We polled our designers to see what books they can’t put down, and what books they can because they look great when styling a coffee table.
Here’s a little secret—interior designers love the genre of literature known as “coffee table books.” They gleefully collect stacks and stacks of their favorite tomes on interior design, photography, art, and the like. These books are perfect for flipping through for inspiration—and for excellent for creating vignettes around a space (the ultimate dual-purpose prop). We polled our designers for their faves, including some from our friends at Phaidon. Go ahead—get reading.
What’s the best looking book that you love to display on a coffee table or console?
: Lee Radziwill—it’s so elegant and subtle, just like Lee herself.
Mackenzie Madsen: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty from the Met exhibition. His pieces are breathtaking works of art and it reminds me of how much I loved experiencing such a beautifully curated exhibit.
Nicole Fisher: Hands down, Tom Ford. It’s such a simple, yet striking coffee table display that looks sharp even by itself.
Ward Bennett and Yves Saint Laurent Accessories. Both pair well with Georgia O’Keeffe, a personal favorite for its cover and subject matter. I’m also into Snarkitecture—the visionary design studio’s amorphous book cover is tranquil and effortless. The materials-focused series by William Hall (Concrete, Brick, and Wood) work perfectly when paired together or mixed in with other books.: I’m loving the rich pops of blue in
Factory: Andy Warhol really capture a really interesting array of art, fashion, and architure, which is great.: Fashion photography books are always my go-tos. I like to open them up to different sets of photographs every once in awhile to change it up.
Carly Bristol: Suzanne Kasler: Timeless Style—the simple grey and white binding is right up my alley!
Above: Design: ; Photo: Genevieve Garruppo
What’s your favorite design book?
Ariel Okin: Mark D. Sikes’ Beautiful is at the top of my list. I constantly refer back to it for inspiration. The Art of Elegance by Marshall Watson, the Vogue Living books, and Carrier & Co’s book are also favorites.
Anna Kroesser of Kroesser + Strat: This isn’t design but Annie Leibovitz SUMO—it’s huge and awesome.
Mackenzie Madsen: Any of Axel Vervoordt’s books. His work is minimal, timeless, earthy, rich, and perfect.
Amanda Sacy: The first design book, and most useful through the years, has been my Interior Graphic and Design Standards book. I have had a love/hate relationship with it; we are currently on good terms. It is an amazing reference for space planning.
Margo Nathanson: So many! One of them is called California Design: The Legacy of West Coast Craft and Style, by Jo Lauria and Suzanne Baizerman. What I love about it is that it speaks to the style I see here on the West Coast, which is so obviously eclectic. It reflects the marriage of nature and the built environment and the uniqueness of the West Coast.
: Ibiza Bohemia!!!
: Nothing is more classic California design than Mid-Century Modern and California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way catalogs some of the most iconic designs of that era.
Jordan Shields: I am a huge admirer of Tadao Ando, so really enjoy The Colours of Light Volume 1.
Design:, Photo: Genevieve Garruppo
What’s the last design book you purchased? Any book you’re excited about any new titles coming up?
Ariel Okin: I just preordered Veere Grenneyand and Paloma Contreras’ new books, as well as a new book about Bunny Mellon’s gardens. They all publish in the fall and I can’t wait! (I am a complete design book hoarder.) From an informative standpoint, New York School of Interior Design’s new tome Home: The Foundations of Enduring Spaces is truly wonderful and highly educational; I’ve been recommending it to every designer I know!
Amanda Sacy: The last design book I purchased was Styled by Emily Henderson. I am excited for Taschen’s Living in Morocco to come out
Margo Nathanson: The last I purchased is called A Modern World: American Design from the Yale University. I see so many echoes of Art Deco in the current trends, and I wanted to dig in and see if there were any parallels between what was happening then, and what’s happening now in society. It’s also a great reference book and looks good on my coffee table!
Deanna Dewey: I repurchased Rebecca Atwood’s book Living with Pattern after I gifted my copy to a client who fell in love with the Atwood pillows I selected for her sofa.
: John Derian Picture Book, serious eye candy and a great conversation starter!
Design:; Photo: Nick Glimenakis
Say you were working with a client and they need to start a collection, what five books would you recommend?
Ariel Okin: Beautiful by Mark D. Sikes, Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People, Vogue Living: Country, City, Coast, The Big Book of Chic by Miles Redd, Beauty at Home by Aerin Lauder.
Mackenzie Madsen: Any of Mario Testino’s books they are always super sexy. Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016 Slipcase Edition. Valentino: At the Emperor’s Table. David LaChapelle: Lost + Found. John Pawson’s Spectrum.
: I think it’s so important that my client appreciates the subject matter of the books so I always ask if they have any favorite hobbies, places they’ve traveled, icons, etc. From there I will find books that relate to them in hopes that not only will the books look great in their home, but they might flip through them too!
: I get asked that question a lot, here is what I wrote my last client: French Interiors, Helmut Newton Portraits, Villa Astor, The Kinfold Entrepreneur, Donald The Book, Remodelista Organized Simple Stylish, Drink Pink, Rover, Quintessential Kitchens by Matthew Quinn: Volume One, Out East Houses & Gardens in the Hamptons, Art House.
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