7 Best Interior Design Textbooks (2023 Review)

If you are looking to become an architect or interior designer, you must study beyond the university curriculum and avail yourself of the technical expertise of famous practitioners.

best interior design books

Best Interior Design Textbooks: Our Top 7 Picks

Whether you want a school of design in a book or you simply desire a practical encyclopedia for creative interiors, we bring you the 7 best interior design textbooks that will ultimately be of immense help.

These updated and illustrated design textbooks cover everything you must know about interior decorations. From ideation to execution, these books cover vital topics such as interior spaces, furniture and fixtures, artwork and accessories, and spatial environments among others. Interestingly enough, some of these textbooks can be used to prepare for relevant examinations and certifications in the field.

1. NCIDQ Interior Design Reference Manual, Seventh Edition


Just as the title indicates, this book an interior design reference manual that is suitable for those preparing for NCIDQ examinations. This theoretical and practical textbook covers the fundamental (IDFX), professional (IDPX), and practicum (PRAC) sections of the examinations. This 7th edition contains study guidelines, updated design topics, and project and business management for professionals.

Author(s): David Kent Ballast

Publisher: PPI a Kaplan Company

Current Edition: Paperback, 7th Edition (July 20, 2021)

Pages: 702

2. New York School of Interior Design: Home: The Foundations of Enduring Spaces


This textbook utilizes the Home Study Course of the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) and covers a broad range of subjects on home design and decoration. It even addresses furniture and fixtures as well as color themes for the best visual appeals. It has many illustrations to teach the students who want to sit for décor examinations and professionals who want to set up a commercial practice.

One of the authors, Ellen S. Fisher, is the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Dean of the New York School of Interior Design; she is a certified Interior Designer in New York and runs a commercial design practice in the state. The second author, Jen Renzi, is a special projects editor at Interior Design magazine and the author of various books on decorations.

Author(s): Ellen S. Fisher and Jen Renzi

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Current Edition: Hardcover, Illustrated Edition (March 2006)

Pages: 464

3. The Interior Design Handbook: Furnish, Decorate, and Style Your Space


This is one interior design handbook that doesn’t just reveal the best ways to arrange furniture and lighting fixtures, it explains the reasonings behind each arrangement. This illustrated décor textbook does not just explain the principles of interior styling; it reveals the “why” behind the principles. It is written for students, interior décor professionals, and homemakers who take pride in every item within their house.

Given that this interior design handbook covers indoor furnishing, decoration, and styling, it gets more practical with the knowledge that it is written by the founder of one of Scandinavia’s most prominent design blogs on interior decors, and a best-selling Swedish coach on home designs. If you are passionate about interior decorations, then you must get this textbook for deeper insights.

Author(s): Frida Ramstedt and Mia Olofsson

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Current Edition: Hardcover, Illustrated Edition (October 2020)

Pages: 240

4. Interior Design Master Class: 100 Lessons from America’s Finest Designers on the Art of Decoration


This textbook is titled the Interior Design Master Class because it actually features the wisdom and techniques of 100 topical experts in the American interior industry. It covers the works and contributions of 100 American design legends on the fundamentals and professionalism of home decors. Arranged in themes, it covers many practical subjects that range from floor plans, home comfort, lighting and fixtures, couture, and glamor to vintage modern among others.

This book is an invaluable resource that is filled with color illustrations, diagrams, annotations, and depths of interior designs to get you hooked. It is written by a prominent textile design and interior décor expert with decades of hands-on experience in the interior design sector.

Author(s): Carl Dellatore

Publisher: Rizzoli

Current Edition: Hardcover, Annotated Edition (October 2016)

Pages: 352

5. Foundations of Interior Design: Studio Instant Access


A practical book on interior design is best written by an academic and professional, and that can be said of Foundations of Interior Design: Studio Instant Access, authored by a lecturer in the Department of Interior Design of the Fashion Institute of Technology, and the New York University. Susan Slotkis covers the foundations of home décor and architectural space management to teach potential professionals the rudiments of the profession.

In its third edition, this interior design textbook features residential homes and commercial facility interior decors from across the United States and beyond. According to the author, the book also contains the “contribution of many interior designers, those who work independently or as part of large firms is demonstrated in the choice of illustrations and case studies.” It also contains personalized study tips and quizzes as well as flashcards of conceptual terms.

Author(s): Susan J. Slotkis

Publisher: Fairchild Books

Current Edition: Papercover, Third Edition (February 2006)

Pages: 512

6. The Fundamentals of Interior Design


A lecturer at Portsmouth School of Architecture at the University of Portsmouth in the UK, Stephen Anderson expanded upon the key concepts and professional elements of interior designs contained in the first edition of The Fundamentals of Interior Design textbook. This updated edition covers the design ideation to executing them in three-dimensional form to structural guidelines required for aesthetic interior decorations.

Written for students and practitioners, this illustrative and detailed book on home decoration features case studies on globally celebrated interior designers and studios. It also contains practical projects that readers can experiment with to background what they understand from preceeding chapters. This is one book recommended for everyone interested in interior design as prospective career.

Author(s): Simon Dodsworth and Stephen Anderson

Publisher: Bloomsbury Visual Arts

Current Edition: Paperback, Second Edition (February 2019)

Pages: 208

7. The Interior Design Reference & Specification Book Updated & Revised: Everything Interior Designers Need to Know Every Day


Students and professionals of interior decorations now have a comprehensive encyclopedia of interior design resource in a handy textbook. The Interior Design Reference and Specification Book contains a revised and updated handbook of everything interior designers need to know every day. With detailed charts and actionable diagrams, the book covers the fundamentals, space, surface, environments, elements, and resources of home decors.

According to the authors, the book “is an essential sourcebook for designers, students of design, and anyone undertaking an interior design project,” and that’s you! The authors are masters at architecture and project coordinations for small and corporate clients, and they have seen it all in the sector. With several certifications and publications to their credit, they are suitably qualified to teach on interior design to learners at all levels.

Author(s): Chris Grimley and Mimi Love

Publisher: Rockport Publishers

Current Edition: Paperback, Illustrated Edition (January 2018)

Pages: 288


There are hundreds of academic and professional textbooks for interior design in the market, but the seven highlighted and reviewed in this guide trump them all. The practical value of these resources lies in the field knowledge of the authors and that is unquantifiable. That makes the books suitable for academic studies and professional careers. And they come in all formats – hardcover, papercover, Kindle edition, and other digital formats.