The Best Coffee Table Books

Coffee table books have long been the interior designer’s secret weapon. They can be layered on shelf (or a coffee table, duh!) for a chic look.  But more than that, they are a wonderful way to unwind and visually absorb beautiful and important images, all while learning a thing or two.

Coffee table books must meet some specific criteria.  The trifecta of the coffee table book is when you love the content (first and foremost, of course), they are beautiful on the inside as well as the outside, and they have some weight and girth to them, making them ideal for layering and stacking.

Thumbing through books which showcase an artist’s work can be a peaceful way to unwind.

Art of the 20th Century

Irving Penn: Centennial 

History and current event books are fascinating to look through.  My parents had a Life Magazine coffee table book when I was a kid, and I learned so much about history, war, and politics while endlessly thumbing through those pages.  (This was pre-technology, of course).

New York Times Photographs

The Kennedy Years: A Memoir

Similar to history books, coffee table books which pertain to nature and the environment provide so many inspirational, educational images.

Overview:  A New Perspective on Earth

Wildlife of the Earth

Fashion designers’ coffee table books are an obvious winner.  Often their spines are also as outrageous and unique as their couture designs.

Tory Burch In Color

Vogue the Shoe

Vintage books are a nice juxtaposition to the clean and fresh books, and can look really interesting in a collection.  Scouring used book stores and Ebay are your best bets for finding interesting topics, and having a pre-owned book that might be decades old only adds to the intrigue.

Illustrated Rembrandt

The Art of Pin Up (while this one is not actually vintage, it gives off a mature air).

My favorite coffee table book to peruse is that on home design and decorating.  

 

The Decorated Home

The Finer Things

 

images via amazon, ebay, pinterest