The Interior Design Handbook by Frida Ramstedt is one of the most useful interior design books I have ever had the pleasure to read. Full of practical and useful advice, this book is designed to help you create a home that not only looks good but feels good too.
Many people assume that as an award-winning interior design blogger, I am also a qualified interior designer. I mean, it’s a pretty easy assumption to make when someone spends their life writing about interiors and sharing tips and advice.
But I have never studied interior design, at least not in the traditional sense. I haven’t got a degree in interior design. I’ve done a short interior design course, but that is the extent of my formal training. What I know about interiors has come from years of research and interviewing experts for magazines and for this blog.
When it comes to my own home, which is very different to the palatial homes that adorn the pages of glossy interiors magazines, I’ve often wished that there was a book that would show me how to decorate a home like mine, that doesn’t have period features, high ceilings, original floorboards or sash windows.
I could have saved myself a lot of time trying to work out how to create a home that looks good, works for our family and feels good, if such a book existed. I’ve often struggled most with the really simple issues that aren’t addressed in magazines. They are so basic they are often overlooked because those in the know, well, they just know. Things like choosing the right window dressings for your windows and how to hang curtains. Or which way the floorboards should run in a particular room. Simple questions but how would an average Joe like me know?
Well now, luckily for people like me, or rather those who maybe haven’t spent 15 years writing about interiors, this book now exists. Written by interior design consultant Frida Ramstedt, The Interior Design Handbook is a Swedish best-seller which is now available in English. Frida is also a lecturer in trends, social media and entrepreneurship and author of the award-winning interiors blog Trendenser.se.
The move from her character-filled apartment to a sterile white box new build gave her the inspiration to put together this complete interiors bible to help novices to create a cosy, attractive and harmonious home that doesn’t rely on architectural features.
In this 240-page comprehensive how-to, Ramstedt lays out the principles of what interior design can offer in a universal way that can be interpreted by anyone with any sensibility, any style, anywhere. She shares advice for ordinary houses and flats, rules of thumb and tricks of the trade that allow individuals who don’t work in the trade to turn their houses into homes. This book is designed to help us come up with our own solutions rather than copying someone else’s.
Ramsted has attempted to distil the gut feeling that many professionals base their work on into actionable and practical advice that everyone can use. She explains the importance of designing a home that makes us feels good and that doesn’t just look good. She explores the importance of the mathematics of design and how many successful interiors employ the golden ratio, the rule of thirds, three-point thinking and symmetry.
She explores architectural styles, colour choice, using lighting to create visual effect and mood as well as a whole host of design tips such as hiding TVs and designing for children.
The Interior Design Handbook was written for me. It was written for you. Through her years of hard work, of versatility and experience, Frida Ramstedt has connected every thread needed to put together the home of our dreams, in whatever forms our dreams might take.
Surprisingly though, this book features no impressive photos of professionally staged houses that took hours to touch up in post-production in order to demonstrate the principles that Ramstedt shares. Instead, it has been beautifully illustrated with hand-drawn images to guide us towards the desired outcome for our living space.
This book is all information, a guiding touch to encouraging thought, perspective and personality at every step. If you buy one interiors book this year, make it this one.