17 Best Furniture Design Books Create Your Dream Furnishings

17 Best Furniture Design Books: Designing and Building Your Dream Furniture

What is Furniture Design?

Furniture design is the art of creating functional and aesthetically pleasing furniture pieces. Imagine crafting a beautiful cherry-wood table as a dining table and room centrepiece.

Wood furniture designers consider practicality, space, and user needs while choosing resources. It is your canvas to showcase creativity and practicality at the same time. This profession requires an understanding of both materials and manufacturing properties. Dive in and let your designs transform living spaces!

Charles Eames design quote
Quote by Charles Eames

Importance of Furniture Design Books

Books about furniture design are your golden ticket to innovation! DIYers need them for new project ideas, to boost creativity, and enhance skills. From novices to professionals, everyone will garner immense benefits like:

  1. Provide inspiration for new projects.
  2. Give an overview of the history of furniture manufacturing.
  3. More depth to the study of furniture style.
  4. Help you in developing your own style.
  5. They can help you learn new techniques and improve your woodworking skills.
  6. Details techniques like wood bending and veneering.
  7. Can save you time by giving you access to already-existing data.

So, stock up on your furniture design arsenal today and unleash your potential!

My own detailed design coffee table
Elm hardwood, burl veneer, pegged mortice and tenons, inlaid bandings on my own coffee table.

17 Best Furniture Design Books For Beginners

1. 1000 Chairs – Peter Fiell and Charlotte Fiell

1000 Chairs – Peter Fiell and Charlotte Fiell

“1000 Chairs” by Peter and Charlotte Fiell is among the best books on furniture design! A comprehensive guide through two centuries of design and evolution. This book made it to the top list due to:

  • Its vibrant stroll from Art Nouveau to Postmodernism has several styles and periods.
  • Featuring 400 designers from around the world, like Alvar Aalto and Marcel Breuer.
  • Transports readers from the artistic world of furniture to its humble, functional origins.
  • Including groundbreaking design paradigms, making it a treasure-trove of data.
  • Giving credit to unknown but influential designs, revealing hidden gems.

A must-read book on furniture design for enthusiasts about historic pieces.

2. More Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture – Robert W. Lang

More Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture – Robert W. Lang

Why More Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture is your key to construct furniture:

  • Immersive Experience: Explore 30 construction drawings of household furniture by Gustav Stickley and contemporaries.
  • Easy to Follow: Detailed and well-explained methods, this is a good beginner guide book.
  • Educational: Helps you understand and embrace the distinctive craftsman’s approach.
  • Wide Variety: World-renowned craftsmen’s furniture bible will motivate you.

This woodworking book is an indispensable companion for enthusiasts and professional craftsmen.

3. Furniture Design – An Introduction to Development, Material, and Manufacturing – Stuart Lawson

Furniture Design – An Introduction to Development – Stuart Lawson

“Furniture Design – An Introduction” by S. Lawson easily tops the must-have books to design furniture list. Here’s why:

  • Comprehensive, covering everything from function to material properties, makes it a complete guide.
  • Pioneering contemporary and historical designs enlighten and inspire your ingenuity.
  • Case studies focused on material and manufacture-led design processes offer valuable insights.
  • The book is excellent for those considering a university education in industrial design.
  • It contains innovative and inspiring furniture designs from around the globe.

Suitable for students and aspiring furniture designer’s with an interest in commercial design.

4. The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and America

The Rise of Everyday Design

– Monica Penick, Christopher Long, Eric Anderson, Samuel Dodd, Carma Gorman

“The Rise of Everyday Design” should take room in your library collection due to its unique look into Crafts Movements and furniture design. Here’s why:

  • A unique journey: This book maps the growth of the crafts community, from its origins to its impact on everyday household designs.
  • Drawn in with art: The book features classic pieces by icons like Gustav Stickley and William Morris.
  • Indy view: The book goes beyond a catalog, offering insights into the evolution of crafts in the late twentieth century.
  • User-centric design: It shows how designers should prioritise user behaviour above aesthetics.
  • The future of design: The book synthesises design lessons and future predictions.

This book is recommended for anyone interested in decorative art and design history.

5. History of Modern Furniture Design – Daniela Karasova

History of Modern Furniture Design

The “History of Modern Furniture – Daniela Karasova” easily secures a spot among the best furniture design books for beginners. Its uniqueness lies in:

  • Deep historic perspective: The book documents the nineteenth century to the late twentieth. It instils a profound knowledge of furniture history.
  • The Global backdrop: History is tied to global developments for a comprehensive overview.
  • Multifaceted sources: Furniture manufacturers, institutions, and renowned designers’ insight add immense value.
  • Media exploration: Valuable lessons on types of material and technology shaping modern and contemporary furniture.
  • The universal audience: Both budding designers and expert researchers find it equally enlightening.

Embrace this goldmine of information if your passion revolves around design aesthetics.

6. 500 Cabinets: A Showcase of Design & Craftsmanship

500 cabinets a showcase of design and craftsmanship

“500 Cabinets: A Showcase of Design & Craftmanship” is a sterling addition to your bookshelf. Ranked among the best books for furniture design, it captivates with:

  • Exceptional range of cabinet designs, spotlighting the ingenuity in the field.
  • Superb photography that illustrates intricate details.
  • Limited narratives explaining the design process.
  • A gallery format that’s easy to browse with eye-catching visuals.
  • An amazing blend of traditional and contemporary styles.

Perfect for amateur carpenters, professional designers, or those simply passionate about graphic design. Discover, learn and be inspired by the superior craftsmanship with this standout title.

7. Furnitecture: Furniture that Transforms Space – Anna Yudina

Furnitecture: Furniture that Transforms Space

Dive into the world of design with “Furnitecture: Furniture that Transforms Space” by Anna Yudina. This mind-stirring piece explores the converging worlds of design and architecture. Its strengths include:

  • Robust Insights: It fuels your creative mind with forward-thinking concepts.
  • Real Examples: The book brims with examples of innovative designs.
  • Author’s Expertise: Yudina’s curatorial experience breathes life into the book’s pages.
  • Architectural Style: It highlights the potency of understanding architecture to beautify home interiors.
  • Modern Trends: It throws light on the transformative potential of micro-architecture.

This inspiring book is for budding architects and designers who love elevating spaces.

8. Knoll: A Modernist Universe – Brian Lutz

Knoll: A Modernist Universe

“Knoll: A Modernist Universe – Brian Lutz” deserves acclaim as one of the best design books for creating your dream furniture. This remarkable book earned its distinction due to the following:

  • Its rich visual history of Knoll Furniture Company explains the origins of mid-century modern design.
  • The iconic pieces by notable artists like Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen, Frank Gehry, and Richard Meier.
  • How global events affect the design world and can influence your aesthetic choices.
  • In-depth graphical, textual and photographic details offering guidance for designing exceptional furniture.
  • An educational narrative focusing on teaching the balance vital in high-end furniture.

9. Wood Magazine: Arts and Crafts Furniture

wood magazine arts and crafts furniture

You’ll love “Wood Magazine: Arts and Crafts Furniture.” Undeniably a gem among books about furniture design worldwide. Here’s why:

  • Incredible Content: Offering detailed instructions, embracing the craft and art movement’s simplicity.
  • Clear Illustrations: The comprehensible drawings and photos aid in creating impeccable artwork.
  • Expert Advice: The valuable tips from proven craftsmen enhance and provide room for innovation.
  • Diverse Designs: With various design classics, you’ll find many projects to undertake.
  • Well Detailed: The step-by-step instructions in this book help eliminate guesswork.

Whether an aspiring carpenter, artisan or design aficionado, this sourcebook belongs in your library. Study the basics of furniture design with Wood Magazine!

a beginner's guide to furniture design books, cutliist and project details

10. B&B Italia: 50 Years and Beyond

B&B Italia: 50 Years and Beyond

“B&B Italia: 50 Years and Beyond” truly stands out in interior design books! Here’s why it’s a must-read gem for you:

  • Incredible Insights: Gain wisdom from giants in the field, Renzo Piano and Ferruccio De Bortoli.
  • Cultural Significance: It explores B&B Italia’s impact on Italian and international culture.
  • Economic Insights: Delve into the company’s role in the economic scene.
  • Unique Narration: Experience the captivating journey of past to present of B&B Italia.
  • Stunning Viewpoints: The book features diverse and significant contributions.

Suggested for international design students craving meticulous research, insightful perspectives, and monographs.

11. Reinventing Ikea: 70 DIY Projects to Transform Ikea Essentials

Reinventing Ikea: 70 DIY Projects

“Reinventing Ikea: 70 DIY Projects to Transform” is a remarkable asset for the creative furniture enthusiast!

  • Its 70 customization projects provide limitless opportunities to transform popular Ikea products.
  • It promotes upcycling through inventive strategies, breathing new life into otherwise discarded objects.
  • The easy and inexpensive projects have an appeal that is gentle on your wallet.
  • It inspires you to create dependable, sturdy, and fun furniture types with a distinct flair.
  • Practicality and inventiveness fuse, making it an invaluable resource for the DIY enthusiast.

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, there’s something for everyone here. Turn your home into an eco-conscious haven of creativity, without breaking the bank!

12. In the Modern Style: Building Furniture Inspired by 20th-Century Tradition

in the modern style building furniture inspired by the 20th century tradition

“In the Modern Style: Building Furniture Inspired by 20th Century Tradition” is a gem for modernism design lovers. It soars above many in its category for good reasons. Here are the leading points:

  • It is deeply inspirational, revitalising mid century modern furniture trends.
  • The book is chock-full of practical advice, with knowledge of leading-edge techniques.
  • It exhibits an extensive array of original, sophisticated projects.
  • Quality photos enhance visual appeal and nestle you in top-notch design.
  • You’ll be coached by seasoned professionals who unveil trade secrets.

Dive in if you’re a novice, bold designer, or furniture maker who likes the past-century elegance!

13. Chairpedia: 101 Stories of Chairs

Chairpedia: 101 Stories of Chairs

You’ve got to check out “Chairpedia: 101 Stories of Chairs,” a standout among furniture books. It’s compelling for these reasons:

  • A fascinating history of chair anatomy design through the lens of 101 significant chairs.
  • Guaranteed views from experts, design historians, and architectural critics.
  • The foreword by Mauricio Wiesenthal adds a remarkable touch to this book.
  • Not simply a dry furniture history book, it reads like a collection of suspenseful tales.

Furniture design enthusiasts, interior decorators, and history buffs should read this literary gem. Dive in; there’s a lot of interesting stuff to learn about chairs.!

14. Material Matters: Metal – Creative interpretations of common materials

Material Matters: Metal - Creative interpretations of common materials

Experience an enriching journey with a fascinating approach to design in “Material Matters.” This invigorating book should be on your reading list if designing unique furniture excites you.

  • Engages the reader with innovative strategies, leading to an upcycling revolution.
  • Offers easy, cost-effective projects turning everyday items into high-style furniture.
  • Presents a seamless blend of pleasing, affordability, and environmental responsibility.
  • Is a resource for students, providing a fascinating insight into furniture design industry.
  • Hosts inspiring narratives that emphasize the importance of material-driven processes.

A reference for a new generation of designers looking to integrate sustainability into design.

15. Bookcases: Eleven Outstanding Projects by America’s Best Craftsmen

Bookcases Eleven Outstanding Projects by America's Best Craftsmen

“Bookcases: Eleven Outstanding Projects by America’s Best Craftsmen” is great for many reasons.

  • Packed with eleven spectacular projects, this book provides an unmatched variety.
  • The United States’ most talented artisans crafted the designs, guaranteeing high-quality end results.
  • This book gem has step-by-step guides, easing your journey into crafting dream furniture.
  • With insider tips included, you’re set for a successful path in furniture crafting.
  • Readers favor its engaging method, enhancing comprehension.

This book is ideal for contemporary furniture designers seeking assistance from America’s finest craftspeople.

16. Atlas of Furniture Design – Vitra Design Museum

Atlas of Furniture Design – Vitra Design Museum

You would absolutely love the Atlas of Furniture Design. Here’s why it’s a top pick for furniture history books through the ages:

  • Comprehensive: This design history book covers 1740 popular pieces of furniture by 546 leading designers.
  • Respected source: Published and sold by the esteemed Vitra Design Museum shop. A credible resource on the subject.
  • Uniquely focused: Unlike the book title, this one primarily explores chair design dynamics.
  • Contextual: Dream furnishings are presented in their socio-cultural and historical context.
  • Technological marvel: The definitive book is not only informative but also a beautifully crafted object.

Design enthusiasts worldwide should read it, as should art, culture, and history buffs. This treasure trove of knowledge is definitely a top pick!

17. Designing and Building Chairs: The New Best of Fine Woodworking

Designing and Building Chairs The New Best of Fine Woodworking

“Designing and Building Chairs: The New Best of Fine Woodworking” sits atop our list of building furniture books. Why? Here’s why:

  • Comprehensive overview: It covers all the basics of chair anatomy and construction.
  • It’s authoritative: Written by Fine Woodworking magazine, renowned for its expertise as a woodworker’s guide.
  • Inspiring visuals: The book has detailed photographs and drawings that inspire and educate.
  • Variety: It introduces a plethora of designs ranging from classical to contemporary.
  • Highly recommended: It provides good design principles and construction techniques.

This book is ideal for woodworking enthusiasts looking to improve furniture making skills.

How do I start learning furniture design?

Are you struggling to master furniture design? Aspiring young designer makers typically struggle to create original pieces rather than copying others.

These publications cover designing, making working drawings, and detailing supplies. They even delve into different types of furniture, their standard sizes, and usage requirements. So, transition from an amateur to a skilled furniture maker.

Begin your exciting journey on a furniture design course today!

What is the point of craft?

Craft” refers to the skill of making something by hand with great expertise. It’s furniture design’s essence, infusing form and function with personality and artistry.

For instance, the work of Luke Hughes & Company exemplifies workmanship. Balancing modern technologies with traditional values. Their engineered furniture perfectly marries usability with art. It is an eloquent response to architecture and a true testament to the spirit of the crafts movement.

a shaker style bookcase with my own build inset

How to Design and Build Your Dream Furniture

Step 1: Research furniture design fundamentals

Understanding furniture design basics is crucial; without it, the journey can be overwhelming. Don’t let the chosen medium or design limit your imagination. But also remember the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).

Dive into the esteemed world of Furniture Design research! Function, production, and more guides will provide you the foundation you need. Unleash your full potential and bring your furniture visions to everyday life!

Step 2: Learn how to draft furniture plans

Starting your furniture designing journey is a thrilling endeavour! Start by drafting quality furniture plans, the blueprint of your grand design. This crucial step saves time, reduces mistakes, and allows revisions before construction begins.

First, seek inspiration for your design. Consider elements such as use, standard dimensions, and style. Books like “More Shop Drawings” have excellent examples. Sketch and fool around with your thoughts before settling.

David Hicks famous words
Famous words by David Hicks

The actual drafting involves producing detailed working drawings and materials lists. Tools like “Illustrated Cabinetmaking” can lead you through this complex process. Remember, clear, precise plans pave the way for better end products.

Spend time learning joints, shop drawing, and furniture construction nuances. Regular practice of drafting will hone your design capabilities. Be patient, meticulous, and savor the creative journey.

Remember, drafting is not a one-time activity. As an evolving designer, revisit and refine your plans for new ideas or improvements. The beauty of design lies in its dynamism and evolving nature. Enjoy the ride!

17 Best Furniture Design Books for Beginners

Step 3: Acquire the tools necessary for woodworking

Welcome, passionate woodworker! Having the right equipment for your woodworking projects can make or break your success. Here are the top five essential tools for your creative endeavors:

  • **Table saw**: This is the heart of any woodshop. Perfect for accurate cuts and may be used for many tasks with attachments.
  • **Band saw**: A band saw is your faithful ally for intricate curvatures. It is also useful for re-sawing or ripping lumber into thinner slabs.
  • **Circular saw**: Compact yet powerful, this is ideal for making straight cuts on sheet goods.
  • **Power drill**: Whether corded or cordless, a power drill is vital for creating holes or driving screws.
  • **Router**: For carving detailed designs, shaping edges, or hollowing out grooves, a router is a must.

As a DIYer or expert, outfit your workshop with these versatile woodworking tools. Transform your woodworking dreams into reality today!

Step 4: Develop a design concept and execute it with your choice of materials

Struggling to channel your design ideas into reality? Worried that your dream furniture just doesn’t click aesthetically or functionally? Don’t fret—the solution lies in a robust design concept and good materials selection.

  • **Research**: Understand the form, composition, and aesthetic you want to achieve. Dabble in quick scribbles as a preliminary gateway to your concept.
  • **Visual Vocabulary**: Use colour, texture, and decoration thoughtfully in furniture and interior design.
  • **Experimentation**: Never shy away from bending norms—innovation lies in uniqueness.
  • **Advanced Concepts**: Harmonize unity, dominance, repetition, contrast, and style in your design studio.
  • **Execution**: From drafting drawings to mockups, every production step is critical.

To maximise its elegance and longevity, finishing your dream furniture is crucial. Remember, proper finishing significantly elevates the overall appearance of your creation. Skilful execution leads to a meticulously crafted, long-lasting furniture piece!

Step 8: Plan and execute homewares projects

Making your homewares can be hugely rewarding, adding a personal touch to your living space. Planning is vital for flawless execution, ensuring efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Follow these steps:

  • Determine what piece of furniture or item you want to make. Choose a design that aligns with your skills and available resources.
  • Carefully measure the area for your project. Accurate measurements are critical.
  • List down all the parts needed and shop wisely. Refer to expert reviews to choose the highest quality within your budget.
  • Draft a timeline for your project, considering each step and potential challenges.
  • Do not skip surface prep. A smooth and clean surface helps with a beautiful end result.
  • Remember, your safety is paramount. Protective gear is non-negotiable!

With meticulous planning and execution, soon you’ll be admiring your self-made homeware!

My suggestions

Try to build a few pieces or make a maquette before going all out on your first designer masterpiece. While a Rennie Macintosh chair might be iconic, it’s not comfortable. On the other hand, pieces by Sam Maloof invite you to touch the smooth lines.

Each book contains invaluable design and construction expertise. They emphasise user-centric design philosophies to combine appeal and usefulness. Whether a beginner or professional, these best books will enhance your design journey!

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