When in doubt, gift a coffee table book. That’s our mantra every holiday season, and we’re following suit in 2021. What may seem like a common gift on the outside actually offers ample room for personalization — there’s a coffee table book for every interest under the sun, from general topics like interior design, cooking, and travel to conversation-starting obscurities like crap taxidermy and awkward family photos.
What’s more, coffee table books hit the gift-giving trifecta: they’re thoughtful, practical, and versatile (who doesn’t want a gift that doubles as a piece of decor?). So go ahead — judge a book by its cover and shop the 23 best coffee table books to gift this year, as curated by lead designer Kelsey Fischer.
Best Coffee Table Books: Design
Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone
If you love interior design, you’re likely familiar with Athena Calderone (or at least her Brooklyn townhouse). Her best-selling tome takes you inside the beautiful homes of tastemakers, designers, and fashion insiders from around the world, and it’s just as swoon-worthy as you’d expect.
Design the Home You Love by Lee Mayer
Shameless plug: of course we’re obsessed with our design book, Design the Home You Love by Havenly co-founders Lee Mayer and Emily Motayed. This book aims to take the intimidation out of interior design, offering up practical, no-frills advice and actionable tips to help you build your dream home filled with personality, warmth, and character. Sounds good, right?
Jungalow by Justina Blakeney
Interior designer Justina Blakeney knows a thing or two about designing vibrant, eclectic, and free-spirited spaces, and this book is basically an ode to her signature style. If you have a Justina fan on your list, or someone who embodies bohemia, this book is a no-brainer.
Living With Pattern by Rebecca Atwood
Calling all maximalists: Living With Pattern by Brooklyn-based textile designer Rebecca Atwood is basically your bible. This book breaks down the art of layering and mixing pattern in a space, from colorful bathroom tile and eclectic book spines to throw pillows and bed spreads.
Feels Like Home by Lauren Liess
Interior designer Lauren Liess’ third book is based on the idea that home is more than just a place, it’s a feeling. This book explores that concept through a variety of homes across the world — from a rustic farmhouse to a Spanish colonial.
Design By Nature by Erica Tanov
This fascinating coffee table book by interior designer Erica Tanov explores the way the colors, patterns, and textures of nature inform, and inspire, interior design. In addition to beautiful photography, it contains creative decorating tips fit for organic, bohemian-inspired interiors.
The Finer Things by Christiane Lemieux
This book is basically a crash course in quality and craftsmanship in the design world, as told by designer Christiane Lemieux. She interviews a slew of experts spanning paint and wallpaper to textile fabricators and furniture designers to pinpoint exactly how to spot timeless, heirloom-quality pieces. In other words, it’s the perfect gift for the tastemaker in your life.
Resident Dog by Nicole England
Rather than profiling beautiful homes and the people that inhabit them, architecture photographer Nicole England turns her attention to the canine residents. This book sheds a light on 25 beautiful homes from London and New York to Australia and LA and the humble pups who have the pleasure of living there.
Oasis by iO Tillett Wright & Casey Dunn
Fans of southwestern style will absolutely love this coffee table book from artists and photographer duo iO Tillett Wright and Casey Dunn. The two capture stunning “desert homes” from around the world, from classics like Georgia O’Keefe’s space in Abiquiu, New Mexico to modern spaces like Michael Barnard’s Solar House in Marfa, Texas.
Best Coffee Table Books: Fashion & Celebrity
Icons by Oscar Abolafia
For a purely entertainment driven coffee table book filled with stunning vintage images, look no further than Icons. It features over 150 celebrity portraits shot by legendary photographer Oscar Abolafia, including Frank Sinatra, Twiggy, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Janis Joplin, and more.
Rihanna by Rihanna
For fans of the renowned pop star and fashion icon, there’s no better gift than a book on Rihanna, by Rihanna. Plus, this beautiful limited-edition version features a black-and-white cover and a tattooed hand display stand.
Tom Ford by Tom Ford
The fashion lover on your list will have endless appreciation for Tom Ford’s popular coffee table book. Not only does it look perfect in a coffee table book stack (our designers swear by this one), it’s a comprehensive catalogue of Ford’s design work for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent from 1994 to 2004.
Vanity Fair 100 Years by Graydon Carter
Fans of the iconic magazine will absolutely devour this coffee table book. Journalist and former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter chronicles life, art, commerce, and culture through the eyes of the magazine, from its inception in 1913 through today’s image-saturated information age.
Come Fly With Me by Jodi Peckman
This stunning coffee table book by renowned photo editor Jodi Peckman is an ode to the golden age of flying (when chic tweed suits trumped athleisure). She includes iconic snaps of legendary celebrities jet-setting in style, from Frank Sinatra and John and Yoko to Rihanna and Miley Cyrus.
Best Coffee Table Books: Food & Entertaining
La Vita E Dolce by Letitia Clark
This beautiful coffee table book is just as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside. Written by food writer and pastry chef Letitia Clark, this book is a celebration of Italian baking and classic desserts. It features over 80 recipes perfected by Clark during her time spent living in Sardinia. A perfect gift for the host or hostess in your life.
Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer
Originally printed in 1931, the Joy of Cooking is arguably the most iconic cookbook of all time. This tome has been updated countless times over, with its latest iteration bound in beautiful black leather. For a self-proclaimed foodie that spends their weekends testing recipes, it doesn’t get better than this book.
Pacific Natural by Jenni Kayne
Fashion designer Jenni Kayne chronicles her effortless approach to living, cooking, and entertaining in her debut coffee table book. Organized by season, each chapter contains beautiful tablescape ideas, recipes, kid-friendly crafts, grocery lists, and gardening tips in Kayne’s inimitable, laid-back style.
World Whiskey by Ballard Designs
This coffee table book is basically a whiskey dictionary — it’s organized alphabetically and features every major distillery in the world (from Maker’s Mark in the U.S. to Dewar’s in Scotland). Anyone who thoroughly enjoys a Whiskey Sour or Old Fashioned will appreciate this leather-bound tome.
Best Coffee Table Books: Hobbies & Interests
The Equestrian World by Peter Clotten
This book is an ode this time-honored sport and equestrian lifestyle, as chronicled by horse expert and aficionado Peter Clotten. In its 250-plus pages, you’ll find a peek inside neck-and-neck races, down and dirty polo matches, and profiles on world-famous riders and horse aficionados.
Be Your Own Astrologer by West Elm
Anyone who lives by their horoscope and knows their entire birth chart by heart will be enamored by this coffee table book. Astrologist and tarot reader Joanna Watters breaks down each star sign and helps the reader unearth hidden insights about their life and personality.
Wild Creations by Hilton Carter
Plant and design lovers alike will love this stunning book by designer and fellow plant whisperer Hilton Carter. In its 240 pages, Carter breaks down the art of plant styling and shares exactly how to create beautiful, plant-filled interiors with ease.
Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen by Naomi Beckwith
Fans of Howardena Pindell’s artwork will cherish this beautiful coffee table book by art curator Naomi Beckwith. This book chronicles five decades’ worth of Pindell’s acclaimed art, from collage and photography to film and video.
Looking for more holiday gifts? Check out or 2021 designer-curated gift guide with thoughtful presents for the foodie, homebody, host, plant lover, and taste maker on your list.