My favorite way to learn new concepts in interior design is simply to go ahead and try them and see how they work. In many cases, there is very little at stake. Relocating furniture for example may take a bit of work (sometimes quite a bit), but the worst that can happen is that you will have to move it back once you have finished.

However, there’s no denying that outside resources can help change your perspective. When I’m in need of a fresh point of view, the first place I usually turn is to books. Here are some of the most influential books that I’ve read recently:

Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life by Erin Gates

I read this book back when it first came out, I received it as a Christmas gift. I was quite familiar with Erin Gates’ blog before reading it, but there was still quite a bit of new information in the book that I hadn’t yet discovered. Many of the actual designs she puts forth in the book are unattainable to the average person on a budget, but you can still take away quite a bit from the concepts and apply them to your home. Overall it’s a well done book and I’d recommend it particularly if you are unfamiliar with the blog.

Elsie De Wolfe: The Birth of Modern Interior Decoration by Penny Sparke

A favorite of mine for many years now, Elsie de Wolfe goes deep into the roots of classical interior design. It is chock full of beautiful images that are sure to get your imagination moving in spite of the fact that they are black and white. I found that this gave me an advantage – by removing color from the equation you are forced to think about the principles of placement, separation, and balance. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who wants to develop a more thorough understanding of their art.

Anatomy for Interior Designers by Julius Panero

This book is a practical (and often times quite humorus) guide to interior design. While it is quite outdated in many ways, I was surprised to find how many of the themes were still applicable to today’s world. It is a very light read, and it is truly pleasurable. I wouldn’t say this is required reading by any means, but if you are interested in the subject I’m sure it is something you will enjoy.