Five design books that everyone should own

For interiors advice and ideas, these are the essential reads.

Five essential design books that everyone should own.
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A Girl's Guide to Decorating by Abigail Ahern

Despite the title, this book is as far removed from girlie-girl pastel or floral interiors as you can get. Ahern celebrates the eclectic, the daring and the bold in this book, which combines do-it-yourself skills (how to rehang cupboard doors or how to build flat-pack furniture) with photographs of gorgeous, dramatic rooms. The focus is on re-embellishing and reinventing what you already own rather than going out and spending a fortune on everything new. Decorating takes on a more meaningful twist as Ahern encourages readers to look within themselves to create a home that reflects who they are.

82 Modern Style Ideas to Create at Home by Tamara Maynes

This book does exactly what the title suggests, offering 82 contemporary craft and do-it-yourself projects that can quickly jazz up a stale-looking room. This isn't chintzy, but rather very cool, modern craft. The projects really are simple (no longer than a page) and some of them will have you wishing you'd thought of it yourself. Easy but effective updates include draping a table with a vintage flag, tattooing your floor and creating a huge, messy wall of postcards as a design feature.

Simply Wonderwoman by Joanna Gosling

Unpatronising and useful, the first half of Simply Wonderwoman runs over the basic practicalities and tasks that some of us are too embarrassed to ask advice on or end up spending money paying a professional to do, such as how to unblock a toilet or how to bleed a radiator, while the second part focuses on the more fun aspects of creative projects. Unlike many other books, Simply Wonderwoman doesn't assume you already know everything there is about craft; there is a simple stripped-back guide to sewing to get you started, which is perfect for beginners.

Decorate by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick

For those who find the idea of a blank canvas completely overwhelming, Decorate offers focus and advice to help you define what you like and figure out how to develop your tastes into a fully decorated room. While Decorate is full of beautiful photography, it's more of a reference book than something to just ogle over, which makes it as useful as it is inspiring. Start by assessing your space, then move onto the second section of the book, which talks about how to look for inspiration if you have absolutely no idea what you want or like.

Design Sponge at Home: A Guide to Inspiring Homes and All The Tools You Need to Create Your Own by Grace Bonney

Grace Bonney is the mastermind behind the Design Sponge website, a resource full of home inspiration, before-and-afters, DIY projects and peeks into fabulous and original homes. This book is an extension of what the website does best, concentrating on how to do up your home without spending a fortune. There are tours of homes that have been put together thriftily, as well as projects that cater to all levels of craftiness, from making picture frames to quilting.