Shutterstock 461619931 web

6 books for using colour in interior design


This blog post is about the interior design books we have all loved that speak to us specifically for colour inspiration.

As you know, though, design knowledge and inspiration can come from everywhere, so while we’re especially intending this post for interior designers, every other kind of designer is welcome too!

These books have been more useful to us than any university lecture or over-priced colour wheel that designers can buy, and we’re excited to share them with you today!

In no particular order, let’s get to it.

Shutterstock 461619931 web
Shutterstock 461619931 web

A Perfectly Kept House Is the Sign of a Misspent Life, Mary Randolph Carter

Our list of colour design books begins with the gloriously titled, “A Perfectly Kept House Is the Sign of a Misspent Life: How to Live Creatively with Collections, Clutter, Work, Kids, Pets, Art, Etc... and Stop Worrying about Everything Being Perfectly in Its Place”, by professional hoarder, Mary Randolph Carter.

You’ll love this book if you, like her, prefer your living space to speak more about your real life, dreams and loves, rather than be a beautifully cold, sterile showroom.

Colour and texture really bring a home to life, giving your ideas and inspirations tangible expression. A complete must for collectors, life-lovers and exuberant colour designers everywhere.

Simplicity, Nancy Braithwaite

Nancy Braithwaite’s Simplicity turns down the volume way down on the maximalism backed by Mary Randolph Carter’s book.

In terms of colour and interior design, Baithwaite argues that simplicity itself can be opulent. If you’re reaching for a space filled with a Shaker-design-like purity, you’ll need this book in your arsenal.

There’s an entire section of Simplicity devoted solely to use of colour in your interiors which makes this book a must-not-miss.

Shutterstock 461619931 web
Shutterstock 461619931 web

The Colour Scheme Bible: Inspirational Palettes for Designing Home Interiors, Anna Starmer

No list about colour design resources would be complete without a book with that kind of title. Starmer was right in naming her book a ‘bible’: this thing is huge. Be prepared to be blissfully overwhelmed by colour and design inspiration.

The Colour Scheme Bible is kind of like Pantone’s 35 Inspirational Color Palettes for the Home, except it features far more than 35 colour palettes (over 200 actually) and is more in-depth and lengthy than Pantone’s colour palette book.

Covering areas like how colour contributes to creating a certain atmosphere to how it can give the illusion of space and depth, there’s nothing we don’t like about The Colour Scheme Bible.

Bonus tip: we also recommend checking out Starmer’s newest book on colour design: Love Colour: Choosing Colours to Live With. Published at the end of 2018, we are racing through this book as a companion text to the Colour Scheme Bible.

Always useful.

Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating, Lauren Liess

Lauren Liess, the interior designer behind the popular blog Pure Style Home takes colour inspiration from the great outdoors in this interior design guide.

With an entire section on colour in part one, Habitat is a must-have for minimalist designers and maximalist aficionados alike.

Mixing natural elements of wood and stone with vintage and modern pieces for an eclectic interior, Habitat focuses on neutral tones and is a must-have for every designer out there looking to make an understated splash.

Shutterstock 461619931 web
Shutterstock 461619931 web

Black and White (and a Bit in Between): Timeless Interiors, Dramatic Accents, and Stylish Collections), Celerie Kemble

Are you searching to bump up your expertise on monochrome colour palettes? Do you seriously love the work of interior designers like Dorothy Draper and Madeleine Castaing?

It’s your lucky day! We’re recommending this book as it’s all that and more. Best known for working primarily in vivid colour palettes, acclaimed designer Celerie Kemble trades it all in for this romp through the world of black and white interior design.

Black and White (and a Bit in Between) is a fabulous homage to the iconic black and white work of interior design luminaries, including Bunny Williams, Thomas O’Brien, Mary McDonald, Victoria Hagan, Mark Hampton, Delphine Krakoff, Brad Ford, Philip Gorrivan, Carrier and Co., and Miles Redd.

You’ll learn from the best in this one.

Colour: The Professional's Guide: Understanding and Mastering Colour in Art, Design and Culture, Karen Triedman

Rounding off our recommendations, Colour: The Professional's Guide is a kind of fusion of everything we love about the other books in our colour design library.

Focusing on the enduring quality of colour in both interior design as well as the idea and theory of colour in visual culture as a whole, Triedman’s book is an in-depth guide for design and visual professionals no matter what their discipline.

6 indispensable books about colour for interior designers

In this post we’ve looked at books that have been useful and motivating to our team of designers. Has our list left you desperate for even more colour and design inspiration?


Check out our Pinterest for the latest in luscious colour palettes.

Related articles