The 10 Best Magazines for Interior Design Beginners: Plus, Why Magazines are Still Important!

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Fess up, design lovers: When’s the last time you read an interior design magazine? If you are a fan of interior design aesthetics, whether a hobbyist, student, amateur designer or professional, you really need to be reading one or several design magazines each month.

True, physical magazines might not enjoy the same status and pride of place they once did, when they were in every waiting room or dentist’s office, but they still play an important role for interior design beginners and professional alike.  Keeping abreast of news and industry trends through quality interior design magazines (aka “shelter magazines”) is super valuable for interior design beginners.

In this post we dive into the main reasons for subscribing to a quality interior design magazine and provide a list of the top magazines you will want to be aware of when choosing the one that is right for you.

Benefits of Reading Interior Design and “Shelter” Magazines for Interior Design Beginners and Students

  1. Inspiration and Creative Ideas: Interior design magazines provide an abundance of inspiration and creative ideas. They showcase a wide range of design styles, color schemes, furniture arrangements, and innovative techniques. For beginners, these magazines serve as a visual guide, helping them explore different possibilities and spark their own creativity.
  2. Industry Insights: Magazines often feature interviews, profiles, and articles that provide valuable insights into the interior design industry. Beginners can gain knowledge about design principles, industry trends, and emerging technologies. Understanding the current landscape of the field can help them make informed decisions and stay ahead of the curve.
  3. Exposure to Diverse Design Styles: Interior design magazines feature projects from around the world, representing diverse design styles and cultural influences. This exposure allows beginners to broaden their design perspective and develop a well-rounded understanding of different aesthetics. It helps them refine their personal design preferences and expand their design vocabulary.
  4. Practical Tips and Advice: Magazines often include practical tips, expert advice, and step-by-step guides to help beginners navigate the design process. These resources cover topics such as space planning, color selection, furniture arrangement, lighting techniques, and more. Beginners can learn from experienced designers and apply these tips to their own projects.
  5. Product Knowledge: Magazines frequently highlight new and innovative products in the market, from furniture and fixtures to materials and finishes. By staying updated on the latest products, beginners can familiarize themselves with different brands, materials, and technologies. This knowledge enables them to make informed choices when selecting and specifying products for their design projects.
  6. Trend Awareness: Interior design is a dynamic field that continuously evolves with new trends and styles. Magazines serve as a reliable source to stay informed about the latest design trends, color palettes, patterns, and materials. This awareness allows beginners to create designs that are contemporary and relevant, catering to the preferences of their clients or target audience.
  7. Networking and Industry Connections: Magazines often feature profiles and articles about renowned designers, architects, and industry professionals. Reading these publications can help beginners establish connections within the industry, discover potential mentors, and learn from established practitioners. It also provides insights into design events, exhibitions, and conferences, offering networking opportunities for beginners to connect with like-minded individuals and expand their professional network.

Taking the time to peruse quality interior design and shelter magazines gives beginners a wealth of knowledge, helps them stay inspired, and develop a strong foundation in the field. These magazines serve as a valuable resource to learn from industry experts, understand design trends, and explore different design possibilities. They provide a comprehensive platform for beginners to enhance their skills, nurture their creativity, and develop a unique design aesthetic.

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Top 10 Interior Design Magazines to Know

Wondering which interior design magazines you should be reading?  Wonder no more! Here are some excellent interior design-related magazines that are great recommendations for beginners and students in the field:

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  1. Architectural Digest: Known for its high-quality content and stunning visuals, Architectural Digest covers a wide range of design topics, including interior design, architecture, and home décor. It features inspiring projects, interviews with top designers, and showcases luxurious spaces.
  2. Elle Decor: Elle Decor focuses on contemporary interior design and provides valuable insights into current trends, innovative designs, and stylish home makeovers. It offers practical tips and showcases beautiful homes from around the world.
  3. Dwell: Dwell is renowned for its modern and minimalist approach to design. It explores sustainable architecture, innovative materials, and showcases unique interior spaces. It’s a great source of inspiration for those interested in clean and functional design.
  4. Interior Design: As the name suggests, Interior Design magazine is dedicated to all things related to interior design. It covers a wide range of topics, including residential and commercial design, product trends, and industry news. It also features interviews with leading designers and highlights exceptional projects.
  5. House Beautiful: House Beautiful offers a blend of practical design advice, inspiring interiors, and expert tips. It covers various design styles, DIY projects, and provides insights into creating beautiful and functional spaces.
  6. Wallpaper*: Wallpaper* magazine is known for its avant-garde and cutting-edge approach to design. It explores art, architecture, fashion, and design trends, providing a unique perspective and showcasing innovative ideas from around the globe.
  7. Surface: Surface magazine focuses on design, art, fashion, and architecture, providing a holistic view of the creative world. It features thought-provoking articles, in-depth profiles of designers, and explores the intersection of design with other disciplines.
  8. Veranda: Veranda celebrates traditional and classical design styles, offering inspiration for those who appreciate timeless elegance. It showcases luxurious interiors, outdoor spaces, and provides tips for creating sophisticated and refined living environments.
  9. Metropolis: Metropolis magazine explores the intersection of design, technology, and culture. It covers a wide range of topics, including interior design, architecture, urban planning, and sustainability. It offers insightful articles, interviews, and thought-provoking features.
  10. Azure: Azure magazine focuses on contemporary architecture and design from around the world. It covers a range of topics, including interior design, furniture, lighting, and innovative materials. It’s a valuable resource for staying updated on the latest design trends and global projects.

This list provides a pretty good range of magazines options for interior design beginners and students seeking inspiration, industry insights, and practical advice.

Interior Design Magazine Comparisons and Top Picks

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The obvious question is, with so many magazines to choose from, how do you make your choice?

Obviously, budget and availability are two factors you might consider when choosing a magazine to subscribe to.  For those who are budget conscious, we’ve always found Elle Decor and Elle Decoration (depending on the region) to be a great bet for both price and availability.  This may differ depending on where you live, but it’s a great place to start if you’re looking for a recommendation.

When it comes to quality content, you might want to look at the magazines that give you plenty of styling tips and advice from real designers, as well as introduce you to a wide range of industry suppliers and vendors. For this, look no further than Elle and House BeautifulHouse Beautiful is another magazine that tends to be on the affordable side.  It also provides plenty of inspiration that isn’t just celebrity homes. 

If celebrity homes are your thing, your top choice is undoubtedly going to be Architectural Digest, although keep in mind it tends to be on the pricier side. Interior Design is an absolutely gorgeous magazine with spaces so unique and such quality of paper and print that you won’t want to use it for tear sheets!

My suggestion?  If you are an interior design beginner or student find yourself a magazine that lets you “get your hands dirty.”  What does this mean?  Well, in my opinion it should be chock loads full of useful info, tips and tricks and interesting tidbits and not just advertisements.  You should totally want to read it front to back, back to front and then not be afraid to tear out all of your favorite parts for you inspiration boards, mood boards and your study sketchbook.

Can’t afford an interior design magazine subscription? Time to get creative. Don’t forget your local library, charity shops or even local offices or businesses that might have magazines they’d be willing to part with. Sometimes just explaining that you’re a student can help score you some free stuff.

Whatever you choose, I hope that this introduction to interior design magazines for beginners and students helps you out. If you’d like to know more about learning interior design, finding a great program or self study for interior design sign up below to stay in the loop.

Happy interior design learning,


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