If you need interior design inspiration, there’s nothing like browsing through books. The idea, of course, is not to copy what’s in the book but to come up with a personal version of what’s in it.
600 Decorating Ideas is filled with picture-pretty ideas. Although most are ornamental without being truly functional, this book provides enough inspiration to make me break out of my usual interior decorating preferences. I especially love how ordinary grass was transformed into a chic indoor plant.
Window Treatments is a gem. Not only does it discuss the different types of windows, it also includes information about materials and practical considerations. Although a third of the content I found useless (I loathe swags and valances), the sections about blinds and shades were really great.
Kitchens isn’t exactly a book. It is a specialty magazine published by kitchen designers and professionals and most probably in connivance with manufacturers of kitchen appliances and accessories. There are some very good articles though including some scientific measurements for designing a kitchen that can handle human traffic well. What’s great about the magazine is the information on top-of-the-line kitchen appliances and fixtures — undermount sinks, kitchen islands that really work, energy-efficient freezers… Of course, there’s probably a bias in favor of the sponsors/advertisers but you can sift through the muck and get the meat that’s worth remembering.