I am addicted to coffee table books on interior design. It’s like all my favourite interiors magazines merged and then went on steroids. They’re like old friends, there to flick through with feet up; brilliant to source inspiration from; they’re even gorgeous decorative pieces in their own right. You can gift them, share them, stack them, display them, reference them, even strive to have your room in them. THERE IS NOTHING THEY CAN’T BE.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of these beauties since just about every famous interior designer or stylist worth their crust has produced at least one. And what better way to celebrate talent? And then milk that talent, for all the tips, tricks and ideas they can squeeze into a hardback?
I have hand-picked some of my favourite books by Australian stylists and designers (many of which I am already proudly displaying on some surface in my home, some of which I will be feeding my addiction with as soon as fiscally possible). It’s quite a mixed bag in no particular order, with different styles and personas with which to resonate and varying measures of pure inspiration and hard-core how-to.
1. HOLIDAY AT HOME Mr Jason Grant
What I love about MJG (that’s Mister Jason Grant to you), is how beautifully he applies what inspires him to influence the interiors he styles. His aesthetic is all about simplicity and accessibility with a good dose of colour and nostalgia. He has a few books out but I’ve chosen this one because it’s about bringing “that vacation vibe back with you”, giving it plenty of oxygen and letting it live on in your own home. And we all want that.
2. GYPSY Sibella Court
I’ve been madly style-crushing on Sibella for as long as I can remember and she’s the awe-inspiring talent behind some of the most incredible hospitality interiors in Sydney and beyond, including the recently refurb’ed Hotel Palisade. So, naturally I have her books and this one is currently my favourite with its incredibly beautiful photography by her brother, Chris Court, capturing Sibella’s ‘vagabonding’ ways and the stunning colour palettes she extracts from objects, images and her travels.
3. SANDCASTLES Tim Neve
This book is all things coastal interiors, and yet there’s not a Hamptons theme in sight! Nor are there “Gone Fishin’” signs or starfish trinkets made in China. Sandcastles is chock-a-block FULL (all 271 pages) of absolutely stunning imagery and very insightful tips, personal anecdotes and lovely commentary, with each chapter representing a gorgeous and authentic coastal-inspired theme.
4. SHELTER: HOW AUSTRALIANS LIVE Kara Rosenlund
Dreamy. That’s the best way to describe this masterpiece by photographer and stylist Kara Rosenlund. Released just a few months ago, it documents Kara’s adventures around the country unearthing and celebrating some of Australia’s most authentic and fascinating homes and their occupants. These are rustic places off the beaten track, lovingly maintained and in harmony with their rural surrounds. And the imagery. Just. Wow. I love this book and so will anyone who enjoys perving on homes with real heart.
5. ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL THINGS Anna Spiro
Anna is part of design duo Black & Spiro, and the book actually grew out of her blog by the same name. I read this book cover to cover the very first time I sat down with it, without intending to. It is like sitting down and having a cuppa with the woman herself, so liberal is she with captivating insights into her life and projects. There’s a whole section on cushions that would solve every sofa styling scenario and her wisdom is sprinkled generously throughout each page, not just with tips and how-tos, but her own personal, honest and grounding perspective on life.
6. THE TAILORED INTERIOR Greg Natale
I have always found Mr Natale’s style to be so impeccably resolved. So amazingly, perfectly, impossibly put together. And this book is continuing that theme, with an impressively thorough insight into his “tailored and tightly edited” approach. This book gets into the detail, with a good amount of useful content to sink your teeth into and learn from, e.g. “Balance Troubleshooting” – What to do when a room just doesn’t feel quite right. You’ll be referencing this material forever.
7. HARE & KLEIN David Clark & Meryl Hare
I guarantee that you have seen Hare & Klein’s work before and fallen madly in love with it. It’s virtually impossible not to. The book is a piece of art in itself, with gorgeous page edges the colour of pomegranate. Inside, it’s an inspiring account of projects that Meryl Hare (formally Klein) has done over time, each a timeless artfully executed space that will provide inspiration well into the future.
8. THINGS I LOVE Megan Morton
Megan’s got a few books out, and thank goodness for that, because she’s got so much wisdom to share. I’ve chosen this one in particular because it’s basically four books in one, with fabulous fodder no matter what you’re in the mood for – perving on cool houses, learning about talented people, seeking inspiration in the form of gorgeous imagery on adorable tear out postcards, or invaluable lessons from Megan – right down to how to fold a fitted sheet!
9. EASY LUXURY Darren Palmer
I have had a thing for Daz, ever since he first appeared as a contestant on homeMADE several years ago. He has truly wonderful talent, and a genuine, real approach to all of his advice. He’s just seems so NICE. His personality is on every page of this book, and he has been very generous with his knowledge. So much so, that within seconds of picking this book up I knew I needed it immediately. This is a very useful resource (as well as being lovely to flick through of course). Room by room considerations, detailed storage advice… everything from planning a rebuild to cushion placement, is in here.
10. DESIGN WITH COLOUR AND STYLE Shaynna Blaze
This is an insane book for anyone who’s thinking of dabbling with colour. Having studied colour myself, I’m quite thrilled with how much detail Shaynna goes into – you could practically call it a course guide but then that wouldn’t be doing its worthiness of coffee-table display any justice. Shaynna goes into colour psychology, how to use colour to manipulate space, designing by colour for personality – everything. And she tells it like it is. Always has. She’s about realistic, beautiful applications of design techniques that everyone can achieve.
11. USING AUSTRALIAN COLOUR Janne Faulkner & Harley Anstee
The duo behind Nexus Designs have put together this divine piece of art, exploring the wide range of colours that typify Australia, and their use in interiors (all by Nexus Design) in a way that resonates with the space’s natural environment. The masterstroke is the inclusion of palettes for each image with the corresponding paint, Colorbond and laminate colours for instant relevance.
12. HOW TO DECORATE Shannon Fricke
Talk about a step-by-step guide. Wow. Shannon’s book is a thorough recipe for pulling together a beautiful space that reflects your own creativity, from start to finish. There are layers, not chapters, that neatly transition you from blank space to curated home including sections on concept design, fabrics, colours, furniture and styling. This is a text-rich book, which makes it genuine go-to literature, but there are also loads of lovely images and examples to illustrate each extremely valuable point.
Do you share my addiction? What’s your favourite coffee table book on design?
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