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The Best Books to Read Right Now for Home Decor Inspiration

Our list begins with Edith Wharton and ends with a book that features a foreword written by Prince Charles.

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Many of us have been spending plenty of time at home as of late, so why not use this time to read some books for home decor inspiration, and decorate accordingly? Below, House Beautiful has assembled a list of ten books to look to for interior design ideas, beginning with one of the earliest home decor books and also Edith Wharton’s first book, The Decoration of Houses, and ending with Classicism at Home: Architecture of Alireza Sagharchi by Alireza Sagharchi, which includes a foreword written by none other than the Prince of Wales. And, better yet, this is a great way to support independent bookstores and publishers (check to see if your local one will deliver, or offer curbside pickup). Happy reading, and happy decorating!

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1 The Decoration of Houses
Edith Wharton

First published in 1897, The Decoration of Houses was Edith Wharton’s very first book, and it was co-written by architect and interior decorator, Ogden Codman Jr. This book was a formative influence on legendary interior decorators like Elsie de Wolfe, who, like Wharton and Codman Jr., preferred enduring design features like symmetry and opted for livability over stuffy Victorian design. In collaboration with The Mount—Edith Wharton’s former residence turned historic house museum located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts— Rizzoli reprinted the book in 2007.

2 May I Come In?
Wendy Goodman

For a more recent design tome, look to this much-buzzed-about recent release by Wendy Goodman. As the Design Editor of New York magazine, Goodman certainly knows what it means to have a well-decorated home, and this book is tangible proof of her great eye for splendid interior design—and an exciting peek into the inspiring homes she gets to visit regularly. 

3 You're Invited: Classic, Elegant Entertaining
Stephanie Booth Shafran, foreword by Jeffrey Bilhuber

If you’re looking for inspiration for your first post-social distancing dinner party, look no further. In You're Invited: Classic, Elegant Entertaining, author Stephanie Booth Shafran (with a foreword by esteemed designer Jeffrey Bilhuber) provides readers with entertaining expertise that will make you the king or queen of dinner parties amongst all of your friends and family. When it comes to tablescaping, floral arrangements, invitations, recipes, and everything in between, this book should be your go-to for parties during any season.  

4 Life Along the Hudson: The Historic Country Estates of the Livingston Family
Pieter Estersohn

Featuring homes designed by architects like Stanford White, Warren and Wetmore, A.J. Davis, and Calvert Vaux, Life Along the Hudson: The Historic Country Estates of the Livingston Family includes a range of grand estates in various architectural styles, ranging from Gothic Revival to Beaux-Arts to Georgian to Federal. For those who are interested in historic houses, this book is filled with photos of and information about the former homes of families like the Roosevelts, the Astors, and the Delanos, all of which are located on land that was owned by the Livingston family, whose descendents include Eleanor Roosevelt, many members of the Astor family, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and Montgomery Clift.

5 Valentino: At the Emperor's Table
André Leon Talley and Valentino Garavani

Written by the former Vogue editor-at-large, André Leon Talley, and famed fashion designer Valentino Garavani, Valentino: At the Emperor's Table is a feast for the eyes that includes impressive table settings, recipes, and the like. One of the many beautiful scenes depicted in this book is a table setting that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, complemented by blue and white plates and napkins to match the stunning water views, and fresh olive oil at the ready.

6 French Chateau Living: The Château du Lude
Barbara De Nicolay

In her book, French Chateau Living: The Château Du Lude, Barbara De Nicolay takes readers on a tour of Château du Lude, a private residence in Le Lude, France. This French castle still has its original decor intact, over 250 years later. Gilles de Rais, also known as Bluebeard, besieged the Château Du Lude before joining none other than Joan of Arc’s crusade. Miraculously, this historic château outlasted the French Revolution, and is preserved to this day by the Count and Countess Louis-Jean de Nicolay.

7 Americana: Farmhouses and Manors of Long Island
Kyle Marshall

In this book, Kyle Marshall (by day the creative director at Bunny Williams Home) explores historic country homes from the 17th and 18th centuries located throughout Long Island. Americana: Farmhouses and Manors of Long Island consists of scenic landscapes and abodes that will have you dreaming of country life. You'll encounter photos of hidden gems that you can visit in real life, in places like Nissequogue and Mill Neck.

8 Ottoman Chic
Serdar Gulgun

Looking for a dose of Wanderlust? Ottoman Chic —housed in a purple silk hardcover that perfectly encapsulates the aesthetic of what’s inside—features images of interior design that were inspired by Indian, French, Italian, and Chinese influences. Author Serdar Gulgun also takes readers inside his own astonishing mansion in Istanbul. 

9 Greco Disco: The Art and Design of Luke Edward Hall
Luke Edward Hall

Eclectic and colorful design is artist and design darling Luke Edward Hall’s aesthetic, and it will certainly brighten up your day to read his book, Greco Disco: The Art and Design of Luke Edward Hall. Hall's illustrations have been included in Burberry advertising campaigns and he also curated a design sale for Christie’s London. He likes to call his style, ‘Greco-Roman meets crumbling English country house with a dash of Palm Springs,’ and if his book leaves you wanting more of his unique flair, follow him on Instagram.

10 Classicism at Home: Architecture of Alireza Sagharchi: Stanhope Gate
Alireza Sagharchi, foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales

Architect Alireza Sagharchi’s book, Classicism at Home: Architecture of Alireza Sagharchi, begins with a foreword written by the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles. Images of sites like a Palladian-style villa in Europe, a Scottish country house, an eco-friendly resort on the Danube River, and a Kensington Gardens residence await your gaze.

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