20 Go-To Interior Design Books for Students and Beginners

NJD 20 Books For Your Interior Design Business

I consider the titles on this list staples of an Interior Designers personal library. Books you will read, reread and reference time and time again. I see seasoned designers (myself included) recommending these books to beginners almost daily. If you've been in the design game a while, many of these titles are likely already in your collection. If not, I'm sure at least a few are on your wish list.

These subjects are the foundation of our trade. Clearances, interior details, residential code, branding, accounting, business practices and sound advice. Edith Wharton first published The Decoration of Houses in 1897 and Elsie De Wolfe followed with The House in Good Taste in 1914. Both are still in publication. What more needs to be said? Time-Saver Standards is known as the Interior Designers Silver Bible and Chings Building Construction Illustrated is in its 5th edition and still used in colleges across the country. I've owned some of these books for almost 20 years and I still find myself turning a page and learning something new.

Click on the book covers or the list of titles below the images to learn more or purchase a few classics for your library.


20 Go-To Interior Design Books For Students And Beginners


Row 1:
Time-Saver Standards for Interior Design and Space Planning / The Silver Bible
The Interior Designer Productivity Toolbox, Phyllis Harbinger
A Field Guide to American Houses, Virginia Savage McAlester
Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use & Avoid, Marianne Cusato

Row 2:
Building Construction Illustrated 5th Edition, Francis D.K. Ching
Interior Detailing: Concept to Construction, David Kent Ballast
Residential Interior Design: A Guide To Planning Spaces, Maureen Mitton
Interior Construction & Detailing for Designers & Architects, David Kent Ballast

Row 3:
Interior Design Reference Manual: Everything You Need to Know to Pass the NCIDQ Exam, David Kent Ballast
The Codes Guidebook for Interiors, Katherine E. Kennon
NKBA Professional Resource Library, 9 Volume Set
Branding + Interior Design: Visibility and Business Strategy for Interior Designers, Kim Kuhteubl

Row 4:
Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine, Mike Michalowicz
Business of Design: Volume 1: Have the Professional Life You've Always Wanted, Kimberley Seldon
Business of Design: Volume 2: Make Every Project Satisfying for Both You and Your Client, Kimberley Seldon
Business of Design: Volume 3: Win the Flat Fee Game, Kimberley Seldon

Row 5:
Design Directory of Window Treatments, Jackie Von Tobel
Interior Design Master Class: 100 Lessons from America's Finest Designers on the Art of Decoration, Carl Dellatore
The House in Good Taste, Elsie De Wolfe
The Decoration of Houses, Edith Wharton


Which indispensable books have you added to your library?

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