What Your Collection of Coffee Table Books Says about You
We’re sharing our top 15 favorite picks.
One of my favorite things to do when I visit a new friend’s house is to take a peek at their bookshelf. Whether it’s full of Tolstoy or Nicholas Sparks, their collection always reveals a lot about who they are and what they love. Then my eyes inevitably pivot to their coffee table, where they’ve laid out a selection of books, which, I feel, are the best representation of themselves. It’s like a little glimpse into their personality, their hobbies, and their passions. For some, it’s Karl Lagerfeld and Helmut Newton. For others, it’s a guide to exotic destinations and cookbooks from their most beloved chefs. Read what five of our staffers’ selections are below, and maybe you’ll find the newest piece for your own coffee-table book collection.
Jessica Teves, Head of Content
Entertaining Beautifully by Aerin Lauder
This beautiful book catalogues Aerin’s long-standing family entertaining traditions, from a lobster-roll picnic to lavish floral dinners at home. It’s chock-full of practical tips and elevated tablescape ideas, and while it’ll certainly inspire your next dinner party, it’s the images alone that are nothing short of Pinterest perfection. I highly recommend it.
Dior Hats: From Christian Dior to Stephen Jones by Stephen Jones
Anyone that knows me understands my great love of hats—the larger, the better. This gorgeous tome was curated by Stephen Jones, one of the most revered milliners of our time, and features some of the most celebrated hats of the last 70 years.
More Beautiful: All-American Decoration by Mark D. Sikes
Everything Mark touches is nothing short of spectacular, and his latest book does not disappoint. Full of his trademark designs, including lots of vibrant color, mix-matched pieces, natural woven fibers (my fave!), and blue-and-white motifs, it’s inspiration overload, to say the least. If you’re redoing any aspect of your apartment or home, let this be the Bible that helps steer you forward.
Rachel Pickus, Creative Associate
Vintage Go-Sees by Juergen Teller
Ever since my college professor tipped me off to Juergen Teller’s provocative and raw photography, I’ve been a devoted fan. Which is why getting my hands on his iconic photo book, Go-Sees, would be an absolute dream come true. Alas, until I win the lottery (and the eBay bidding war!) this will remain at the top of every wish list.
Dimes Times: Emotional Eating by Alissa Wagner and Sabrina De Sousa
While not technically designed for the coffee table, I’ve had a hard time keeping the Dimes cookbook shelved. Whenever I’m seeking culinary inspiration or just want to be reminded of the brunches at this LES cafe, I flip through its colorful pages. Oh, and hot tip for the real Dimes fans: They’ve even disclosed the recipe behind their iconic hot sauce (!).
Images by Simon Porte Jacquemus
Like many, I’ve become positively smitten by anything and everything Jacquemus. Until the day I have one of his beautiful garments hanging in my closet, I’ll happily settle for the designer’s latest photo book. Images shares the creative genius’s worldly perspective through 321 of his favorite iPhone photos. So if you’re a fan of dreamy landscapes and pastel palettes, I recommend you snag a copy as well.
Hannah Baxter, Senior Beauty Editor
The World of Apartamento: Ten Years of Everyday Life Interiors by Omar Sosa, Nacho Alegre, and Marco Velardi
Like most people, I’m obsessed with updating my apartment in 2020, so when I need a boost of inspiration for styling a new nook or how to recover a chair, I just skim this feast for the eyes.
Katherine Bernhardt by Nicole Rudick
Katherine Bernhardt is one of my all-time favorite artists. She’s irreverent and wildly colorful, which makes her book the perfect addition to any coffee-table collection. Now if I could only afford one of her pieces...
Jewelry fanatics, take note—this book is a must for whenever you need a diamond fix. Archival Harry Winston pieces, delicious styling, and with a foreword by Andre Leon Talley, consider it a fashion lover’s staple.
Camille Freestone, Writer
100 Ideas that Changed Street Style by Josh Sims
If you’re a fashion nerd like me, you’ll love flipping through this book documenting major movements—both fashion and non-fashion—that have influenced street style, from the punk movement to surf culture. I bought this years ago and I still discover something new every time I open it.
The Sartorialist Man: Inspiration Every Man Wants, Education Every Man Needs by Scott Schuman
If you haven’t already noticed, I’m fascinated by street style. I love Scott Schuman because he focuses less on the typical (and sometimes contrived) fashion week version and instead likes to discover people on the street with true style. I’ve been a fan of all his books and can’t wait to see what he has to offer with regard to men specifically!
Slim Aarons: A Place in the Sun by Christopher Sweet
So the images in this book are basically the opposite of what my life has looked like the past six months. That being said, I’m living vicariously through scenes of fabulous women sunbathing in exotic places across the globe as I catch summer’s last few rays in my backyard.
Abby Miller, Head of Production
Spaces by Donald Judd
I am a sucker for furniture and interior design, and Donald Judd is my kryptonite. I actually picked up this book when I visited the Judd Foundation—which should be the first thing on your post-quarantine bucket list (if we ever get there! sigh). The five-story building on 101 Spring Street was the first building Judd owned; he used it as his New York residence and studio.
Small Spaces: Inspiring Ideas and Creative Solutions by Terence Conran
I have a ton of vintage Terence Conran books that I sprinkle all over my apartment—I feel like he always has the most inspiring cover imagery. This Small Spaces book is perfect for people who want tips for glamming up tiny spaces—i.e., all of us New Yorkers.
Glow from Within by Joanna Vargas
I basically will do anything Joanna Vargas tells me to do, so it’s only natural that I would display her book on my coffee table. It includes all of Joanna’s celebrity red-carpet skin-care secrets, plus lifestyle tips like foods to eat and avoid for glowing skin, DIY recipes that use only ingredients from your kitchen, etc. Also, I love me a pink cover moment.
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