Coffee table books have a lot going for them. They’re beautiful, informative, and inspirational. Best of all, they often embody the personality of their owner and the aesthetic of the home they live in. That’s exactly why they’re a no-fail gift.
Gifting a coffee table book isn’t an innovative idea, so the key is to get a unique book that’s the perfect fit for the recipient. So, we rounded up some of the best options for everyone in your life. There’s one for the plant lover, one for the hostess, and one for the fashionista. Whether your loved one is looking for musings on life, how to whip up a good cheese board for their next party, or how to live a no-waste life, we’ve got them covered.
No matter which one you choose, its chic cover will look trendy and stylish stacked next to that serving tray and candle. Here, the most giftable coffee table books around.
Superlight: Rethinking How Our Homes Impact the Earth by Phyllis Richardson
Lightweight dwellings have renewed emphasis in the era of climate change. In Superlight: Rethinking How Our Homes Impact the Earth, Phyllis Richardson tours 40 beautiful houses around the world that were designed around lightness. Some of these residences are tree houses built on stilts, while others are high-tech hyper-intelligent houses or have inflatable spaces. Some are located on the blue lakes of Ontario or in the woods of Belgium or snowy banks of Japan.
Despite these differences, the design of each is thoughtful and innovative. And they all have a common theme: they’re lightweight buildings that have a low eco-footprint and evoke a lightness that brings one closer with their environment. For the friend advocating for sustainability or the nature lover in your life, this coffee table book is a must add to their minimalist living space.
Savor: Entertaining with Charcuterie, Cheese, Spreads, & More by Kimberly Stevens
Every hostess needs a guide to putting together the ultimate crowd pleaser: a good charcuterie board—and Savor has all she’ll need to know. Written by seasoned food writer and journalist Kimberly Stevens, it features over 100 recipes for breads, dips, spreads, and more, from parmesan crisps and crispy wonton skins for Asian-inspired dips to a creamy lemon curd that will cleanse the palate after snacking on some rich meats and cheeses. Plus, there’s advice from wine and market experts and plenty of pairing guides for not just cheese and meats but drinks, too.
All the step-by-step details make whipping up a cheese plate easier and more delicious than ever. Consider the recipe for the summer antipasto cheese board, which calls for goat cheese stuffed peppadew peppers, aged cheese, marcona almonds, hard salami, and pita wedges. We’ll be dreaming of that one all year round.
Wild at Heart: Pets, People, and their Beautiful Homes by Magali Elali and Bart Kiggen
A book for the pet lover in your midst, Wild at Heart is the perfect pick-me-up on a bad day. The authors, Magali Elali and Bart Kiggen, interviewed 15 creatives about the bond between people and their pets. The result is 272 pages of heartwarming stories about their relationships with their pets and glossy portraits bringing them to life. Not only are there cuddly dogs and playful kittens to look at, but plenty of gorgeous interiors and stylish home design. As Elali and Kiggen write in the introduction of the book, “How can you not love this combination?”
One story in particular tells of a couple who converted a former slaughterhouse into a contemporary family home, where they live with their two children, trio of cats, and puppy named Beer. In both words and pictures, Elali and Kiggen tell the story of the family and their interactions with their pets, all set against the backdrop of their renovated home.
The Bucket List: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small by Kath Stathers
The coffee table book market is inundated with travel options, but The Bucket List: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small is one with some of the most travel ideas out there. It’s chock-full of—you guessed it—1,000 snippets of advice on places to see and things to do. Each suggestion includes a brief overview of the activity, the best time to go, and the exact latitude and longitude of the location. And, of course, the copy is complemented by stunning scenic images. From plunging into a Finnish lake sauna and touring street art in Penang to floating in a mud crater in Colombia and bicycling the Strade Bianche in Italy, there’s inspiration at the turn of every page.
This book provides the gift of escapism in a time when travel is out of the picture. It’ll quench your giftee’s wanderlust for the moment, while giving them something to plan and look forward to in the future.
Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon by Iris Apfel
Who better to take life advice from than businesswoman and fashion icon Iris Apfel? Apfel, who just turned 99, is known for her vivacious personality and eccentric style which often mixes high and low fashion. In 2005, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated its exhibit to her style; she was the first living person who wasn’t a designer to receive this honor. And in 2018, Mattel created a Barbie doll in her image.
This book is a collection of her unconventional and witty musings on life, success, style, and aging that come to life in the form of personal essays and anecdotes. Alongside this wisdom are 180 color and black-and-white photographs and mementos from over the years.
Wild at Home: How to Style and Care for Beautiful Plants by Hilton Carter
Plant and interior stylist Hilton Carter, who owns over 200 plants himself, takes readers on a journey through an indoors jungle with Wild at Home. “I see incorporating plants as one of the key requirements when designing an interior space, just as much as a couch or coffee table would be,” he writes.
With this book, the plant-loving millennial in your life will never end up killing a succulent again. The abundance of greenery makes for stunning visuals that you’ll want to leaf through (see what we did there?), but the information inside is just as worth looking at. It begins with advice on shopping for the right plant, from checking it for bugs to choosing the right potting mix. There’s also a lesson in gardening tools, like using a small spade for repotting and finding the right watering can for the perfect pour. That’s not to mention all the tips and tricks on styling plants in your home, including picking out a statement plant and choosing the right pot. And it ends with all things plant care essentials, from potting your plant to letting the light in.
prettycitynewyork: Discovering New York’s Beautiful Places by Siobhan Ferguson
Siobhan Ferguson is known for her Pretty Cities Instagram accounts, which take followers on an artfully curated journey of the beautiful nooks and crannies of each city, from New York to London and Dublin. The shots in prettycitynewyork are taken by photographer Mendy Waits, who mainly uses her smartphone to capture everything from storefronts and street corners to restaurant interiors and decorated brownstones, which all depict the charming, local side of the city.
The best of these shots are featured in the book and organized by neighborhoods. Each neighborhood begins with a colorfully illustrated map and includes information about its history and hot spots alongside the photos. But that’s only part of the book—there’s also a section doling out photography tips, another depicting New York through all four seasons, and a final section that provides a bucket list for spending a few days in the city. It’s the perfect gift for the die-hard New Yorker.
Dior by Gianfranco Ferré
A staple for the fashion lover’s collection, this fourth volume in a series devoted to each designer of the house of Dior looks at the creations of Gianfranco Ferré. Ferré designed for Dior from 1989 to 1996, helming 15 haute couture collections that reinterpreted and updated Christian Dior’s elegant style with an “architectural feeling” thanks to his clear and crisp lines. It makes sense, then, that Ferré was known as “the architect of fashion.”
Inside this fashion tome are 320 pages featuring over 200 photographs of Ferré’s work, taken by photographer Laziz Hamani, and lessons in Dior fashion history from the Ferré era, written by fashion journalist Alexander Fury. The pages will take you from Ferré’s expansion of Dior’s hallmark animal print to his specially created wasp-waist suit design for Italian actress Sophia Loren in 1994.
Celebrate Rosé by Ashley Rose Conway
Red and white get all the attention—so we say it’s time to shine the light on rosé. Celebrate Rosé does just that with plenty of food pairings, entertaining ideas, and more for everyone’s favorite pink drink. From sours and spritzes to punches and palomas, there are over 40 versatile rose recipes that aim to please. It also teaches you how to serve said recipes, with tons of styling tips for the table and bar techniques such as flavoring and garnishing.
It’s a book every entertainer will love, complete with photos that are just as delicious as the advice is useful. The sections are organized by occasion, making it easy to whip out the perfect rosé for any gathering, whether it’s a pool party or picnic. It’s never been so easy to impress party guests. And bound in silver leather, it’ll sit just pretty on any coffee table.
Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World by Ann Shen
Los Angeles-based illustrator Ann Shen took her colorful illustrations to book form in the inspiring Bad Girls Throughout History. Each watercolor portrait is paired with an empowering essay about 100 revolutionary women throughout history, making for a whimsical book that’s a powerful tribute to the women movers and shakers who created change in their era or industry.
There’s Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, and Empress Zu Whetian, the first and only female emperor of China. Then there’s Anna May Wong, the first Asian-American movie star, and Coretta Scott King, the first lady of the civil rights movement. It’s a coffee table book that you’ll want to do more than just look at and actually read from cover to cover over the course of its 216 pages.
Simply Living Well by Julia Watkins
Julia Watkins, the mastermind behind the Instagram account Simply Living Well, brings her best tips for slow, simple, and sustainable living from screen to pages. Inside the eponymously named book, Watkins shares her best advice for living a more low-waste life—reducing what you consume and throw away—in all parts of the home, from the kitchen and bath to the garden. There’s even a section on natural wellness.
On one page, you’ll find a list of replacement suggestions for kitchen staples like plastic trash bags (choose newspaper bin liners) and disposable sponges (try loofah pads). On another, there’s a recipe for waste-free hummus and peppermint mouthwash. There are also tips on more sustainable shopping, like buying cheese from the cheese counter with your own container or buying unpackaged soap.