The best books about interior design to add to your coffee table
Our selection of the must-have coffee-table books on interior design styles, trends and pioneers to add to your collection
If you love interiors, chances are you've got a few coffee-table books lying around. Interior design books make perfect coffee-table companions because they're usually beautifully designed, full of glossy images in bright colours and carefully curated. We've picked out some of the best interior design books on the market, both to be read and enjoyed as part of your living room stylings.
If you are a lover of interior design but want to learn more, check out our list of the best interior design workshops, courses and tutorials.
Best interior design books
Raucous Invention: The Joy of Making by Mark Hearld
Chapter after chapter of this beautiful new book celebrating artist and maker Mark Hearld’s extraordinary creativity is filled with his distinctive collages, textile designs, linocut prints, wallpapers and sculptures.
The jaunty hounds, bounding hares and magnificent cockerels strutting and leaping from the pages give an insight into the spontaneous, improvised and joyful process of his work.
Chatsworth, Arcadia, Now by John-Paul Stonard
The story of Chatsworth, the Derbyshire stately home where the Cavendish family has lived for 16 generations and which has recently reappeared gleaming from behind scaffold after a major, decade-long renovation, is told in this exquisite book. Expect stunning imagery of interiors and incredible collections of art and objects, old and new.
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A Modern Way to Live by Matt Gibberd
Any fan of the beautiful homes on The Modern House Instagram account will love this book. Matt Gibberd shows us how to improve our homes and wellbeing with five guiding principles: space, light, materials, nature and decoration, with stories of remarkable living spaces and their owners.
Entertaining Lives: The Nancy Astor and Nancy Lancaster Cookbook by Jane Churchill with Emily Astor
This book contains over 60 recipes, inspired by an antique family cookbook found at Mirador, the Langhorne family house in Virginia where Nancy Astor and Nancy Lancaster grew up. It also features extracts from previously unpublished family letters, not to mention glamorous country house tablescapes.
Hill House living by Paula Sutton
William Morris edited by Anna Mason
A revised, updated and expanded edition of this book, to mark the 125th anniversary of William Morris’s death in 1896, could not be more timely. For Morris’s great artistic, literary and political output in Victorian times was fuelled by his anger at the harm wreaked on nature by consumerism and mass production.
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He was convinced that there must be more beautiful, less wasteful, fairer and greener ways to live, and editor Anna Mason says Morris’s ideas about what constitutes a meaningful life remain as vital and inspiring as ever.
Mason and some of the original editors of the 1996 publication, which accompanied the V&A’s centenary exhibition on Morris that year, have updated some of the chapters, incorporating new discoveries and research.
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Love Pattern & Colour by Charlotte Abrahams
Like us, writer, author and curator Charlotte Abrahams loves pattern and wants others to love it too, so she’s produced this book as an essential guide to choosing patterns for the home. The first part looks at how pattern can transform a space and examines the different moods and styles you can create.
Subsequent chapters, filled with beautiful photographs of gloriously patterned interiors from around the world, are divided into botanicals, geometrics, florals, abstracts and more, with one section focusing on paisley and ikat, and another on chinoiserie and toile de Jouy.
Curate by Ali Heath
Curate, by writer and stylist Ali Heath and Australian stylist Lynda Gardener, has been so popular it sold out within weeks of its launch and had to be restocked. It’s no wonder – this beautiful book explores how to arrange and display those revered pieces we collect to create an individual home.
Ali and Lynda discuss what they believe are the eight elements that bring a home to life: palette, nature, textiles, lighting, combining old and new, storage, collections and art. And they demonstrate their ideas by profiling 10 homes, including seven owned and decorated by Lynda, as well as Ali’s own Surrey home.
Vintage Shops London by Michelle Mason
Designer, shopkeeper and stylist Michelle Mason, who founded Mason & Painter vintage store on Columbia Road, has published Vintage Shops London featuring boutiques, markets and stalls across the capital.
Organised geographically into sections (North, South, East, West and Central & the City), each profile tells the story of the shop, its shopkeepers, their inspiration and what the store is best known for. Full of gorgeous photography, this book is all about championing independent, sustainable, affordable and special businesses around London.
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Every Room Should Sing by Beata Heuman
Swedish-born, London-based interior designer Beata Heuman, who founded her eponymous studio in 2013 after working for Nicky Haslam, has released a book offering a different perspective on how to decorate.
Divided into 10 chapters, Every Room Should Sing comprises Beata’s thoughts on what makes a house a home, and how to use one’s imagination to make the ordinary extraordinary. Decorating a home, she says, is about creating a space of sentimentality and expressing one’s individuality, especially with pieces that connect you with your past.
Perfect English Style by Ros Byam Shaw
Continuing her series of Perfect English books, antiques writer Ros Byam Shaw brings us Perfect English Style – a broader picture of the enduring legacy of the English country house look. In this title she celebrates rooms that look mellow with age and use that are perfectly imperfect, with peeling paint, faded chintz, battered sofas and plentiful antiques, and ponders the ingredients for how this look is achieved.
Divided into chapters on the rooms of a house, moving through the home from the hall to the bathroom, the book features countless images of beautiful interiors with further chapters dedicated to antiques, patina, fabrics and collections. Expect lots of brown furniture, colourful florals and maximalist styling.
Find out more about what patina is here.
Winter Living Style by Selina Lake
Winter Living Style (£19.99, Ryland, Peters & Small) is full of advice on how to make your home beautiful and cosy. Selina Lake covers ideas for flowers, lighting, fabrics, furniture, and decorations in her distinctive sustainable and vintage fashion.
British Designers at Home by Jenny Rose-Innes
When it comes to interior designers, their own homes are always the best, but often it’s their projects that receive more of the limelight. Happily, this new book profiles over 20 of the most important names in British design and decoration and features their own houses.
Each designer, including Edward Bulmer, Nina Campbell, Rita Konig, Beata Heuman, Gavin Houghton (whose house graces the cover), Wendy Nicholls, Robert Kime and Penny Morrison, is photographed at home and talks about their working life, how they became interested in design, and how they view their own house. The imagery is superb and the result is one of the best interiors books around this year.
The V&A Book of Colour in Design by Tim Travis
Tim Travis, a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, explores colour through objects from the museum’s collections. Wonderfully arranged into colour-coded chapters, the book examines jewellery, textiles, glassware, ceramics, furniture and more in the context of the roles different shades play in design and the applied arts.
It’s an interesting and scholarly study, considering psychology, anthropology, science, symbolism, communication and how the use of colour has evolved.
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The Bloomsbury Look by Wendy Hitchmough
Many of us are enchanted by the Bloomsbury Group and their inimitable style, from their writing and works of art to Charleston Farmhouse, the highly decorated country refuge in East Sussex. The Bloomsbury aesthetic was a distinctive self-fashioned visual identity that defined this radical group of writers, artists, and intellectuals, says author Wendy Hitchmough in her new book.
Wendy, who was a curator at Charleston for over 12 years, examines unpublished photographs and members’ experiments in dress in the first in-depth analysis of how the Bloomsbury Group generated and broadcast this image.
Kabinett & Kammer: Creating Authentic Interiors by Sean Scherer
Kabinett & Kammer, a wonderful antiques shop in upstate New York, has garnered a following around the world for owner Sean Scherer’s expertly curated cabinets of curiosities. In his book, named after the store, Sean celebrates all that is marvellous about maximalism, the art of collecting, and placing old objects together with great thought and care to make incredible displays and rooms that sing. Beautifully photographed by William Abranowicz, Sean’s extraordinary compositions are sure to inspire.
Rattan: A World of Elegance and Charm by Lulu Lytle
Lulu Lytle of Soane Britain rescued the last remaining rattanweaving workshop in the UK in 2010 and has now written a book celebrating this traditional and sustainable material. Delving into the history of rattan, a south-east Asian climbing palm, she looks at why it has been prevalent in craft and design for so long.
She examines its appeal through stunning archive images and paintings that evoke the glamour of the Riviera as well as humble cafe culture. Lulu also covers how antique and new Soane rattan pieces are incorporated to great effect in interiors, both in her own home and those designed by others, such as Rita Konig. It is a thorough, comprehensive and satisfying work on the story of this extraordinary material.
De Gournay: Hand-Painted Interiors
Claud Cecil Gurney’s interest in the history, artworks and culture of China led him to found the hand-painted wallpaper and fabric company de Gournay nearly 30 years ago. In this book, he gives us the story behind why he established de Gournay, now famous for its new interpretations of 18th and 19th-century chinoiserie papers.
Around 200 photographs take us inside incredible houses adorned in the company’s glorious designs, from trees and cherry blossom to peacocks and cranes.
Natural Living Style by Selina Lake
Concerned about the impact of plastic on our environment, as well as global warming, pollution, overpopulation and water scarcity, stylist Selina Lake has produced a book focusing on how to transform our homes, offices and gardens into spaces that are more in harmony with nature.
She shares her ideas for decorating a home so it is both beautiful and eco-friendly, looking at materials and paint, the green credentials of furnishing a home with antiques, salvage and vintage furniture, as well as many other elements that contribute to both a healthy home and planet.
More Than Just a House by Alex Eagle
Creative director Alex Eagle brings together the homes, tastes and lifestyles of collectors and creators around the world in her new book, More Than Just A House. The selected group of brilliant creatives, including Duncan Campbell and Luke Edward Hall, Beata Heuman and David de Rothschild, open the doors to their homes and shine a spotlight on the objects they love to amass that personalise where they live.
Pockets of Pretty by Shawna Law
A love letter to Edinburgh, this charming book documents the hidden gems and picturesque corners of the city that tourists might miss.
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Making a House Your Home by Clare Nolan
Transform that interiors Pinterest board into a reality with this practical renovating and styling guide from interiors journalist Clare Nolan.
Decorating with Fabric by Kate French & Katherine Sorrell
From curtains and bedding, to slip covers and lampshades, this book offers crafting tips for beginners and those confident with a needle and thread.
House of Print by Molly Mahon
Self-taught textile designer Molly Mahon talks you through the ancient art of block-printing, and shows you how to transform items in your own home.
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Farrow & Ball Decorating with Colour by Ros Byam Shaw
When it comes to paint, Farrow & Ball knows its onions. And this book showcases extraordinary homes in which colour takes centre stage.
Blooming Flowers by Kasia Boddy
This illustrated guide unearths the history and influence of iconic flowers from across the globe, from spring daffodils to autumn chrysanthemums.
Summer to Summer by Jennifer Ash Rudick
They know how to create a good beach house over in the USA, and Summer to Summer: Houses by the Sea gives you a tour of some of the best.
Making Living Lovely by Russell Whitehead & Jordan Cluroe
In Making Living Lovely, interiors gurus Russell and Jordan of 2LG offer handy hints for decorating your home and restoring design confidence.
The Elements of a Home by Amy Azzarito
Do you know who invented the alarm clock? Or how napkins came to be? Here, Amy Azzarito reveals the stories behind household objects.
The New Traditional
For some serious insight, pick up a copy of The New Traditional and see some of the world’s finest makers and craftspeople in action.
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