How Often Do You Look At Your Coffee Table Books (+ Our Go-To Favorites)
I think one drawback of being a bibliophile is that I can’t bring myself to use kindles or e-books and I really don’t enjoy giving away books once I am done reading them. I collect and am comforted by books. My house is stacked with them and I need to be kept at least 50 ft away from a bookstore or I am at risk of spending hundreds of dollars.
However, it has come to my attention that my coffee table book collection is lacking (which is slightly embarrassing to confess on a design blog). I have only a couple design books, a few ones dedicated to artists I admire, and one that is dedicated to paintings of diners across America, but am far from a collector in this genre (nothing compared to my array of fiction). But now as I have progressed through my living and dining room makeover, I realized I need to start acquiring these books for my shelves. I want coffee table books to display as decor, to express my tastes and interests, but I also want them to offer continuous inspiration for my home and my soul.
I just have one burning question: how often do YOU check out your coffee table books? Once a month? Once a week? DAILY?? These books are far from cheap, so do you devour their content or is their presence as decor enough?? I need to know.
In the interim, I have rounded up some all-time EHD favorites (many of which I am itching to buy…):
1. STYLED by Emily Henderson: This is the very first design book I ever bought. I ended up giving it to my mom but I find myself constantly wishing I had a copy of it lying around so I might need to perform a search and rescue and bring it home to me. The style quiz is still the most genius idea and it’s full of the best styling tips and beautiful interiors (OH AND IT’S WRITTEN BY MY BOSS :)).
2. My Small Space: Starting Out in Style by Anna Ottum: I want this book very badly. I have a small space and love looking at how real people style small spaces so know I will reference it constantly.
3. The New Bohemians by Justina Blakeney: Justina’s book is full of inspiring interiors bursting with life and color. Her style inspires me to not be afraid of leaning into Bohemian and to embrace LOTS of color.
4. Living with Color by Rebecca Atwood: All of us at EHD agree this book by Rebecca Atwood is beautiful and so inspiring. It makes bringing color into your home feel less scary and totally worth it. It’s also just straight-up eye candy to look at.
5. Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating by Lauren Liess: If you love minimal and traditional aesthetics, you will find so much inspiration and helpful tips here. This book also helped inspire the mountain house. From Emily: “Her design style is classy, classic and warm in a way that feels like you’re nooking into the corner of your favorite couch or chair drinking coffee out of an extra-special mug. She has given me ideas and inspiration on so many weekends.”
6. Elements of Style: Designing a Home & A Life by Erin Gates: This is another classic that Emily loves. It chronicles how designing a home can be an outlet of personal expression and an exercise in self-discovery — an aspect of interior design that is so important.
7. Get It Together!: An Interior Designer’s Guide to Creating Your Best Life by Orlando Soria: Orlando’s book is hilariously written and so so good. It has both life advice and interior design tips and tricks, so it’s not only inspirational – it’s also a great read.
8. Beautifully Organized: A Guide to Function and Style in Your Home by Nikki Boyd: For those who love neatly organized and crisp homes, this book will give you all the clean white homes and org porn you crave.
9. Wild Interiors by Hilton Carter: Plant lovers rejoice. Wild Interiors makes me want to become a plant mother who actually knows how to take care of her plant babies. All the interiors in this book are so beautiful and calming.
1. Commune: Designed in California by Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, Pamela Shamshiri, and Ramin Shamshiri: This is another EHD favorite. From Emily: “Commune is a design firm that I admire immensely, so I pour over this book and have for years.” It’s basically an EHD right of passage to buy this book, so it’s on my list for sure.
2. The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living by Nathan Williams: Emily referenced this book a ton when designing the mountain house. From Emily: “This book is full of hipster porn, in the “handmade modern” vibe (I mean, I need to trademark that RIGHT NOW). It’s like Amish-meets-super-rich and I want to be both of those things”
3. Remodelista by Julie Carlson: Remodelista does it again. From Emily: “I think I can say with all my confidence that Remodelista is my #1 source of digital design porn on a daily basis. Their book, even though it’s years old, feels fresh, modern and timeless. (I also love their new organizing book).”
4. Surf Shack: Laid-Back Living by the Water by Nina Freudenberger: This one reminds me that I need to work my ass off so I can have a beach house one day. It’s also a favorite of Emily’s. From Emily: “This book is amazing. It’s full of more real homes that, ahem, are not “shacks” in any sense of the word but instead have so much inspiration and ideas that take the fussiness out of design. It’s not totally boho but instead builds a lovely bridge between relaxed and cohesive. It’s BEAUTIFUL.”
5. Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone: This absolutely gorgeous book explores real homes and breaks down the details of the rooms and offers helpful tips on how to bring these elevated elements into your own space.
6. Axel Vervoordt: Portraits of Interiors by Michael Gardner: Each page in this book is stunning. It features seventeen homes and demonstrates how Axel Vervoordt incorporates nature, art, and timeless interiors in his designs.
7. The Big Book Of Chic by Miles Redd: Okay, this is like the bible for interior design lovers. The cover is deceiving, because you would never know the insides of this book are dripping with the most magnificent interiors. It’s a splurge, but it would be a great gift.
8. Monochrome Home: Elegant Interiors in Black and White by Hilary Robertson: There is nothing boring about a Monochrome Home, trust me. From Emily: “This book is STUNNING. Hilary Robertson is a master stylist and editorial storyteller and this book is full of inspiration without any color in a good way. “
9. The Finer Things by Christiane Lemieux: This is another one of Emily’s favorites that she references a lot. It recognizes the hallmarks of timeless, heirloom-quality pieces and has a TON of information on furniture and textiles.
In addition to design books, I want to incorporate more artistic books in my home as well because I strongly believe that art, fashion, and interior design are extremely intertwined. Here are the ones I have my eye on:
1. Egon Schiele The Paintings by Tobias G. Natter: Egon Shiele’s paintings are bizarre and border between madness and genius. I am very inspired by his work, even though I am no painter, because it is so raw and personal.
2. Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives: I am a huge fan of real photographs of real people living their lives – so a book that unveils unpublished photos is very intriguing to me.
3. Wilshire Blvd by Adrian Gaut: I used to live a block from Wilshire Blvd so it is a part of Los Angeles that I feel very nostalgic about. Adrian Goat highlights the architectural details that are so unique to this area and it’s very “LA.” in the best way.
4. Pieter Bruegel the Elder (The Library of Great Painters) by Wolfgang Stechow: This one is Jess’ rec and she says it has a really pretty, light blue and textured linen under the cover, so it looks great on shelves. Plus, Bruegel’s paintings are classically beautiful and so pleasing to look at.
5. Louis Vuitton: The Birth of Modern Luxury by Paul-Gerard Pasols: I want this one so badly. I am currently watching it on eBay waiting for the right price because I really don’t want to spend over $100 on a book. I love the LV designs from the ’90s and would devour this book.
6. Basquiat by Leonhard Emmerling: Jean-Michele Basquiat was a graffiti artist in the ’80s and his work is SO COOL. I wish I knew more about his work so I’d love to pour over this book.
7. Body: The Photography Books by Nathalie Herschdorfer: Body celebrates the human form and rejects the current culture of body shaming. I am extremely passionate about body positivity so this book is one I’d love to dive into.
8. Capri Dolce Vita by Cesare Cunaccia: The cover of this book is clearly beautiful but what’s inside is even more stunning. Capri is a resort island dating back to the height of the Roman Empire and this book displays its ancient charm (making me wish I could travel there immediately).
9. Kahlo by Andrea Kettenmann: Who doesn’t love Frida Kahlo?? I have one book of her work and reading about her process is so interesting and inspiring. Her paintings are weird and self-aware and I am a huge fan.
10. Portraits of the Renaissance by Nathalie Mandel: I find vintage portraits so charming and intriguing, so I’d love to sift through this book.
11. Supreme Models by Marcellas Reynolds: Black women have revolutionized fashion and this book pays tribute to the most iconic black models in the fashion industry.
12. Art House by Chara Schreyer & Gary Hutton: Art and interiors are symbiotic and this book celebrates just that.
That’s all from me, but I’d love nothing more than to hear your favorites so drop them below. Happy shopping and happy Friday sweet friends. xx
Opener Image Credit: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: A Basement-Turned-Office Reveal (+ 7 Steps For How to Pull Off “Edgy Neutral”)
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