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Design Inspo

The 20 Best Coffee Table Books To Complete Your Living Room

Coffee table books are a great way to add your personality and visual intrigue to your living room. Here are 20 that deserve a place in your home.

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If you ask us, having a collection of coffee table books is essential for any living room. Coffee table books are both informative and make lovely decorative pieces and conversation starters. When you choose books that reflect your personal taste and interests, whether it's modern architecture, traditional home design, or contemporary art, you let everyone know who you are. Your guests can browse through your collection and get to know you better through your choice of books (or they’ll just see the pile of books on the table and think about how cool and cultured you are).

Use these books to add a touch of sophistication and elegance to any space, whether you choose to place them on a coffee table or a bookshelf.

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1. The Architecture of Trees 

Landscape architects Cesare Leonardi and Franca Stagi's masterful book is an essential text on outdoor architecture and a beautiful study of trees in all of their varieties and forms. 

Featuring hundreds of detailed drawings of tree species and foliage and how they change throughout the seasons, The Architecture of Trees will intrigue guests who are interested in landscape design, botany, the natural sciences, or people who simply want to see beautiful, intricate drawings of the natural world. 

2. Wonderland

Photographer Annie Leibovitz is an icon of fashion photography, and this coffee table book features 350 of her greatest works — an instant conversation starter. 

Her career, mainly for Vogue, has spanned 50 years and includes portraits of celebrities, writers, and politicians like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Cate Blanchett, Matthew Barney, Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Moss, Natalia Vodianova, Nancy Pelosi, Rihanna, and Serena Williams. 

Published by Phaidon, a publisher known for their works on art and design, Wonderlandwill be a treat for fashion-loving guests and anyone interested in the portfolio of one of the greatest photographers of our time. 

3. Humans of New York

Humans of New York is a coffee table book that features a collection of photographs and stories of people living in New York City. The book is based on the popular blog and social media accounts created by photographer Brandon Stanton.

The book contains over 400 pages of photographs and stories of New Yorkers from all walks of life, including students, immigrants, artists, homeless people, and celebrities. Each photograph is accompanied by a brief caption or quote from the subject, providing a glimpse into their daily lives and personal perspectives.

The book is divided into chapters based on themes such as love, childhood, work, and resilience. The stories and photographs are arranged to create a powerful narrative of the diversity and complexity of the human experience.

4. Monet. The Triumph of Impressionism

When it comes to impressionism, there’s no better artist to celebrate than Claude Monet. Monet’s paintings come together in this wonderful collection by the art book publisher Taschen, which includes an overview of his life alongside his evolving painting style. 

Monet is known for his use of vibrant colors and loose brushstrokes, both of which were considered revolutionary at the time. Monet's most famous works include his series of water lilies, haystacks, and Rouen Cathedral paintings. 

He continued to paint and exhibit his work throughout his life, leaving a lasting impact on the world of art. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to bring a touch of Monet’s gardens into your own home.

5. Japanese Interiors

Mihoko Iida’s gorgeous coffee table book Japanese Interiors is a love letter to a country that has some of the most exciting and innovative design styles anywhere in the world. Featuring nearly 30 spaces designed by Japan’s top architects and designers, this book is the perfect item to have in your living room for some home decor and design inspiration.

Iida’s book ranges from apartments in the crowded and bustling cityscapes of Tokyo to serene, minimalist homes on the Japanese seaside. So, whatever your design interest, Japanese Interiors will have something to offer you. It also makes the perfect gift for your friends with a touch of wanderlust. 

6. The Bauhaus: 1919-1933: Reform and Avant-garde

One of the more beautiful and insightful coffee table books on the topic of architectural history is this survey of Germany’s Bauhaus movement by Magdalena Droste. 

The Bauhaus was a modernist art and design school that operated in Germany from 1919 to 1933 and is widely regarded as one of the most significant and influential movements in the history of 20th-century art, design, and architecture. It aimed to unite art, craftsmanship, and technology, emphasizing the importance of functionality and practicality. 

The movement's design principles included the use of clean lines, geometric shapes, and a minimalist aesthetic. Add this design book to your wishlist if you lean toward modern and minimalist looks. 

7. The Finer Things: Timeless Furniture, Textiles, and Details 

For a coffee table book that dives into the wonderful world of textiles, The Finer Things is a wonderful addition to any living space. Christiane Lemieux’s survey of the world of wallpaper, fabrics, and artisans worldwide is a beautiful inspiration for both interior designers and those who want to think more carefully about the textiles around them.

8. Richard Neutra: 1892 - 1970: Survival Through Design

Another iconic architect is Richard Neutra, whose work is most commonly associated with the beauty of California. He’s the genius behind the Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs and the Millard Kaufman House in Los Angeles. 

Born in Vienna in 1892, Neutra is best known for his residential designs, which were characterized by clean lines, open spaces, and a harmonious relationship between indoor and outdoor living. Neutra's work significantly impacted modernist architecture and continues to be studied and admired by architects and designers around the world.

9. Paris Living Rooms

Published by the interior design magazine Apartamento, Paris Living Rooms is a collection of photographs taken by Dominique Nabokov that documents the living rooms of countless artists and public figures who call Paris home. 

The spaces Nabokov displays here range from minimalist to maximalist, from elaborate luxury to humble abodes. This coffee table book serves as design inspiration and offers insight into the living spaces of some of the most interesting people around, such as photographer Nan Goldin and fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. 

parisian style living room
A Parisian-inspired living room designed by Jenna Brody

10. Minimalista: Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Better Home, Wardrobe, and Life

Professional organizer Shira Gill’s coffee table book on how to declutter and organize your spaces is a must for the minimalist in your life. Whether you want to learn how to focus your interior design style or you simply want to have a more organized closet, Gill has many steps to move you in the right direction. 

A mix of hilarious essays, concrete advice, and plenty of photographs, Minimalista is one of the best gifts for the die-hard minimalist or person aspiring to be one. 

11. Jean-Michel Basquiat. 40th Ed.

An icon of the 1980s New York art world and one of the most influential painters of the last 50 years, Basquiat’s work is still as powerful as ever. Everyone from professional art curators to those who can’t get enough of the 1980s will appreciate a chance to lean back on a comfy sofa and thumb through these exquisite images. 

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1960, Basquiat began his artistic career as a graffiti artist, using the tag "SAMO" to gain recognition on the streets of Manhattan. He then transitioned to creating large-scale paintings that combined elements of street art, pop culture, and African-American history and culture.

12. Still: The Slow Home

The Slow Movement is an architectural and design movement that champions nature, sustainability, and organic living. Like minimalism, the movement is not limited to architecture — instead, it extends to an entire philosophy of life. 

Natalie Walton’s survey of several homes takes the reader into a way of life that’s separated from the current trends of an everyday, fast-paced life. Many of the homes are in natural, isolated locations that are full of beauty and magic. It’ll have city homeowners nostalgic for the great outdoors, reaching for the latest edition of National Geographic to find their next bucket list adventure.

13. Great Women Artists

An incredibly expansive overview of phenomenal female artists who have been overlooked or underappreciated, this Phaidon book is a must-have for those interested in art and art history. 

Spanning five centuries and over 400 artists from all over the world, this is a remarkable book in which you can look at some of your favorite works of art and discover your next favorite artist. 

14. Peter Lindbergh: On Fashion Photography

Peter Lindbergh was a German fashion photographer known for his minimalist and natural style of photography

Born in 1944, Lindbergh worked as a window dresser before turning to photography. He rose to fame in the 1980s and 1990s for his work with fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Interview. Many of those iconic works are displayed in this mesmerizing coffee table book. 

Lindbergh was known for his ability to capture the natural beauty of his subjects, often using black and white photography to emphasize the simplicity and elegance of his compositions. The eye-catching cover photograph of Kate Moss is the ultimate statement accessory. 

15. Edward Hopper's New York

Edward Hopper’s paintings are marvels in design that will satisfy both the art historian and the interior designer in you. This coffee table book focuses on stunning portraits of his hometown, New York City, and the unique, lonely atmosphere that he brought to his works. 

His paintings are characterized by their use of light and shadow, as well as their subtle use of color. Use Hopper’s paintings as an inspiration for your color scheme, or take a gander at paintings that take you to a bygone era in New York. 

16. Soft Minimal: Norm Architects: A Sensory Approach to Architecture and Design

Soft Minimal: Norm Architects is a coffee table book that showcases the work of the Danish design firm Norm Architects. The book focuses on the firm's unique approach to architecture and design, characterized by a combination of minimalist aesthetics and a focus on the sensory experience of the user. 

Featuring stunning photographs of the firm's projects, which range from private residences to commercial spaces, the book also includes interviews with the founders of Norm Architects, who discuss their design philosophy and approach to creating spaces that are both functional and beautiful. 

17. Treetop Hideaways: Treehouses for Adults

Treetop Hideaways is a fascinating exploration of the possibilities of treehouse design that’s sure to inspire anyone who loves nature and the idea of sleeping among the trees. The book features a diverse range of treehouses, including locations with breathtaking views of the mountains, treehouses nestled in dense forests, and treehouses designed to blend in with their desert surroundings. 

The photographs and descriptions in the book capture the essence of each treehouse, showcasing the beauty and ingenuity of the design. In addition to the detailed descriptions of each treehouse, the book includes practical information about how to build a treehouse, including the various types of materials that can be used and the different techniques and considerations involved in the construction process.

18. Accidentally Wes Anderson

Based on the popular social media account, "Accidentally Wes Anderson" by Wally Koval features a collection of photographs of real-life locations around the world that look like they could be from a Wes Anderson film. Wes Anderson is a filmmaker known for his unique aesthetic style, which often includes pastel colors, symmetrical compositions, and quirky characters.

This is a great coffee table book for those interested in movies and photography, as well as general design inspiration. Note: Whimsical antique bicycle not included. 

starlite motel pink and blue decor
Starlite Motel located in Ulster County, New York via @accidentallywesanderson

19. Provence Glory

Provence Glory is a coffee table book by the luxury publisher Assouline, which celebrates the beauty and culture of Provence, a region in southeastern France. 

The book showcases the region's picturesque landscapes, including its lavender fields, vineyards, and hilltop villages. It also includes profiles of famous Provencal figures, such as the artist Vincent van Gogh, who painted some of his most famous works while living in the region.

20. Bernard Tschumi: Architecture: Concept & Notation

Another icon of architecture is Bernard Tschumi, whose career and influence are documented in this marvelous coffee table book made by the Centre Pompidou.

Tschumi has designed a wide range of buildings and urban projects around the world, including museums, concert halls, housing projects, and public spaces. The book also contains his writings on architecture, which continue to be studied to this day. 

A Book-Filled Living Room

Coffee table books showcase your personality and interests in your interior design and for your guests to have beautiful books to read while at your home. Try some of these wide-ranging coffee table books and see how they make your living room shine. 

Sources:

Annie Leibovitz on the shots that made her | Guardian 

Brandon Stanton’s Empire of Empathy | NY Magazine

The Bauhaus, 1919–1933 | The MET

Garden | Foundation Claude Monet

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Enduring Fame | Art News

A Look Back at Peter Lindbergh's Most Iconic Photographs | Harper's Bazaar

From Gucci ads to Instagram fads: how the Wes Anderson aesthetic took over the world | The Guardian

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Date Posted
January 2, 2024
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