I once interviewed a roommate by asking if they appreciated “strategically stacked books” so, if that isn’t telling of my love for a good stack of books, I don’t know what is. (If you’re wondering, she looked at me funny and I knew we wouldn’t get along but I lived with her anyway.) I’ve pulled together a list of all you need to know about how to step up your coffee table game with books, because if you don’t know, you must.

1. Think about starting with 3 – 5 books. We love odd numbers.

2. Start big in book size! A coffee table book is meant to make a statement. This is hypothetically where the books that don’t fit on the bookshelf go.

3. Be somewhat consistent in size. You don’t want to go from a massive tabloid size book to a postcard size book since that would not look right (it’s got to feel curated!). But, you still do not want to stack the same sizes so make sure they vary in size slightly.

4. Color matters! Come up with a theme and stick with it. Maybe it is “an assortment of bold colors” so that you have maximum room to play around with color but if that’s the case, go with it and don’t mix in too many neutral books (one or two is okay). If it’s neutrals, stick with that theme as well but don’t be afraid to throw in a singular pop of color. I personally am a fan of the monochromatic (I collect red books).

5. Subject matters! These books are conversation starters. They are good chance to give people a glimpse into your interests.

6. Be sure you’ve read them. Books are beautiful props but they are meant to be read, too. Read them to make sure you can participate in that conversation they will ultimately start!

7. It’s okay to place other decor objects on top of your stack of books–little sculptural objects, candles or a vase of flowers would work great.

8. Coffee table books can often be really expensive so, start your collection at the thrift store or a used book store and grow it over time.

Need some help picking out books? Use Design Quickie to perfect your coffee table look!

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