At HomeHero we keep our office shelves stocked with new and interesting home books, whether that’s the latest take on minimalism or a guide on how not to kill the office plants.
Here are 5 recommended reads to optimise your living space, raise those design credentials and create a space that minimises stress.
1. The Practical Interior Designer
Your home is your castle. It is also the backdrop to your Instagram shots. The place you worry about impressing your in-laws. And the haven you return to for some peace and calm.
The more stressful office life becomes and the more “working from home” is a legitimate option for the workforce, the more we look to interiors to turn our homes into peaceful, meditative spaces.
Today we fret about new problems like how to include a home office in our flats, where to put the meditation corners, and how to embrace minimalism without sacrificing on design.
So, we’re currently reading Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave by Joanna Gaines. The famed TV interior designer takes your through her impossibly chic farmhouse, room-by-room talking you through how to find your authentic style. It also includes a removable design template at the back of the book with a step-by-step guide to sketching out your designs.
2. Coffee Table Books
Let’s talk about coffee table books for a moment. They get a bad rep, mostly because they’re seen as purely decorative or something to spark pre-dinner conversation.
As early as 1759 novelist Laurence Stern joked that there was no use writing something that ended up as a ‘book for a parlour window’ — all style and no substance.
In defence of coffee table books, they’ve opened up a medium for subjects too wide and roaming to be confined by small pages. According to the inventor of the modern coffee table book, David Brower, their beauty is that:
“The eye must be required to move about within the boundaries of the image, not encompass it all in one glance.”
In fact, any afternoon spent in London’s Maison Assouline — the heart of coffee table books — will serve to remind you why they are a necessary touch for those who table their interiors seriously. No shame in that.
Check out our current favourite from Mr Porter, Italian Chic, a glossy 350 page guide to living La Dolce Vita.
3. The Minimalist Guide
In 2011 Marie Kondo blew minimalism back into the mainstream — with her bestseller book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and her Netflix show — becoming our go-to guru for all things pant-folding.
She had us staring at our wardrobes on Saturdays plagued by the question “But does it spark joy?” and staring at boxers with a thirst to fold them within an inch of their inanimate lives.
Well that’s one style of minimalism. But now consider this one.
What if you focussed less on tidying your home and looked into decluttering your mind instead. Every day we agonise over choices, from which of the 13 yogurt pots to buy to decoding which brand of detergent embodies us. It’s a waste of headspace but a hard pattern to break.
We suggest you check out Barry Shwartz’s book The Paradox of Choice. Schwartz offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on those that are important, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.
With less angst around home buying decisions, you can focus the mind on what really matters.
4. The Modern Gardener
The face of gardening is changing.
Millennials — also known as the Wellness Generation — are spearheading the trend for offices with living walls. They are also engaging with and encouraging a proliferation of startups who bring plants into the home, from London’s Patch Plants to US sensation Bloomscape.
So what does that mean for our approach to gardening? For one, our interest in the health benefits of plants on stress and air quality mean that we are looking at ways to bring them into our interiors. Plus, in cities like London, where large back gardens are a luxury, we are less concerned about lawn maintenance and more about creating a tiny oasis of greenery in the space we do have.
With that in mind, we recommend the book The Leaf Supply Guide to Creating Your Indoor Jungle by Lauren Camilleri and Sophia Kaplan. The authors take a luxurious, art-inspired approach to helping readers curate a dense garden in your living room, with stunning photography and notes on interiors.
5. The Swedish Declutterer
Decluttering isn’t just the reserve of minimalists. It’s something we all have to do at some point in our lives. When we move homes when we need to clear space for babies when we are facing bereavement.
As an industry, it’s become big business. More and more people in the UK choose careers as declutters and the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers is celebrating 15 years of business this year with a National Organising Week celebration in November.
We also recently interviewed journalist-turned-declutterer Sarah Myers about the sorts of projects she works on and why she made the transition from journalism to clearing up other people’s stuff.
On our bookshelves at the moment is The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta and Jane Magnusson. The book’s subject matter is pretty direct but perhaps we don’t talk enough about what happens to the homes and possessions of those who leave us behind. Or even what you do with heirlooms. This is a life-affirming read and applies to any stage of life transition.
Did we miss anything great? We’d love some suggestions of books around the home that we should be reading.
HomeHero is a digital home manager, taking care of your chores, bills, maintenance and admin, to free up your time for what matters most.