Home design inspiration for everyone
Ample Free Resources from Santa Barbara and Montecito Libraries
Written by Leslie Dinaberg | May 19, 2022
Looking for some inspiration for your next home improvement project? Because when Pinterest isn’t quite cutting it, our librarians Lisa Newbert (Santa Barbara) and Kimberly Creel (Montecito) curated this list of books to check out.
Small space style: Because you don’t have to live big to live beautifully Written by Whitney Lee Morris: Interior design expert Morris shares her ideas and practices for making any small space efficient and stylish – whether it’s a rustic A-frame in the woods or a chic little apartment in the city.
150 best small interior ideas By Francis Zamora Mola: Smaller living space doesn’t mean sacrificing sophistication or comfort. Here are plenty of ideas to maximize space while creating warm and inviting homes.
Design a healthy home: 100 ways to transform your space into physical and mental well-being By Oliver Heath: Simple practical tips on how to design your home for health and happiness with adjustments in lighting, air quality, acoustics, temperature, color and more.
Design the home you love: Practical design tips for making the most of your space By Lee Meyer: A new, accessible guide to the complex world of interior design.
Built for Living: Collective Interiors for All Kinds of Styles By Amber Lewis: Trade hacks from a fashion-forward designer known for creating effortlessly layered looks and modern eclectic styles.
Home Stories: Design ideas to make a home a home By Kim Leggett: Everyone has a story worth telling, and every room can become a part of that story. Learn how to create rooms full of warmth, meaning and your home’s unique story.
Feel at Home: Comfortable Interiors for a Meaningful Life Written by Lauren Lees: Discover the emotional connection between home décor and one’s daily life through the lens of the famous social media and TV star.
From home to home: design your space to match the way you live By Devi Dutta Choudhury: A modern guide to home improvement that will help you create a dynamic and comfortable space that supports your life and the way you want to live.
Hygge & West Home: Designed for a comfortable life By Christiana Coop and Aimee Lagos: Notable tastemakers have curated a look at 20 desirable homes designed to foster feelings of comfort, companionship, and comfort.
Bring the outdoors
Home Sweet Houseplant: A room-by-room guide to decorating plants By Baylor Chapman: Houseplants have the power to instantly elevate the look of your home and add your own decorations. This book shows you where and how to get started.
Wild interiors: beautiful plants in beautiful spaces By Hilton Carter: A journey into the greenery led by the unique eye of a bestselling author and a love of plants to show you how to create gorgeous interiors that not only look amazing, but are good for your well-being as well.
Decorating plants: what to choose, design methods, and how to make them bloom By Baylor Chapman: Nothing can add the energy, style, and essential “living inside” to home spaces better than a little green. Chapman shows us where to begin.
Houseplants for Everyone: How to Fill Any Home with Happy Plants Written by Dana Hurst: Handy guide to choosing and growing plants for your home, including plant profile testing.
Handpicked: simple, sustainable and seasonal flower arrangements By Ingrid Carusi: Organized by season, Carozzi’s book reveals her secrets to creating modern, original, and organic flower arrangements in style.
Vigilance and simplicity
The gentle art of Swedish death cleaning: How to free yourself and your family from a life of chaos By Margherita Magnuson: In Sweden, there is a type of disintegration called Potion cleaning (death = “death” and cleaning = “cleaning”). Magnuson instructs this surprising and stimulating process of removing unnecessary belongings sooner rather than later.
Minimalista: Your step-by-step guide to a better home, wardrobe, and life By Shera Gill: Help find your own style with this new, accessible guide to the world of interior design.
The Conscious New Home: How to Make It Yourself By Joanna Thornhill: Our spaces can play a huge role in our emotional well-being. This book explains how to harness the power of mindfulness to help your home support a more mindful lifestyle.
The Home Edit Life: A No-Guilt Guide to Owning What You Want and Organizing Everything Written by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teblin: The The New York Times Best-selling authors of Edit the home page Shows you how to contain clutter and organize every aspect of your life.
Living Simply: A Teen’s Guide to Minimalism By Sally McGraw: A discussion of minimalism as a way of life for teens, this book offers a number of suggestions and resources for young people who want to reduce their carbon footprint.
Color and creativity
A Colorful Life: Designer Gear Kavanaugh Written by Louise Sandhouse and Kat Catmore: Designer Gere Kavanaugh is an irrepressible force of nature who epitomized the craft and folk vibe of the 1960s and ’70s California design scene and remains a larger-than-life figure today.
My creative space: How to design your home to stimulate ideas and spark innovation Written by Donald M. Ratner: My Creative Space, written by a famous architect, has transformed the rich body of psychological research on workplace productivity and innovation into practical home shaping techniques.
Jungle: wild decorating By Justina Blakeney: A guide to designing creative and personalized interiors with bold choices in colors and patterns, cues from nature, and inspiration from personal heritage and travels.
Wonder Walls: How to Transform Your Space Using Colorful Geometric Shapes, Glyphs, and Other Cool Painting Techniques By Phoebe Kornog and Roxy Prima: Learn DIY wall painting techniques to help discover the possibilities of painting and see walls as a canvas. This book covers preparing walls and choosing paint, as well as step-by-step instructions.
Living in Color: Color in Contemporary Interior Design By Stella Paul and India Mahdavi: An inspiring visual journey along the color spectrum, brought to life by the finest contemporary residential interior design.
sense of place
At Home in Joshua Tree: A Field Guide to Desert Life By Sarah Combs and Rich Combs: This beautifully illustrated lifestyle guide from the creators of The Joshua Tree House shows you how to immerse your life in the desert vibe, from home designs and leisure plans to wellness rituals.
Home Sweet Maison: The French Art of Making Home Written by Daniel Postel Vinay: A vibrant, sophisticated and practical illustrated guide showing how to live like the French every day, transforming your home into a home defined by beauty, family and accessible style.
Casa California By Douglas Woods: A luxurious and comprehensive look at Spanish Colonial Revival design, presenting a grandiose portrayal of style through more than 300 color photographs.
Living in Mexico By Barbara and Renee Stolte: A peek at some of Mexico’s most notable residences. The authors have traveled far and wide, from the Costa Cary to the Yucatan Peninsula, searching for homes to surprise, delight, and inspire.
Red tile pattern: Spanish-American architecture By Arrol Gellner: A comprehensive survey of one of the most widespread and popular forms of American architecture. From huts and mansions to gas stations and government buildings, Gellner explores this diverse category of design.
Santa Barbara style By Catherine Mason: Explore the work of notable architectural figures such as Addison Mizner, Bertram Goodhue, Reginald D. Johnson, and George Washington Smith, among others.
Santa Barbara Living By Diane Durance Sykes: A beautifully illustrated book that takes readers inside the mansions and estates of contemporary Santa Barbara.
Make mid-century modern By Christopher Kennedy: This book contains 100 tips for bringing the principles of Mid-Century Modern style into any home, from the famous interior designer.
American bungalow style By Robert Winter: A display of twenty American homes exemplified the bungalow spirit that attracted thousands of buyers during the model’s heyday from 1880 to 1930.
Spanish Colonial Style: Santa Barbara and the Architecture of James Osborne Craig and Mary McLaughlin Craig By Pamela Squeeze Cox and Robert Sweeney: An ode to these influential architects, whose designs included the historic Casa de la Guaira and the Plaza Rubio complex across from Mission Rose Park.
Santa Barbara’s Private Gardens: The Art of Living Outdoors By Margie Grace: Peek into 21 iconic private gardens: grand estates, modest homes, and surf havens that range from luxurious and natural to bold and urban.
Organization tips and tricks
Organizing Martha Stewart: A guide to bringing order into your life, home, and routine By Martha Stewart: Tips, projects, and ideas on how to organize everything from America’s most trusted lifestyle authority.
In addition to a wide selection of books, the Databases and Resources page at the Santa Barbara Public Library contains information on how to sign people up for free at LinkedIn Learning, which offers a number of courses on interior design and related skills. It also contains information on accessing Skillshare (provided by the California State Library Career Paths Initiative), which also offers a great offer for interior design courses.
You can catch up on the rest of our annual Home & Garden issue here.