6 New Design Books to Inspire Your Creativity

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This stack of books will provide you with hours of design inspiration.

November’s chilly weather signifies nesting season – time to haul out the cashmere turtlenecks, hunker down inside, and dive into those interior projects we’ve been dreaming about. So whether you’re redecorating or just adding layers of interest, here are six new books to add your design library that will inspire your creativity. Each is filled with practical advice, but also lays on the eye candy, so they’ll look great on your coffee table, too. And although they’re diverse in topic and style, they all have this in common: encouraging you to put your unique style at the center of any project, because there’s no reason to copy anybody else.

 

1. Pattern

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Textile designer and artist Rebecca Atwood has a evolved style that’s all her own. It’s a little upended – in a good way – a little walk-on-the-beach meets girl-in-the-city and packed with rich yet subdued colors that can take your breath away. Rebecca’s style is both totally unique and endlessly enviable, and in her new book, Pattern, she does the seemingly impossible: tells us how get it. Whether you follow her guide to mixing patterns into a bohemian chic space or a more polished interior, the message is clear: layer, mix, love, repeat. Room tours, DIY projects, and sources break down the decorating ideas here, allowing you to absorb the pretty complexity.

The takeaway: Unleash your inner designer and trust your personal instincts. Tap into your DIY spirit and mix and match to your own heart’s delight.

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2. Farrow & Ball How to Decorate

"How to Decorate" Farrow & Ball book design inspiration

If anyone know how to get that rich, layered look, it’s the master’s of pigmentation at paint and wallpaper manufacturer Farrow & Ball. Written by color specialist Joa Studholme and creative director Charlotte Cosby – who have worked for the company for a collective 27 years – this tome was put together to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the iconic British brand. Flipping through the book will take you to a world of interior imagination that you’ll want to keep revisiting regularly. Beginners and the experienced alike will gravitate to this primer, which demystifies the details of taking design from good to great. Whether you’re a color enthusiast or a modern minimalist, How to Decorate can make all of your interior design dreams come true.

The takeaway: Dream it, think it, do it. Then keep layering on the goodness – design is never done.

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3. In the Company of Women

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Grace Bonney is best known for her charming and uber-popular blog, Design*Sponge, which has amassed something of a cult following among its devoted followers. Grace has been at the blogging game since 2004, and along the way, she’s met some pretty interesting characters and picked up some great advice, which she shares in her latest book, In the Company of Women. This compilation of more than 100 interviews with women in creative industries – from textile designers and chefs to journalists, sculptors, and beyond – delivers unexpected and practical insight that any maker, artist, or entrepreneur will appreciate. The question-and-answer format makes it easy and satisfying to open the book at random and read in a non-linear order, but beware, you may not want to put it down.

The takeaway: People have all different kinds of working habits; be true to your your creative spirit and come up with your own definition of success.

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4. Gardenista

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Most of us are probably bedding down our gardens right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start dreaming about what next year’s lush landscapes will look like. (Note to Mother Nature: more hydrangea blooms, please.) If you, like us, spend your winters designing next year’s gardens, then put this stunning book on your holiday wish list. Gardenista offers a dozen gorgeous garden tours that you’ll seriously want to emulate, plus sources and tips for next-level gardening. Written by Michelle Slatalla, editor of the beautfully curated Gardenista blog, the book hits the sweet spot between modern sensibility and rustic charm.

The takeaway:  Our outdoor spaces should be as thoughtfully considered as our living rooms. Here’s what to you should know to create your own sophisticated, well-edited space.

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5. Foraged Flora

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I purchased this book on a whim; it appealed to my wabi-sabi sense of imperfection and natural beauty. Born and raised a forager myself(when my mom would arrive at school pick up with a pair of clippers on the car seat, I knew where we were headed), I appreciate how floral designer Louesa Roebuck has elevated gathering and assembling plants into a high art form. Dedicated to the art and craft of working with Mother Nature, Louesa – who co-authored the book with writer Sarah Lonsdale – brings a new sensibility to the flora that surrounds us. From forcing blooms to balancing branches, Foraged Flora helps readers see the wide variety of plant life that surrounds us in a whole new way. So grab your shears and a pair of gloves, because the chapters on winter are going to keep you very busy for the next few months.

The takeaway: Floral arrangements captivate not only the eyes, but also a mood. Why buy grocery store flowers that have traveled around the world when you could pop outside and come up with a creation that no one else could?

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6. Hair by Sam McKnight

"Hair" by Sam Mcknight design inspiration

This book has nothing to do with interiors, per se, but Sam McKnight is an inspirational hair styling wizard that meticulously combines his craft with the beauty of the unexpected. Though he’s a technical master with scissors and spray and can “sculpt” hair with a wind machine, his strength truly lies in his ability to embrace the slightly off-kilter. Hair by Sam McKnight will appeal to most for its saturated fashion photography – entire chapters are dedicated to Kate Moss, Princess Diana, and Karl Lagerfeld. But what’s most remarkable about the work here is that the sheer amount of dedication to craft is balanced  with a commitment to intuition. Sam has allowed both to be his guiding forces throughout his career, and with dozens of Vogue covers under his belt, the ability to transform women with a brush stroke, and Anna Wintour on speed dial, I think we can all agree that this guy is #winning. Heed is advice, and go with your gut – whether it’s in fashion, interiors, or something else.

The takeaway: Be as technically proficient as you can, but recognize that perfect is usually boring. Don’t be afraid to break the rules and rely on your intuition, and always being looking for happy accidents, because that’s where the magic is.

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design inspo book spines

Meaghan O'Neill is a writer, editor, blogger wrangler, and the founder of Puddingstone Post. She was formerly editor-in-chief of TreeHugger, Discovery Channel online, and TLC's Parentables. Her writing has appeared in numerous print and online publications, and her book, Ready, Set, Green: 8 Weeks to Modern Eco-Living (Villard/Random House) was published in 2008. She lives in Newport, RI with her family.

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