Six inspiring design books

Six inspiring design books

Colour: Banish Beige. Boost Colour. Transform Your Home, Abigail Ahern, Quadrille
Interior designer Abigail Ahern has made colourful interiors look edgy by giving them a mysterious, gothic feel. She has created a palette of saturated and inky blues, greens and greys (think rich, free-flowing watercolour paints) which she puts together with battered leather chairs, vintage woven rugs and quirky accessories, such as her animal-shaped lamps. Arranged in half-lit period rooms, the look is almost baroque. With high-contrast photography reminiscent of filtered photos on Instagram, it’s a decor book for social-media-loving hipsters.

English Decoration, Ben Penthreath, Ryland Peters & Small
Nicky Haslam is the ideal interior designer to write the foreword to this book as his style epitomises this look; it’s witty, quirky, eclectic and quintessentially English. The author has found some wonderful examples of boho-style period homes — owned by a diverse bunch, from earls to artists — that are cosy and comfortable rather than grand, with rooms filled with overflowing bookcases, varnished parquet flooring and patterned armchairs. There is also a useful style directory at the back of the book to help you achieve the classic English look, wherever you live.

Farrow & Ball: Decorating with Colour, Ros Byam Shaw, Ryland Peters & Small
Colour co-ordinating a room is notoriously difficult, even if you are using shades as soothing as Farrow & Ball’s, as it is not obvious which colours will work well together. The paint and wallpaper company, often credited with making colour (albeit muted ones) fashionable, is a master of colour combining. In this book there are pictures of beautiful homes around the world, analysis of the decorating style and, crucially, how you can adapt these concepts in your own home. The book is divided into three main chapters: classical, country and contemporary.

Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More, Annie Sloan, CICO
Upcycling, the practice of transforming old materials into useable objects, has taken off in recent years. Restoring and repainting old chairs has become so popular that furniture-makers such as Carl Hansen & Son are now producing chairs in bright colours to give them that upcycled look. In this book, “paint legend” Annie Sloan shows how to mix colours, achieve different paint techniques, and paint furniture and more unusual pieces such as chandeliers. Warning: after reading the book you may never be able to look at another old chair without seeing it as a potential decorating project.

The Kinfolk Home, Nathan Williams, Artisan
Cool, matt photography, muted tones, rustic-chic minimalism. You’ll find it all in Kinfolk Home, which is written by the editorial team behind Kinfolk, an under-the-radar lifestyle magazine devoted to slow living, which is essentially a guide for hipsters aspiring to live the good life. From Melbourne to Santa Monica via Copenhagen, it’s a jet-set tour of 35 serene-looking homes owned by young, arty families in some of the trendiest urban locations.

The Log Book: Getting the Best from Your Wood-burning Stove, Will Rolls, Permanent
Once a niche thing, a wood-burning stove is now a status symbol for middle-class families. Not only are they easy to install and help to lower your fuel bills, they are attractive to look at, which may explain why they have become hugely fashionable in recent years. However, as anyone who owns one knows, it is not only a case of installing one and letting it do all the work — you need to look after it properly for it to work efficiently. Written by chartered forester and wood-fuel expert Will Rolls, this book shows you how to find the right fuel, season it, light the stove and operate it cleanly. Don’t expect lots of lovely pictures of stoves though — it only contains diagrams.

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