Being an interior designer means fully understanding a certain space. Not just the layout of bricks and mortar, but the history of a place too. 

Wrapping your head around these aspects is essential to becoming an excellent interior designer — but they’re hard to master. So instead, why not learn from experienced professionals by reading these books?

  • Spatial Strategies for Interior Design
  • Architecture: Form, Space, and Order
  • Inspired Design
  • The Interior Design Handbook
  • Home Decor Cheat Sheets

Best books for aspiring interior designers

We’ve collected some of the best books for aspiring interior designers. Whether you’re a complete novice or have some understanding of interior design, you should find what you need. 

Spatial Strategies for Interior Design

Ian Higgins

Ian Higgins, a senior tutor for the Interior Design MA at the Royal College of Art, created the exceptional textbook Spatial Strategies for Interior Design

While the textbook doesn’t cover more personal design elements like cushion covers, it does focus on more transferable topics. It can teach you to use a building’s history when designing its new space, rather than overwriting what’s already there. 

For example, you’ll find mention of a bus depot that was converted to an ad agency’s office. The designers actually used the arcs created by the buses as a starting point instead of a flaw. 

This type of educating content can change how you view a certain space, and get you to create something unique

Don’t worry about not being able to understand the book either. It’s been written in a way that makes it quite accessible for novices.

Anyone interested in pursuing interior design should grab a copy.

Architecture: Form, Space, and Order

Francis D.K. Ching

In his book Architecture: Form, Space, and Order, Ching explores the building blocks of design. There are loads of illustrations used to emphasise his meaning, such as showing how changing certain elements can overhaul a space. 

If you’re seeking to understand how light, openings, and enclosures can edit the form of a room, you’ll find it here. 

The main aim of Ching’s book is to improve your critical thinking of a space. If you changed one element, what effect would it have? You won’t become a master just from reading this book, but it’s definitely the first step. 
Because Architecture is so good at promoting your own thinking regarding a space, it’s regarded as an essential university course text. With that in mind, it’s definitely one you need to check out.

Inspired Design

Jennifer Boles

If it’s inspiration you’re looking for, then Inspired Design is a great place to start. This book takes a look at 100 of the best interior designers from the last 100 years. 

To be a successful designer, you need to understand distinct styles and how they can appeal to clients. Inspired Design gives you some information, and tells you exactly who to research if you want more. 

Because there’s such a wide variety of designers in the book, you can develop your understanding of different styles and try creating your own. 

We’d recommend reading this book when you already have a grasp of the basics. Otherwise, you may not understand exactly why some of these designs work well. 

The Interior Design Handbook

Frida Ramstedt

What looks good and why?” That’s the question on the back of The Interior Design Handbook by Frida Ramstedt. 

If you’re not sure who she is, Frida runs Scandinavia’s leading interior design blog. She’s also a design consultant, and wrote this book to help you think like a professional designer

As an aspiring interior designer, you may not know much about the more technical aspects of design. The Interior Design Handbook aims to solve that by teaching you exactly why something looks good

One of the sections it covers is how different ‘leading lines’ can affect the perception of a room. For example, it explains that striped flooring running lengthwise makes a room seem longer and thinner. 

This book is aimed at complete novices, and teaches you the basics of interior design. It’s a useful thing to master though, because it can help give you a better understanding of more advanced techniques.
If you want a comprehensive guide that reveals the secrets of successful styling, then you should find a copy immediately.

Home Decor Cheat Sheets

Jessica Probus

Are you the type of person who wants all the variations on a theme so you can play around with what works? If the answer is yes, you’ll want to check out Jessica Probus’ Home Decor Cheat Sheets

This funky little book is packed with info so you can match furniture styles, and create the best space possible. 

It even contains an illustrated glossary for each type of furnishing. From sofas and tables, to doorknobs and light fixtures, this book helps you finalise each room

The other books on this list teach you about critical thinking or providing inspiration. Instead, Home Decor Cheat Sheets acts like a reference guide

Do you know all the different types of windows, what they look like, and how their designs affect insulation and ventilation? With Jessica Probus’ book in hand, you will. 

Find success for your interior design business 

Once you feel confident that you know what you’re doing, it’s time to start your freelance interior design business. Our guide goes over the main points you need to know, like how to find clients and send them invoices when the job’s done. 

As your business starts to grow, you might want to check out how you can use technology to help run it. These 6 apps for interior designers are perfect for improving your day-to-day

One of the apps we mention, for example, makes it super easy to get a floorplan of any given area. 

BONUS: Easy financial management with a simple app!

Countingup combines a business current account and accounting software into one app. Thousands of self-employed people across the UK use it to whittle down their bookkeeping admin.

So limit the time you spend focused on your financials, and grow your business instead.

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Apply now.

Related Resources

Read more