These twelve sustainable home books cover everything from building an eco-house to living a simpler, more intentional home life.
There are other lists out there that feature books on green design, but most of them focus on either sustainable architecture and building or on living sustainably at home – not on both. To me, these lists (and the books featured on them) are only a part of the picture.
And that’s why I wanted to create a guide featuring twelve books that will walk you through the entire sustainable home process. From building – or renovating – to furnishing, decorating and living within a green home, the books on this list cover sustainability from A to Z.
I’m also super excited to partner with Booksio on this post, because they’re a company that keeps a whole host of great causes close to their heart – including the environment. Booksio is different from other online booksellers because ten percent of every sale they make goes to a charitable organization. (Note: Unfortunately Booksio is no longer in business. However, with the help of booklovers and treehuggers they were able to raise funds for many different charities and I am proud to have played a small part in that!)
Let’s get reading!
4 Green Building Books on Sustainable Design and Construction
If you’re looking for books about building houses with the environmental footprint first in mind, you’ve come to the right place. Here are four books on the wonderful world of building green!
Making Better Buildings: A Comparative Guide to Sustainable Construction for Homeowners and Contractors
Who it’s by: Chris Magwood
What it’s about: “From foundation to finish, a wealth of information is available on sustainable construction methods-entire volumes have been published on individual green and natural building techniques. Making Better Buildings cuts through the hype and provides the unvarnished facts about the upsides and downsides of the most widely discussed materials and technologies.” (Booksio)
Who it’s for: If you’re thinking about embarking on a sustainable home build, then this building green book is a great place to get started. Each chapter ends with a chart that gives a quick breakdown of what was discussed, so you can refer to it whenever you need to review the different eco home topics. Check out Essential Sustainable Home Design, also by Magwood, for another excellent green building book.
Who it’s by: Melissa Rappaport Schifman
What it’s about: “Whether the reader is building a new home or doing a minor remodel, a homeowner needs a framework by which to guide their decisions. Learn the logistics of choosing windows, insulation, appliances, and lighting. Find out about FSC certified wood and about using reclaimed materials. Here is everything you need to make your home sustainable.” (Booksio)
Who it’s for: For anyone who is interested in the financial side of sustainable homes, as well as the environmental and health benefits, this is one of the most well-known – and respected – green architecture books out there.
What it’s about: “Perfect for homeowners, builders, and architects, this handbook provides simple modifications to create a sustainably designed residence. With photographs and helpful illustrations and diagrams, this book answers a variety of questions, including How can tenants reduce their fuel bills? How do we evaluate the results of retrofitting? and Is housing design going in the right direction?” (Booksio)
Who it’s for: Building a brand new sustainable home isn’t an option for everyone and – besides – isn’t it better to use what you already have? This book is for those who want to make their existing home greener through things like installing alternative energy sources.
What it’s about: “This book presents a selection of sustainable homes built according to what is, today, feasible in the field of sustainable architecture, and shows us what alternatives are offered in this sense by current architecture. Once considered architectural curiosities, these houses… lay the foundations of tomorrow’s construction and invite us to consider that we cannot be satisfied with just pursuing our own quality of life.” (Booksio)
Who it’s for: If you love to see the innovative and unique homes that fellow treehuggers live in then this sustainable architecture book is for you.
Featured Booksio Charity: Nature Conservancy
“The Nature Conservancy is tackling the dual threats of accelerated climate change and unprecedented biodiversity loss. Science determines where we focus and equity guides how we achieve lasting results. Grounded by decades of local on-the-ground experience, we maximize our ability to affect change by bringing together real-world solutions, policy expertise, sustainable financing and collaborative partnerships.” (www.nature.org)
5 of the Best Books about Decorating and Creating a Sustainable Home
Now, for the most fun part (in my opinion), which is creating beautiful interior spaces using green materials, salvaged items and through the magic of thrifting.
What it’s about: “From first steps to gradual changes to guiding principles, this book shows how easy it is to make your home a little greener, starting today. Features covered include ideas for: furniture and fabrics, wall and window coverings, floors and countertops, bed and bath, lighting, babies and children, pets, outdoor living, finishing touches.” (Booksio)
Who it’s for: Those looking for a practical, photo-filled guide featuring things they can do right now to create a greener home.
What it’s about: “In Simply Imperfect, Lawrence shows that wabi-sabi is far more than a style of home decor. It’s a state of mind—a way of living modestly in the moment, stripping away the unnecessary, and finding satisfaction in everyday things. Tracing the rich history of wabi-sabi from its Zen Buddhist roots to the present day, this beautifully-illustrated book also offers tips on… integrating salvaged and recycled materials [and] making and growing things yourself (or supporting local artisans who do).” (Booksio)
Who it’s for: Anyone interested in slow design and in achieving a sustainable home through living a more conscious life.
Big Thrift Energy: The Art and Thrill of Finding Vintage Treasures – Plus Tips for Making Old Feel New
What it’s about: “Part resource, part inspiration, Big Thrift Energy is a comprehensive guide that offers tips for thrifting that you never knew you needed: How to shop for the good stuff, how to upcycle and style vintage treasures in your home, and even advice for flipping your most-coveted items to turn a profit.” (Booksio)
Who it’s for: Those who already know that thrifting is one of the most sustainable ways to outfit your home – and those who want to get started on collecting for and curating their very own unique and eco-responsible space.
Need help choosing eco-conscious furniture and decor for your home? That’s what I’m here for!
What it’s about: “Joanne Palmisano is passionate about the joy and importance of reuse in home decor. Whether it’s reclaimed, repurposed, recycled, salvaged, or antique, Joanne will show you how to turn an old piece into a stunning decorative object. Styling with Salvage is an essential guide for those who can’t walk by a secondhand store or salvage yard without taking a peek, or who just want to decorate in a more mindful way.” (Booksio)
Who it’s for: If you’ve always admired a home that looks both beautiful and well-loved, then learning how to style with salvaged and reclaimed materials will be right up your alley.
What it’s about: “Bring a bit of nature into your home! Home accents made with beautiful natural wood can be expensive to buy, but many are easy to make yourself with twigs and branches found in the woods, on beaches, or your own backyard. Simply Wood shows even novice woodworkers how to make elegant and practical objects using found wood.” (Booksio)
Who it’s for: Those who want to fill their home with items found in nature, all while honing their woodworking skills – and saving money!
Featured Booksio Charity: Clean Air Task Force
“Over the past 25 years, CATF has carved out a unique role in the environmental and climate movement as a science-driven, solutions-focused, and strategic organization that gets results. Learn about how we got started and explore our history. Today, we continue to apply our technical and policy know-how to aspects of the climate challenge in cutting-edge ways. Fueled by facts rather than ideology, CATF combines technology innovation, policy advocacy, and thought leadership expertise to leverage workable solutions to this global crisis.” (www.catf.us)
3 Sustainable Living Books Featuring Tips for Your Home and Beyond
Sustainable design doesn’t stop once your home is all built and decorated. The below sustainable home books will teach you about infusing your choices to lead a greener life into every aspect of your home.
What it’s about: “In The Sustainable Home, interiors writer and photographer Ida Magntorn shows how to create a harmonious, beautiful and functional home that is sustainable in the long run. Taking inspiration from real homes, and following the motto reuse, reduce, recycle – Ida shares new ways to think when decorating – combining low environmental impact with individual style.” (Booksio)
Who it’s for: Take your home beyond green design and learn all about living a greener life, including how to make your own cleaning supplies and starting a “plastic diet.”
What it’s about: “Sustainable lifestyle blogger and professional Christine Liu takes you on a tour through the rooms of your home – the living area, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom – offering tips, tricks and18 step-by-step projects designed to help you lead a more low-impact lifestyle. From guidance on decluttering and living minimally to advice about plant-based foods to tips on repairing old clothes, this book touches every aspect of home life.” (Booksio)
Who it’s for: Anyone who is ready to – or just curious about – making changes to their life, such as eating a more plant-based diet or growing their own food. When it comes to books on living green at home – this one has got it all.
What it’s about: “From assessing your emotional relationship to your stuff to decluttering your home to then turning it into a beautifully designed space that feels clean and tidy without feeling sparse or prescriptive. And all of this without filling up a landfill – you’ll find resources and strategies to donate and reuse your stuff so you don’t have to feel guilty about getting rid of it!” (Booksio)
Who it’s for: If you loved Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, then it’s very likely you’ll also be into New Minimalism, which includes tips on decluttering and intentional design.
Featured Booksio Charity: Wildlife Conservation Society
“WCS’s goal is to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 14 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the world’s biodiversity. The challenges are greater than ever, but with the focus, dedication, and passion of a committed staff—combined with a unique mixture of field, zoo, and aquarium expertise—WCS will continue to set the bar for science, conservation action, and education that has driven our success in protecting wildlife and wild places for over a century.” (www.wcs.org)
Now you’re all set with these awesome sustainable home books, why not check out my design guides on two interior styles that fit nicely with eco-interiors – japandi and coastal. Need some help creating the sustainable interior you’ve been dreaming of? Well, I have e-design services that might be just what you’re looking for.
Have you read any of these books? Or do you have any favourites you think I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
Posted on November 20, 2022 (Last Updated on October 14, 2023)
Need help choosing eco-conscious furniture and decor for your home? That’s what I’m here for!
Former architectural technologist. Current treehugger.
I’m here to help you green your home – and your life.
Subscribe to the Of Houses and Trees monthly newsletter and I’ll send you my FREE list of “The 8 Best Places to Buy Eco-Conscious Decor Online.”
What on earth is sustainable design? Learn all about this eco-focused design method and read the latest posts about green architecture, interior design and decor.
Sustainable living is more than just a thing treehuggers talk about. It’s about making conscious choices everyday. Read the latest posts on living with the planet’s wellbeing always in mind.
Visit the Of Houses and Trees sustainable product directory and support brands trying to make a difference in the world.
Find out more about our 40 acres of land in Parkland County, Alberta and the sustainable home we built amongst the trees.
Need help creating the home of your dreams? Care about the planet? You’ve come to the right place! check out my affordable, sustainable e-design services.
Having a had time choosing paint colours? I’ve got you – and your walls – covered with an interior paint palette sure to compliment your home.
Have questions about creating an eco-conscious home? Go ahead – ask me! Sign up for one of my free online interior design consultations and ask me anything you want.