13 Books Every Design Lover Needs This Holiday

A Roundup of the Latest Reads to Inspire Designers and Dazzle Guests


’Tis the season—for gorgeous design books. It’s a time for giving and receiving brilliant volumes full of rich photography and thought-provoking writing. It’s the season of the curated coffee table, one of the top trends noticed by stylists this season. And who doesn’t love curling up during the brisk winter days with a good book?

We’ve put together this list of 13 of the most recent must-have style, architecture, and design books sure to please any host or hostess, make a sensational holiday gift, or augment a library.

Dior: Art of Color

Dior: The Art of Color

Find it at your local bookstore or purchase it on Amazon.

As aficionados of color in design, we seek out others with the same fondness. Dior: The Art of Color answers that call. Notable Dior visionaries Serge Lutens, Tyen, and Peter Philips speak to their creative processes, influences, and love of color. Discover the insight behind 12 key colors, like China yellow and Yves Klein blue, that have become so identified with the French-couture-design-house name. Rich with eye candy, Dior: The Art of Color underscores the importance of a well-crafted relationship between color and subject—whether that subject is fashion, makeup, or interior design.

Domus: A Journey into Italy's Most Creative Interiors

Domus: A Journey into Italy’s Most Creative Interiors

Find it at your local bookstore or purchase it on Amazon.

Italy has for a very long time been a design mecca, celebrating interior design, architecture, fashion, and more. Domus is immersed in that celebration, touring some of the country’s most stylish residences. Italians Oberto Gili (of Architectural Digest fame) and Marella Caracciolo Chia take us on a dynamic insider-only journey through rural estates in Tuscany and breathtaking seaside villas to an 18th-century palace in Puglia, in addition to city residences in Turin, Milan, Venice, Rome, and Naples—some of which are classified as the most beautiful and inaccessible in Italy. Each showcased home uncovers the design style of the owners/designers and celebrates the art of fine living. Inspiration is everywhere in these pages!

Louis I. Kahn

Kahn

Find it at your local bookstore or purchase it on Amazon.

Louis Kahn (1901–1974) was one of the United States’ most authoritative architects of the 20th century. Celebrate his unique creations with this latest offering from Taschen. See sketches, architectural plans, and high-quality photographs of some of Kahn’s most acclaimed projects, such as the National Assembly Building, in Dhaka, Bangladesh; the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in La Jolla, California; and the Kimbell Art Museum, in Fort Worth, Texas. Revel in how this legendary architect showcased natural light, geometric forms, and modernist lines in his designs. Our list would be incomplete if it was missing this fresh look at such a tremendous force in modern architecture.

Living with Pattern: Color, Texture, and Print at Home

Living with Pattern: Color, Texture, and Print at Home

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Mixing prints, playing with color, and layering textures can bring a distinct sophistication to a space. That’s why we admire this edition by Rebecca Atwood. The thesis of this book—the first-ever publication from the textile designer—is telling your story through design. She and her team visited seven cities and shot 22 homes for this lesson in pattern. The pages are filled with bright images reflecting Atwood’s ardor and joy for design. The opening chapters cover many of the basics seasoned designers have already mastered, but the visual inspiration alone justifies a place on your coffee table.

Francois Catroux

François Catroux

Find it at your local bookstore or purchase it on Amazon.

For nearly 50 years, the world’s famous and elite have turned to François Catroux as their interior designer of choice. This initial volume celebrates the life and career of the design legend. “The career of François Catroux is the great untold story in design,” said David Netto, who co-wrote the book with Diane von Furstenberg (one of Catroux’s clients). This refreshing and revealing read details Catroux’s career chronologically, beginning with his first projects, in 1968, and working up to projects finished just last year. It showcases the designer’s work around the globe: Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and more. The photos tell the story of Catroux’s sensible yet surprising luxury style. Design inspiration and aspiration abound within the pages of this gorgeous monograph.

Hollywood Interiors: Style and Design in Los Angeles

Hollywood Interiors: Style and Design in Los Angeles

Find it at your local bookstore or purchase it on Amazon.

One of the things we love about Los Angeles is the assortment of styles found in and around the city. From the Spanish revival houses to storybook cottages to midcentury modern homes, L.A. is chock-full of design inspiration. In Hollywood Interiors, Anthony Iannacci invites readers to tour his collection of 19 residences designed by Los Angeles–based architects and designers to illustrate the area’s unmistakable and varied styles. The showcased homes are a cross section of iconic L.A. design, from Silver Lake to Malibu, unapologetically decadent to quietly restrained, but always out of the ordinary and captivating. Designers and architects highlighted include Richard Meier & Partners, George H. Freuhling, Paul Fortune, Melinda Ritz, Rose Tarlow, and Kelly Wearstler.

Perfect Imperfect: The Beauty of Accident, Age & Patina

Perfect Imperfect: The Beauty of Accident, Age & Patina

Find it at your local bookstore or purchase it on Amazon.

Where many of the books on our list represent well-edited and curated design (be it fashion, décor, or otherwise), Perfect Imperfect champions life’s less-than-perfect elements as a style cornerstone. Author Karen McCartney breaks down the ancient Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi. The pages of her book feature how favorite well-loved but worn items, such as books, can spice up a space or how a handmade piece by an artisan can give depth machine-made goods simply cannot touch. Wabi-sabi’s meaning hinges on origin, said McCartney in this interview: “People are keen to buy things with a story and understand the process, the thinking behind an object and why it matters to the creator. Like with our food we now want to know the provenance of our homewares!“

A House by the Sea

A House by the Sea

Find it at your local bookstore or purchase it on Amazon.

Bunny Williams is a designer we think the world of. We love Williams’ livable-luxe style and her relatable, easy-going attitude. Naturally, we had to include her latest title on our curated coffee-table reading list. This volume invites us inside Williams’ own Caribbean retreat. It’s island-living luxury at its finest, tucked away among verdant tropical gardens, sunshine, and sea spray. No room is left unexplored in A House by the Sea, as Williams invites friends who have visited the property to be part of its design story. Gil Schafer details the villa’s architecture; Page Dickey tours the gardens; Roxana Robinson offers a peek at a weekend stay; Angus Wilkie discusses the delights of collecting; and Jane Garmey revels in the pleasures of cooking, food, and friends.

Scandinavia Dreaming: Nordic Homes, Interiors and Design

Scandinavia Dreaming: Nordic Homes, Interiors and Design

Find it at your local bookstore or purchase it on Amazon.

It’s no secret that we love Scandinavian-inspired design. So it’s only fitting that our curated coffee table includes a testament to the charm of Nordic style. Scandinavia Dreaming highlights the perfect union of form and function with its rich study of Nordic interiors, architecture, and color. It tells the story of artfully restrained design with a blend of the style’s heritage, history, and the craftsmen shaping the aesthetic today. Author Angel Trinidad highlights the warmth and character of several contemporary Nordic spaces she just adores, discussing both the light, airy side and moody, darker side of Scandinavian design. “Let me lead you inside the homes and the true heart of the Scandinavian soul, and let you experience what makes it so exceptional,” she writes. “The places that make you dream, and thrive, and live.”

New York Interiors: Bold, Elegant, Refined

New York Interiors: Bold, Elegant, Refined

Find it at your local bookstore or purchase it on Amazon.

New York is brimming with design inspiration, and authors Barbara and René Stoeltie regale us with that inspiration on the pages of New York Interiors: Bold, Elegant, Refined. These two interior design aficionados take us on a tour of the Big Apple, profiling 17 high-style residences. This book explores the dynamic and diverse elements that make up the tastefulness of New York design, from traditionally glamorous to audaciously modern. This unique city tour visits lavish apartments, warm brownstones, picturesque gardens, skyscrapers, classic flats, and high-end estates—all providing an abundance of inspiration for contemporary interior design.

Signature Spaces: The Well-Traveled Interiors of Paolo Moschino & Philip Vergeylen

Signature Spaces: The Well-Traveled Interiors of Paolo Moschino & Philip Vergeylen

Find it at your local bookstore or purchase it on Amazon.

At Design in Color, we believe in making projects uniquely your own—putting your stamp of individual style, expression, and view on your work. This gorgeously illustrated book is a a perfect choice for our collection. Powerful creative team Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen invite you on a visual journey through their world. Architectural Digest listed the pair among the top 100 design talents across the globe. In addition to interior design, Moschino and Vergeylen have their own line of furniture, lighting, fabrics, and more. Their book lends insight into the pair’s creative process, packed with the sources of inspiration behind their beautiful projects. It’s lavish and eye-popping—perfect for any designer’s library.

Mr. Ken Fulk’s Magical World

Mr. Ken Fulk’s Magical World

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Add a little magic to your couch-side reading with Mr. Ken Fulk’s Magical World. This self-penned, golden tome showcases the utmost jaw-dropping work of Ken Fulk, whose specialties are interior design, special events, and architecture. Known for his ever-stylish—and sometimes outrageous—designs, Fulk provides narration for more than 200 color photos of his extravagent concepts and environments over the past decade. The man who never thought he’d be a designer growing up said of his publication, “It felt like we needed to tell more of a story about these sort of extraordinary things we get to do. I feel like I have this magical life and I’m so grateful for it and excited by it.”

The Finer Things: Timeless Furniture, Textiles, and Details

The Finer Things: Timeless Furniture, Textiles, and Details

Find it at your local bookstore or purchase it on Amazon.

Christiane Lemieux said of this opulent coffee-table gem, “It’s a love story to quality. I’m tired of living in a world where everything is disposable.” She explores what that word—quality—means to designers, makers, and artisans. Acclaimed interior designer Miles Redd shares his thoughts in the foreword of this call to recognize quality home goods and use them to create beautiful, enduring styles. The book features insights from décor specialists, textile fabricators, and artisans and is paired with myriad examples of luxurious and edited residences employing timeless, heirloom-quality pieces.

What were some of your standout style and design reads from 2016? Share your coffee-table favorites in the comments!