Essential Design Books to Inspire Stylish Living

Level up your coffee table and your home with these five inspirational tomes.

Article by Emma Pegrum

“The World of Apartamento: Ten Years of Everyday Life Interiors” by Omar Sosa, Nacho Alegre and Marco Velardi (Abrams).

While aesthetics might be our most obvious touchpoint with interior design, when it comes to creating the perfect living space, it’s what’s beneath the surface that’s most important. Whether you want to passively absorb creative inspiration or dive deep into the principles and practicalities of interior, object and furniture design, these five books will help make homes into sanctuaries — places that don’t just look good, but are good.

“The World of Apartamento: Ten Years of Everyday Life Interiors” by Omar Sosa, Nacho Alegre and Marco Velardi (Abrams)

Widely recognised as one of the world’s most influential interiors magazines, Apartamento is a design-forward, accessibly written, humanistic biannual publication that takes readers into the homes, lives and minds of creative individuals around the planet. Edited by the publication’s three founders, “The World of Apartamento” features a collection of the magazine’s most memorable pieces from over its 10-year history. It’s a feast for the eyes — and the soul. $85, Boooktopia

“The Atlas of Furniture Design” by Mateo Kries, Jochen Eisenbrand, Henrike Büscher, Fulvio Ferrari and Otakar Mácel (Vitra Design Museum GmbH)

This encyclopaedic and aesthetically-minded book offers an authoritative overview of the history of modern furniture design, featuring more than 1700 objects by some 500 designers and more than 100 manufacturers. Incorporating detailed product images and archival documentation and photography alongside in-depth written analysis, biographies and glossaries, “The Atlas of Furniture Design” is both intriguing and insightful — an essential resource for furniture fanatics, collectors and those looking to invest in truly quality pieces for their home. $267, Finnish Design Shop.

“A Century of Colour in Design” by David Harrison (Thames & Hudson Australia)

An illustrative journey from Bauhaus to Memphis Milano and beyond, “A Century of Colour in Design” explores the relatively new wholesale use of colour in product design, and its supreme allure. Tracing a wide range of movements, styles and designers including classics and future classics alike, the book is not only a lesson in the art of colouration, but an example of it. $39.99, MCA Store.

“The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes” by Monocle (Die Gestalten Verlag)

Part practical guide, part well of inspiration, this is a beautifully photographed and detailed explainer for turning a house into a home. Celebrating the durable, the meaningful and the made-for-life, it takes readers on a journey through some of the best places to make a home and those that have been made there: from skyscrapers in Chicago and Tokyo to lush abodes on the Australian Sunshine Coast and the hillsides of Rio de Janeiro. It’s a complete survey of making a home — not just where and what it might look like, but also the expert architects and makers who can help you achieve it. $85.25, Angus & Robertson.

“Interior Design Masterclass: 100 Lessons from America’s Finest Designers on the Art of Decoration” by Carl Dellatore (Rizzoli International)

Not for the hobbyist but for the deeply invested, “Interior Design Masterclass” brings together 100 essays from — as the title suggests — 100 established and emerging interior designers, spanning four decades of work and a variety of styles. The essays cover subjects such as “Collecting”, “White” and “Layering”, exploring in detail the process of designing a home, from the fundamentals to the finishing touches. $100, The Nile.