Home decor books are perfect for holiday giving

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"BEAUTY AT HOME" by Aerin Lauder, Potter Style ($60)

In her first book, the granddaughter of cosmetics mogul Estee Lauder opens up her Manhattan home and office as well as her Hamptons retreat, which was once her grandmother's home. Detail shots of her vanity, desk and tabletops are coupled with overall shots of the library, living room and bedrooms in both homes, giving a complete picture of how this tireless businesswoman and mother lives. Throughout this beautifully photographed book, she stresses the idea of living with comfort and beauty without sacrificing order. It's a peek into the private and very well-organized world of an heiress who respects the past, but is clearly looking toward the future.

"SIMPLY SERENE" by Thomas Pheasant, Rizzoli ($60)

A designer's designer, Thomas Pheasant is known for creating effortless yet elegant environments for his clients. His seemingly magical melding of classic and contemporary elements is envied by his contemporaries and lauded by magazine editors and industry insiders. The book illustrates his talent for creating the most soothingly beautiful interiors, with page after page of cool rooms where he employs light and space to the greatest advantage. It all plays against architectural details including columns, marble floors and Greek key molding. This book is a study in design perfection reflecting the title on every page.

"LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE: AT HOME IN THE COUNTRY" by Joan Osofsky and Abby Adams, Rizzoli ($50)

The owner of the Hammertown Barn lifestyle store, Joan Osofsky became a design guru to customers who liked what they saw from the time she opened her first shop in Pine Plains, N.Y., in 1985. Her love of design and home decorating and singular ability to blend the exotic, modern and personal into a country environment is why this tome is already so popular. Less about staging and more about living, this book will keep the reader coming back for more with page after page of rooms, exteriors and detail shots.

"FARROW & BALL'S DECORATING WITH COLOUR" by Ros Byam Shaw, Ryland Peters & Small ($45)

Farrow & Ball is an iconic British brand, with paints and wallpapers still made by hand in Dorset. But its subtle, richly hued colors are its claim to fame and have made it a favorite of designers. Following the success of "Farrow and Ball Living With Colour," this new book features a range of 18 homes including an Italian palazzo, a converted factory in Paris and the attic of an Amsterdam canal house. Divided into three chapters according to style -- classical, country and contemporary -- the book offers a trip around the world with the bonus of having every color identified so you can duplicate what you love.

"STEPHEN SILLS: DECORATION" by Stephen Sills, Rizzoli ($65)

Stephen Sills is one of Architectural Digest's "30 Deans of American Design" and Elle Decor's Top 25 Designers. Best known for his subtle, refined color palettes and a layered approach to design that mixes furnishings and art from different eras, his work is soothing and timeless. "Decoration" concentrates on 16 residential projects, with 250 exquisite photos by legendary photographer François Halard that capture the energy and personality he injects into every space. From a Manhattan penthouse to an Aspen retreat and his own Bedford, N.Y., home, the projects emphasize glamour, ease and elegance. This is truly a book of dreams that inspires and informs.

"AXEL VERVOORDT: LIVING WITH LIGHT" by Michael Gardner, Flammarion ($75)

The follow-up to "Axel Vervoordt: Timeless Interiors" further explores the Belgian designer's unique vision -- a search for absolute harmony, beauty and serenity. The international work of the Axel Vervoordt Co. is featured in photos by Laziz Haman that capture the concepts they explore, including time, space and a strong luminous presence. Whether a historic estate or modern home, the 20 projects showcased share the company's trademark serenity and sensibility. A soft, clean palette, interesting arrangements of collected objects and a balance between minimal and textural combine in these spare yet sophisticated interiors.

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