They say the eyes are the window to the soul. I would argue that for a home, that’s the coffee table book collection - I say collection because once you buy one, it's difficult to stop. Each book feels deeply personal, reflecting our personal interest, goals, and ambitions. It doesn’t hurt that they kill two birds with one stone: not only do they serve as chic coffee table decor, but they also help us appear well-read and cultured.
The following coffee table books are substantial in their own rights, whether that be for their imagery, words, or both. But what makes them extra-special is the way they look. We’re an interior design publication after all, not Goodreads. Whether you’re into science, fashion, or contemporary design, you’re sure to find a book that fits your aesthetic, or perhaps even a friend’s. Read on to discover the stylish coffee table books that instantly elevate your space.
What good is a coffee table book without a coffee table? Discover my editor’s favorite coffee tables here.
Coffee table books to elevate your home
In the realm of furniture, I’ve always found chairs the most beautiful. This book showcases 1000 distinctly different chairs created by different designers with an array of design aesthetics, from Art Nouveau to International Style.
With its eternally bustling energy and diverse international influences, some might say that New York City is the most interesting city in the world. Journey through its many eras with compelling visuals. Plus, the cover’s old-school font is just so good.
Bending furniture is more relevant now than ever, but its origin has a long and storied history. Learn about and get inspired by 60 case studies of the world’s most ground-breaking curved structures.
Multi-hyphenate singer-songwriter-author-painter Patti Smith is an absolute legend. Inspired by her iconic Instagram account, this book features 365 photographs shot by Patti herself, from vintage archives to present day.
British luxury brand Burberry has a remarkably rich history spanning over 165 years. Learn about how the brand went from family-run brand to international mainstay through beautiful photographs. With a smart-looking trench coat right on the cover, this would also make a lovely gift for any fashion lover.
Photographer Alex Prager is a master of illusion. View her most essential works, from the early Polyester series to the delightfully dizzying Face in the Crowd all in one place.
Visionary Steven Klein is one of fashion’s most influential photographers. View three decades of his most important work, including faces like Madonna and Brad Pitt, and editorials for brands like Tom Ford and Alexander McQueen.
Featuring fascinating photographs from a whopping 140 space flights, this coffee table book is a space enthusiast’s dream. Shot by NASA photojournalists, fine art photographers, and the astronauts themselves, this is a unique addition to any coffee table book collection.
The 1960s were the heyday of American advertisement. A time of rabid consumerism, see the most interesting ads featuring everything from bourbon to drop waist skirts. The whole thing feels very Don Draper.
This leather-bound wine ‘bible’ is America's best-selling wine book. Filled with tips, anecdotes, definitions, illustrations, maps, labels, and recommended bottles, it’s a must-have for any vino lover.
Artist Andy Warhol carried a Polaroid camera with him from the 1950s until his passing in 1987. See his first-hand account of a truly remarkable life, featuring images of celebrities like Mick Jagger and Yves Saint Laurent, scenic landscapes, his iconic entourage, and portraits of himself.
The concept of the wild west and the archetypical American cowboy has become deeply ingrained within Western society. See what this period was really like through exceptional black-and-white photography.
Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí was among the greatest of all time. Although I’m quite fond of the cover art, it’s important to note that this book is the most complete compilation of Dalí works to date - an essential for any art lover.
Red is integral to the Valentino brand. Explore the brand’s history through the lens of that iconic color. Plus, its striking spine makes this book stand out, even in a stack.
Offering 50 base recipes for tortillas, pozole, tamales, and more with stunning culinary imagery, Masa is a cult-favorite coffee table book among the foodie community.
Carolyn Bessette Kennedy is a renowned style icon. View a chronicle of her effortless style, and read what fashion’s most influential figures have said about it, including the likes of Calvin Klein, Wes Gordon, and Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue, Edward Enninful.
From the glamorous Marlene Dietrich to thrilling drag balls, discover the free spirit of the 1920s. This comprehensive and visually stunning book spans art, design, fashion, film, and more.
New York–based fashion house Sies Marjan is known for its subversive use of color. Glean inspiration from the jewel-toned fabrics and effortlessly cool aesthetic showcased within this book.
Explore the life and work of Italian designer and architect Ettore Sottsass. Flip by flip, each and every page of this beautifully covered book offers something special. Fans of postmodern design, this one’s for you.
I deeply admire Alvar Aalto’s soft approach to modernism. The Finnish architect imbues his sleek but soft touch upon everything he creates, from lamps to saunas. This book is a boundless source of design inspiration.
Transform your living room with these ingenious IKEA coffee table hacks.
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Formerly covering fashion at L’Officiel USA, style maven Julia Demer brings her love of design to Livingetc’s world of interiors. As the title’s Style Editor, Julia's work reflects a sharp eye for detail and an innate passion for aesthetics. Her journey began with a strong foundation in design, honing her craft at renowned establishments like The Row and even establishing her own eponymous fashion brand. Julia’s design background is evident in the way she thoughtfully curates shopping edits, always maintaining a focus on emerging trends while preserving timeless sensibilities. For Julia, fashion and interiors go hand in hand, reflecting her lifelong commitment to perfecting the art of style.
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