Read to refine and define your design skills!

Every 'design professional' (and I use that term liberally) combs through magazines and books on design and architecture to glean ideas, impressions and even lifestyle ideas!

The current onslaught of "portfolio/coffee table books" by interior designers and architects is the newest way for them to get their work out there since the economy took out most of the shelter magazines.  And trust me, just because a designer has a book does not make them a "Top Designer"... nor even a good one.

Books showing only tight shots and vignettes are useless, they provide the reader with nothing about design (I think it must mean the room is hideous if you're only showing a tight shot, riiight?)

As 'idea seekers' we want to see the whole magilla, the broad strokes, the entire formula on why that space works. That's one of the reasons most people are attracted to Architectural Digest and Veranda, they show large format photos of the entire space.

When buying design books I suggest buying them on Amazon; don't pay the full retail of $75 for new, pay $20 for a 'gently used' book.  BUT, I do suggest buying the real book and not downloading it as it's just not the same and you'll want to reference it occasionally.

Below are several books I think every designer should have in their library. Many are awesome architecture books, some are classic interiors books while others offer basic knowledge of what a 'well designed' house should have. There's also historical books showing details and ways to identify periods. 
As I try to impress upon everyone.... Regardless of wanting contemporary or traditional, the architecture needs to be good before you'll ever have a good room!

Those marked by asterisks (*)are my absolute favorites! Click on the title to be taken to Amazon for ordering info.

by Edith Wharton & Ogden Codman
(The seminal interiors book was written 110 years ago! You should read this as the common sense issues are still spot on)

by Elsie de Wolf
(One of the very first books on interior design from a renegade woman)

by Albert Hadley, Sister Parish & Christopher Petkanis
(One of America's top design firms for 60 years, great photos!)

by Thomas Jayne
(a collection of classic spaces from modern to traditional which have greatly influenced American design)

"The Man Who Defined Twentieth-Century Taste and Style"   by Adam Lewis
(He was the Dean of RISD; The original taste setter for Tiffany & Co.; A truly influential interior designer - this book's an absolute must for anyone into design! And, you probably own things he's designed!)

By Pauline Metcalf
(A trendsetter, fashion maven, and wife of internationally-renowned novelist, Somerset Maugham-created a world of ultra-chic style in the late 19th and early 20th century)

by Steven Salny
(One of America's true classical architects; he created cozy, classic homes mostly around Chicago, but still very livable and often copied)

by Samuel White
(Active around the turn of the century. Originated everything from the Newport 'shingle style' through some of America's most elegant Beaux Arts estate homes)

by Owen Wister
(A retrospective on one of America's best architectural firms)

by Virginia & Lee McAlester
(A good field guide to deciphering a homes period. Easy to use and very helpful!)

by Mary Miers
(A stunning book on the American vernacular of homes)
by Alberto Pinto
(One of the finest designers in the world shows us 'Oriental style')

by Stephanie Hoppen
(Curtains and ideas on designing them)

by Witold Rybczynski
(My favorite architectural author of all time! This book is about Andrea Palladio and the homes he designed in Italy's Veneto Region. He writes as if your right there in the house. He also has many other books: "City life" on the development of cities; "A clearing in the Distance" on Frederick Law Olmstead's development of Central Park in NYC; "Viscaya" on Miami's stunning Deering estate and many more)

by Kathleen Stoehr
(A design and idea curtain book)

by Calloway & Cromley
(The best book on interior architectural elements & details)

by Phaidon
(Residential details and photos of work)

by Harry Beckwith
(If your decorating for others this will help you negotiate fees etc.)

by Sarah Susanka
(Ideas on how to make a smaller home work; detailing why we don't need today's super-sized homes)

We all design in a vacuum, nabbing this idea or that one is how its done. Enjoy the, read, read...then you can decorate with confidence
You can do it, I'm here to help!