Whenever a new season rolls in, I inevitably crave a refresh in my space. I clean and reorganize, rearrange my shelves, and usually end up adding a piece or two to breathe new life into my décor. A coffee table book is one of my go-to’s, for good reason. Coffee table books are an amazing (and relatively affordable) way to add an element of interest to your home, spark conversation, and act as a source of inspiration. That’s why I’ve rounded up some of the best coffee table books I could find.
Not only are they an easy way to elevate our space, but they also make an amazing gift! You can choose it based on a related interest or simply because it has a pretty cover and strikes your fancy. Plus, you really can’t have too many. This is one of the few instances where you actually should judge a book by its cover! When it comes to coffee table books, the aesthetic needs to be just as important as the contents of the book.
Keep reading for the 20 best coffee table books!
Wine Simple: A Totally Approachable Guide from a World-Class Sommelier by Aldo Sohm
This is a must-have for any wine enthusiast. As one of the most respected and highly-lauded sommeliers on the planet, Sohm is a trusted voice in the exclusive world of wine. This book is full of gorgeous infographics and illustrations, jam-packed with facts, encouragement, and great recommendations. The cover has strong mid-century vibes that would look gorgeous in any room.
Wine Simple: A Totally Approachable Guide from a World-Class Sommelier, $16.29
Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone
If you’re a fan of Calderone’s stunning EyeSwoon aesthetic, then you can’t miss her gorgeous book. This design tome is just as gorgeous on the outside as it is full of helpful tips and inspiring images. She taps into her network of interior designers, fashion designers, and tastemakers to show how carefully curated interiors come together. It’s an elegant addition to any coffee table.
Live Beautiful, $36.99
Phaidon’s Cecily Brown
Love the old masters? You must check out this beautiful display of Cecily Brown’s work. It’s one of the best coffee table books out there thanks to her use of symbolic language, singular brushwork, rich palette, and intense energy that seems to jump from the pages of the book and into the space.
Cecily Brown, $37.26
Tate Modern’s Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power
This is not your everyday art book. It surveys a crucial period full of radical change in art history. It sheds light on previously neglected histories of Black artists and features powerful essays that explore the art-historical and social contexts of a wide range of subjects. It’s as informative as it is beautiful to behold.
Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, $32
Pahidon’s The Origins of Cooking: Palaeolithic and Neolithic Cooking
Foodies need to have this extraordinary coffee table book. Aside from having a truly gorgeous cover, it examines in detail the foundations of cooking, starting with the earliest sources. It is packed with thoughtful and illuminating text as well as elBullifoundation diagrams and images.
The Origins of Cooking: Palaeolithic and Neolithic Cooking, $103.99
Anni and Josef Albers: Equal and Unequal by Nicholas Fox Weber
This visual biography focuses on the pioneers and protagonists of modern art and design. It celebrates two of the 20th century’s most important abstract artists, Josef and Anni Albers. It is the first coffee table book to focus on their rich creative output and intriguing relationship in a single text. And how great is the cover’s color palette?
Anni and Josef Albers: Equal and Unequal, $137.85
Upstate: Living Spaces with Space to Live by Lisa Przystup
This incredibly inspiring collection of charming interiors will have you dreaming of the Hudson Valley. It features a variety of spaces from farmhouses to Victorians and cottages on both sides of the Hudson River. It’s a delightful array of homes bursting with eclectic characters and beautiful visuals.
Upstate: Living Spaces with Space to Live, $30.49
Phaidon’s Open Studio: Do-It-Yourself Art Projects by Contemporary Artists
Take a peek into the behind-the-scenes world of contemporary artists at work in their studios along with instructions on how readers can recreate them. It’s an utterly unique opportunity to learn from the experts themselves, as they draw, paint, sculpt, or design an original project for readers to recreate at home.
Open Studio: Do-It-Yourself Art Projects, $45.04
John Derian Picture Book by John Derian
This New York Times bestseller is the book art fans have been waiting for. It’s culled from the images that have appeared in Derian’s biannual collections and features a beautiful assortment of absolutely stunning work. The book is a work of art in and of itself. It’s the perfect gift, but you’ll probably want to keep it for yourself.
John Derian Picture Book, $55.98
Assouline’s Ibiza Bohemia
Add a pop of pink to your space with this absolute dream of a coffee table book.It captures the spirit of Ibiza via 300 pages of vibrant photos, quotes, and anecdotes. You’ll feel like you’re right there, exploring the island’s scenic cliffs, boho interiors, and legendary cast of characters.
Ibiza Bohemia, $95
Le Corbuffet: Edible Art and Design Classics by Esther Choi
Home cooking and highbrow art come together in this unique cookbook. It uses food to create edible interpretations of modern and contemporary sculptures, paintings, architecture, and design. It’s perfect for the free-thinking foodie in your life. It’s strikingly beautiful and provocative—the ideal conversation starter.
Le Corbuffet: Edible Art and Design Classics, $40
Assouline’s The Impossible Collection of Fashion
A must for any fashion lover, this beautifully bright book would look just as beautiful contrasted with neutral interiors and displayed next to black and white photo books, as it would with similarly bright options. It’s a collection of the most iconic dresses of the 20th century, from Pucci to Dior and Valentino. All of these dresses inspired a shift in the world of fashion.
The Impossible Collection of Fashion, $845
Every Day I Pray For Love by Yayoi Kusama
There’s no better way to add a sense of whimsy to your coffee table than with the addition of this beautiful, bright, and deeply poetic coffee table. It’s smaller than your average selection, so you can put it atop a more neutrally-hued stack for visual impact.
Every Day I Pray For Love, $29.99
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This book is a must for any Little House on the Prarie fans. It is Wilder’s never-before-published autobiography, revealing the true stories of her pioneering life. The annotation provides a powerful context for this somewhat controversial figure. The animated cover is an unexpected and beautiful addition to any coffee table book stack.
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, $28.65
The Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride. Gay Couples in the Early Twentieth Century by Sebastien Lifshitz
This charming collection of vintage photos features gay couples privately and often secretly celebrating their relationships. it is a rare collection of photographs from a time when same-sex couples were in hiding. These images were discovered and collected at flea markets and garage sales, with the names of the subjects and photographers lost in time. It is a beautiful time capsule that honors queer love.
The Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride. Gay Couples in the Early Twentieth Century, $51.44
Taschen’s Frida Kahlo The Complete Paintings
Fans of the iconic Mexican artist won’t want to miss this beautiful book. The cover features one of her classic self-portraits, making it a work of art worthy of display itself. The book combines all of Kahlo’s paintings with rarely seen photographs, diary pages, letters, and an illustrated biography.
Frida Kahlo The Complete Paintings, $200
Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful by Kwame Brathwaite
This is the first-ever coffee table book dedicated to Brathwaite’s remarkable career. It’s a powerful look at the work of this iconic photographer who used his art to popularize the political slogan, “Black is Beautiful.” The stunning cover makes it a beautiful décor piece as well.
Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful, $34.99
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs by Paul Martineau
Style this with other photo books or let it take center stage. It’s an intriguing collection of Mapplethorpe’s work, including everything from florals to portraits, nudes, and still lives. Full of complicated and sometimes controversial images, it’s the perfect showcase of boundary-pushing art.
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs, $52.76
Architectural Digest: A Century of Style by Amy Astley
If you find yourself going down the AD YouTube rabbit hole often then this is the coffee table book for you. It takes readers into a century’s worth of archives featuring some of the world’s most gorgeous spaces. Even better, the book’s neutral cover makes it easy to style in any aesthetic.
Architectural Digest: A Century of Style
Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval
Authorized by Anderson, this book takes you through the real-life places all over the globe that could be plucked from his iconic films. It also includes the fascinating stories behind each façade. It’s a gorgeous catalog of visually arresting and historically unique destinations from around the world.
Accidentally Wes Anderson, $17.59
This post was originally published on October 6, 2020, and has since been updated.
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