Assembling a Well Styled Coffee Table Book Collection

I’ve written before about my appreciation for a well styled coffee table, but I’ve also made it a point to note that I believe that a coffee table should be functional. That means I’m not covering every square inch with beautifully stacked coffee table books. And that means I need to find somewhere else to put those beautifully stacked coffee table books – because we know I still want to have those books to admire, I just want them out of the way! So, how do I build a well styled coffee table book collection?


So, if the coffee table is out of the question, where am I organizing my books? I have several spots around my living room that keep books within arm’s reach, but out of the way of spaces that should be left open to be used for a place to set a drink or just left open to keep the room looking visually clear. There’s the bookcase/media stand, of course, where I have books both in the shelves, as well as stacked on top to create height on either side of the TV. But there’s also this clever little shelf beneath the side table.


coffee table book collection



The key to building a well styled book collection is to choose books that speak to you and your interests rather than just choosing the books you see again and again in blogger’s carefully curated photos on Instagram. You’ll want to choose titles that YOU will pick up again and again to flip through for inspiration. Whenever I’m feeling at a bit of a road block during a creative project, I’ll turn to one of these gorgeous coffee table books, study the gorgeous pages, and walk away with a fresh perspective on whatever I’m working on – even if it has nothing to do with the subject of the book.

Choose books that are reflective of the subjects that inspire you. For me, it’s interior design, travel, and timeless women. I also love to pick up books with a story that will always remind me of a moment in my life. I have a book that I found at a book sale at the Boston Public Library during a winter weekend in that city, another from a food-centric book talk I attended right before my trip to Paris, and another from my time working in interior design which was signed by the designer whose projects grace the pages.

The books I have pictured here: Garden & Gun: The Southerner’s Handbook, domino: The Book of Decorating, The New Paris, Richard Neutra’s Miller House, Barry Dixon Interiors, Greene & Greene: Masterworks, Jaqueline Kennedy: The White House Years, Slim Aarons: Once Upon a Time, and Audrey: A Life in Pictures.


coffee table book collection



Once you’ve found the type of books that speak to you, that’s when you can turn curating a well styled collection. There will certainly be countless gorgeous options within your wheelhouse of interests. Find titles in monochromatic color schemes if minimalism is your thing, or, if you lean towards a more colorful, eclectic approach, choose books without regard to how well the colors will complement each other, but rather based on the diverse covers creating a cohesive snapshot into your interests as I did above.

What are some of your favorite coffee table books? Do you prefer a monochromatic assembly of covers or do you buy what you love and make it work?


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