7 books that will make your home instantly more beautiful

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For more space, light, colour and plants, these are the interiors guides you need in your life. 

Do you feel like your home needs a bit of an update? If your home office is a cluttered disaster and your sitting room feels a bit stale, whether you’re renting or own your own place, a raft of new interior design books are all about making the most of the space you have without the need to knock down walls or signing up for an episode of Grand Designs. By applying simple principles, including better light, curating and presenting pieces that you love, bringing in nature by adding plants and ensuring that everything has a place within your home, these books are all about transforming your space into something you will love and feel inspired by. 

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From an incredible book from the co-founder of The Modern Home estate agency to incredibly useful DIY hacks from Laura De Barra, the new books all give you a new perspective on your living space. With gorgeous imagery, useful takeaway advice that you can refer to again and again and a thoughtful approach to interior design, the best thing about these books is that they’re beautiful. So not only will you get practical tips and ideas, you’ll also be able to use them as gorgeous displays on your coffee table. Win and win. 

  • Best for rethinking your space in a new way: A Modern Way To Live by Matt Gibberd

    This in-depth guide is written by Matt Gibberd, co-founder of the lifestyle brand and estate agent The Modern House. Known for its portfolio of covetable homes, Gibberd realised that many of the houses that his company features have been designed along similar principles with a focus on space, light, materials, nature and decoration.

    By exploring houses and flats he knows (all amply illustrated with gorgeous photography), Gibberd explores how these principles can be applied to any home. Including useful tips on bringing plenty of light in to your home (buy an extra-long curtain pole so you can pull material away from your windows during the day) and bringing nature inside (scaffold planks in front of a window filled with plants act both as a screen and a way to bring greenery into a home). This is a book filled with such insight and detail that you’ll be rearranging and rethinking your space in the most useful of ways.

    Shop A Modern Way To Live by Matt Gibberd (Penguin Life) at Bookshop, £25

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  • Best for planning: Mad About The House Planner by Kate Watson-Smyth

    If you’re anything like us, you’re probably full of plans for your home but a bit useless at putting them into practice. Enter Kate Watson-Smyth, aka Mad About The House. Watson-Smyth’s first book became a cult interiors classic when it was released last year and this companion planner is all you need to see through ideas from conception to reality. Covering everything from home offices to the bedroom, this book is a step-by-step guide with spaces for sketching floor plans, choosing colour and homewares and writing down plans to make things happen. It’s also full of useful design principles (two hooks in the hallway means each person can hang their coat then place their shoes in a basket).

    Shop Mad About The House Planner by Kate Watson-Smyth (Pavilion) at Bookshop, £18.99

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Light and space from A Modern Way To Live
  • Best for unusual inspiration: London Shop Fronts by Emma J Page and Rachael Smith

    This small but perfectly formed hardback jaunt through some of the capital’s most iconic and loved shops is a celebration of aesthetics and makes for great interiors inspiration. From the colour-coordinated shelves of glass jars at JamJars Flowers to the curated displays of Marchpane children’s bookshop, this title is great at showing how minimalism and maximalism can both look amazing so long as you totally commit. The Town House antiques shop will leave you longing for exposed floors while fourth-generation greengrocer W Martyn will have you rethinking how you display food packets in your kitchen. 

    Shop London Shop Fronts by Emma J Page and Rachael Smith (Hoxton Mini Press) at Bookshop, £22.95

    Hello Darling from London Shop Fronts
    • Best for reorganising the things you own: Curate by Lynda Gardener and Ali Heath

      Australian interior stylist and boutique hotelier Lynda Gardener and interior writer Ali Heath have joined forces to explore how we can create beautiful spaces by focusing on the pieces that bring us joy. From vintage finds to possessions that mean so much to our lives, the manifesto behind Curate is all about creating a personal backdrop that reflects who you are, using the principles of palette, nature, textiles, lighting, a combination of old and new, storage, collections and art (feeding into the same ideas behind Matt Gibberd’s A Modern Way To Live). The best bit about the book is that it’s not asking you to spend money reworking your space – the existing pieces are there for the taking. 

      Shop Curate by Lynda Gardener and Ali Heath (Octopus) at Bookshop, £30

      • Best for practical knowledge: Décor Galore by Laura De Barra

        Cork-born Gaff Goddess Laura de Barra is known for her guides to DIY and home hacks, and in this new book, she unites her love of interiors with practical tips and tricks. Moving through every area of the home (for both renters and home owners), she forensically discusses everything from low-level lighting in the living room to the necessary height of bedside units. Full of essential advice that most interior design books never consider, it covers everything from how to test (and fix) low water pressure and why Turkish cotton is so good for towels (it has a faster drying time; Egyptian cotton actually retains moisture) to choosing the right type of paint for your walls. Endlessly fascinating, this will become your go-to home encyclopaedia.  

        Shop Decor Galore by Laura De Barra (Transworld) at Bookshop, £16.98

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      • Best for visual moodboards: The Art Of Home by Story Of My Home

        From the team behind Story Of My Home, The Art Of Home is a glorious riot of imagery designed to spark your imagination. Rainbows of sofa colours nestle against gallery walls, seasonal wreaths, bright front doors, clever storage solutions and home offices under the stairs. Each section has helpful hints and advice (if you’d rather not notice your TV when it’s not in use, paint the wall behind it a dark colour), explains how to recreate looks, and what should take priority when it comes to your home (especially if you’re renting). 

        Shop The Art Of Home by Story Of My Home (Bonnier) at Bookshop, £14.99

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      Bathroom inspiration from The Art Of Home
      • Best for plant ambitions: The Little Book For Plant Parents by Felicity Hart

        This handy go-to guide for plants (how to clean them without damaging the leaves, how to make sure your house plants are animal-friendly and how to plant them in different receptacles) also features an uplifting selection of quotations that act as reminders as to why we need more greenery in our lives: both for our mental and physical wellbeing. The perfect handbook for indoor plants for both beginners and those with green fingers, it also makes for an excellent gift.

        Shop The Little Book For Plant Parents by Felicity Hart (Summersdale) at Bookshop, £8.99

        Images: courtesy of publishers

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