In the era of Pinterest and Instagram, it’s easy to find interior inspiration with a flick of the index finger—sometimes too easy. The endless scroll is just that, serving up an onslaught of random photos that often lack originality. What to do instead of agonizing over the algorithm? Consider a curated coffee table book instead that showcases the best decor, and design minds, of our generation.
Mark D. Sikes—whom Jill Biden asked to decorate her White House office—is the authoritative voice on classic Americana style in his book More Beautiful. Meanwhile, the London-based designer Rose Uniacke’s monograph is fast becoming a cult classic (get it while a few copies remain on the shelves). For a touch more variety, look no further than Inside: At Home with Great Designers, which showcases the homes of everyone from Faye Toogood to Miles Redd. Speaking of Redd: his Assouline book, The Big Book of Chic, remains an indispensable bible of good taste.
Below, 13 essential interior design coffee-table books that every decor enthusiast should own.
Jake Arnold—whose clients include Katy Perry and Chrissy Teigen—has fast become one of the most in-demand interior designers in the world thanks to his dynamic style that infuses traditional English style with contemporary California one. “Timelessness can feel both contemporary and fresh,” he says. His first book, Redefining Comfort, examines nine of his most spectacular projects from Topanga Canyon to Idaho.
Mario Buatta: Anatomy of a Decorator
To this day, Mario Buatta is considered one of the most influential figures in interior design—the “Prince of Chintz” more or less defined two decades of decoration with an Americanized take on English country house style. After cleaning out his archives following his 2013 death, his former protegé Emily Evans Eerdman examines the central tenets of his style—and his legacy—in Mario Buatta: Anatomy of a Decorator.
Colin King, who styles spaces for major names like Roman and Williams Guild, is a master at artfully placing furniture and objects. His Rizzoli book, Arranging Things, written with Architectural Digest’s Sam Cochran, delves deep inside his process of composing everything from coffee tables and bookshelves to windowsills. It may also inspire readers to visually craft their own rooms.
Inside: At Home with Great Designers
It’s the job of interior designers to interpret the fantasies of their clients through their own creative lens. But, left completely to their own devices—more specifically, within their own homes—how do they decorate? Inside: At Home with Great Designers chronicles the personal spaces belonging to the world’s greatest decorating minds, including Faye Toogood, Miles Redd, and Vincent van Duysen, providing a fascinating insight into their unencumbered creative ethos.
Ken Fulk: The Movie in My Mind
There’s no one who infuses an interior with more distinctive personality than Ken Fulk, the AD100 designer known as the decorator of choice for Silicon Valley’s elite. (Just look at his Lake Tahoe home for Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom and his wife, Nicole.) His coffee table book, with photography by Douglas Friedman, revisits over 30 years of Fulk’s vivid, extravagant, and even bacchanalian worlds, from a Napa Valley farmhouse to a Manhattan clubhouse.
Woman Made: Great Women Designers
Woman Made: Great Women Designers shines a spotlight on the pioneering—and oft-overlooked—female makers of the 20th and early 21st centuries, from the Bauhaus movement to Memphis design to post-modernism. The book pairs a short biography of the maker with one of their works, making it both a visual ode and an educational tool.
Rose Uniacke At Home
Rose Uniacke is known for her light yet luxurious interiors that effortlessly combine modern touches and antique ones—the Jo Malone headquarters in London, for example, pairs warm creams with a statement black chandelier. In Rose Uniacke At Home, a monograph published by Rizzoli, she explores the defining characteristics of her style through her own 19th-century dwelling.
Japanese Interiors explores 28 different private residences in Japan, from brutalist buildings in Tokyo to concrete seaside escapes in Kantō. In the process, it gives a rich visual history of the minimalist decor tradition of the country, which has inspired countless aesthetics not only within the country’s borders but around the world, too.
Carrier and Company: Positively Chic Interiors
With a foreword from Vogue’s very own Anna Wintour, interior design duo Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller of Carrier and Company present a portfolio of elegant and textured rooms, curated with the client’s personality in mind. From a vacation home in Florida to a cozy country retreat or a Manhattan loft, Carrier and Company brings their unique brand of eclecticism to a wide range of stunning projects.
More Beautiful: All-American Decoration
Heralded the king of traditional home design with a twist—chinoiserie and sisal rugs abound—Mark D. Sikes’s More Beautiful, and its earlier iteration, Beautiful, really are just that. Organizing the book by color scheme (this, after all, is the man behind the hashtag #blueandwhiteforever), Sikes even handwrites some of his personal tips in the margins of this gorgeous tome, making it feel like you’ve stumbled upon a personal diary or field guide. An instant classic.
Decorating the Way I See It
Very few know how to work tiger-print Scalamandré fabric or a robin’s egg blue wall into the mix without overpowering a space, but Markham Roberts is one such person. Roberts made a name for himself at Mark Hampton’s legendary firm before striking out on his own in 1997, rising to the top of that era’s class of designers. A step-by-step guide to approaching design, this book is a must-have for any aspiring aesthete.
Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People
Filled with 36 uniquely gorgeous homes and gardens, many of which belong to the fashion and art world’s glitterati (including the late, great Oscar de la Renta’s perennially awe-inspiring home in the Dominican Republic), Vogue Living is a behind-the-scenes peek at the world’s most unique living quarters. Magnetic writing from the likes of Hamish Bowles and Marina Rust and iconic photography from Bruce Weber, Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino, and Horst P. Horst combine into a legacy of inimitable Vogue storytelling.
The Big Book of Chic
Miles Redd is credited with many a fashion editor’s home, past and present. Mixing Diana Vreeland’s love for color and irreverence with a lot of tailored sophistication, a Redd interior has its own distinct signature. After beginning his interior design career with names like Bunny Williams, Redd opened his own design firm in New York City in 1998—and people took notice. For a decade, Redd had been the creative director of Oscar de la Renta Home. If you’re looking for elegant whimsy, start here.