May 24, 2024

The Interior Design Reference + Specification Book

(2018 Edition – Updated + Revised)

The Interior Design Reference + Specification Book: Everything Interior Designers Need to Know Every Day by Chris Grimley and Mimi Love, Published by Rockport Publishers, Inc. This is the newly revised and updated edition for 2018.
The Interior Design Reference + Specification Book: Everything Interior Designers Need to Know Every Day by Chris Grimley and Mimi Love, Published by Rockport Publishers, Inc. This is the newly revised and updated edition for 2018.

Book Title: The Interior Design Reference + Specification Book

Author: Chris Grimley + Mimi Love

Publisher: Rockport Publishers, Inc.

Copyright Date: 2018; this is a newly-updated version of a classic that apparently first became available in 2007.

ISBN: 978-1-63159-380-2

Book Format: This is a softcover (trade paperback) book.

Number of Pages: 288

Who Would Find This Book Useful?

  • Aspiring or current homeowners who want to build a new, custom home or remodel an existing home
  • Interior designers who need to have reference info handy — it’s perfect for tucking in your backpack, purse, laptop bag, car glove compartment or desk drawer
  • Interior design students
  • Contractors who work on any aspect of home building or home remodeling
  • DIY enthusiasts
  • Bloggers or journalists who need an easy and reliable reference for facts and information regarding interior design specifications
  • Architects are likely to find this book helpful for use in their own work, and they will also gain a clearer understanding of how decorative elements will be integrated into the structures they design.
  • Furniture designers and woodworking enthusiasts will find a wealth of helpful information regarding standard furniture sizes and classic furniture designs incorporated into this book.
  • Teachers and educators are likely to find this book useful.

What This Book Is All About:

If you’re an interior designer, this book will give you a concise summary of some of the most important things you learned in design school. If you’re not, this book will give you insights into all the critical details that someone needs to know to make an interior design scheme successful — including bunches of little things you probably never thought much about.

For example, if you’re a layperson, it might never have occurred to you that there could be laws governing how deep you’re allowed to make the tread on your stairs. You probably don’t give much thought to opening and closing the doors in your home — unless someone made a mistake in designing how much clearance is present. This book guides you through many such important topics, offering helpful and clearly-labeled diagrams, glossary definitions of key terms, tables, color photographs and brief, interesting interviews with prominent interior designers on a broad variety of interior design related topics.

How This Book Is Organized

This book has 6 broad sections that are each subdivided into 3-4 chapters:

Fundamentals — The first section of the book is devoted to interior design fundamentals. It covers topics such as how to start an interior design project; project management; drawings and renderings; presentation; and communication. A great deal of space in this section is devoted to plans: floor plans, ceiling plans, furniture location plans, interior elevations, etc. There’s information about manual drafting techniques, software, computer aided design (CAD) and file types. There are helpful charts covering linear measurement conversions.

Space — Section 2 of the book is all about space. It covers types of rooms and includes many helpful diagrams showing you various room layouts and the corresponding terminology to describe them. It also includes information about building codes, accessibility issues and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which governs many aspects of how a home must be built.

Surface — Section 3 of the book is all about surfaces in the interior space. There are chapters covering color, materials, textures and patterns.

If you need to brush up on your color theory, this book offers you a fantastic reference section that includes multiple color wheels. You can check out the differences between Newton’s color wheel, Itten’s color wheel and several others. Interesting photographs show you what happens when you change the color emphasis in the same room setting. Various contrasting color palettes and a color glossary are also included.

The materials section briefs you on the differences between various types of paints, wallpapers, flooring, wood flooring finishes and carpet construction types. If you’re going the DIY route on a home renovation project, you’ll want to take this book with you when you head to the hardware store.

Environments — Lighting is a main focus of section #4 in the book, which is all about interior environments. The section also briefly covers the home’s other systems such as plumbing, electrical and HVAC (heating, cooling and air conditioning).

Elements — Section #5 of this book is all about the elements that furnish a home. Sections include “Details”, which features specifications relating to cabinetry, hardware, ceiling assemblies, wall assemblies, window treatments and similar features; “Furniture”, which includes line drawings of, and identifying information about, a handful of the most important modernist furniture pieces; and “Elements and Display”, which briefly covers decorative accessories and artwork.

Resources — Section #6 of this book covers sustainability guidelines plus other helpful resources you can use when planning your interior design projects, including lists of both manual and digital resources.


If you’re a homeowner or aspiring homeowner, it seems likely to me that this book will more than pay for itself if it helps you to avert even one minor mistake in the home renovation or custom home building process. Imagine how expensive the consequences could be if you don’t allocate enough space for one of your kitchen appliances, or you fail to leave enough space for proper door clearance, or your stair dimensions are off by half an inch. No amount of pinning photos on Pinterest will help you with the sorts of details you’ll find in this book.

I think this book is a tremendously valuable resource, and I am delighted to recommend it to other DIY decorating enthusiasts, design bloggers, journalists, teachers and educators. I am positive that interior designers, contractors and design students will also find this book useful. The Interior Design Reference + Specification Book has already become a valued part of my reference library as my husband and I work on transforming a previously unlivable space into a comfortable and inviting one.

I can already see that I’ll find this book useful in other ways, too. I’m an avid crafter; I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted on the internet trying to find things like crib dimensions when I’m about to make a new baby blanket, or placemat dimensions when I want to make new table linens. This book includes numerous helpful specifications that make it easy and straightforward to find this sort of information.

Major thumbs up to this book! I’m betting you’ll find it helpful, too.

Where to Buy The Interior Design Reference + Specification Book

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Posted By: Amy Solovay

This page was last updated on 10-11-2023.