Valeria Crescenzi

Holiday Gift Guide: Top 20 interiors and design books

If you love interiors and design, chances are you are a natural bibliophile. I bet your shelf is full of inspirational and visual books and I also bet you are one of those people (like me) who think that you can never have enough books!

If you want to treat your beloved ones to a book they will treasure and appreciate read on. For my second holiday gift guide, I’ve compiled a list of the top 20 interiors and design books you couldn’t get your hands (and eyes) off!

1. DE GOURNAY HAND-PAINTED INTERIORS

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. But I think in this case that saying doesn’t hold true because the cover portrays one of the amazing wallpaper designs from De Gournay. If you are new to the world of interior design, De Gournay is a company that creates enchanting hand-painted wallpapers. The book is on the shelves of bookstores worldwide since October 2020 (it’s a brand new read) and blends the story of the company with a selection of interiors featuring De Gournay wallpapers.


2. THE NEW MEDITERRANEAN – HOME AND INTERIORS UNDER THE SOUTHERN SUN

This book reached my shelf just a couple of weeks ago but I already had dived into its beautiful pages. If you are on Instagram, you’ll probably recognize some very popular interiors presented in the book (such as Masseria Moroseta). But don’t think it’s not worth buying the print version because it delves into the details of every single project. This book highlights a peculiar interior trend: the Mediterranean aesthetic that embraces a new kind of warm minimalism that loves earthy tones and natural materials.


3. PETITE PLACES: CLEVER INTERIORS FOR HUMBLE HOMES

Small places are a lot of fun, especially when it comes to find creative solutions for a limited amount of space. This book demonstrates that compact living doesn’t mean giving up on comfort and well curated interiors. You’ll find a lot of inspiration and practical advice since the book shares insights from architects and designers. The book has been published in 2018 but I find it still relevant today.


4. NORTHERN COMFORT: THE NORDIC ART OF CREATIVE LIVING

Northern Comfort takes a close look at some of the Nordic region’s most inspiring and insightful ideas and individuals. Scandinavian design is a big trend, still lasting after 10 years (I don’t think we’ll ever get tired about cozy interiors). This is a book for Scandi lovers and friends who are trying to bring more Hygge to their homes. Something just perfect for the holiday season!


5. INTERIORS: THE GREATEST ROOMS OF THE CENTURY – ORANGE EDITION

The most beautiful rooms of the century and the stories behind them. Phaidon’s best-selling Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century (here in its orange velvet brand new cover) is the celebration of residential interior design. It features more than 400 rooms alphabetically organized by designers. The beautiful thing about this tome is that you can easily pick your favorite rooms and dip in and out of the book. I think it’s the perfect book to read with your friends while sharing a hot cup of chocolate (or a Christmas punch).


6. THE HOME UPGRADE – NEW HOMES IN REMODELED BUILDINGS

As the description of the editor itself says, this book showcases ‘homes where the seemingly impossible has been achieved.’ By flicking through the pages of this book you start questioning yourself on the potential of the existing buildings and the urban environment in which we live. It’s a book for architects and architecture lovers at heart.


7. A HOME FOR ALL SEASONS

The second book from interior designer Danielle Rollins, welcomes the readers in her world. Through practical tips, the designer guides the readers in the process of creating rooms to entertain and receive guests. The book includes more than a dozen entertaining occasions and tablescapes, including Easter brunch in the garden, a fried-chicken buffet supper, and a candlelit Christmas Eve dinner in the living room. 


8. BIBLIO STYLE: HOW WE LIVE AT HOME WITH BOOKS

A Holiday Gift Guide about books couldn’t be missing a book about living with books! Nina Freudenberger, Sadie Stein, and Shade Degges give readers a peek at the most beautiful private libraries and bookshelves of bibliophiles all over the world. What else?


9. CREATING BEAUTY: INTERIORS

This book celebrates simplicity, beautiful detailing, and unexpected materials and styles. No matter if we are in a Parisian-inspired neoclassical townhouse, in an elegant Central Park West penthouse, or in a modern retreat in the Hudson Valley.


10. LIVE BEAUTIFUL

New York-based interior designer Athena Calderone (you might know her as EyeSwoon on Instagram) curated a selection of beautiful interior projects, plus two of her homes, to show how a design project comes to life. The book is both aspirational and practical: it’s packed with helpful tips on how to bring elements such as patterns, textures, decor pieces into your own space. Be prepared for some serious house envy!


11. PLANT TRIBE: LIVING HAPPILY EVER AFTER WITH PLANTS

No matter if you are a green thumb or not, this book will make you fall in love with plants. Indoor plants are one of the easiest ways to bring nature indoors and decorate your home. Each chapter of the book combines easily digestible plant knowledge, style guidance via real home interiors, and inspiring advice for using plants to increase creativity and well-being.

If you are looking for online plant shops that deliver to your doorstep, have a read here.


12. THE FORAGED HOME

This book inspired us to change our consumer habits for good. Not just for the sake of sustainability, but for creativity and aesthetics, too. Across four sections in different settings: coastal, rural, wild and urban, we’re taken on a global journey of fascinating homes that celebrate self-sufficiency. With a little imagination, found objects, whether salvaged, recycled or repurposed, can add drama and character to our interiors.


13. BIOPHILIA: YOU + NATURE + HOME

Biophilia is the ‘human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature.’ This tendency in interior design translates into embedding nature in our living spaces and this illustrated book explores the benefits of biophilic design bringing evidence from environmental and neuroscientific research. I was talking about biophilic design in a recent article (see ‘4 interior trends you can easily blend into your home‘) and this book can be just the right one to deepen the knowledge about such a fascinating branch.


14. SUSTAINABLE HOME: PRACTICAL PROJECTS, TIPS AND ADVICE FOR MAINTAINING A MORE ECO-FRIENDLY HOUSEHOLD

Living sustainably it’s easier said than done! What do you think you need to do to maintain a more eco-friendly home? This book has the answers to this question. It’s a hands-on guide to low impact living and it’s full of tips you can implement straight away.


15. THE GARDENS OF EDEN

I love gardens, and you? Since we were already talking about sustainable households why not delve into the world of residential gardens? This book published by Gestalten is all about fascinating gardens around the world. You’ll find interviews with garden designers, insightful texts, and plans to show what contemporary garden culture looks like.


16. MAKE LIFE BEAUTIFUL

If you are already a reader of my blog, Studio McGee should be sounding familiar. I talked about Syd and Shea in my article about 5 worth-watching Netflix shows for design lovers. This is a brand new book (it will land in Europe by the end of November but you can already pre-order it) and it’s the autobiography from Syd and Shea McGee. It’s not a table book but a behind-the-scenes book that tells about their entrepreneurial journey from the early days to today. An essential reading for career self-starters, wannabe interior designers, entrepreneurs, or working parents couples.


17. THE ATLAS OF FURNITURE DESIGN (VITRA)

Do you know that this book weighs 5 kg? As the name itself suggests, this is an encyclopaedic overview on the history of modern furniture design. It holds the record of the most extensive book ever published on the topic, with more than 1k pages featuring the works of the most significant designers of the past 230 years. I bought the atlas last year and I recommend it as the perfect gift for wannabe designers and architects.


18. DESIGN FOR CHILDREN: PLAY, RIDE, LEARN, EAT. CREATE, SIT, SLEEP

Design for children is such a fascinating branch of design. The book, which I recommend for design-savvy parents, collects more than 450 creative objects (from toys to textiles and vehicles) exclusively for kids designed by some of the most influential designers such as Nendo, Piero Lissoni, and Kengo Kuma among the others.


19. POSTMODERN ARCHITECTURE: LESS IS A BORE

Postmodernism began in the 1970s, reached a fever pitch of eclectic non-conformity in the 1980s and 90s, and after nearly 40 years is now enjoying a newfound popularity. As Hyperbeast wrote, ‘architecture fans are in for a treat’ with this book. It’s an ode to postmodernism and collects some of the most iconic buildings around the globe.


20. ACCIDENTALLY WES ANDERSON

This is not an interior and design book strictly speaking but it couldn’t be part of my selection of books for you. Back in 2017, photographer Wally Koval opened an Instagram account calling it ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson’. The idea was collecting photos that looked like coming out from a Wes Anderson Movie. 3 years (and countless photos) later, the account because a printed book that collects more than 200 stunning locations in the world inspired by the aesthetics of director Wes Anderson’s movies. I’ve just put it on my wishlist, did you?


As a book lover myself, this is not the first time that I write about interesting books. Find 5 more book recommendations here.


PIN THIS HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE FOR LATER!


This article is part of a mini-series of 4 Holiday Gift Guides. For more gift ideas read here:

  1. Holiday Gift Guide: Home & Kitchen Edit
  2. Holiday Gift Guide: Top 20 interiors and design books
  3. Holiday Gift Guide: beautiful ideas for kids
  4. Holiday Gift Guide: Support small businesses and independent brands

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