Design has always been about the power of imagination. But this year, when being indoors made it much easier to take stock of what our spaces could be, design has taken on a certain level of much-needed hope. While the outside world might continue to be trying, with some effort, our homes (aka, our inner worlds) can be spaces full of comfort, calm, and inspiration. At least that’s the sentiment we felt as we gathered together our favorite interior design books of 2020.
These 12 titles feature well-known blogger and designer names alongside up-and-comers, and small footprint homes next to more expansive spaces. They detail useful tidbits on layering pieces in a living room and also describe the intricate histories behind those objects. And whether they rev up dreams of a renovation or simply remind you of the cabinet that could use your attention, they aim to inspire readers who want to make a home that fulfills them, now and in the years to come.
To get a glimpse into Hilton Carter’s world on Instagram is to see the unmistakable beauty in being surrounded by thriving plants. Carter, a plant and interior stylist, elevates greenery from supporting accessories to a space’s main event, and in so doing, demonstrates how others can make their homes come alive. His book Wild Interiors is both a testament to his wildly green thumb as well as an act of encouragement for those who want to follow suit.
2. Ikebana Unbound by Amanda Luu and Ivanka Matsuba
Among all the things we’ve learned this year, one simple reminder stands out: There’s peace in hobbies. Especially when they are creative—and a way to feel more connected to nature. That’s the premise behind Ikebana Unbound, which takes readers through the traditions of the ancient art of Japanese flower arranging. In choosing seasonal stems and learning how to compose modern interpretations yet timeless centerpieces, readers can pick up a passion that celebrates their imaginativeness as much as it values the important lessons of the past.
3. Making Living Lovely by Russell Whitehead and Jordan Cluroe
Whitehead and Cluroe, the British couple behind 2LG Studio, have made a name for themselves by cultivating spaces that are unapologetically characterful. In their book Making Living Lovely, they share their tricks for blending color and pattern into designs that feel playful yet functional. Their confidence with, and flair for, prints and textures will definitely rub off on you!
At a time when tiny homes and only-if-it-sparks-joy materialism have captured our attention, The Little Book of Living Small by Laura Fenton celebrates the idea of lovingly curating smaller spaces—1,200-square-feet or less. Through touring 12 different properties, this book showcases tips and tricks for maximizing every inch of a place without sacrificing personal taste. But even if you live with a larger footprint, this book’s actionable advice can both help organize your home better and make you a more conscious, deliberate consumer. And who wouldn’t