Coffee table books can be filed under several categories, for instance: “joy sparkers,” “style bibles” and “things that men will never understand.” They’re both form and function, serve as accent pieces as well as reading material. They entertain guests, as well as yourself. And despite what your boyfriend says about them taking up useless space, they’re really quite essential for anyone with an eye for design.
For whatever reason, I’ve always had a thing for coffee table books, but it wasn’t really until I had a space of my own that I started purchasing them. I’ve found that I’m most drawn to those that are style focused–both fashion-wise as well as interior design. It’s pretty hard to choose just one, so I narrowed the list down to seven! If you’re looking to add more coffee table books to your collection, you can’t go wrong with these favorites.
If you asked me to list my favorite books (any books!) in the world, this one would be in the top five. I stumbled upon I Love Your Style while shopping with my friend Kate and her mom, flipping through it while she was in the dressing room. I totally fell in love. (She was sweet enough to buy it for me as a gift later on!) It completely reframed how I approached my style. Not to focus on trends, but to really curate a wardrobe of essentials that I loved.
For anyone who is confused on how to crack the “style” code–this is for you. It’s so much more than a coffee table book, and to this day, I pick this up several times a month, open it to whatever page I happen to land, and start reading. It’s beautifully done and still brings me so much joy!
Another favorite of mine, it’s just as beautiful to look at as it is wonderful to read. It’s a little on the smaller side, so it’s perfect for layering and stacking, if that’s the look you’re going for. The pretty black and white striped binding was the first thing that spoke to me, begging me to pick it up.
Much like I Love Your Style is to fashion, Elements of Style is to interiors. It’s more than just pretty pictures, it’s extremely practical, with plenty of Erin Gates’ personal anecdotes weaved in. For first timers (cough, me) tackling the process of designing and decorating a home for the first time, this book will be for you. Much like I strive for this blog to be, you feel like much more like you’re gabbing with a best friend, rather than reading a design book.
I have to admit, I love this book’s interior as well, but the real reason I bought it at first was because I needed a big ole coffee table book simply for stackability’s sake. (Is that a thing, stackability’s sake?) It’s got a hefty price tag, but if you love style and history, it’s totally worth the investment. It’s essentially a history textbook for everyone who has ever made it in the fashion and beauty industry–high end designers, clothing labels, makeup artists, photographers, and more. This could sit on your table for years and you’d always learn something new each time you opened it! Not to mention, the photographs are beautiful.
Author Amanda Brooks’ second book after “I Love Your Style.” This book is similar and different in so many ways. Less “style lessons” and more of a memoir, this gives a peek into her impressive career, intriguing life in the fashion industry, and adventures as one of NYC’s most social socialites (is that a thing?) The book is full of of fun commentary, amazing stories, and pretty photos. This is a combination coffee table book/fun, light beach read. (It’s fairly small, so you can easily tuck it in your beach bag!) I mean, who wouldn’t want to hear what it’s like to be Patrick Demarchelier’s assistant? Or the Fashion Director at Barney’s?
Let’s be honest, I’d read Grace Bonney’s grocery list–so it was a no brainer that I must own Design*Sponge at Home. In his forward, Jonathan Adler calls Bonney’s blog an interior design revolution, with this book being its bible. If you love the site’s home tours, practical tips, and DIY tips, you’ll absolutely love this book. Think of it as a living, breathing, physical version of the blog we all know and love so much. Plus, it gives your coffee table such a cheery pop of color!
As an interior design newbie, I was drawn to this book like a moth to a flame. From the creators of one of my favorite magazines, comes this coffee table staple filled with practical design tips, photos of past issues, and some new ones as well. It breaks the decorating process down room by room, instructs you on how to begin, how to find and define your style, and even how to create a decorating schedule. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this book!
If the word “fun” morphed into a physical being, it might just be this book. Not surprisingly, it’s comprised of photos of absolutely beautiful homes and decor that you will never tire of looking at. I think I’m drawn to this book so much in particular because it’s about the curation process of your things based on what feels right, not spending too much time considering what “matches.” The type of design that has rules really gives me anxiety–so Anna Spiro’s reassurance that I can’t mess up the whole “decor” thing as long as I curate what I love makes me feel really good. She provides practical advice, tips and tricks in easily digestible and inspirational bites. You can’t pick this book up without smiling a little bit on the inside.