crucial considerations. A well-organized book that balances inspirational imagery with instructional content can serve as a fundamental resource for practical application. One should also note whether the book is up to date with current design practices and includes examples that resonate with contemporary aesthetics.

Having invested time to explore a range of interior design books, we critically assessed them for their content quality, practical value, and visual appeal. Our selection aims to benefit readers whether they’re embarking on a personal project or seeking to deepen their understanding of interior design.

Top Interior Design Books

In our quest to elevate living spaces, we’ve curated a selection of interior design books that we believe are fundamental for inspiration and guidance. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a budding enthusiast, our collection covers a spectrum of styles and approaches. Each book offers valuable insights into the principles of design, color theory, and space planning, ensuring that readers can create cohesive and aesthetically pleasing environments in their own homes.

1. The Interior Design Handbook

The Interior Design Handbook

Understanding the essentials of furnishing and decorating your space has never been simpler, courtesy of this guide.


  • Offers fundamental design principles
  • Approachable for beginners
  • Aesthetically pleasing layout


  • Some content may be too basic for professionals
  • Black and white photos where color could enhance understanding
  • Focuses more on principles than specific styles

Our experience with “The Interior Design Handbook” has left us with several key insights about the art of making a house a home. The structured guidance provided serves as a solid foundation for anyone looking to enhance their living space.

Diving into the chapters, one appreciates the ease with which complex concepts are broken down. As we navigated the content, it became apparent that practical tips sprinkled throughout are easily applied, making an immediate impact on your interior design approach.

We noticed while the text leans toward introductory themes, the thorough exploration of design elements helped us understand why certain aesthetic choices work. For those of us just starting our journey into interior design, the book serves as an insightful compendium.

However, flipping through the pages, we found ourselves wishing for color illustrations where there were only black and white ones. Despite this, the book’s visual appeal didn’t falter, maintaining an inviting feel throughout.

Here’s a brief look at what we gleaned:

Master the basics of interior design
Enhance spaces with straightforward, actionable advice
Learn to identify and apply design elements effectively

With a confident grasp on the essentials, this book equips you to tastefully decorate and style your space. Whether you’re a seasoned designer or a beginner, our journey through these pages will refine your aesthetic sensibilities.


2. Made for Living

Made for Living

We believe this book is a must-have for anyone passionate about interior design, offering a rich blend of inspiration and practical advice for creating a timeless space.


  • Bursting with inspiration for different style preferences
  • High-quality images that provide clear visual examples
  • Engaging writing from a well-regarded designer


  • Slightly larger and heavier, challenging for on-the-go reading
  • May contain some design ideas that are not budget-friendly
  • Shipping issues can lead to damaged corners

Amber Lewis’s “Made for Living” has been a delightful discovery in our search for interior design inspiration. Its pages are filled with awe-inspiring photographs that capture the essence of various styles, making it a treat for the eyes and a great addition to any coffee table.

Recently, flipping through Lewis’s work felt like touring a gallery of thoughtfully designed spaces. Each chapter provided fresh ideas that could be adapted to our homes, proving its title true; this book is indeed made for all sorts of living arrangements.

We noted the helpful tips scattered throughout the book, invaluable for someone looking to refurbish a room or start from scratch. It’s the perfect blend of visual storytelling and actionable advice that we believe many will appreciate, whether seasoned designers or novices in home decoration.

Comparison“Made for Living”
Visual appealHigh-quality, vivid imagery
Practical adviceUseful tips for varied styles
ReadabilityClear language, well-edited content
VersatilityServes as decor and reference

In conclusion, “Made for Living” strikes a balance between being a practical design tool and an artistic tome full of inspiration. Despite its few drawbacks, such as its bulkiness and occasional shipping woes, we’ve found it to be an enriching addition to our design library.


3. NYSID Interior Design Guide

NYSID Interior Design Guide

We highly recommend this book for anyone serious about grasping the fundamentals of interior design.


  • Comprehensive educational content
  • High-quality binding and presentation
  • In-depth technical insights


  • Substantial weight may be cumbersome for some
  • Occasionally may arrive with shipping wear
  • Best suited for those seeking professional-level knowledge

Upon opening the “New York School of Interior Design: Home: The Foundations of Enduring Spaces,” we’re immediately struck by the quality of the hardcover and its tactile presentation. The durability of the binding promises longevity, ensuring it can withstand frequent use as both a reference and a learning tool.

The combination of visually appealing photographs and detailed diagrams are invaluable. The clarity and wealth of information make it more than just a coffee table book; it’s a staple on our shelf for practical application in various projects. Its depth equips us with a firm understanding of interior design principles.

Reading through the pages, we appreciate the logical organization and the practical knowledge laid out. Whether it’s a quick reference or a deep study session, this book has proven to be an asset in our design endeavors. We’ve noticed a marked improvement in our technical understanding, from space planning to material selection—knowledge that’s crucial for us in executing projects with precision.

However, it’s worth noting that its comprehensive nature results in a hefty volume, which could be challenging to handle for extended periods, especially for those who prefer a lighter, more portable book. Also keep in mind that while the book’s quality is generally stellar, shipping conditions can vary, and some copies may arrive showing signs of wear. Primarily, it’s tailored towards individuals with a serious interest in the field, possibly overwhelming for casual readers.

For us, this book has more than proven its value, and we’re confident it will enhance the library of any interior design professional or student.


4. A Century of Style

Architectural Digest at 100: A Century of Style

We believe “Architectural Digest at 100: A Century of Style” is a must-have for anyone passionate about interior design and architecture, enriched by a compilation of stunning visuals and design evolution over a century.


  • Visually striking with high-quality images that encapsulate a century of design
  • Substantial in size and weight, making it an impressive coffee table book
  • Offers a diverse array of styles and eras providing ample inspiration


  • The large format may be too cumbersome for some
  • The luxurious make may not align with tighter budget constraints
  • Lacks direct design advice for practical application

Over time, design books have claimed their rightful space on our shelves, and “A Century of Style” is no slacker in this department. From the moment we unbox it, the book’s tactile linen cover leaves a lasting impression. Flipping through pages became a visual journey, showcasing a panorama of design aesthetics from ornate to minimalist. It’s not merely a book; it’s an experience, narrating an instructive design history class.

It’s true that its heft and grandeur evoke a sense of luxury, which is palpable when it sits iconically atop a coffee table. We’ve noticed guests can’t help but be drawn to its presence, a testament to its allure. What’s engaging is not just the external craftsmanship but the internal exposition of lavish interiors across varied locales and times.

What we have here isn’t a conventional guide; it’s an indulgence in graphic splendor and editorial curation. While some may yearn for practical design tips, we view this as a thought-provoking source to stoke creativity. Savoring the pages, we get an intimate view into a century of remarkable living spaces. This collection excels at what it is—a treasury of visual inspiration and a celebration of architectural milestones.


5. Style: Beautiful Home

Style: The Art of Creating a Beautiful Home

After spending time with “Style: The Art of Creating a Beautiful Home,” we believe it can significantly benefit those looking to infuse their spaces with aesthetic and practical wisdom.


  • Engaging text packed with professional insights
  • High-quality, inspiring photography
  • Aesthetic appeal as a coffee table book


  • Print may be too small for some readers
  • Some may find it text-heavy
  • Light text on a light background can be challenging to read

“Style: The Art of Creating a Beautiful Home” aligns well with its title, offering a trove of stylistic advice and professional knowledge that seems to be directly distilled from the designer’s mind and into our hands. As we pored over its pages, the author’s words guided us through foundational principles of interior design, making it feel like we were both learning and engaging in an intimate dialogue with a seasoned expert.

The delicate dance between text and imagery in this book is executed with a thoughtful balance. Photographs leap off the page, evoking a tangible sense of place and atmosphere, allowing us to envision how these spaces could feel in our own homes. Despite being high in volume, the book manages to not overwhelm but rather provide a deep dive into various design facets, which we found invaluable for sparking creativity.

As a visual testament to its own teachings, the book sits proudly on a surface, serving as functional decor. Its presence in our space served not only as a source of inspiration but also as a conversation starter—a testament to Natalia Walton’s understanding of the interplay between form and function.

In a tabulated summary,

Text QualityRich with insights, but font size and style selections pose a readability challenge.
PhotographyProvides ample visual stimulation and perfectly complements the guide’s narrative.
Physical QualityDespite one instance of a torn binder, the book generally boasts a high-quality finish.

To wrap up, “Style: The Art of Creating a Beautiful Home” is a captivating read replete with the kind of practical and theoretical wisdom we’ve found to be exceedingly practical in our attempts to elevate home aesthetics. The minor inconveniences associated with font size and style detract little from the book’s overall value as both a learning tool and a decorative element.


Buying Guide

Criteria to Consider

When selecting the best interior design books, we must consider several important features to match our specific needs and interests.

Content Quality: Look for books with high-quality, relevant content. Detailed photographs, comprehensive explanations, and step-by-step projects are crucial for your learning curve.

Author Expertise: Check the author’s background. Authors with solid experience in interior design tend to provide more reliable and actionable insights.

Making Comparisons

We can make our decision easier by comparing certain aspects of interior design books side-by-side.

FeatureImportanceDetails to Look For
Visual InspirationHighAbundant and high-resolution images
Educational ValueVariableIn-depth text, case studies, and tutorials
Practical ApplicationMedium to HighDIY tips, styling suggestions, and resources
Design DiversityMediumVariety in design styles and periods covered

Practical Features

Book Format: Decide between hardcover and paperback. Hardcover can be more durable and may lie flat when open, which is convenient for reference.

Size and Portability: Larger books may be more difficult to carry but can contain more visuals. Smaller books are portable and handy for quick reads.

Reading Reviews

We cannot underestimate the importance of reading reviews. Look for patterns in feedback that indicate the book’s strengths and weaknesses.

Summaries and Highlights:

We should summarize and highlight content that aligns with our specific learning goals. A book with clear chapter summaries can provide quick reference points for future use.

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