Is there anything better than lounging out in the warm summer shade, sipping on your favorite cocktail, and reading a great book? If you think of anything, let us know in the comments.
Just in time for your Independence Day break and summer vacations, we’ve created a list of 5 books that we recommend you download to your e-reader, or check out from your local library if you’re old school. Some are stories that feature a character who decorates, while some others are non-fiction inspirational page turners. Regardless of your personal preference, we think there’s something for everyone on this list.
So, without further ado, here are our 5 book recommendations for your summer reading to help inspire your inner designer:
1. Wild Interiors: Beautiful Plants in Beautiful Spaces by Hilton Carter (2020)
This book is full of incredible images in vibrant color showcasing various spaces decorated with all sorts of plants. Along with the gorgeous photos, the author includes useful interior design advice, tips for keeping your plants alive, and his top-10 list of his favorite houseplants. If you’ve been dreaming of becoming a “plant parent” and decorating your home with live plants rather than fake ones, this is a great place to start.
2. Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey (2015)
This is a fictional novel that is chock full of great interior design tips. The story features two main characters, including one who is an interior designer. The two leads, a biological mother and adoptive mother, go back and forth speaking to their daughter with each chapter. And nearly every time it’s the interior designer’s turn to speak in a chapter, it starts with a useful tidbit about her decorating process or a more general design tip. If you enjoy a feel-good story about family life in the South, which also helps you redecorate your home, this is the one for you.
3. A Room of Her Own: Inside the Homes and Lives of Creative Women by Robin Lea (2021)
This coffee table-worthy book is the perfect choice for design lovers looking to sneak a peek into the homes and studios of 20 creative women. In this book, you’ll meet designers, directors, painters, writers, chefs, jewelers, curators and rebels who use their lives – and homes – as a canvas to tell their uncompromising stories. Part biography, part interior design study and fully inspirational, A Room of Her Own is a visual feast of colors, patterns, textures, style and design that celebrates diversity, individuality and the amazing power of the creative spirit.
4. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House by Eric Hodgins (1946)
This story is timeless. The story is fictional, but it’s based on the author’s real-life experience buying a property and building and designing his dream house, but various hurdles caused the project to go way over budget. In the story, the characters deal with mounting bills, unhappy workers, and rude neighbors. We know that many of you can relate. It’s an international best seller, and the story was even adapted to feature films starring a-list actors like Cary Grant (Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House) and Chevy Chase (Money Pit), as well as to radio plays.
5. Room for Improvement by Stacey Ballis (2006)
This is another fictional novel for fans of HGTV and light reads. It’s actually a love story framed by an HGTV style show similar to Trading Spaces. The main character is an interior designer who participates in a new reality TV show where she and the other participant have four days to give each other home makeovers. After, they have to invite their single friends over to a mixer in their newly styled space, whether they love the new look or not. This book has a 4-star rating and is sure to keep you entertained while you sip your mimosas in the sunshine.
We’d love to know what you’re reading this summer. Leave us a comment with your reading list or any suggestions you’d like to add to the list above.