Judging The Book By It’s Cover
One of the basic tenets of Somewhat Styled is that you should only surround yourself with things that you truly love, and not just what’s on trend or what everyone else is buying. Our homes are an opportunity to be such a personal reflection of who we are and a form of self expression, it’s nice to be able to stand out from the crowd and express ourselves truly and fully in this intimate space.
When it comes to coffee table books, I think a lot of us tend to look for inspiration from people we admire. “Oh, so-and-so has a Tom Ford book on their coffee table, so I should too!” You may get that book and love it, or you might flip through it and then think, “Ugh, did I really just spent $100 on this”?
Of course there is nothing wrong with owning (and loving!) a book about Tom Ford (he’s a success for a reason!), but rather my emphasis is that coffee table books are an opportunity to express the unique reflection of yourself, your tastes and your interests. So if Tom Ford, or Chanel, or any other ubiquitous coffee table book just doesn’t feel like ‘you’, then all the better! It’s a chance to be adventurous and have fun, and there’s really no downside to it — that’s the beauty of decorating with books, if you get tired of one book, you can easily swap it out for another!
Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite coffee table books, some for their irreverence and quirkiness, some that are classics of design, and some that are just enjoyable to flip through and make me laugh!
The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons
While New Yorker cartoons are not everyone’s particular style of humor, I really enjoy them. This two volume set is a great addition to any library and looks so elegant. Two large, hardcover books categorized by topic, they’re fun to peruse when you’re in need of a laugh or two, but also look beautiful on display. And they’re a great bang for your buck, coming it at around $30 for the set!
EAT DRINK NAP, Bringing the House Home
This linen covered hardback book is not just gorgeous to look at, it’s chock full of SOHO House cocktail and food recipes, as well as gorgeous interiors to admire. I love that it features EAT DRINK NAP in bold letters on both the cover and spine — a few of my very favorite activities!
“I DO NOT COOK, I DO NOT CLEAN, I DO NOT FLY COMMERCIAL” Ashley Longshore
One of my favorite pop artists, she takes risks and pushes the envelope in a way that I love. This book is a visual delight, with bold colors, featuring edge to edge and foldout images of her works. Although I hope to someday own an original painting, for now I make do with this stunner of a book on my coffee table. This one is also a steal priced at just over $30.
Influence by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen
This book makes a lovely addition to any book collection once you remove the dust jacket. It’s a deep black with gold embossed lettering on the spine. If you’re a millennial, you grew up with them — first on Full House, and then onto a multitude of their own movies and tv shows. The petite moguls built an empire that is beyond impressive, so it’s no wonder that they have carved out a small place of honor on my bookshelves. I luckily came across a copy of this book for roughly $12, though it is currently going for sale on Amazon for around $50. Keep your eyes peeled, as this price moves around a lot based on availability.
de Gournay: Hand-Painted Interiors
If you’re a fan of chinoiserie paintings, this is the book for you. Honestly, it’s worth it just for the cover alone. It’s filled with gorgeous hand painted wall coverings in equally beautiful rooms, featuring landscapes, birdlife, flora, abstracts and historical patterns that all tell a story. The famous French design firm has collaborated with tastemakers worldwide and the selection chosen for this book is incredible.
S Is for Style: The Schumacher Book of Decoration
Another book full of the most opulent interiors inspiration, featuring the textiles and wallpaper designs of the house of Schumacher. It’s separated into styles, with a questionnaire at the beginning of each. The categories are organized by unique themes like “Preppy”, “Ladylike”, and “Opulent”, and they provide tips for infusing pattern and color into your home. It’s a favorite of designers and an amazing resource for inspiration. It also has three different cover options, so unless you buy it in person you don’t know which one you’ll get!
Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire: 101 Luminaries Ponder Love, Death, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life
I came across a copy of this book years ago when I was living in the tiniest of apartments in New York. However limited on space, I purchased a copy with the intention of keeping it on my coffee table in my future home someday. Yes, this was my very first coffee table book! So it naturally holds a special place in my heart. It asks probing questions to vibrant personalities, many that are no longer with us — actors, writers, comedians — with delightful caricatures and answers that are heartfelt and inspiring, and often catch you off guard in unexpected ways. I have mine displayed on a book holder, set open to Nora Ephron’s interview. A personal homage to someone I admire greatly, and a wonderful book.
That’s All She Wrote!
I hope that by sharing a few of my favorite coffee table books with you, I’ve inspired you to search for some of your own! It’s a lovely way to incorporate books into your home and express yourself in a unique way. What are some of your favorites? Please share them with me below in the comments, I’m always looking for a good book!