Favourite interior design and balcony gardens books

Books can provide great inspiration when decorating your home. I wanted to share with you a list of the books that I own which I use most frequently. I love them all but some more than others as I've mentioned below. I've bought them all off Amazon so hopefully you can also find them on there (if you are not in the UK).  The books are listed in no particular order.

Laduree: Decoration & Inspiration

by Serge Gleizes

This is the most recent book that I bought. It was recommended in a magazine.  It is absolutely beautiful. Laduree's brand and books are highly successful around the world. The unique ribbon-tied packaging and 3-sided pop-up make this a special gift.

Laduree's style is distinctive and recognisable.

English Decoration

by Ben Pentreath

I love this book. London-based architectural and interior designer Ben Pentreath presents a major new survey of the best of the English style.

Eighteen homes, many of which have never been previously photographed, provide the source material for his wide-ranging investigation of this classic look.

The houses include Ben's own homes in London and West Dorset, alongside those of Earls and artists, writers and architects, book designers and gardeners.

The book is arranged room by room and Entrance Halls, Living Rooms, Kitchens and Dining Rooms, Bedrooms and Bathrooms are considered in turn, together with simple Rooms of Utility and spectacular Rooms of Display. The book begins with an essay on the English style in decoration and ends with a style directory.

The Art of the Interior: Timeless designs by master decorators

by Barbara and Rene Stoeltie

Interiors specialists Barbara and René Stoel tie chart the evolution of interior design from the 17th century to the present day.

They introduce 34 significant designers from the last 400 years along with the elements of their legacy that remain relevant in interior design today .. The photographs provide a visually evocative overview of the designers key works, illustrating the overall impact of the room and the details that make each space memorable.

Favourite Farrow & Ball books

The following three books feature Farrow & Ball the iconic brand of paint that began in the 1940s as a small firm based in Dorset specialising in paints made in the traditional way with traditional ingredients. I find all three of these books to be very useful and have even designed a fitted wardrobe based on a picture in one of the books. The use of colour in the photos is superb and you will find plenty of ideas for your own home.

Farrow & Ball - The Art of Colour

by Brian D Coleman

Farrow and Ball is a leader in the luxury paint and wallpaper market. Offering a unique historical colour palette, stunning depth of colour, great coverage and a wide choice of finishes, Farrow and Ball products are found in many of the world's most exclusive properties. In this book, Brian Coleman hosts a tour of cottages, castles, lofts and beyond, that illustrate how paint and wallpaper are paramount to a room's overall design and feel.

Farrow & Ball - Decorating with Colour

by Ros Byam Shaw

This book is very useful and informative. It features a fabulous range of homes from all over the world e.g. an Italian palazzo, a converted factory in Paris, the attic of an Amsterdam canal house, or a family home in Southern Germany. The book is divided into three main chapters: Classical, Country, and Contemporary. Under these headings, each of the 18 locations is presented as a case study. In addition, spread throughout the three chapters are ten informative Decorating Principles, containing discussion and analysis of a decorating concept that one or more of the locations illustrates particularly well. Highlighting the different effects that can be achieved with colour and pattern, the focus of the Decorating Principles is on enabling the reader to adopt and adapt these concepts and put them into practice in their own home. At the end of the book there is a glossary of Farrow & Ball's versatile neutral colour palettes and information on how to choose the right type of paint.

Farrow & Ball - Living with Colour

by Ros Byam Shaw

Despite its success, Farrow & Ball has stayed true to these origins. It is the quality of the paint, with its exceptional depth and subtlety of colour, that has made the company famous worldwide. Divided into chapters according to style, including Classical, City, Modern Country, Cottage and Country House, the first part of the book shows Farrow & Ball paints and wallpapers in a wide range of unusual and beautiful interiors. Part Two of the book is devoted to colour. Each chapter explores a particular palette and shows how colour can be used to create atmosphere, character and charm.

Two further books books by Ros Byam Shaw that I have recently purchased are:

Old House New Home

by Ros Byam Shaw (2005)

In this book, Ros Byam Shaw looks at the many different ways we can furnish and arrange an old building to suit today's needs, whether it be a terraced townhouse or a converted factory.

Exploring properties as diverse as a small Victorian townhouse and a former country dairy, she reveals how the design of each home has been reinvented for the 21st century.

I like the way that the book is divided into a series of key styles: 'Period Piece', 'Urban Chic', 'Rustic', 'Recycled Spaces' and 'Country House'. Each section includes ideas for furniture, lighting, fabrics, colours and finishing touches appropriate for the particular style of interior.

English Eccentric - A celebration of imaginative, intriguing and truly stylish interiors

by Ros Byam Shaw (2014)

This is Ros's latest book, published in April 2014. It is a book about interiors that will amuse and inspire in equal measure, and about people whose creativity, rather than wealth, informs their take on interior design.

This book visits the homes of artists, designers, antiques dealers, furniture makers, florists, writers, gallery owners — people with a strong sense of the visual and the courage and flair to be original. She looks at 18 different homes in a wide variety of styles, from a tiny cottage packed with circus memorabilia to an elegant country house full of stuffed animals.

None of the interiors featured are at the extreme end of eccentricity but all of them provide a multiplicity of inspiring ideas, whether through their vibrant mix of colour and pattern, their imaginative use of space, their witty juxtapositions of old, new, upcycled and homemade, or their novel and eye-catching ideas for display.

A Home of your Own - creating interiors with character

by Sally Coulthard

Character comes from a variety of sources, some from the property itself and others from the people who live there, while the act of bringing character into a home is a layering process, one that starts with the bones of the building and finishes with the decor the human element.

In this new book, interiors expert Sally Coulthard explains just what it takes to turn an uninspiring space into a personality-packed home, whether it be cottage, an apartment or a modern family house.

The layout of the book is excellent - each chapter focuses on a particular element for example, the importance of family and loved ones, and making an interior feel like a social space and explains why this element matters and how to bring it into your home.

Designers at Home: Personal Reflections on Stylish Living

by Ronda Rice Carmen

I love this book as I am fascinated to know what sort of houses the well-known designers live in! This book is a guided tour through the houses of renowned designers, who share their thoughts on gracious living and how they bring their professional philosophies home.

The dwellings range from chic apartments and luxurious estates to charming country homes all over the world.

The book's conversational tone and practical tips from these experts provide a referential approach to creating a highly personal place, from favourite sheets and pillows, how to create impromptu dinner parties, to the decorative details that bring a room to life.

Decorating with Style

by Abigail Ahern

This book is one I reach for most frequently. Forget perfection - Decorating with Style gives you the confidence to take risks with interior design, embrace what you love and fill your home with infectiously fabulous stuff: comforting, inviting and imbued with personality. According to Abigail, the most successful homes always have an element of the unexpected. This is a good thing to remember when designing your interior. Good taste is wonderful, but without a touch of eccentricity - some tension between spontaneity and rigour, refinement and rebellion - beautifully co-ordinated rooms can leave you cold.

Colour in Decoration

by Annie Sloan and Kate Gynne

I love all the books that Annie Sloan has published, especially those that teach you how to use her fantastic chalk paint.

This book promotes an understanding of colour principles and describing how colours work and is a source of practical advice and positive ideas for creating floor-to-ceiling decorative success. The book teaches you how to use colour effectively.

Period Style

by Judith and Martin Miller

This book shows how best to capture a sense of the past by using a combination of imaginative flair, historical knowledge and practical expertise. It includes ideas for every period of interior decoration and for every style. It also includes a directory of suppliers.

Creating a home for the way you live

by Kelly Hoppen

This book is a source of inspiration and advice for anyone undertaking home design or redecoration, whatever the scale or budget. Kelly explains how she works and offers creative solutions for every aspect of design and decoration - from evaluating and reconfiguring space and layout, to planning the lighting, choosing materials and furniture and adding individual touches. She considers every element of a home – from walls to windows, floors to doors, stairs, lighting and more — giving you the know-how to make informed decorating decisions and think beyond the obvious solutions.

The New Eighteenth-Century Home

by Michele Lalande

I absolutely love this book. It contains 29 all-new homes, decorated in the modernised, eclectic version of Pompadour décor that has become so popular in this young century. The resulting blend of ostentatious luxury and repurposed treasures, the natural and the manufactured, is a warm, lived-in style that perfectly embodies the comforts of home.

Nina Campbell Interiors

A Guide for Introducing the all-important details into your home from one of the world's most respected and influential interior designers

by Nina Campbell

This is a recent purchase and I really love this book. It focuses on introducing all-important detail into the home, whether in the form of texture, colour, lighting, art, flowers or other finishing touches. This book features the private homes of Nina's clients, ranging from a city pied-a-terre to a large family home, from a chic apartment to a country bolt-hole, all designed and decorated to suit a range of lifestyles, but all reflecting Nina's infallible eye for detail.

Living Life Beautifully

by Christina Strutt

I bought this book a few days ago (May 14) and it was a great buy. It tells the story of how Christina founded the fabric company Cabbages & Roses and grew it into a lifestyle brand.

Christina talks about her inspirations and influences, and how she works these into her products. We see her London apartment and behind the scenes at her family home in the Bath countryside.

This 600-year-old cottage is the backdrop for constantly changing interiors — it is where Christina designs her fabrics, experiments with her new wallpapers and gathers all her favourite antiques, inherited gems and newly sourced vintage acquisitions.

In addition, Christina shows us a selection of other homes and lifestyles she finds truly inspirational, including those of Brigette Buchanan, of interiors company Odd Limited and Maureen Doherty of Egg interiors store. In fact I know Brigette Buchanan as I bought three vintage Peruvian rugs from her (Odd Limited) — see the posts on my blog relating to my stairs revamp.

Danish Modern

by Andrew Hollingsworth

I am trying to learn more about mid-century furniture and I bought this book to learn about Danish furniture.. Twentieth century Danish furniture design is simple and clean, mixes well with other design styles, and has an inherent value and history beyond its beauty. In  this book, the author explores the history of Danish design, from the earliest cabinetmakers' guilds in the 1770s through the impact of two world wars, and its evolution into the twentieth century. Through beautiful photos, the book emphasises how well Danish Modern furniture works in contemporary and traditional homes. It includes a market guide with tips, facts and resources that discusses veneer vs. solid wood, places to find Danish Modern furniture, and how to care for it; and an extensive resource section.

Ercol, furniture in the making

by Lesley Jackson

I am keen to learn more about mid-century furniture and this book is a good place to start.

my favourite books: flowers and plants

A Year in Flowers

by Shane Connolly

This book is an absolute must-have; it is so inspirational and the photos are superb. It shows how to bring the outside in and how to make even the simplest arrangement.

Everyone should have a copy! The book is split by the four seasons. Flowers in urban and country settings are shown, with useful information on growing techniques and recycling, preparation tools and containers. Shane Connolly has many high-profile and international clients and works by Appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales. He designed all the flowers for the Royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April 2011.

Given that I only have three square feet of outdoor space and window ledges, the following two books are particularly useful!

The Balcony Gardener: creative ideas for small spaces

by Isabelle Palmer

I really like this book. Discover how to make the most of your gardening plot, however confined, with Isabelle's creative and inspiring projects, including creating a cocktail window box from which you can make your own delicious fruity drinks, recycling containers such as wine and fruit crates, and creating a country garden in the smallest urban space. You can also turn your balcony, roof terrace or patio into an attractive space to dine and entertain with stylish lighting and furnishing ideas.

The Edible Balcony: growing fresh produce in the heart of the city

by Alex Mitchell

I used this book last year to grow some herbs and salad leaves in my tiny three-square feet of outdoor space. The book mixes inspirational ideas with practical advice on how to achieve beautiful, flourishing outdoor areas however many floors up you maybe and however small your space. Here are some creative ideas in the book - create a salad cascade using guttering and grow beans and tomatoes on a hatstand !!

Highgrove: a garden celebrated

by HRH The Prince of Wales and Bunny Guinness

I can only aspire to have a garden like this!!! However I can still enjoy the book and it's a must for anyone to buy who loves English gardens. It is a commemoration of the beautiful, mature gardens planned and planted by The Prince of Wales over 30 years ago.

The gardens at Highgrove evoke intense emotion. In January, the dramatic light and early snowdrops of the Stumpery are exquisite; the glistening emerald lawns and tree blossoms in Spring lift the spirits with a promise of what is to come; in Summer, the longed-for delphiniums in the Sundial Garden stand proudly to attention and dramatic leaf colours welcome Autumn to the Arboretum as the harvesting in the Kitchen Garden begins. In Winter the structural elements of the garden have their moment of glory as the year comes to a close and the cycle of the seasons continues.

Lavishly illustrated with photographs that capture both the light and detail of this magisterial space, this beautiful book will delight and inspire gardeners of every level. It is an exquisite celebration of garden design, passion and inspiration.