Technology has come a long way, but sometimes relying on a good-old fashioned book makes more sense. Books serve many purposes. You can page through one, look at the photos and dream about your ideal home or you can get to work with the right book at your side and follow the instructions laid out for a particular project. Without a charge, you can check them out of the library, but when it comes to home improvement and design, you’ll want to invest in your own copy.


Woman Reading Book


After careful scrutiny, we’ve determined the following 10 books will provide our readers with the best and most useful information.

1. Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life

Boston-based interior designer Erin Gates  penned a very practical guide containing honest advice about designing a home. She reveals her personal journey, mistakes and all, while putting personal touches on her own home. Even the arguments with her husband are chronicled. Full-color photographs and illustrations, in a room-by-room fashion, reveal how to choose a sofa, decorate a nursery, select accents for the bedroom and much more.

2. New Fix-It-Yourself Manual: How to Repair, Clean, and Maintain Anything and Everything In and Around Your Home 

Reader’s Digest put together a comprehensive reference to help all homeowners save time and money with repairs and maintenance around the house. With this guide by your side you can replace showerheads, fix a dryer, repair a broken air conditioner and more with step-by-step illustrated instructions.

3. Holmes Inspection: The Essential Guide for Every Homeowner, Buyer and Seller 

Savvy advice from the host of the popular HGTV-TV show Holmes Inspection. In this book, Mike Holmes , a home inspector himself, shares details about home repair problems that might become expensive or even catastrophic if not dealt with early on. He also highlights how sellers mask issues in their home and how you can look behind these masks.

4. What Your Contractor Can’t Tell You: The Essential Guide to Building and Renovating

Author Amy Johnson, a construction manager and owner of Dreamhouse Institute in Burlington, Vermont, gives homeowners ideas about design, hiring and managing architects and contractors and getting permits from the city for various projects. Don’t miss the part in each section on how to avoid common pitfalls.

5. How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding and Maintaining Your Home 

Charlie Wing, an authority on home building and remodeling and the founder of the first owner-builder school called the Shelter Institute, has written a book you’ll come to rely on. It talks about all the appliances in your home, how they operate and what to check for if they don’t work. Wing covers everything from electrical systems to plumbing to framing, foundations and moisture and mold.

6. Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy 

Deborah Needleman and Sara Ruffin Costello, founding staff at Domino, the home décor magazine; coupled the best ideas from the magazine with their own insights to give you a style manual for the home. Whether you want to make a space functional, personal or just cozy, you’ll find the key to the decorating process here.

7. The Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual 

In 2014, the editors of Family Handyman Magazine updated this bestselling guide to reflect current codes, newest materials, tools and technology. The book also offers user-friendly help with almost any household task. Over 3,000 photos and illustrations make difficult projects easier to understand and a cinch to accomplish.

8. Great Book of Woodworking Projects: 50 Projects for Indoor Improvements and Outdoor Living 

Randy Johnson, former editor-in-chief at American Woodworker magazine, culled plans and instructions for woodworking projects, for every room in your home, from the experts at the magazine. Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced, you’ll find this volume a valuable resource.

9. 100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know: How to Save Money, Solve Problems and Improve Your Home 

Another treasure from the editors of Family Handyman Magazine  lists 100 items you need to know to become a better homeowner. Try these on for size:  make burglars skip your house, cut heating costs, keep critters at bay, get better TV quality, stop paint from peeling and many more.

10. Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love

The couple behind YoungHouseLove tackle tricks and techniques for all levels of do-it-yourselfers. Tight budget – no problem. Thrift-store finds and classic pieces can be upgraded at little cost. Sherry and John Petersik, who blog at, share their personal experiences, ideas and the unexpected while fixing up three homes of their own over the past seven years.


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About the Author: is a full-service home remodeling and construction general contractor serving the greater Seattle, Denver, Phoenix, San Francisco, and San Jose area. Home improvement is hard, and we make it easier for you every step of the way. That starts by understanding your goals, whether it’s making a space more livable, expanding your home, repairing damage, adding room for relatives, or something completely different. We’ll work with you to ensure you’re happy with the project from start to finish.