Books provide a window into different worlds—art, history, travel, and stories—and what better way to display these worlds than in the center of your home on your coffee table?
We’ve rounded up 13 of the most popular coffee table books featuring gorgeous photography, inspiring stories, fabulous recipes, and so much more. Our favorite picks include a whimsical photography book from Gray Malin, an empowering woman-focused pick by Sharon Gelman, and an endearing combination of interior design and pet portraits by Nicole England.
Gray Malin: The Essential Collection
Creative and stunning photography
Variety of subjects (both animals & people)
Accompanying stories about each photoshoot
To woo your guests with a coffee table book that's sure to delight and entertain, look no further than "Gray Malin: The Essential Collection." This book is made of high-quality materials and displays stunning and playful photography that will bring a smile to your face. If you’ve yet to discover Gray Malin, let us be the first to introduce you. Malin is an incredible photographer with a knack for whimsical imagery using animals and people in scenic locations around the world. Covering a decade of Malin’s work, this book features his most iconic photoshoots as well as stories about each locale and subject.
With colorful scenes of llamas and balloons in the desert and dogs at the Beverly Hills Hotel, you and your visitors are sure to have fun flipping through this lively book. Though somewhat expensive, this book is a collector’s item, so the price isn’t unreasonable. If you fall in love with any one of Gray’s photographs, you can also purchase the images to display as wall art.
Price at time of publish: $70
Dimensions: 14 x 11 x 2 inches | Number of Pages: 352 | Year of Publication: 2021
The Art of the Cheese Plate: Pairings, Recipes, Style, Attitude
Tasty cheese plate recipes & pairings
Gourmet food photography
Some ingredients are hard to find locally
Just because a coffee table book is less expensive, that doesn’t mean it has to look that way, and "The Art of the Cheese Plate" is both elegant and gourmet. The stunning cover features a minimalist cheese spread and a navy blue background to blend in with any modern or traditional coffee table. Inside, you’ll find a wealth of delicious recipes and pairings to create numerous magazine-worthy cheese plates.
While most of the recipes only need four to five ingredients, these aren’t your typical cheese plate pairings—the author creates a thoughtful plate with unique food items like tequila-braised rhubarb, pickled raisins, and olives paired with white chocolate. The gorgeous photography will have you in awe as you flip through each gourmet spread. Overall, this coffee table book is affordable, useful, and enjoyable to look at.
Price at time of publish: $35
Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.9 x 10 inches| Number of Pages: 192 | Year of Publication: 2016
Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak
Includes interviews from Sendak's key collaborators
Released in conjunction with traveling exhibit
Can be appreciated by all ages
Adults and children alike will delight in "Wild Things are Happening," a comprehensive exploration of Maurice Sendak's work. Inside, you'll find never-before-seen illustrations, sketches, storyboards, and paintings that highlight Sendak's process and inspiration.
This book was released in conjunction with a traveling art exhibit by the same name that's available across the United States and in Europe through 2024. You'll also be able to learn about Sendak's personal collection and how it influenced his own work. It also includes an extended essay by Thomas Crow that analyzes Sendak's most famous work, "Where the Wild Things Are," and interviews with some of his key collaborators, such as Spike Jonze and Carroll Ballard.
Price at time of publish: $55
Dimensions: 8.80 x 1.20 x 10.70 inches | Number of Pages: 248 | Year of Publication: 2022
The Bartender's Manifesto: How to Think, Drink, and Create Cocktails Like a Pro
Expert interviews included
Not entirely beginner-friendly
In this complete guide to creating cocktails and learning how to properly enjoy them, James Beard Award-winning bartender Toby Maloney leaves no stone unturned in sharing the world of mixology. He partnered with Emma Janzen, a journalist, editor, and photographer who specializes in drinks and design, and his team at The Violet Hour to share their most-loved recipes, step-by-step illustrations, and expert tips for crafting delicious cocktails.
Aside from detailed step-by-step guides, you'll find essays that offer more information on how to add complexity to your mixology skills and perfect your hosting techniques. We love that this large coffee table book has a minimalist cover so that it can blend into any bar cart or table decor. However, this book is not completely beginner-friendly, so if you're looking for a more basic cocktail recipe book, this may not be the best pick for you.
Price at time of publish: $27
Dimensions: 9.50 x 1.20 x 6.50 inches | Number of Pages: 320 | Year of Publication: 2022
Features iconic photoshoots
Highlights celebrities and fashion
Some of the photos are dated
Annie Leibovitz is an industry giant among photographers, so it’s no surprise that her coffee table book "Wonderland" appears on our list. Her captivating photography is famous for a reason—having decorated magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair for decades. This book includes famous photographs as well as previously unpublished gems that you’ll only find in these storied pages.
With photos highlighting the pinnacle of fashion and countless celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Keira Knightley, "Wonderland" provides beautiful photography that will capture your attention—and keep it. Its simple beige cover pairs well with different design schemes and will only elevate your aesthetic.
Price at time of publish: $90
Dimensions: 10.25 x 1.5 x 11.75 inches | Number of Pages: 448 | Year of Publication: 2021
Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave
Good binding and high quality pages
Provides design guidance
Stays true to Joanna’s classic design style
Not many colorful design options
Joanna Gaines and home design are basically synonymous at this point, and her coffee table book "Homebody" not only inspires beautiful decor ideas but also provides guidance in navigating how to create your own design style. This comprehensive book has lovely photography of different design schemes, mostly in a neutral color palette of whites, beiges, grays, and blacks. It’s also organized by room, so if you’d like to focus on a particular space in your home, you can skip to that section. The exterior and interior of this book reflect the high quality of most of Gaines’s brands and products.
Price at time of publish: $40
Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.32 x 10.88 inches | Number of Pages: 352| Year of Publication: 2018
High fashion photography
A testament to Tom Ford’s design career
High-quality book and prints
For mature audiences
From iconic fashion features to stunning photography by many of the industry’s best, the "Tom Ford" coffee table book is a fashion lover’s must-have item. This large classic showpiece features many of Tom Ford’s most notable fashion collections at Gucci and YSL.
While there is some nudity that may not be suitable for younger audiences, this is a high-fashion book, and Tom Ford is known for tasteful but sometimes risqué campaigns. Despite the occasional controversy, these images are a historical part of fashion and are celebrated art forms. The book itself wears a black exterior with stark white lettering—sure to pair well with any living space.
Price at time of publish: $140
Dimensions: 11.3 x 2.2 x 14.7 inches | Number of Pages: 414 | Year of Publication: 2008
The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small
Beautiful travel photography
Includes diverse activity suggestions
Organization of activities is confusing
If you have a case of wanderlust, "The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small" can inspire your next trip while also entertaining guests. This interactive coffee table book provides 1,000 activities, suggestions, and more, in destinations all around the globe.
In addition to the beautiful photography, you’ll find adventure recommendations like wildlife encounters, ancestral sites, dining hot spots, and hiking trails—just to name a few. The book is organized by latitude and longitude, but there’s also a country index if you’re planning a visit to a particular location. It's in the middle of the pack in terms of price, so it would make a great gift for yourself or the person in your life who loves planning vacations.
Price at time of publish: $35
Dimensions: 7 x 1.58 x 9.2 inches | Number of Pages: 496 | Year of Publication: 2017
Architectural Digest at 100: A Century of Style
Includes brief history of each featured space
Varied architecture and design styles
If you’re a fan of architecture, "Architectural Digest: A Century of Style" is a great pick for your coffee table. This large book is filled with bright photography of historic and modern homes in a range of architectural styles—so there’s something for everyone. Peek into the homes of celebrities like Michael Kors, the Obamas, Truman Capote, and more, while getting a glimpse of work by famous architects and designers like Frank Lloyd Wright and Elsie de Wolfe.
Though some of the photos are dated, the photography stands out with its rich colors and prints—quite the opposite of its minimalist cover, which is neutral enough to blend into any surroundings. Alongside each photo series, you’ll find a brief history of the space and other fun tidbits that might pique your interest.
Price at time of publish: $125
Dimensions: 10.5 x 13.5 x 1.75 inches| Number of Pages: 464 | Year of Publication: 2019
Andy Gotts: The Photograph
Unique portrait photography
Includes never-before-seen contact sheets
Features popular celebrities
Only black-and-white images
If you love celebrities, then "Andy Gotts: The Photograph" might just be your new favorite book. Featuring a wide range of portraits of figures like Julia Roberts, Anthony Hopkins, Clint Eastwood, Dolly Parton, and Nicole Kidman, it provides a useful overview of Gotts' 30-year career in photography.
In addition to stunning portraits, what sets this book apart is the inclusion of call sheets (or unfiltered photo sets) from each shoot that show each person without any touch-ups or photoshopping—raw, unfiltered photos that really capture the essence of each person, as well as the photography process as a whole. Accompanying these photos are short stories by Gotts himself, explaining the happenings behind each photograph.
Price at time of publish: $75
Dimensions: 11.19 x 1.22 x 13.19 inches | Number of Pages: 252 | Year of Publication: 2021
200 Women: Who Will Change The Way You See The World
Not enough diversity in subjects
"200 Women: Who Will Change the Way You See the World" is a nod to female empowerment, but also a fascinating read of 200 women answering the same five questions. Featuring prominent women like Alicia Garza, Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this book gives the reader insights from powerful females across the world, looking at life and womanhood from different perspectives.
Price at time of publish: $50
Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.5 x 12.25 inches | Number of Pages: 395 | Year of Publication: 2017
History as They Saw It: Iconic Moments from the Past in Color
Colorized historical photographs
Notes to explain the context of each photo
Could have included more photos
For the history buff in your life, whether you or someone else, "History as They Saw It" is a glimpse into the past through photographs capturing the most chilling and amazing moments of history. Though at the time these photographs would have been black and white, this book adds color to these historic photos to make them seem modern, as though you could have been there yourself. Though it may seem like just colorized black-and-white photos to some, a trained eye can see the coloring has been done with such care as to reflect what the image would have looked like, taken in color, during the era of 1839 to 1949, with the tools available at that time.
Featuring photographs from the Titanic, the first plane flying overhead, and the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, this book spotlights some of the biggest moments throughout history, bringing the past right into your living room. There are added notes to explain the context of different photographs, which helps the reader understand the gravity of each.
Price at time of publish: $43
Dimensions: 10 x 1 x 11.25 inches | Number of Pages: 284 | Year of Publication: 2018
Humans of New York: Stories
Tells stories of ordinary people
Good size for a coffee table book
Some stories are shorter than expected
If you’ve been following along with the Humans of New York Instagram account, started by photographer Brandon Stanton in 2010, you’ll appreciate his latest coffee table book, "Humans of New York: Stories." A collection of the last five years of stories, thoroughly documented through photographs of everyday folks on the streets of New York City, this coffee table book is one you’ll enjoy reading.
The book comes with a nice translucent dust jacket with quotes from inside written across it, while the actual cover shows photographs of the story subjects—visible through the dust jacket. If you’re expecting long stories like on the Instagram account, you might be disappointed, but as they say, a picture speaks a thousand words, and in this case, there are quotes and short stories to supplement those pictures.
Price at time of publish: $30
Dimensions: 7.45 x 1.21 x 9.25 inches | Number of Pages: 432 | Year of Publication: 2015
Resident Dog (Volume Two): Incredible Homes and the Dogs Who Live There
Unique, adorable concept
Combines two interests
Could be shipped more securely
Throughout her career, architecture photographer Nicole England noticed that her favorite shoots included dogs. So, she combined the two interests to release "Resident Dog," a coffee table book about beautiful interiors and the dogs who live there every day. You'll delight in soaking in gorgeous homes while learning a bit about the dogs featured. Each photo is accompanied by a brief description of the home and some fun facts about the furry friends. This is actually volume two, so be sure to pick up both volumes to gift to a dog mom or to add to your collection.
Price at time of publish: $55
Dimensions: 9 x 1.4 x 11.3 inches | Number of Pages: 272 | Year of Publication: 2020
Beautifully Organized: A Guide to Function and Style in Your Home
Includes helpful organization tips
Written by professional organizer
Not solely images
If you're obsessed with organization (or wished your home looked a bit more like Marie Kondo's), you'll love flipping through "Beautifully Organized: A Guide to Function and Style in your Home." Professional organizer Nikki Boyd shares her five steps to creating equally functional and beautiful spaces in every room of your house. With every page, you'll read helpful tips and tricks for organizing everything from kitchen utensils to alcohol bottles on your bar cart while admiring gorgeous photos to spark interior design inspiration. The book is organized by room, so Boyd can take the reader on a journey of organization and inspiration from room to room, resulting in the most "beautifully organized" space possible.
Price at time of publish: $23
Dimensions: 7.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches | Number of Pages: 224 | Year of Publication: 2019
Black Archives: A Photographic Celebration of Black Life
Diverse and historical
Curated collection of photographers and time periods
Not much context to accompany photographs
Dive into Black history with Renata Cherlise, whose family loved capturing their daily lives through photographs. Inspired by her family, Cherlise was inspired to curate a collection of images of Black people living ordinarily extraordinary lives throughout history. Experience portraits of people living their daily lives, representing years of the varied and nuanced Black experience. The visual collective provides little context for the photos, allowing readers to imagine the lives of the subjects while simply soaking in the intriguing photographs, providing moments of pride and reflection.
Price at time of publish: $35
Dimensions: 8.8 x 1 x 10.4 inches | Number of Pages: 288 | Year of Publication: 2023
Why Trust The Spruce?
Madison Yauger is an Assistant Commerce Editor at The Spruce covering all things home decor. She's been writing for almost five years, with a range of expertise in the home and lifestyle space. Using research, firsthand knowledge, and customer reviews to assess these products, Yauger came up with this list of the best coffee table books you should buy. A few even reside on her own coffee table.
Emma Phelps, an updates writer for The Spruce, updated this product list with a few more recently published coffee table books. Phelps has been writing about home decor, home improvement, and home organization for over two years.