12 Design Books Sure to Spark Inspiration

Bursting at the seams with projects, ideas and inspiration, we've rounded up our top 12 design book favorites.

Photo by: Erica Reitman

Erica Reitman

For Bloggers

Some of our favorite design and lifestyle bloggers have been busy creating books inspired by their super popular sites. After making daily online stops to each of their blogs for years, I was super excited to check out these best-selling, blogger-produced titles.

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If you love unique, eclectic, boho style, you will absolutely go gaga over this book from Justina Blakeney who runs the blog The Jungalow. She features homes of creatives all across the country and breaks their boho styles down into different categories such as “modern boho” or “nomadic boho.”

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Blogger Anne Sage took a unique approach to her design book, featuring homeowners who decorated with their life dreams, wants and desires in mind. There are tons of beautiful photos, as well as some great advice about how to incorporate goal-oriented decorating in your own home.

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Erin Gates, who is behind the blog Elements of Style, recently released her debut book by the same name. Filled with gorgeous photos and illustrations, Erin shares all of her best tips and tricks she’s learned over the years as a designer, including her most important discovery: none of our homes (or lives!) are perfect. 

For Tastemakers

If you’re looking for some advice from some of the most stylish, forward-thinking designers and creators, look no further than the tastemakers. Each of these trendsetters are at the forefront of their industries and share a wealth of knowledge about good design, timeless style and getting clear about living the life that you want.

"The Things That Matter" by Nate Berkus

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Interior design superstar Nate Berkus has come a long was since his days as the resident designer on The Oprah Winfrey Show. In this book he shares personal stories and memories about his favorite objects and experiences to help us all understand that our homes truly do tell the stories of our lives.

"Love, Style, Life" by Garance Doré

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Combining her beautiful photography and illustrations, this book from fashion and style wonder woman Garance Doré, is a narrative exploration of her life and travels. Part memoir and part style guide, she uses storytelling both visually and with the written word to give you a true inside look into her life.

"The Perfectly Imperfect Home" by Deborah Needleman

1201044-Perfectly Imperfect Home UK jkt amended spine.indd

1201044-Perfectly Imperfect Home UK jkt amended spine.indd

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As the founding editor of Domino (the first one, not the current reboot), Deborah Needleman is an original purveyor of chic and cool home design. All the essentials of easy, achievable home design are here, including ideas for simply mining all of the things that you already own and using them to bring relaxed style to your space.

For Go-Getters

If you’re ready to roll-up your sleeves and get busy making some changes around your space, these project-based titles are going to have your wheels spinning from page one. Chock full of both visual inspiration and step-by-step DIYs, you’ll have your work cut out for you when it comes to choosing which project to tackle first.

"Remodelista" by Julie Carlson

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While the word “remodel” is in the title of this book from the creator of the popular site with the same name, there are tons of ideas to incorporate into your home without ever pulling out a hammer or paintbrush. Featuring modern, minimalist spaces as well as vintage and unique custom-made finds, this book is for anyone who loves open, white, clean spaces and simplicity.

"Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, From Tabletops to Bookshleves" by Emily Henderson

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Offering specific and detailed advice on how to style your space, blogger and former TV host Emily Henderson packs in 1,000 design ideas in her first book. She shares tips on editing your decor, vignettes and, of course, how to create the ultimate shelfie.  

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As the East Coast editor for Better Homes & Gardens magazine, Eddie Ross considers himself a bit of an estate and tag sale ninja. With tips and advice on entertaining and collecting, he shares his best secrets for creating the ultimate table, hosting friends and family and creating a home that you’re truly proud of.  

For Inspo Finders

If you’re after some good, old-fashioned eye candy, then these are the books that will leave you wide-eyed and full of ideas. There’s no shortage of gorgeous photography, rich colors and page after page of design and style inspiration.

"The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living" by Nathan Williams

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From the creators of Kinfolk magazine, this book takes you on a tour of 35 different unique spaces around the world. Showcasing each space with beautiful photography, each of the homes have been put together purposefully, slowly and with great intention, ie. “slow living.”

"Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People" by Hamish Bowles

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Featuring the homes of some of your favorite music, fashion, art and celebrity personalies, this book gives you an inside look at some of the most beautiful and unique homes across the world. You can see Donna Karan’s NYC apartment, Madonna’s vacation retreat and Karl Lagerfeld’s house among many others. This one is luxe inspiration overload.  

"Habitat: Field Guide to Decorating" by Lauren Liess

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For those that love the outdoors and using natural elements in their decorating schemes, you will love this title from Pure Style Home blogger Lauren Liess. Get inspired and learn how to incorporate things like wood, stone and plants, as well as unique textiles and vintage items. (Liess is a textile designer, as well.)

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Go for the Gold

Buh-bye brushed nickel and patinated bronze, glittering gold is taking center stage. From lighting fixtures to gilded furniture, this hot hue has taken the design world by storm. Even a few small touches — like swapping out kitchen cabinet hardware or working in a few gleaming accessories will give your home an on-trend update.  

Try a Cruelty-Free Take on Taxidermy

Mounted trophies are an easy way to lend a woodsy, lodge-style look to any space but if, you're like me, the idea of mounting the severed head of a once-living soul to the wall is a definite no. Instead, give a playful nod to the trend with a mounted silhouette cut from antiqued lumber. 

Color Your World

Goodbye greige, designers have fallen back in love with color. But, like anything, too much of a good thing can be, well, too much. To create a pleasing palette, take a cue from designer Tobi Fairley and limit your main colors to three choices. 

Put Weathered Wood to Work

Reclaimed wood walls are hot, hot, hot! But, they can also be oh-so-cool as designer Brooke Wagner proves in this small bedroom where silvery gray boards installed in a timeless herringbone pattern create a dreamy backdrop. 

Brush Up Your Bookshelf

FYI: #shelfies are a thing. That's right, people everywhere are styling their bookshelf, then proudly posting photos for the world to see. The key to a well-styled bookshelf is to start with an interesting backdrop, like wallpaper or a kicky paint color, then layer on more color and pattern with assorted books or magazines and mix in a few of your favorite tchotchkes. To take your bookshelf to the next level on the cheap, turn prefab cabinets into a custom built-in

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Say It With Signage

Whether it’s a faux-tique you crafted yourself or a real deal antique, vintage-looking signs are a sure way to add a quirky bit of character to any space. Check local thrift stores, estate sales and auctions for legitimate trade signs or craft your own with our step-by-step instructions

Photo By: Sarah Dorio

Take Mason Jars to the Next Level

Hands down, Mason jars are one of the best storage options around. Turn them into a space-saving solution as well by attaching the lids to the underside of kitchen cabinets, filling the jars with dry goods, then screwing the jar onto the lid. Get more tips from our friends at HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Lincoln Barbour

Chalk It Up

Chalkboard paint's popularity has been on the rise for a while and shows no signs of declining soon. It's not surprising — coating a tabletop, terra cotta pot or even an interior wall with a few coats of chalkboard paint is an easy, budget-friendly way to turn the everyday into something extraordinary. Ready to try it out? Give your kitchen backsplash a bistro look with our step-by-step instructions

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images © 2013, HGTV/ Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Corral Clutter With a Tray

Trays are indeed handy-dandy things — equally useful for turning assorted coffee table tchotchkes into a vignette as they are for serving cocktails when guests arrive. Purchase or craft your own decorative tray and use it in the bathroom to stylishly store toilettries or in the kitchen to corral countertop clutter. 

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Try Some Tuft Love

Working in a piece of tufted upholstery is a surefire way to take any room's look from so-so to sophisticated. If you're planning to have furniture reupholstered, consider springing for tufting — it will definitely add onto the bottom line but the luxurious look is timeless. 

Pretty Up Your Powder Room

This tiniest room in most homes is also the one the majority of guests will see. Give this small space its due with a picture-perfect makeover — pair graphic wallpaper in a happy hue with gleaming metallics to create a jewel-box effect. 

Go Retro

Whether your taste in boomerang style leans more toward the glamour of old Hollywood or midcentury modern is your vintage of choice, the good news is that everything old is new again. Mix in touches of your favorite retro look or go all in and create a space that epitomizes the era. Get 20 tips for rocking a mid-mod look

Rely on Rope

Both nautical and rustic, rope's rough-and-ready texture and ease of use has it popping up all over the design world. Budget-friendly and readily available, transform any number of items in your home with this hardware-store staple. Our friends at HGTV Magazine share 5 easy DIYs to craft with rope.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Make Gray Your Go-To

Move over, tan — there's a new neutral in town. From barely-there tones, like driftwood, to saturated shades, like charcoal and slate, gray is the updated way to create a neutral backdrop. Use a combination of light and dark grays for a serene space or pair gray with kickier colors like sunshine yellow, hot pink or turquoise for a fresh look. Tour 15 beautiful bedrooms in shades of gray

Photo By: Rethink Design Studio

Freshen Up With Flowers

Nothing puts the finishing touch on a beautiful room like a vase of fresh-cut flowers. Grab a pair of scissors and head outdoors to snip blooms in season. In cooler months, rely on greenery or pick up fresh blooms at the grocery store. 

Give Pallets New Purpose

Wood pallets are one of those rare, readily available and free (seriously, what's not to like about free?!) castoffs that can be upcycled into so many useful items. From a wine rack to a mobile pet bed to outdoor furniture, the DIY design options are nearly endless. 

Get Creative With Paint

No runner, no problem. Designer Sarah Richardson put paint and assorted house numbers to work to turn her foyer's staircase into a fun focal point. Get 50 more ways to harness the transformative power of paint

Photo By: 2009-10-14T10:26:20.000-04:00

Make Kids' Rooms More Playful

Let's be honest: I know plenty of adults who'd like to have a bubble chair hanging in their room. That aside, the tip here is to design your child's room with play in mind — choose furntiture that makes everyday activities like reading a book or working on their laptop a bit more fun. Fill the space with colors that pop and provide plenty of hidden storage to leave floor space free for playtime.

Go for a Gallery Wall

A great way to put your memories on display, a gallery wall's asymmetrical installation makes it a DIY project anyone can tackle. Just gather up favorite framed pieces and any other flat, lightweight items that can be hung, like architectural remnants, shells, trays or other serveware. Decide the placement of the largest items first, then fill in with smaller pieces. Get more tips for a picture-perfect gallery wall

Show Your Stripes

From traditional ticking to bold bands of color, stripes are one of those patterns that work in any style of room — from preppy to ultra-mod. DIY the look with painter's tape and two similar paint shades or create a fun focal wall with wallpaper. 

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

"Nail" An Updated Furniture Look

An easy furniture update you can do yourself, nailhead trim is a timeless finishing touch that gives even mod fabrics a more traditional twist. Get our tips for nailing this trendy look. 

Photo By: kip dawkins

Rock a Collected-Over-Time Look

While trends in collectibles may vary, antiques are perennially in-fashion in interior design. So pick something you love — tea cups, stamps or, in the case of this home, handblown demijohns and wooden shoe forms — then dispay the pieces en masse as a collection. 

Wow With Wallpaper

Wallpaper may have taken a hiatus from the design scene for a decade or more but it's back big-time — brighter and bolder than before. If covering every wall in a room feels like overkill, take a cue from designer Sarah Richardson and cover only one wall to create a feature wall. Get our tips for installing wallpaper.  

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Put Even the Smallest Spaces to Work

Especially for urbanites and apartment dwellers, every square foot counts. Here, designer Brian Patrick Flynn mounted a floating shelf to a corkboard wall to turn this unused space into a functional home office. Get more of Brian's small-space tips

Pop In a Cheery Color

A bright pop of color is a surefire way to take any room's look from just functional to fun. If adding a hot pink sofa is too big of a step, start small and work in bold color with pillows or a throw. 

Style Your Sips

Even if happy hour isn't your thing, you've probably noticed that home bars and cocktail culture have become the toast of the design world. Really, it's no wonder — cocktails are delicious, plus bar necessities are just so stylish. Short on space? Partake in the trend by whipping up a fold-away pallet bar with our step-by-step instructions. Or, if you're thirsty, wet your whistle with one of our easy cocktail recipes

Give a Nod to Nautical

Always in style, this beachy-chic look sets most of us dreaming of seaside getaways. Make every day feel a bit like a vacation by bringing the coastal look home. Just pair watery hues with rough textures, like rope or wicker, and mix in a few nautical touches like anchors, paddles or shells. Get more tips for coastal-inspired design

Opt for a Moody Hue

Storm cloud gray celings, wall and trim lend a restful and decidedly masculine feel to this chic living room. In rooms designed for focus, like media rooms, home offices and libraries, carrying the wall color onto both the trim and ceiling minimizes visual distraction and creates a more unified look.

Give Marble Its Moment

Whether its Carrara, Calacatta or Danby, marble tops designers' lists of craveable surfaces. And, it's no wonder, this luxe material has been a symbol of prestige and wealth for centuries. Luckily, adding a bit of marble to your home doesn't have to cost a king's ransom. To stay within budget, start small by adding a DIY marble tile backsplash.

X Marks the Spot

X's have been popping up everywhere lately — from stools and trestle-style furniture to window and kitchen cabinet mullions. Forget "A," X has shot to the top of the interior design world's lexicon. 

Make a Statement With Lighting

Like a cherry on top, the right fixture puts the finishing touch on any room. To really kick up the drama and highlight a dramatic fixture, take a cue from designer Tobi Fairley and paint the ceiling in a look-at-me hue. Learn about the different types of light fixtures

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