More than just decorative, coffee table books are popular for a variety of reasons. They allow you to easily decorate a table in just about any room, they can be displayed on shelves, and they can showcase a bit of your personality, style, and interests. Plus, they’re informative, entertaining, and beautifully designed.
There are a variety of ways that you can use coffee table books as an element of décor in your home. Some people like buying books of different sizes and stacking them (you’ll notice we include the books’ sizes below to help you in this area), while others like to use these attractive books to infuse pops of color in a space. You can even switch between different books throughout the year to always have something new and interesting to look through, or to change up your design a bit without going to extremes. And you can mix and match hardcover and paperback books as well.
Whether you are searching for just one attractive coffee table book or you want several, we’ve got you covered with a helpful list of six books below.
Top Pick Best for the Travel Enthusiast: Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places
Are you someone who loves to travel to faraway places? Do you enjoy looking at photos of exotic locations around the world that are unique and special in their own way? Then you might love “Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places” by National Geographic. This beautiful hardcover coffee table book contains 320 pages and measures 9.48” x 1.1” x 12.27”, and it features images from incredible destinations across the globe.
Whether you just want to be able to look at professional quality photos of islands, ancient structures, cityscapes, rainforests, seashores, and everything in between, or you want to get some ideas on where your next journey could take you, this coffee table book will not disappoint. You will be amazed by the man-made and natural sights, and you will be able to learn a bit about them with the help of the text that accompanies the photos. You can even get information on when to visit these stunning locations, where you can stay, what you can eat there, and what you can do to explore.
- In addition to providing photos of extraordinary places around the world, this coffee table book provides information that you can use to plan a trip
- It features a total of 225 places, from the shore to the mountains and from the city to the countryside
- It showcases photographs taken by world-class photographers
- It can be perfect for travelers and anyone who loves seeing images from around the world
- Some reviewers complain that there isn’t enough information about the places shown in the book
- There are some customer complaints regarding the clarity of the photos and the types of locations that were chosen for this book
Top Pick Best for the Person Who Loves the Ocean: The Life and Love of the Sea
If you love the sea, and seeing photos of seascapes and marine life, “The Life and Love of the Sea” by Lewis Blackwell might be a wonderful addition to your collection of coffee table books. This hardcover book has 216 pages, and it measures 12.5” x 1” x 12.5”.
What makes this coffee table book so special is its awesome underwater photography. These photos were taken by the world’s best nature photographers and marine photographers, so you know you’re going to be able to enjoy breathtaking images as you flip through the pages of this book.
Showcasing the diverse life beneath the surface, this book features photos of animals that include seals, whales, fish, and manta rays, to name just a few. But you also get photos of stunning barrier reefs, island chains, and coastlines, so you get to see life above and below the waves. And, speaking of waves, there are photos of magnificent waves as well. Plus, you can use the scannable QR code that comes with this coffee table book to access bonus footage from Steven Hathaway, an award-winning underwater cameraman.
- This coffee table book features bright, clear images, and some of them are spread across two pages, so when you open the book, you can take in all of the details of the beauty of the ocean
- It showcases a diverse array of images related to the sea
- It can make a great gift for those who love going to the beach, traveling to tropical places, and snorkeling or scuba diving
- It only features 216 pages, so it might be considered too small for short readers
Top Pick Best for the Artist or Art Lover: Artists: Their Lives and Works
Whether you are an artist or an art enthusiast, if you are looking for a new coffee table book that you can proudly display, we recommend checking out “Artists: Their Lives and Works” by DK. This is a hardcover reference book that is 360 pages long and measures 10.25” x 1.14” x 12.19”. It features more than 80 popular painters, with information about their lives and loves provided alongside their well-known works of art.
Showcasing artists spanning centuries, from the early Renaissance era to modern day, this is a large format book with full-page prints that will inspire and inform. If you want to dive deeper into what your favorite artists were all about, this coffee table book can help. In addition to flipping through it to be inspired by beautiful artwork, you can also read biographies on the people who created it.
Who are some of the many artists that are featured in this coffee table book? Well, they include Frida Kahlo, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Hokusai, Jan van Eyck, Raphael, Giotto, Paul Cézanne, Alberto Giacometti, Hieronymus Bosch, Picasso, and more. And the book is organized by century, so you can dive into art that dates back to pre-1500, or you can focus on modern artists from 1945 to the present, depending on what mood you’re in.
- In addition to featuring a variety of amazing artwork created over hundreds of years, this book also provides historical context, so you can learn about art movements
- It includes fact panels and timelines, as well as information on the artists, their unique lives, their techniques, what influenced them, and more
- It features 80+ biographies of artists, along with a variety of art through the ages
- It might be a little too text-heavy if you want a coffee table book that is more focused on providing images and artwork
Top Pick Best for the Animal Lover: Animal Emotions
Are you the type of person who loves looking at photographs of beautiful animals from around the world? Or do you know someone who would love to receive a coffee table book that features stunning photos of wildlife living in a variety of habitats? Then you should definitely check out “Animal Emotions” by photographer Judith Hamilton. This is a paperback that is 128 pages in length, and it measures 7” x 0.5” x 5.5”.
What helps this book stand out against others is the fact that it was inspired by “The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals” by Charles Darwin. Filled with images of wild animals, along with inspirational quotes from people like Mae West and Einstein, this coffee table book doesn’t only allow you to flip through pages and pages of gorgeous photos; it can also give you a glimpse into the emotional life of animals. In other words, this book can give you insight into how animals are so similar to humans, and how they experience many of the same feelings that people do.
As you look at the images and read the quotes and facts that accompany them, you will learn more about the beautiful wildlife that share our planet, and you may grow to appreciate them, as well as relate to them, even more.
- This coffee table book is described as witty and compassionate, providing not only photos but also interesting facts about animals
- Proceeds go to the Wildlife Conservation Society, so you can feel good about purchasing this book for yourself or as a gift
- It only has 128 pages, so it might disappoint if you want more
Top Pick Best for the Outdoor Enthusiast: USA National Parks: Lands of Wonder
Anyone who loves spending time in the great outdoors, and who has a special place in their heart for the amazing national parks that are found throughout the United States, should look into “USA National Parks: Lands of Wonder” by DK Eyewitness. This hardcover coffee table book contains 256 pages, it measures 8.69” x 0.91” x10.31”, and it is filled with photos of the country’s national parks so you can experience their natural beauty, as well as learn more about them.
Each of the national parks in the United States has its own unique attributes, which is why so many people make it a point to travel to as many of these places as possible. These wonderful locations inspire you to appreciate the natural world, whether you are exploring a mountain, a coastline, a wetland, a forest, or a canyon. And this book, with its gorgeous photographs, lets you see what makes each park special. You might even find yourself inspired to book a trip ASAP so you can see a particular park for yourself.
We also like that this is a comprehensive book, covering all 62 national parks in the U.S. It includes background info, facts, figures, and maps for each park, as well as tips on when to go, where to go, and what to do if you book a trip.
- This coffee table book is perfect for nature lovers and outdoor explorers who enjoy camping, hiking, etc.
- You can use this book as a resource for planning your next adventure, as it provides you with some helpful ideas that can help you make the most of your time at a national park
- Some customers complain about the quality of the paper and photos in this book
Top Pick Best for the Designer: Atmosphere: the seven elements of great design
For professional and aspiring designers, as well as anyone who wants to find inspiration when they want to revamp the look of their home, we recommend “Atmosphere: The Seven Elements of Great Design” by James Michael Howard. This hardcover coffee table book is 272 pages long, and it measures 9.5” x 1.25” x 11.88”.
Who is James Howard? Well, he’s a well-known professional designer, specializing in interior architecture. He works with clients from around the country, and is able to create comfortable spaces that are luxurious at the same time. With this book, you can learn a bit about how he goes about creating atmosphere in a home, regardless of aesthetic and location.
As you work through a dozen chapters, this resource will show you how this approach to interior design is as much a science as an art. And you might find yourself ready to change up the interior design scheme of every room in your own home to make it more striking, inviting, and unique.
- This book features large photographs of beautifully designed interior spaces, some of which are laid out across two pages
- In addition to being inspired by the imagery, you’ll also be able to read tips on how to improve your home’s design
- The designs shown in this book might not suit all tastes and preferences (e.g. some reviewers complained that there isn’t enough color in the designs or that all of the designs are too similar to one another)
- It might be difficult to apply these design concepts to all types of homes
Things to look out for:
When shopping for coffee table books that you can place in your living room and in other areas throughout your home, such as your office and guest bedroom, keep the following tips in mind:
Not sure where to begin when it comes to buying coffee table books? Just think about topics you’re interested in and go from there!
The cover of a coffee table book should be just as eye-catching as the images found inside, so take that into consideration. After all, it will be used as a form of décor on your table, right?
Check the size of a book to see if it will be compatible with the rest of your décor, especially if you are planning on stacking multiple coffee table books for a decorative appearance.