Coffee table books have always fascinated and perplexed me because I wondered at first whether people actually read them or whether they are only meant for aesthetic purposes. I think today there is an element of both when we think of coffee table books, but I also like to make sure that those I have on my coffee table/sitting room table are those I myself would want to pick up and flip through. So, I’ve created a list of five of my favorite coffee table books that help accentuate your living space while also engaging your guests.
1. Dust & Grooves by Eilon Paz
The quintessential book for the record collector. I love this book simply because the photos are just so interesting. The purpose of the book is to capture the unique, eclectic record collections of everyday individuals.
As someone who also loves vinyl records, I find it so fascinating to not only see the often huge collections of fellow record lovers but also how they store their records. Like the main photo depicts, some showcase their records as a feature wall, displaying them in their main living space, while others store them differently. To me, it’s a very conscious design decision and you get a glimpse of the individual whose record collection is being photographed.
This would definitely be one of the coffee table books on display in my living space because music and the time when records were most appreciated is a time so fundamental to who I am and my style. One day I hope to own a good quality record player, but until then, this book will be my main source of record collecting inspo!
2. The Lost Words: A Spell Book by Robert Macfarlane
As an English major, I am all about words and because I believe coffee table books reflect the individual whose space the coffee table book resides, this book by Robert Macfarlane on old, ‘lost’ words would definitely be in my space.
This book depicts certain words, particularly relating to the natural world, that are becoming less and less commonly used by children over time in favor of more technical and virtual words. It is a clear sign that children are becoming more dissociated from the natural world.
Macfarlane and the illustrator, Jackie Morris, return these lost words to their former glory and, in doing so, return us to a natural world before computers, voice-mail, and attachments, where the dandelions run wild, the herons and otters bathe in the chilly water as the wrens lie nestled in the willows. See what I did there? You will once you pick up this book.
3. Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount
Like any good coffee table book, there should be some serious illustrations. Well, Jane Mount’s Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany has you covered. The illustrations act as a kind of infographic for its readers, depicting favorite bookstores and libraries around the world, as well as recommended books. It’s a perfect addition to any book collection and book collector, and an appropriate book to showcase on your coffee table.
Some other fun stuff that you’ll find in this coffee table book are quizzes that help test yours — and your book-loving guests’ — knowledge of the written word, taking a look into the workspaces of beloved authors, and sampling meals that are famous in our favorite fictional realms. I recommend this book to any book lover and/or writer.
4. Influence by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
I couldn’t write a list of my coffee table books of choice without also including one on fashion, another important reflection of my own inspiration. Now this book goes back to my childhood a little bit because I grew up being highly influenced by Mary-Kate and Ashley, but they also influence me today because of their style, their entrepreneurship, and composure in a very busy and demanding world.
What I love about this book is that it’s more than simply just photographs of fashion or fashionable models. Rather, Mary-Kate and Ashley take on an interview-style where they interview different artists, writers, photographers, and designers that have influenced them. In this meta book, I find endless inspiration as a person who not only loves fashion but also enjoys seeing people converse with one another and talk about their passions.
I guess a love for a childhood idol — or two — never truly goes away, and these iconic twins continue to inspire me with their influence.
5. Celebrate by Lauren Conrad
A hostess’ dream book, Lauren Conrad’s Celebrate is an aesthetic beauty, especially if you love light pink! Like any good coffee table book, Celebrate inspires and excites its reader because of the beautifully skilled photography and layouts; it shows a kind of potential lifestyle that is picture-perfect and of course, that’s what you want to see in a coffee table book!
What this book offers is an aesthetically pleasing layout and useful design information, especially if you are just beginning to decorate a place of your own — and a place that you may want your friends to see in the near future. It provides tips on how to make your home, well, homey and an oasis that celebrates you.
This is a fun and exceptionally colorful book that will add a pop of warmth and welcome to your space!