Must Have Design Books for Your Library

I was so excited when I received this for Christmas…

Design*Sponge

Yes, Design*Sponge, the infamous design blog that truly started this whole home-decor-and-design-blogging-frenzy, now is in book form.  Grace Bonney, creator, writer, and founder of Design*Sponge takes her well-known home tour excursions and DIY creations from her blog to a book.  Grace is such a pioneer in the design world.  She’s so amazingly creative and such an inspiration.

As Jonathan Adler puts best in his foreword for the book,

“Grace Bonney was too young (at the time) to realize how preposterously daunting her endeavor was – to create a community of style warriors who through imagination and hard work transformed their spaces, their stuff, and their lives.  She was too young to imagine how influential and important her blog would become.  Design*Sponge has become a daily must-read for me and the entire design world and has changed the rules of the game.

He couldn’t have said it better! I remember reading Design*Sponge years ago, way before I ever thought of starting a blog of my own, and thinking how cool it was to “tour” others homes on a blog (I actually don’t even think I knew what a “blog” was back then – ha, have things changed…).  I highly recommend this book as it will give you great insight into the lives of “real” people and how they live.  The home tours that are showcased are of those who live in normal size homes and who have a unique and eclectic style. Additionally, Grace shares many DIY projects, before and after creations, and an informational resource guide.

After spending alot of time on Christmas day and the days after, reading and flipping through this book, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few other design books that are a must for your bookcase.  So while in Barnes and Noble last week, I took out my camera and snapped a few shots of my favorites…

Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic Colors & Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic Accessorizing

There was a reason Jonathan Adler was asked to write the foreward for Design*Sponge – He’s not only a Designer, but someone who is incredibly talented, innovative, bold, and daring.  He’s certainly not what someone would call “safe”.  He thinks outside the box and doesn’t follow the “norm”…  And that’s okay.  It’s actually better than okay, because it’s gotten him to where he is today.  He’s everywhere!  This forget-the-rules Designer has made a name for himself designing furniture, lighting, art, and much more.  I even saw a commercial the other day where he has one of his graphic designs on a Kleenex box – what incredible branding.  And with that, he has put it all together  and showcased his ideas and talents into two amazing resources – Happy Chic Colors and Happy Chic Accessorizing.

These are a few photos that I snapped of the books while in the store (see I can be daring too, ha)…

Book Description

Happy Color Chic
No one has a happier sense of hue and pattern than Jonathan Adler! Inspiring readers to be fearless in their decorating choices, Adler guides us through color-drenched rooms, from True Blue and Going Rouge to Champagne Sparkle. Every chapter is devoted to his thoughts on one color scheme, and he reveals his go-to paint chips, favorite fabrics, and personal color muses, like Diana Vreeland and Grace Jones.

Happy Color Accessorizing
Chic with humor and style—that’s Jonathan Adler’s way, and here he reveals the secrets of achieving his unique look. Crafting sentences as dexterously as he does ceramic vases, Adler takes us on a whirlwind tour through gorgeously styled interior. Organized by type of furniture (bed, bookshelf, dining table, dresser, table), Adler divulges all the tricks and tips needed to artfully arrange anything in one’s home.

I love that – Pillows are the exclamation point of the room!  Exactly – it couldn’t have been said better!!

Let’s move on to my next favorite…

Domino: The Book of Decorating

Known for years as a great resource Design Magazine, Domino is sadly no longer available.  Thankfully though this book is it’s legacy for amazing and influential design ideas and it is surely one of my favorite go-to Design Books that is a must for a design-lover’s library.  This isn’t a new book, since it was published and available in 2008, but it really is such a great room by room guide on how to decorate a home.

Here is a snap shot of the books interior.

So true… The Domino Effect.  Meaning how something begins and then leads to the next and to the next.

Book Description

Domino: The Book of Decorating
Domino: The Book of Decorating cracks the code to creating a beautiful home, bringing together inspiring rooms, how-to advice and insiders’ secrets from today’s premier tastemakers in an indispensable style manual. The editors take readers room by room, tapping the best ideas from domino magazine and culling insights from their own experiences. With an eye to making design accessible and exciting, this book demystifies the decorating process and provides the tools for making spaces that are personal, functional and fabulous.

At the end of the book, there is a handy section on window treatments, upholstery, and a handy resource guide!  Enjoy.

Up next…

The Perfectly Imperfect Home

Founding editor of Domino Magazine and author of Domino (my other favorite above), Deborah Needleman, also wrote the influential Design Book, The Perfectly Imperfect Home. This book just came available in November of 2011 and showcases beautiful room illustrations by Virginia Johnson. Unlike Domino, which weighs heavier on pictures rather than words, The Perfectly Imperfect Home is a great combination of both.  Deborah takes you through the world of decorating and how to create a comfortable space to live that is functional and aesthetically pleasing.

As Deborah says it best, “Luxury is simply what makes you happy.”

Here is a peak behind the cover…

Books Description

The Perfectly Imperfect Home
Style is a luxury, and luxury is simply what makes you happy.

Over the years, founding editor in chief of domino magazine Deborah Needleman has seen all kinds of rooms, with all kinds of furnishings. Her conclusion: It’s not hard to create a relaxed, stylish, and comfortable home. Just a few well-considered items can completely change the feel of your space, and The Perfectly Imperfect Home reveals them all.

Ranging from classics such as “A Really Good Sofa” and “Pretty Table Settings” to unusual surprises like “A Bit of Quirk” and “Cozifications,” the essential elements of style are treated in witty and wonderfully useful little essays. You’ll learn what to look for, whether you are at a flea market or a fancy boutique—or just mining what you already own.

Celebrated artist Virginia Johnson’s original watercolor illustrations bring the items and the inspiring rooms of world-famous tastemakers to vibrant life. Styling tips and simple how-tos show you techniques to put it all together to create, say, a beautifully made bed (the fast way and the fancy way), an inviting reading nook, or an effortlessly chic display of pictures.

According to Deborah, the point of decorating is to create the background for the best life you can have, with all its joys and imperfections.
This book will show you how.

And lastly…

Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home

Image used from Amazon

This book wasn’t available in B&N during my trip, but it’s been a Design Book on my radar for quite some time!  A thousand professional design ideas – How much better does it get?!  Written by Holly Becker, writer and blogger of the well-known home blog, Decor8, has truly put together an awe-inspiring creation.

Here is a review by one reader on Amazon,

It’s obvious that this original and vibrant book was designed with great craft and care to be useful to the apartment dweller or home-owner who is looking for direction on where to begin in decorating their space. The following styles are highlighted: simple, natural, modern, flea-market, colorful, floral, eclectic and modern glamour style. There are helpful guidelines in how to create each of these styles in a home. In “Attention to Detail” you’ll see accessorizing tips for mirrors, lighting, pillows, flowers and table settings.

The styles represented are fresh and vibrant; this book should appeal to folks who like modern, vintage, flea-market, DIY, urban, retro, cottage, rural, industrial, bohemian, global, mid-century, heirloom, Apartment Therapy, eclectic and any variation on these themes. These are real homes in which you can easily imagine folks living. It is fun to see designers Jonathan Adler & Simon Doonan’s home and Vicente Wolf’s loft in the mix. If you’ve ever wondered how one-room living and sleeping would be, Liz Bauer’s NYC studio apartment in this book (and Billy Baldwin’s from another book) are convincing that you can have a bed in your living room and still look stylish! Loved her space.

This book exceeded my expectations–didn’t really know what to expect regarding how 1000 quality design ideas would fit in one book–and think it will be especially valuable to those who want their home to express them and their personal vision of a lively, lovable and livable space.

What a fantastic review – who wouldn’t want this book for their library?

Book Description

Decorate
In Decorate, the world’s top designers and leading decor experts including Kelly Wearstler, Amy Butler, Jonathan Adler, and many others come together to share over 1,000 professional tips, ideas, and solutions for every room and every budget. Written and compiled by Holly Becker, founder of the hugely popular design blog Decor8, and Joanna Copestick, acclaimed lifestyle writer, this intensive home dcor program combines beautiful inspiration with nuts-and-bolts how-to for stunning results. More than 500 gorgeous color photographs provide motivation while line illustrations, checklists, shortcuts, and floor plans make it easy to get started. For those looking to make the most of their home and create stylish interiors, Decorate is the start-to-finish resource to keep on the bookshelf for years to come.

There are many inspiring Design Books available, but these are just a few that I could mull over for days.  Do you have any of these books on your bookshelves? If not, which will you be adding? If you do, which ones to do you own?  What Design Books would you recommend?


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  1. Jule9B says

    I have the Nest Home Design Book as well and then, Young House Love, and Holly Becker’s Decorate Workshop. I had never heard about the Domino and might try to find it, thanks for your helpful list!
    Jule