Tuesday, 16 July 2019 / London, UK


How controversial. Here I'm writing a blog post about coffee table books (presumable giving people advice?) and I don't even have a coffee table. Crazy, right? Except coffee table books are not only limited to coffee tables now are they. Nope, you can place them anywhere in the house, ideally near a seating area for your guests. Since we don't have a coffee table at the moment, I tend to display mine on side tables, bar cart and/or pouffes (and occasionally on the book shelf).

If you're not familiar with the concept, coffee table books are (usually) big, hard covered fancy (ie. expensive) books that are meant for browsing rather than for reading properly. They are aesthetically pleasing and usually located near a seating area where your guests can easily find them. They also happen to be super popular right now. They are basically a staple in any pinterest worthy home and I don't see the popularity slowing down either. Coffee table books are a great way to show your interest to your guests and they also work nicely as conversation starters. I once attended a dinner party but didn't know the hosts at all. However, they had coffee table books all over their house and I found them super useful as part of getting to know them.

Coffee table books serve quite a few different purposes in my case. They are part of the decor (decorative) but they also have to be inspirational and beautiful to look at. Thirdly, I try  to pick books that I think my guests will like. I need to work on this more (most of my books are interior related). I love placing them around the house (usually near chairs/sofas) but I love them occasionally on the hall table too. I like to stack quite a few books together for maximum impact (always placing the biggest book at the bottom). I wouldn't stack too many together though. Keep it to maximum 2-4 books depending on the location and style/size of your coffee/side table. Sometimes one book can be enough if it's very thick. Remember to colour coordinate them if possible and it's always nice to add an ornament on top to give it some extra height. You can use anything from scented candles to unusual shaped ornaments. If you don't have a coffee table or side table just use a pouffe and add a tray to it. Coffee table books can really displayed anywhere in the house. Get creative with them!

I've been collecting coffee table books for a few years now. My collection is not by any means complete (is it ever really?) but I am running out of space so I'm really picky about the books that I do buy. Most of them are interiors related. If I'm buying a coffee table book it needs to look pretty but also be functional. I did a little poll on Instagram few weeks ago and I asked people what do they base their decision on when buying these type of books. Well, I was quite surprised by the results. Most people seem to think like I do. They buy coffee table books based on both the content and the appearance. Only 20% said they purely buy them based on the content. It totally makes sense to me. If you are going to be displaying books in your house, you may as well try to coordinate them with the rest of the decor. But there were 5% who said they go purely based on the looks. I found it all quite fascinating. Perhaps I should do more polls on my insta stories in the future too!

Few people have also asked me if coffee table books and children can mix. Well the answer is yes and no. Of course it depends on the age of your children (young ones especially tend to play with everything that is within their reach) but I've always had coffee table books on display even when my children were babies. I think only one book got ruined and it really wasn't that bad so I never ended up replacing it. I've always displayed decorative items on side tables even when the girls were little (unless they were dangerous) and they never showed much interest because they got used to seeing them everywhere. But I wouldn't let having kids put you off getting coffee table books. If you're worried just place them high (on a console table or a book shelf) so your children can't reach them.

Here are my favourite coffee table books (and yes, most are interiors related)

Unseen London

These ones I'd like to add to my collection soon:

I do find a lot of the coffee table books that I have my eye on quite expensive though. They usually range from £30-50 which is a lot for a book. I tend to buy most of mine from Amazon (we have Amazon prime so it's very convenient). Charity shops are also great and you can also find some amazing deals on ebay.

Do you have any coffee table books? If you have any recommendation, leave a note below!

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