New Favorite Design Books

By Kate Riley April 13, 2015

Happy Monday everyone! I spent most of my weekend running around with various obligations but took a few hours of downtime all by myself to pour over favorite design books I’ve recently added to my collection. Two were sent to me by the authors, two I purchased myself but I love each of them for varied reasons.

design books on bookshelf

The first among the group was written by Melissa of The Inspired Room, we’ve been good friends for years, traveling to NYC together, meeting up at different events, and she and I always share encouraging words behind the scenes. She’s a kindred soul and like me a west coast gal. 

love the home you have

Melissa has written the most marvelous book to inspire you called Love the Home You Have. Truly that’s the most important thing to feel when you look at your home and where you reside right now, having a positive emotional connection is so very important to daily happiness and it’s all about your frame of mind.

love the home you have melissa michaels

Melissa walks you through the steps of falling in love with the house you live in now. Just like in her thoughtful blog posts, Melissa provides tips and ideas for looking at your home with fresh eyes and releasing yourself from unrealistic expectations and why authenticity in your home is key to contentment.

Melissa offers inspiration for refreshing your home with simple seasonal decorating and has started a new website Home Love Stories where you can share why you love your humble abode too. I was inspired by the chapter to say goodbye to the things I don’t need anymore and spent several hours purging with that mindset. At the end Melissa offers her readers a 31 day Love Your Home challenge with meaningful steps to take each day for a month so that you can look at your spaces with new gratitude. Find Melissa’s inspiring book on Amazon. 

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Next up is The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes by Justina Blakeney, the designer behind The Jungalow blog. I’ve always loved the word “bohemian” especially in decorating because it imparts a devil may care I do what I please attitude.

the new bohemians book

Justina’s book like her blog is such a visual treat ! Twenty luscious and free spirited homes are captured on the pages showcasing a collection of modern bohemian spaces from earthy to maximalist. Each home’s feature includes the “Adopt an Idea” summary with many creative ideas for unique storage or display.

new bohemian 1

To quote Justina, “Decorating is about feeling free, having fun, rejecting traditional notion of what goes with what (especially that everything in a room has to match) and getting a little bit wild.” Ditto that!

new bohemian 2

You’ll also find a few DIY projects inside the pages plus a “Plant-O-Pedia” with tips on caring for the interior plants and terrariums featured within the homes. You can preorder Justina’s beautiful book The New Bohemians on Amazon.


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I discovered Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti while browsing at the bookstore last week. It starts with the premise that classic novels contain all the details for living a stylish life which in turn can inspire your decorating style.

novel interiors

Inside, the passages from beloved books are married to images of traditional spaces to start, but deeper into the text they become more eclectic like the authors they’re partnered with. For example. the chapter “Shall I Put a Kettle On?” provides decorating basics from authors from Dickens to Austen; whereas the “Anything Goes” chapter showcases unconventional interiors while quoting Isak Dinesen and Virgina Woolf.

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I got lost in this one and found it completely enchanting. The pages include a spotlight on a particular spot around the house with a passage to go along with it, such as the benefit of a view of a flowering plant from a window and then a quote from The Secret Garden, or tips on creating a cozy reading corner by the fire like the one that appealed to Rat and Mole from The Wind in the Willows or Jo in Little Women.

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The pairing of images with descriptions of cozy or charming places written about in classic novels is so well done, this is highly recommended for literature lovers! You can order Novel Interiors on Amazon and also follow Lisa’s blog which I just discovered.

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Finally I picked up Megan Hess’ Fashion House, yet another delicious book filled with Megan’s beguiling and feminine illustrations of glamorous spaces.

fashion house

Each space is a celebration of fine living, but there are takeaways to be had such as living on your own terms and defining your space in a way that expresses your personal style. Every page is gorgeous, this book makes a great gift for any fashion, color, pattern, and interior loving friend!

fashion house 1

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Leave this one out on your coffee table for your next girlish get together, everyone will want to peruse the pages and be inspired by the display of all that is chic within.

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do ! *affiliate links used


  1. These look like lovely books to PORE over! Would not want to pour over them – haha

  2. Love the Home You Have looks right up my alley! Thanks! One question, though — it’s indexed under Christian Living on the Amazon link. Is that accurate? That’s not our tradition so wouldn’t be the right fit for us if so.

  3. beautiful books. loved getting to see some pages inside each. regarding the saying ‘goodbye?’ it is only a working theory in our home. sadly as soon as i say goodbye to one item hubby either says hello to it or another similar. whatever happened to “happy wife, happy life!” lol.
    thanks for the read :)

  4. The New Bohemian looks wildly wonderful. Almost want to pick up a copy and send it to the Apartment Therapy writer who polled on minimalist vs cozy, equating minimalist with organized and cozy with cluttered. I personally find much minimalist cold and soulless. Although some cozy and country can be close to the top and Bohemian can be way over the top, there’s soul there and I get charmed and intrigued and want to get to know the person who lives there. I’m going to get a copy for myself just for the fun of it.

    I’m loving Melissa’s book and working on some of the challenges. And, Rebecca, hope you read this. The Christian category for Melissa’s book may be because Melissa does a lot for her church and has some history there, but her book is inspirational which transcends religions and traditions. If you have doubts, check out and read some of Melissa’s posts and get to know her. And then hopefully enjoy the book.

  5. Thank you so very much for the kind words! You are such an inspiration and I’m so flattered to be here with other great books! Big hugs, ~Justina

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