Coffee table books are more than a great décor piece for the home. They can also help start conversations with guests and show off your interests and hobbies. From compilations of alluring photos to short stories and recipes, the title options are endless. Here are fifteen of our top suggestions for the best coffee table books.
For: The traveler
With its beautiful mountainside river cover, The Bucket List immediately captures people’s attention and gets them daydreaming about everything the world has to offer. From wildlife encounters and museums to sports and spectacles of nature, Kath Stathers uses hundreds of beautiful pictures and enticing descriptions to showcase interesting experiences across the globe. Whether you’re looking to add to your travel bucket list or just want to savor the stunning imagery, this coffee table book is exceptional for those who love to explore and adventure.
Feeling inspired to travel? Check out 7 of the happiest cities to visit in North America.
For: The people-person
Conceptualized in 2010, the Humans of New York series began when photographer Brandon Stanton took pictures of strangers he met on the streets of New York City and shared their stories on social media. With the online series gaining a significant following, Stanton compiled 500 heartwarming and heartbreaking snapshots and stories into this collection—each page offering a glimpse into the life of a stranger. This is a great addition for NYC lovers, empaths, and anyone who savors a compelling story. No matter which page you turn to, you can engage with a new face and journey.
Andria Lo and Valerie Luu
For: The fashionista
Similar to Humans of New York, Chinatown Pretty is a collection of photographs and interviews, this time focusing on senior citizens living in the Chinatown area of San Francisco, California. Created by Andria Lo and Valarie Luu, the designer coffee table book was driven by the duo’s love for the area and the fashion of senior citizens who reminded them of their own grandmothers. With a strong emphasis on style, this coffee table book showcases outfits and accessories—think bold colors, pops of print, and layered neutrals—and offers an educational dive into culture and history. Ideal for fashionistas, creatives, and advice-seekers, the book’s dazzling displays of style and words of wisdom deserve to be front and center on your coffee table.
Gonzalo Guzman and Stacy Adimando
For: The foodie
Fantastic for foodies, this award-winning coffee table cookbook brings recipes from the renowned San Francisco restaurant Nopalito right into your home. Whether you’re ready to get cooking or simply have an appreciation for stunning food photography, visual representations of moles, salsas, and tamales are sure to provide some delicious inspiration. With 1,000 recipes for regional Mexican cuisine, you’ll likely end up in your kitchen whipping up one of its savory suggestions.
Steven Hiller & Jim Heimann
For: The historian
If you’re someone who enjoys taking a trip down pop culture memory lane, Mid-Century Ads is the perfect choice for you. With advertisements from the 1950s and 1960s, the table book is fun to flip through, giving readers a peek into how technology, style, and society have changed over the course of generations. With each ad digitally remastered, colors pop off the page as you journey through a piece of mid-century America. Open it up to look into the past and get inspiration for the future.
For: The sports superfan
A great option for sneakerheads and basketball brainiacs, Russ Bengston's entry into the coffee table book space examines the history of the sport's shoes. From the Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars to the Reebok Pumps, Air Jordans, and the more modern Nike Adapt BBs, each chapter looks at how a specific sneaker defined the era of basketball it was most popular in, transforming the culture and the game along with it.
Are you a new basketball fan looking to get your head in the game? Check out our comprehensive basketball guide for beginners.
Matt Zoller Seitz
For: The film buff
Film aficionados and fans of Wes Anderson's distinctive style will devour Matt Zoller Seitz's The Wes Anderson Collection. This coffee table book delves into the director's creative process, featuring behind-the-scenes anecdotes, film stills, and concept art. It's a visual feast for those who appreciate cinematic artistry and quirky aesthetics.
For: The nature lover & traveler
Curated by Annie Griffiths, this title is a visual treasure trove for nature lovers and travelers. The coffee table collection showcases breathtaking images from around the world, capturing the beauty of landscapes, wildlife, and diverse cultures. Immerse yourself in the wonders of our planet through the lens of National Geographic's talented photographers.
9. The Art Book
The editors of Phaidon
For: The art aficionado
The Art Book is a detailed guide that introduces readers to iconic works of art throughout history. The coffee table book is an essential companion for the art connoisseur, featuring concise descriptions and high-quality images of influential masterpieces, from classical to contemporary.
For: The fashionista
Dior: The Collections is a must-have for fashion fans. It chronicles the evolution of the renowned fashion house, showcasing iconic designs and runway moments. Whether you're a seasoned fashionista or embrace the artistry of haute couture, this fashion coffee table book is a visual delight.
Author: Yuval Noah Harari
For: The intellectually curious
Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is a thought-provoking exploration of human history. Ideal for the intellectually curious, this book offers a concise and engaging overview of the evolution of Homo sapiens from ancient times to the present day, providing fresh perspectives on our shared past.
12. Earth from Above
For: The environmentalist
Yann Arthus-Bertrand's Earth from Above is a powerful testament to the beauty and fragility of our planet. Tailored for the environmentalist, the title presents stunning aerial photographs that highlight the Earth's diverse landscapes and ecosystems. It serves as a visual call to action, inspiring readers to appreciate and protect our natural world.
For: The interior designer
This is a lavish exploration of interior design and glamorous living. Fabricated for the interior design pro, this coffee table book features a collection of Redd's most inspiring and stylish projects, displaying his bold use of color and eclectic aesthetic.
Floris Heyne, Joel Meter, Simon Phillipson, Delano Steenmeijer
For: The space explorer
Apollo VII – XVII is a visual celebration of NASA's Apollo missions, compiled by Floris Heyne, Joel Meter, Simon Phillipson, and Delano Steenmeijer. This coffee table book is a treat for space enthusiasts, featuring out-of-this-world photographs and insider insights into the historic moon landings. Dive into the extraordinary journey of human exploration beyond our planet.
Intrigued by space? Here are 5 constellations anyone can spot.
For: The nostalgia seeker and comic enthusiast
This collection is a nostalgic treasure trove for fans of the beloved comic strip. This coffee table book is perfect for the nostalgia seeker and comic enthusiast, bringing together the entire Calvin and Hobbes series in one beautifully bound volume. Revisit the imaginative world of Calvin and his anthropomorphic tiger companion in this timeless classic.
Beyond the Coffee Table Books: More Books for Your Home Library
While coffee table books are fun to peruse, every home needs a few classics on its shelves. Check out our article, “The Best Classics You Must Read Right Now,” to help get your collection started.