The best design books of the year

The best design books from 2020 to add to your wishlist

The best design books from 2020 to add to your wishlist
The best design books from 2020 to add to your wishlist
(Image credit: c)

There's always room for the year's best design books on your shelf or coffee table.

When it comes to gathering inspiration for your modern home, there is an almost overwhelming wealth of information out there. But if you're tired of mindless scrolling and want to cut through the noise, a beautiful design-focused book can be a very special treat.

Here are some of 2020's best design books to inspire and delight.

Jenny Rose-Innes

Explore the spaces that 20 leading interior designers call home

(Image credit: Jenny Rose-Innes)

British Designers at Home by Jenny Rose-Innes, £30

Hands up who loves nothing more than having a snoop around the carefully curated homes of design experts? That's all of us then. This enthralling book grants access to over 20 of the most important names in British design and decoration. You'll gawp at Robert Kime's antique-filled flat, immediately Google Carlos Sanchez-Garcia's farmhouse in Norfolk, and lust after Veere Grenney's London house, with its walls of silk velvet. Other names include Emma Burns, Nina Campbell and Beata Heuman.


A Maximalist masterclass from British designer Abigail Ahern

(Image credit: Ahern)

Everything: A Maximalist Style Guide by Abigail Ahern, £30

Welcome to the world of 'more is more' decorating, where too much is never enough - or as it's more commonly known, Maximalism. One of the world's most exciting designers, Abigail Ahern, imparts her wisdom on developing a style, having fun with design and creating ambience. All her advice is accompanied by images of her engaging, layered interiors. If you're bored by the stark white interiors on the 'gram consider this book the perfect antidote.


Get lost in the pages of this collection of modern retreats

(Image credit: escapology)

Escapology by Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan

This stunning book of retreats by the Scottish interior designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan could not tap into the zeitgeist more if it tried. We've all done too much domestic time in 2020 and long to get away. This collection features both the classic and contemporary - think cabins by the sea, remote getaways in the woods, and rustic mountain hideouts, all perfect ways to inspire peaceful reflection and restorative living. The authors genuinely believe that escaping has a remarkably positive impact on our health and our happiness, and we couldn't agree more.

live beautiful

See how creatives decorate their own spaces to reflect their personal style

(Image credit: live beautiful)

Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone, £25

Athena Calderone, the EyeSwoon creator, taps into her little black book of interior decorator and designer contacts to look into how creatives decorate their own spaces. This is a sumptuous book celebrating finding a style that reflects your personality, with peeks inside the pads of big names including Pamela Shamshiri and Laure Hériard Dubreuil. It's central message - that beautiful design isn’t just pleasant to look at, but life-improving - is one we should all live by.


The whimsical Insta feed gets its own book

(Image credit: Wally)

Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval, £25

If you're not following @accidentallywesanderson, Instagram you need to remedy that right now. It's full of photos of pastel-hued, hyper-stylised and quite possibly symmetrical structures and interiors that could be straight out of a Wes Anderson film. This book is a celebration of the very defined aesthetic of the cult-favourite director, with a brilliant foreword by Anderson himself. 


Learn where the world's top designers look for inspiration around the globe

(Image credit: Travel)

Travel by Design by Peter Sallick and Michael Boodro, approx £75 

In a year in which travel has been out of reach for most of us, this collection of over 350 travel photos by architects and designers, accompanied by their musings on their favourite places in the world, is a great big hug of a book. Learn where the world's top designers look for inspiration, and marvel at the power travel has to shape and expand our world. Here’s to more of it in a better world in 2021. This isn't available in the UK yet, so ask your local bookstore to order it for you.

Read about this classic design of a bookcase could change how you display your books.

Emma Ledger is not only an esteemed lifestyle journalist but is also an illustrator. Her words appear in publications such as Livingetc, The Independent, The Mirror, The Sun and Fabulous magazine, while her drawings have made it onto maps and cards. She is also a mentor at Centrepoint.