If, after so much time living at home, your space could use a little refresh, the latest interior design books are full of creative inspiration. Written by some of the most talented and talked-about designers working right now—including Athena Calderone of Eye Swoon blog fame, plant stylist Hilton Carter and quirky-cool interior architect Beata Heuman—the advice is both practical and transformative, touching on topics such as how to arrange pillows for visual oomph, confidently layer punchy patterns and bold stripes, hang trailing plants from unexpected places and create chic Mediterranean villa vibes.
After flipping through the pages of the dreamiest design books out there, we selected the best new and soon-to-be-released titles, along with some tips you’ll want to use right now.
For Playful Interiors with a Scandi Influence
Swedish-born, London-based interior expert Beata Heuman is known for her colorful, patterned spaces where she often blends in surprising, imaginative details.
Best Tip: “I am endlessly putting paw feet on armchairs and embroidering eyelashes onto sofas. I suppose I am trying to get people to connect with seemingly inanimate objects, and see what I see when I look at furniture. The armchair may not be alive, but it is certainly not dead.”
For Going Beautifully Bold
Detroit native Corey Damen Jenkins likes to shake up traditional interiors with youthful, exuberant touches.
Best Tip: “Every type of pattern has its own voice. Stripes, for instance, are a mainstay, but they have a rigidity to them, so I often pair them with plaids or florals—designs that are diametrically opposite to the linear quality of the stripe. Solids, whether neutral or bold, are great foils for heavy patterns; they help emphasize intricate details in the patterns they coexist with. In a vibrant room, it’s good to give the eye a break.”
For Joyful, Bohemian Rooms
Los Angeles-based designer, artist and entrepreneur Justina Blakeney has amassed a following for her lush, layered, wild-but-cozy interiors, filled with personal touches.
Best Tip: “Sometimes, the back side of a rug contains loose threads (or floats) that can read as more abstract. I have used the ‘wrong side’ of rugs in many design projects. At home, I often flip rugs over just to change things up! Put a rug up on a wall and it can be a wall covering or act as a headboard.”
For Casual Cool Living
Instagram favorite Amber Lewis brings a cool-girl, California sensibility to her decorating, pairing furniture and objects in a way that’s effortless and relaxed.
Best Tip: “I want to keep the eye interested while it’s scanning a space. In my rooms, you will rarely see the same two pillows mirrored perfectly on both sides of a sofa, but I always keep the color story consistent. So, when I’m deciding on pillows, I look for different variations and textile types, and I always consider the color palette, patterns, and textures…If the color palette is cohesive, then the patterns should mix perfectly.”
For Spaces that Really Pop
Interior designer Athena Calderone rose to fame with her popular Eye Swoon blog, which she’s now turned into a successful lifestyle brand. This book features the stunning homes of some of her most eclectic clients around the world.
Best Tip: “I love to pair objects that oppose each other in some capacity—you juxtapose an item that is feminine, soft, tactile, and curvaceous against a piece that is inherently more masculine, hard-lined, and bold in its material or form. Patina—the worn quality that reveals an object’s untold history—is another way to bring friction to an interior. I constantly strive to find the right balance of patina and polish. A pair of timeworn, rugged stone vessels lives on my credenza. By placing them next to a modernist, graphic, and linear piece of art, I am amplifying that contradiction.”
For Plant and Biophilia Lovers
Baltimore-based plant and interior stylist Hilton Carter’s newest book stands out for its hands-on approach, offering practical how-to’s and ideas for bringing nature inside.
Best Tip: “[Curtain rods] are already drilled into your walls, so why not hang your plants from them? Look, I understand you might want to close your curtains from time to time, but why not have a ‘living’ curtain? For me, this is the perfect way to cover my windows to deter unwanted gazes from outsiders while also providing me with hanging greenery throughout my home. This doesn’t require me to make any new holes in my walls and places the plants in really great light.”
For Beachy Vibes All Year-Round
This beautifully photographed book features modern beach homes—from Nantucket cottages to Australian bungalows—to get inspired by, no matter where you live.
Best Tip: “Mediterranean rooms are kept function, cool, and peaceful. To begin with, a muted backdrop is key. From there, one can experiment with unexpected combinations of furniture, art, and textiles…Roughly shaped raffia baskets, fans, and platters transition from function to art when mounted on the wall. A rich conversation between old and new can be initiated by pairing vintage wood goods with, say, a modernist cane chair…Antique masks, figures, or pottery can be mixed freely with their contemporary counterparts to establish texture, nuance, and playfulness.”
For Floral-Strewn Interiors
Brooklyn florist Ingrid Carozzi specializes in artful, asymmetrical arrangements that accentuate rooms and bring out different parts of one’s personal style.
Best Tip: “Filling a few tiny vases with flowers, buds, or greens—or even kitchen herbs—and arranging them in a way that is pleasing to the eye is one of the quickest and least expensive ways of transforming any surface or area…When making really small groups, I like to stick with odd numbers, like one, three, or five, but when you cover a bigger area, it really doesn’t matter, as long as you have a variety of heights… Arrange a few bud vases on a mantel, in a window, on your dining room table, or anywhere, and watch the space transform.”