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How To Style Coffee Table Books

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Everyone has heard of a coffee table book but what actually are they and more importantly how do you style them like a pro? In this article we give you lots of ideas on how to display them for maximum effect and give you our recommendations for the most on trend books. Whether you aspire to be a glamorous fashion house or breezy coastal living, read on and see how coffee table books can really enhance your home living room.

What Is A Coffee Table Book?

Coffee table books are generally large, hard-backed decorative books containing lots of inspirational photos and images.  They are designed to be decor in their own right and a collection should represent the interests of the owner. “If a client loves boats and we show some of the boat’s features in the rest of the room as well as a sailing themed book, this shows exceptional attention to detail.” says Kasia, our resident interior designer.


They are used to enhance a room’s decor and the way they are displayed becomes part of the decorative scheme.  


There are a huge array on the market from photography, design and travel to name a few. They can be picked up from book shops, lifestyle stores and for retro fashion, try your local charity shop.

The benefits of decorating with coffee table books

  • Coffee table books add instant impact to your room and can be changed easily and quickly  
  • Compared to other decorative items like paintings of objects they are relatively inexpensive
  • They can be used simply on their own or as part of a coffee table scheme adding height and interest
  • They reflect your personal style and interests and can be a real conversation starter when you have guests over
  • They are versatile – not just for your coffee table but used on a console table, kitchen shelf or guest bedroom night stand they can make a real visual statement

How To Style Coffee Table Books?

Whether you already have coffee table books you would like to display or you are thinking of purchasing some, read on where we will be looking at the following elements of how to style coffee table books.


  1. Consider colour
  2. How many coffee table books should you have?
  3. Do coffee table books have to match?
  4. What do you put on top of books on a coffee table?
  5. Where do coffee table books go?

1. Consider colour

When thinking about what books to use, one technique is to search for books that pick out a colour in your overall colour scheme.  Here, orange and black are used to tie the design together.

2. How many coffee table books should you have?

When thinking about what books to use, one technique is to search for books that pick out a colour in your overall colour scheme.  Here, orange and black are used to tie the design together.

3. Do coffee table books have to match?

No is the short answer but you do need to pay attention to detail.  Place larger books at the bottom of a pile and think about how the colours of the covers work with each other.  There are so many titles to choose from you won’t have any trouble finding ones to match your living room.

4. What do you put on top of books on a coffee table?

You can use coffee table books to create height and also as a basis to showcase other items of interest.  Plants, vases, ornaments and trays are all items that work well.

5. Where do coffee table books go?

How you arrange your coffee table books depend on the shape and material of your table, such as whether it is rectangular or made of glass. If you have a round table try using your books in a triangular pattern and alternate the heights of the piles so they are not all the same. If you have a shelf, books can also be placed on there.  This can be very effective if you have a glass table and you can see the books cover from above,

Best Coffee Table Books

Here we have chosen some of the books that we think would look great in your home.

1. Nistisima by Georgina Hayden

If you love Mediterranean food and scenery this book will really whet your appetite.  All the recipes are vegan too.  Team with another mainly orange coloured book for a delicious ensemble.

2. In Love with The Beach by Amanda Miggs

Packed with beautiful photography and quotes, The Beach is the next best thing to being by the seaside.  It’s also a good price for such a large book. This book would look great on a dark wood table, with white decorative accents.

3. Chanel: Collections and Creations by Daniele Bott

Inject some glamour with this stylish and chic coffee table book.  Digging into the archives it showcases Cocoa Chanel’s inspiration from the 1920’s.  Place with found objects and a bowl of flowers to create your own vignette.

4. Resident Dog: (Volume 2): Incredible Dogs and the International Homes They Live In by Nicole England

If you love dogs and stylish interiors this is the book for you.  With 256 pages showcasing over 25 of the world’s most amazing houses, and the dogs that live there, it will keep you absorbed for hours. The book’s muted tones mean you can pair it with any decor – try leaving it open on your favourite page.

5. Damien Hirst Cherry Blossoms by Damien Hirst

If you are serious about your art this beautiful, understated book will sit beautifully on your coffee table, along with other muted tomes.  Using a conceptual approach, Damien Hirst explores in Cherry Blossoms the questions of beauty, colour, and excess in painting.

6. Curate by Lynda Gardener and Ali Heath

Open any page in this dreamy book of inspired interiors and you’ll be transported to another land.  With loads of inspirational photos and ideas we think this book will work well with most interiors.

7. Garden for the Senses by Kendra Wilson

This beautiful book perfectly captures this year’s key trend for bringing nature inside your home.  Whether you live in the leafy countryside or in a city apartment, this book will look beautiful displayed on a glass cofee table along with some greenery.

The Last Chapter

We hope you have found some of these ideas and book choices inspirational.  Remember, it really is a very personal choice and buy books because you love them, not just because they match your cushions.  A great place to source coffee table books are shops within art galleries and museums so next time you are getting some culture why not consider a purchase at the same time.

Our Designer

Kasia Nowicka - ShowMeDesign

Kasia Nowicka - ShowMeDesign

This blog was written in collaboration Kasia. Kasia has excellent space planning & conceptual designing skills. She has been an Interior Designer for 9+ years. In that time she has founded a highly successful in interior design business called ShowMeDesign.

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