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7 inspiring new design books to add to your bookshelf

By Ela Das

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In tough times, we turn to habits that bring us comfort and momentary joy. For some, it’s the cathartic ritual of cooking or spending time with a loved one; and for others it’s an escape into a literary world through books. While the current times have made travel largely impossible, a good book can transport us to newer places right from the comfort of a cosy armchair.

With these richly illustrated design book releases, you can walk through stately gardens across the globe or learn a lesson on design from the world’s most famous architects. Whether it’s for inspiration or just a quick distraction, join us as we leaf through these pages.


by Justina Blakeney

Blakeney’s new book on blending one’s heritage into our décor is an inspiring read. Being from a mixed Black and Jewish cultural background, she found herself growing up around objects and artefacts that painted a symbolic story in her home to reflect who she was. With her personal experiences, she encourages readers to skillfully (and respectfully) bring in the vivid facets of their heritage to celebrate a truly unique style of their own. Between each vibrant spread drenched in colour interspersed with personal anecdotes, you’ll also discover useful tips on natural materials and eclectic ways to pair them.

by Tim Richardson

Landscape architect and designer Tom Stuart-Smith has designed some of the world’s most stately gardens, parks and estates in his signature style that combines naturalism and modernity. His latest book features 24 of his gardens from around the world—including India, where he’s designed BeautifulHomes.com's editor-in-chief Manju Sara Rajan’s grounds in her extraordinary home in Kerala. Illustrating his inspirations and methods through four essays and detailed photography, he offers rare insights and ideas for gardening professionals and anyone with a green thumb.

by Aaron Betsky and Gideon Fink Shapiro

Revealing the design tools Wright used to create exceptional architecture, interiors, and landscapes, this definitive volume provides lessons for thoughtful ideas to replicate in our homes today. With crisp examples, poignant visuals, original diagrams, and wisdom from the master's trove of writings on architecture and design, we get to delve into 50 learning points on Wright’s style. Whether you’re a budding architect or design enthusiast, you’ll want to keep this informal yet richly detailed guide close at hand. 

by Taschen

While art and design may seem appealing to many, it’s also a subject that can be a bit daunting—making people feel like they aren’t well-versed enough to talk about it. But, whether you’re a design rookie or fluent enthusiast, having a ready reckoner close at hand to regularly delve into the subject is always a treat. What started as an art series by Taschen in 1985 has now expanded into an architecture collection comprising works from architects such as Zaha Hadid and Le Corbusier to art schools like Bauhaus. Each book comprises an introduction to the life of the architect, their major works in chronological order, information about their clients and architectural preconditions, as well as construction problems and resolutions through 120 photographs, sketches, drafts, and plans.

by Dominic Bradbury

A term that is thrown around often is mid-century modern design—but it’s exact definition and understanding isn’t always as clear. This book, however, breaks it down for us. Described as the richest overview of mid-century design ever published, this accessible compact edition showcases diverse examples of everything from furniture, lighting, ceramics and textiles to graphics, posters, interior design and architecture. The easy guide is organized into three parts—media and masters, houses and interiors, and an illustrated dictionary on influential designers, manufacturers, organisations and schools of this design movement.

by Wally Koval

If you are reading this, chances are you are probably one of the 1.4 million followers of @AccidentallyWesAnderson on Instagram. The account started out as a hunt-style mission in 2017 for fans of the film director’s unique eye for colourfully idiosyncratic shoot locations. Today, over 200 of these Wesworld-inspired frames (captured across the globe) fill the pages of this intricately detailed book with a foreword by Anderson himself. Each perfectly symmetric pastel-hued image is paired with a detailed caption retelling the history of the structure and people in it. Locations in India include Delhi’s Humayun’s Tomb, Mumbai’s Novelty Cinema, Kerala’s Vizhinjam Old Portuguese Church, Amer Fort, Jaipur’s Hawa Mahal, Udaipur’s Lake Pichola and the Gulmarg Gondola.

by Tyler Brule

Taking us on a tour across 20 homes around the world, this handsome guide by Monocle shares rich photography, inspiring stories ­and handy tips on making the most of any living space. From mid-century style to homes in the middle of nowhere, we get to read about the functional designs that make for exceptional homes. And, what makes the communities around them tick. With inspiring conversations on the art of unique details to a little black book on pieces every home should have, there’s plenty of inspiration within these pages. 

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