27 Coffee Table Books That Are as Cool and Stylish as You
What does your coffee table say about you? If it says, “I’m worthless at building IKEA furniture,” or, “I never remember to use a coaster,” you’re in trouble, and we can help. A cultured guy’s coffee table should be an expression of his interests, and the best way to telegraph that is through books. Whether you’re into music, architecture, or outer space, be proud of who you are, and let your coffee table do the talking.
We’ve taken the liberty of rounding up some of our favorite reads from our own coffee tables, ranging from lavish, show-stopping books about fashion and interior design to unassuming gems about city life and hot sauce. Whether your coffee table is a mid-century modern masterpiece or a secondhand joint, a curated selection of books will take it to the next level. Your guests will be striking up conversations about your passions in no time.
1000 Record Covers
If you’re a vinyl snob, you’ll love this compendium of rock n’ roll’s best album covers, curated from the sixties to the nineties. From Andy Warhol’s iconic designs to the cold photo-realism of British rock, this volume celebrates the changing visual aesthetic of the music we all know and love.
Among Others: Blackness at MoMA
Museums have a lot of work to do when it comes to righting the wrongs and oversights they’ve committed against Black artists. The Museum of Modern Art confronts its own fraught curatorial history head-on in this phone-book-sized tome, containing over 200 essays investigating the museum’s historical relationship with Black artists and Black audiences, as well as gorgeous prints from MoMA’s sizable collection.
Set in the Chinatowns of New York, Vancouver, San Francisco, Oakland, Chicago, and Los Angeles, this celebration of Chinese-American elders proves that great style has no age limit. Pairing colorful street-style snapshots with pearls of wisdom and stories about Chinese-American culture, Chinatown Pretty is a vibrant keepsake for fans of Humans of New York or The Sartorialist.
Just Kids Illustrated Edition
Rocker and writer Patti Smith’s novel Just Kids is a beautifully intimate portrait of a friendship that wound its way through the music and art scenes of New York City in the late ‘60 and early ‘70. In its hardcover, picture-book form, there is more room reserved for the photographs and sketches that are so essential to the richly detailed story, particularly because most were created by Smith or the great Robert Mapplethorpe.
Do you ever dream about giving it all up and moving to the woods? Cabin Porn’s scenic photographs of handmade backcountry homes might just push you to make your dreams a reality. Come for the luscious photos of woodsy cabins, but stay for the riveting stories of renovation and off-the-grid living.
GREAT: Photographs of Hip Hop
You weren’t there when YG and Nipsey Hussle hung out in East Rutherford, New Jersey. You didn’t see Diddy chilling in Beverly Hills or Mac Miller messing around on his laptop in Brooklyn or DMX flexing on stage in Manhattan. But photographer Mel D. Cole saw it, and his larger-than-life photographs barely contain the larger-than-life characters of the hip hop scene he documented for more than 15 years, all bound in this sprawling, black-and-white book.
When Magnus Hastings set out to photograph over 300 members of the LGBTQ community, he gave them this challenge: They could pose for their portraits however they liked, but their poses had to be contained in a white box. The resulting photographs are an exuberant exercise in creativity and taking up space, sure to enliven your coffee table.
The NASA Archives
Back before billionaires decided to stomp all over our atmosphere in their quest for immortality, NASA was propelling scientists, pilots, and teachers into space. Through 400 photographs and 60 years of history, this book recounts our space exploration origins for those who gaze upward, wishing they knew what was going on beyond the ozone.
The Rolling Stones: Updated Edition
This vibrant coffee table book is just plain rock-and-roll fun. The Stones as wee boys, the Stones as old men, and every Stone iteration in between gets a photograph, in part because the band worked alongside Taschen to ensure access to the best images from their 60-year history.
Gay Talese. Phil Stern. Frank Sinatra Has a Cold
It is perhaps Esquire’s most celebrated story. Gay Talese was sent to profile Frank Sinatra in 1965. Frank Sinatra was not having it. Nevertheless, Talese wrote an unforgettable story about Frank Sinatra. In this coffee table book, Talese’s colorful notes are paired with photographs from Phil Stern, who shadowed Sinatra for four decades.
Resident Dog: Incredible Homes and the Dogs That Live There
What transforms a house into a home more than a dog? Resident Dog, featuring friendly hounds living the high life in aspirational homes everywhere from the coast to the city, will take you to a mental beach—without the dog hair.
Houseplants and Hot Sauce: A Seek-And-Find Book for Grown-Ups
Remember the countless hours of your childhood spent happily poring over Where’s Waldo? The fun doesn’t have to stop there—in this book, lovingly illustrated by Sally Nixon, readers are invited to search for hidden objects in urban milieu ranging from bookstores to art galleries. Use it to keep your dinner party guests occupied while you dish up the meal.
The Incomplete: Highsnobiety Guide to Street Fashion and Culture
In this colorful book from the popular German streetwear blog, Highsnobiety charts the rise of street fashion and influencer culture, from cutting-edge scenes in far-flung corners of the world to high-profile celebrity streetwear collaborations. Whether your interest is in limited-edition drops that wrap lines around the block or emerging underground brands in distant cities, there’s something for everyone in this sprawling streetwear compendium.
Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings
Mann documented Appalachia and the American South in the most intimate light, producing a body of work that is both breathtaking and under-the-skin eerie. It is collected in this book, which includes photographs never before published.
The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion
Curator and critic Antwaun Sargent assembles a dazzling line-up of Black talent in this far-reaching exploration of the Black image in commercial culture, featuring portfolios from luminaries across the industries of fashion, art, and photography. What emerges from Sargent’s assemblage is a new visual language of representation—one that does away with the exploitation of the past in pursuit of a modern, forward-thinking celebration of the Black body.
Mark Seliger Photographs
Seliger photographed President Obama. He photographed transgender men and women in New York. During his lengthy tenure as a Rolling Stone magazine photographer, he captured Kurt Cobain, Mick Jagger, Misty Copeland, and more. This collection covers it all, with stories from Seliger on how these iconic portraits came to be.
Axel Vervoordt: Portraits of Interiors
Eighteen interiors by legendary Belgian interior designer Axel Vervoodt are brought to life in this sumptuous retrospective, from a coastal Ibizan paradise to an English countryside estate. Modern, holistic, and bathed in sunlight, Vervoordt’s luxurious designs are always a balm for the weary spirit.
Fake Love Letters, Forged Telegrams, and Prison Escape Maps: Designing Graphic Props for Filmmaking
From Annie Atkins, a renowned graphic designer specializing in filmmaking, comes a riveting, behind-the-scenes look into the ultra-detailed process of creating passports, street signs, tea stains, and hundreds of other on-screen ephemera. Opening with a love letter to Atkins from none other than Jeff Goldblum, this unforgettable book is at once a treasure for film buffs and a visual feast.
Moving to Mars: Design for the Red Planet
Life on the Red Planet likely won’t involve little green men, but according to the designers and scientists spotlighted in Moving to Mars, it will involve specialized cutlery, underground habitats, and hyper-specific spacesuits, among other innovations. Whether you’re just an enthusiast or you’re saving up for a seat on SpaceX, every geek will love this speculative, but scientifically informed, look at life on Mars.
Skateart: From the Object to the Artwork
SkateArt tracks just that: the rise of skate art, from decks to gallery walls. Artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, ROA, and Ai WeiWei, as well as subjects like femme fatales are found in these pages; art does look cooler on a board.
Before Ali was Ali, he was Cassius Clay, an Olympic champion boxer full of pride and ambition. Sports Illustrated sent Steve Schapiro to spend a week with him in 1963; these intimate photographs are the result.
A Booklover's Guide to New York
Sure, you’ve been to the Strand and the New York Public Library, but have you been to Truman Capote’s corner of Brooklyn? In this deeply researched volume, jam-packed with information and illustrated in charming pastels, no bibliophile stone remains unturned. Come for the celebration of New York bookstores past and present, but stay for the guidance on how to follow your favorite characters’ footsteps through literary New York.
In this revelatory collection of portraits, Soraya Zaman captures members of the American transmasculine community, from coast to coast. Tender, arresting, and profound, Zaman’s portraits and stories illuminate a diverse cross-section of an inspiring community.
The World of Apartamento
If manicured megahomes aren’t for you, dive into the dreamy interiors of lifestyle magazine Apartamento, where splendor comes entirely from personal touches. Intimate and unfussy, yet also unfailingly chic, the homes featured in The World of Apartamento are a rallying cry to embrace your clutter, not hide it.
Technically, this is a cookbook. But Munchies' vibrant, weed-centric photographs of edibles fronting as restaurant-quality dishes and drinks are irresistible. For stoners and foodies alike.
Room for Dessert
Goldfarb's book cover is as decadent as the desserts featured within its pages: Embossed in brilliant gold, it is certainly eye-grabbing. Beautiful photography, recipes, and essays make it a rich living room addition—especially for anyone with a sweet tooth.
The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand
Garry Winogrand was one of the original street style photographers, long before Instagram influencers took over. These images from the '60s and '70s are accompanied with essays written by Geoff Dyer.
From: Esquire US