Living: Coffee Table Books

Many of us know of the “coffee table book” that Cosmo Kramer of Seinfeld was going to get published and become a millionaire off of… “It’s a book of coffee tables… that turns into a coffee table!”

Unfortunately, the idea didn’t come to fruition, and we have no coffee table… coffee table book – from Kramer at least. But Alexander Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt) took the liberty to create The Coffee Table, Coffee Table Book, available at Amazon for $31.

But! That doesn’t thwart their importance! Even if you don’t have a coffee table, or even a living room, you can still benefit from having interesting, quirky, and informative books that are as aesthetic as they are educational and entertaining. (There were a lot of vowels going on in that sentence.)

But not all literary centerpieces are created equal. Any ol’ book with photos just won’t do… It has to be a beautiful book with colors that coordinate, or compliment your belongings, personality, and style. So, let’s go over qualities of a good coffee table book:

  • It is LARGE, with the title and some kind of imagery on the front cover.
  • It commands attention, and is intriguing enough for a person to wonder… “What’s in there?”
  • It’s an aesthetic reproduction of one of your passions, or is a topic that no one would ever think that you were interested in. Complimentary or contrasting.
  • It fits your home style, or if you’re recreating your home style, it’s a perfect fit. (i.e. you don’t want a grungy old book if you’re in a mod-style, minimalist pad, you dig?)
  • The cover design should be simple and uncomplicated.
  • Hardcover only, please!
  • It’s a book that you, yourself, will look at and love.
  • Magazines do NOT count. You are not a doctor’s office.
  • It’s TRUE to you – not who you want to be, not who you were, who you ARE. Or helps you to find out.

So, now that we’ve got that covered, let’s look at some options.

Fashionistas: You are the girls who catch every runway show, can instantly see that Klimt was Galliano’s inspiration, and would just die if you were Lagerfeld’s muse – even for a day.


Poiret (Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications)
$65 $41.60

In the 19th century, women + dresses = the way of life. But French couturier Poiret “liberated” women by designing pants and ignoring the corset-style that was so regular for that era. The best part? The guy couldn’t sew a stitch.


Costume Jewelry for Haute Couture
$75 $47.25

READ  How to Make Your Home More Accommodating for Guests

This heavily illustrated book celebrates the oft overlooked jewelry produced by couture fashion houses.


Audrey Hepburn: A Life in Pictures
$40 $26.40

A book full of photos of a true style icon.

Do YOU have a coffee table book? What is it, and why do you love/hate it?

xoxo.