Looking for some inspiration for your next home improvement project? For when Pinterest isn’t quite cutting it, our Santa Barbara Public Library librarians Lisa Neubert and Kimberly Crail (have curated this list of books to check out.
Small Space Style: Because You Don’t Have to Live Large to Live Beautifully by Whitney Leigh Morris: Interior design maven Morris shares her ideas and practices for making any tiny space efficient and stylish — whether it’s a rustic A-frame in the woods or a chic micro apartment in the city.
150 Best Tiny Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola: A smaller living space doesn’t have to mean sacrificing sophistication or comfort. Here are loads of ideas for maximizing space while creating warm and inviting homes.
Design a Healthy Home: 100 Ways to Transform Your Space for Physical and Mental Wellbeing by Oliver Heath: Simple, practical advice on how to design your home for health and happiness through modifications in lighting, air quality, acoustics, temperature, color, and more.
Design the Home You Love: Practical Styling Advice to Make the Most of Your Space by Lee Mayer: A fresh and accessible guidebook to the complicated world of interior design.
Made for Living: Collected Interiors for All Sorts of Styles by Amber Lewis: Tricks of the trade from a trendsetting designer known for creating effortlessly layered looks and modern eclectic styles.
Home Stories: Design Ideas for Making a House a Home by Kim Leggett: Everyone has a story worth telling, and every room can become part of that story. Learn how to create rooms filled with warmth, meaning, and your own unique story of home.
Feels Like Home: Relaxed Interiors for a Meaningful Life by Lauren Liess: Explore the emotional connection between home decoration and one’s daily life through the lens of a popular social media and TV star.
House to Home: Designing Your Space for the Way You Live by Devi Dutta-Choudhury: A modern guide to home improvement that will help you create a dynamic, comfortable space that supports your life and the way you want to live.
Hygge & West Home: Design for a Cozy Life by Christiana Coop and Aimee Lagos: These notable tastemakers have curated a look into 20 covetable homes designed to promote feelings of coziness, companionship, and comfort.
Bringing the Outdoors In
Home Sweet Houseplant: A Room-by-Room Guide to Plant Decor by Baylor Chapman: Houseplants have the ability to instantly elevate the look of your home and add your own special flourishes. This book shows you where — and how — to begin.
Wild Interiors: Beautiful Plants in Beautiful Spaces by Hilton Carter: A journey in greenery led by the bestselling author’s unique eye and love of plants to show you how to create luscious interiors that not only look amazing but are good for your well-being, too.
Decorating with Plants: What to Choose, Ways to Style, and How to Make Them Thrive by Baylor Chapman: Nothing can add energy, style, and that essential “lived-in-ness” to home spaces better than a little bit of green. Chapman shows us where to begin.
Houseplants for All: How to Fill Any Home with Happy Plants by Danae Horst: A useful guide to selecting and growing plants for your home, including a plant profile quiz.
Handpicked: Simple, Sustainable, and Seasonal Flower Arrangements by Ingrid Carozzi: Organized by season, Carozzi’s book reveals her secrets for creating flower arrangements that are modern, original, and organic in style.
Mindfulness and Minimalism
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson: In Sweden, there is a kind of decluttering called döstädning (dö =“death” and städning = “cleaning”). Magnusson gives instructions for this surprising and invigorating process of clearing out unnecessary belongings sooner, rather than later.
Minimalista: Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Better Home, Wardrobe, and Life by Shira Gill: Help to find your own style with this fresh and accessible guidebook to the world of interior design.
The New Mindful Home: And How to Make it Yours by Joanna Thornhill: Our spaces can play a big part in our emotional well-being. This book explains how to harness the power of mindfulness to help your home support a more considered lifestyle.
The Home Edit Life: The No-Guilt Guide to Owning What You Want and Organizing Everything by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin: The New York Times best-selling authors of The Home Edit show you how to contain the chaos and organize every aspect of your life.
Living Simply: A Teen Guide to Minimalism by Sally McGraw: A discussion of minimalism as a way of living for teens, this book provides a number of suggestions and resources for young people who want to scale down their carbon footprints.
Color and Creativity
A Colorful Life: Gere Kavanaugh, Designer by Louise Sandhaus and Kat Catmur: The designer Gere Kavanaugh is an irrepressible force of nature who epitomized the craft and folk vibe of the ’60s and ’70s California design scene and remains a larger-than-life personality today.
My Creative Space: How to Design Your Home to Stimulate Ideas and Spark Innovation by Donald M. Rattner: Written by a noted architect, My Creative Space turns the rich trove of psychological research on workplace productivity and innovation into practical techniques for shaping a home.
Jungalow: Decorate Wild by Justina Blakeney: A guide to designing creative and personal interiors with bold choices in color and patterns, cues from nature, and inspiration from personal heritage and travels.
Wonder Walls: How to Transform Your Space with Colorful Geometrics, Graphic Lettering, and Other Fabulous Paint Techniques by Phoebe Cornog and Roxy Prima: Learn DIY wall-painting techniques to help discover the possibilities of paint and see walls as a canvas. This book covers wall preparation and paint selection, as well as step-by-step instructions.
Living in Color: Color in Contemporary Interior Design by Stella Paul and India Mahdavi: An inspirational visual journey along the color spectrum, brought to life via the best contemporary residential interior design.
A Sense of Place
At Home in Joshua Tree: A Field Guide to Desert Living by Sara Combs and Rich Combs: This beautifully illustrated lifestyle guide from the creators of The Joshua Tree House shows you how to infuse your life with desert vibes, from home designs and entertaining plans to wellness rituals.
Home Sweet Maison: The French Art of Making a Home by Danielle Postel-Vinay: A lively, sophisticated, and practical illustrated lifestyle guide that shows how to live like the French every day, transforming your house into a home defined by beauty, family, and accessible elegance.
The California Casa by Douglas Woods: A sumptuous and comprehensive look at Spanish Colonial Revival design, presenting a lavish portrait of the style through more than 300 color photographs.
Living in Mexico by Barbara & René Stoeltie: A breathtaking look at some of Mexico’s most remarkable abodes. The authors have traveled far and wide, from Costa Careyes to the Yucatán Peninsula, seeking out homes to surprise, delight, and inspire.
Red Tile Style: America’s Spanish Revival Architecture by Arrol Gellner: A comprehensive survey of one of the most widespread and popular forms of American architecture. From bungalows and mansions to gas stations and government buildings, Gellner explores this diverse category of design.
Santa Barbara Style by Kathryn Masson: Explore the work of such architectural luminaries as Addison Mizner, Bertram Goodhue, Reginald D. Johnson, and George Washington Smith, among others.
Santa Barbara Living by Diane Dorrans Saeks: A beautifully photographed book that takes readers inside the mansions and estates of contemporary Santa Barbara.
Making Midcentury Modern by Christopher Kennedy: This book features 100 tips for bringing the principles of midcentury modern style to any home, from the acclaimed interior designer.
American Bungalow Style by Robert Winter: Showcasing two dozen American houses that capture the bungalow spirit that enticed thousands of buyers during the form’s heyday from 1880 to 1930.
Spanish Colonial Style: Santa Barbara and the Architecture of James Osborne Craig and Mary McLaughlin Craig by Pamela Skewes-Cox and Robert Sweeney: An ode to these influential architects, whose designs included the historic Casa de la Guerra and the Plaza Rubio complex across from the Mission Rose Garden.
Private Gardens of Santa Barbara: The Art of Outdoor Living by Margie Grace: A peek into 21 distinctive private gardens: large estates, modest homes, and surf retreats that run the gamut from sublime and naturalistic to bold and urban.
Organization Tips and Tricks
Martha Stewart’s Organizing: The Manual for Bringing Order to Your Life, Home & Routines by Martha Stewart:Tips, projects and ideas on how to organize everything from America’s most trusted lifestyle authority.
In addition to a wide selection of books, the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Databases & Resources page has information on how people can get signed up for free with LinkedIn Learning, which offers a number of courses on interior design and related skills. It also has information about accessing Skillshare (provided courtesy of the California State Library’s Career Pathways initiative), which has a great offering of interior design courses as well.
Originally published in the May 19-25 issue issue of the Santa Barbara Independent. To see the story as it originally appeared click here.