1. Domino: The Book of Decorating by Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello, and Dara Caponigro
If you want your place to look sophisticated without looking stuffy, then this is the book to pick up. Even if you buy it hardcover at full price, it’s worth every penny. This book doesn’t just give you pretty pictures; it breaks down how and why certain elements work together so that you can mix things up without looking like a thrift store blew up in your pad.
2. Pad: The Guide to Ultra-Living by Matt Maranian
If you’re allergic to quiet, tasteful dÃ©cor, then Pad is for you. This book gives you many projects to help you furnish and decorate your home no matter what your budget; you don’t have to be rich to have the tiki bar of your dreams. In addition, this book offers cocktail recipes, gardening tips and even profiles of people who live the DIY dream.
3. Home Swell Home by Cynthia Rowley and Ilene Rosenzweig
This lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek approach to decorating is more inspirational than practical, but anything that breaks you from your four white walls of boredom is worth a look. It gives great ideas like making your boudoir a secret-agent hideout and turning your studio into a Hollywood starlet bungalow. Some might find it silly and a short read, so thumb through it before buying, unless it’s on sale.
4. Christopher Lowell’s Seven Layers of Design by Christopher Lowell
His work may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but his approach to decorating makes it easy for anyone to get started. Lowell takes you step-by-step starting with paint and working up to flooring, furniture and the like. His conversational tone and practical advice make interior design accessible to even the most die-hard dÃ©cor-phobe.
5. Making Room by Wendy A. Jordan
No matter what the size of your house, there always seems to be a dearth of space. Making Room offers practical tips to maximize every square foot without having to build an addition. This book shows you how to turn your stair steps into storage pockets, build a flip-down office, and convert a spare closet into a sewing room.