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Paint Box, by Tricia Guild | Courtesy of Hardie Grant Books
Paint Box, by Tricia Guild | Courtesy of Hardie Grant Books
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Inspired by Design: Books We Loved in 2017

Picture of Amber C. Snider
Home & Design Editor
Updated: 16 November 2017
A roundup of our favorite home, design and architecture books from 2017. From coffee table tomes to elegant DIY design, this curated list has a little bit of everything.

Living with Plants

Courtesy of Hardie Grant Books
Courtesy of Hardie Grant Books

Within the elegant, chic manual Living with Plants, Sophie Lee not only breaks down the golden rules for plant care in the home, but also how to “style” your greenery. Chapters include step-by-step guides on how to make macramé plant hangers, terrariums, marbling plant pots, and even a kokedama (Japanese hanging moss ball). Almost everything you want to know about incorporating greenery in the home is within this down-to-earth, biophilic read.

Paint Box

Courtesy of Hardie Grant Books
Courtesy of Hardie Grant Books

Let’s face it: creating a color palette for your home can be daunting. What if you end up picking clashing colors for your living room? How do you know which shades work well together? Balancing contrasting colors and textures is an art form, and it’s one that Tricia Guild has mastered. Within its nearly 200 pages, Paint Box provides readers with 45 color palettes to nail the perfect look, complete with mood boards, decorating tips, and more. From mid-century modern to Venetian marbling to reflections of China, you’re sure to fine-tune your interior aesthetic and find inspiration in this book.

Modern Scandinavian Design

Courtesy of Laurence King
Courtesy of Laurence King

We called it the ‘ultimate coffee book of 2017’ and for good reason. Modern Scandinavian Design is a comprehensive, beautifully illustrated guide to practically everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the Scandinavian design tradition. It covers work from 1925 to the present day, with designers from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden. If you want to explore why trends like hygge and lagom have such an mass appeal, it’s probably best to start here.

Behind Closed Curtains: Interior Design in Iran

Courtesy of Lena Späth
Courtesy of Lena Späth

Young author Lena Späth “captured the beauty, intricacy and vibrancy of Iranian interior design” in her new book Behind Closed Curtains: Interior Design in Iran. After attending school in Iran and falling in love, Späth decided to take an intimate look at the décor inside real homes while she was there. The result, according to design editor Charlotte Luxford, is a “rare glimpse inside the houses of ordinary people with extraordinarily beautiful homes.” A notable highlight is the property of Sufi Shahidzadeh Falsafi, based in Esfahan.

Made in North Korea: Graphics From Everyday Life in the DPRK

Made in North Korea: Graphics From Everyday Life in the DPRK
Made in North Korea: Graphics From Everyday Life in the DPRK | Courtesy of Phaidon Press

Over a 25 year period, Nick Bonner visited North Korea and collected a series of found objects: candy wrappers, food labels, comic books, postcards, and more. Eventually, his “hoarding” became a carefully curated collection of design ephemera and artifacts – rarely seen outside the country. In this new book from Phaidon Press, these East Asian design remnants offer fascinating insight into the notoriously closed off country.

Black Architecture in Monochrome

Black Architecture in Monochrome
Black Architecture in Monochrome | © Phaidon

Who knew black could be so versatile? In this new book from Phaidon Press, Black: Architecture in Monochrome explores the elegance and drama of 150 black structures from around the world. Built by some of the world’s greatest architects, including Eero Saarinen and Mies van der Rohe, some of the featured buildings date back nearly 1,000 years. Can’t get enough of black? Explore the darker side of design with The Book of Black, which was also published earlier this year.

© Raw Architecture Workshop

Modern Retro Home

Modern Retro Home
Modern Retro Home | Courtesy of Hardie Grant Books

Mid-century modern may not be for everyone, but James Grant sure nails it in Modern Retro Home. The result is a reinterpreted, updated version of mid-century modern décor with a few industrial, bohemian touches thrown in the mix. Grant takes the reader through a series of stunningly chic rooms inspired by the ’60s and ’70s in this new book.

Ettore Sottsass (New Edition)

Ettore Sottsass
Ettore Sottsass | Courtesy of Phaidon Press

Published in July 2017, this new monograph by Phaidon chronicles the life work of the imitable 20th-century designer Ettore Sottsass. Readers can explore Sottsass’s quirky, rebellious modern designs through this nearly 500 page, richly illustrated tome. The book also marks the 100th year anniversary of Sottsass’s birth. With major international exhibitions held this year at New York City’s The Met Breuer and the Cini Foundation in Venice, Sottsass’s designs are “more relevant than ever,” and offer an intellectual, yet playful reprieve in a time when things don’t feel so lighthearted.

100 Houses 100 Years

Courtesy of Twentieth Century Society
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Society

The title says it all. In this 2017 book from Twentieth Century Society, 100 Houses 100 Years showcases 100 British buildings that push the limits of design, offering a unique glimpse into their histories and styles. Explore Britain’s architectural heritage with this 208 page survey, which includes works by Giles Gilbert Scott, Powell and Moya, and David Chipperfield, and commentary by leading critics and design historians.

Cullinan-Harbour House
Cullinan-Harbour House | © Clive Frost

Want more highlights from 2017? Check out Culture Trip’s roundup of the best design and architecture stories from the past year here.