Books Every Southern Hostess Should Have on Her Coffee Table

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

The Living Room
Photo: Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Southerners know that when it comes to interior design, a bare coffee table is just not an option. A wide open surface is usually begging for an assortment of sculptural accessories, trays, and books to be artfully arranged on top. (And, if you're interested, we've already put together a how-to on arranging said tabletop.) There's a genre of book designed just for this purpose—the aptly named coffee table book—and we bet you have a few in your collection already. The best coffee table books are both beautiful and useful, visually stunning and practical. They're filled with gorgeous photographs, compelling stories, and unexpected inspiration for hosting, design, travel, and beyond. With that in mind, we've chosen a few coffee table books we think are destined to be classics. A tabletop display should be inviting, which is why we've gathered some fun options we think Southern hostesses will love and guests will enjoy browsing. There are a few unexpected, pocket-sized picks too. There's something here for every taste and table. All are fun to flip through—and isn't that we're looking for in a coffee table book?

01 of 14

How They Decorated: Inspiration from Great Women of the Twentieth Century

How They Decorated: Inspiration from Great Women of the Twentieth Century by P. Gaye Tapp
amazon.com

by P. Gaye Tapp

BUY IT: $48, amazon.com

Peek into the homes of design icons from throughout the century in this coffee table book. It's easy to get lost in the photographs—and to borrow some of these ladies' ideas for your own interior designs.

02 of 14

The Finer Things: Timeless Furniture, Textiles, and Details

The Finer Things: Timeless Furniture, Textiles, and Details, by Christiane Lemieux
amazon.com

by Christiane Lemieux

BUY IT: $40, amazon.com

In this coffee table book, elegance is the name of the game. With each page, Christiane Lemieux explores the art of fine interior design.

03 of 14

House Dressing: Interiors for Colorful Living

House Dressing: Interiors for Colorful Living
Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Mary Beth Wetzel

by Janie Molster

BUY IT: $43, amazon.com

Designer Janie Molster is no stranger to color, texture, and pattern. In her new book, she shares past projects with insight on how to achieve the perfect balance in any space.

04 of 14

Foraged Flora: A Year of Gathering and Arranging Wild Plants and Flowers

Foraged Flora: A Year of Gathering and Arranging Wild Plants and Flowers by Louesa Roebuck and Sarah Lonsdale
amazon.com

by Louesa Roebuck and Sarah Lonsdale

BUY IT: $24, amazon.com

One flip through this lovely book will inspire you to gather your best vases and arrange something beautiful.

05 of 14

Home: A Celebration: Notable Voices Reflect on the Meaning of Home

Home: A Celebration: Notable Voices Reflect on the Meaning of Home
Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Mary Beth Wetzel

by Charlotte Moss

BUY IT: $45, amazon.com

Charlotte Moss brought together creatives from multiple professions to share what home means to them. The book sales benefit No Kid Hungry.

06 of 14

The National Parks: America's Best Idea

The National Parks: America's Best Idea by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns
amazon.com

by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns

BUY IT: $34, amazon.com

America's national parks take center stage in this stunning book exploring the history of the park system and its beloved places, including Acadia National Park, Denali National Park, and Everglades National Park.

07 of 14

) Style Comfort Home: How To Find Your Style and Decorate for Happiness and Ease

Style Comfort Home: How To Find Your Style and Decorate for Happiness and Ease
Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Mary Beth Wetzel

by Andrew Howard

BUY IT: $40; amazon.com

Southern designer Andrew Howard finds the balance between high design and DIY in his new book all about achievable design.

08 of 14

In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs

In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney
amazon.com

by Grace Bonney

BUY IT: $17, amazon.com

You'll find inspiration on every page of this book, which is a timely and timeless compilation of interviews with entrepreneurs and artists from an array of fields.

09 of 14

The Well-Loved House: Creating Homes with Color, Comfort, and Drama

The Well-Loved House: Creating Homes with Color, Comfort, and Drama
Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Mary Beth Wetzel

by Ashley Whittaker

BUY IT: $45, amazon.com

Designer Ashley Whittaker is known for her beautiful spaces across the country. In her new book, she shares how homes can be beautiful but also lived in.

10 of 14

Dogs

Dogs by Tim Flach and Lewis Blackwell
amazon.com

by Tim Flach and Lewis Blackwell

BUY IT: $52, amazon.com

Canines get their artistic due in this charming photographic celebration of our favorite four-legged friends.

11 of 14

Finding Home: The Houses of Pursley Dixon

Finding Home: The Houses of Pursley Dixon
Rizzoli

by by Ken Pursley and Jacqueline Terrebonne

BUY IT: $55; amazon.com

Architects Ken Pursley and Craig Dixon share fifteen homes that each represent a distinct style: from mountain escapes to waterside retreats.

12 of 14

Southern Living 50 Years: A Celebration of People, Places, and Culture

Southern Living 50 Years: A Celebration of People, Places, and Culture, by Valerie Frasier Luesse and The Editors of Southern Living
amazon.com

by Valerie Frasier Luesse and the Editors of Southern Living

BUY IT: $29, amazon.com

This hardcover celebration of the South includes road trips, memorable essays, stunning homes, and heirloom recipes from Southern Living.

13 of 14

Brave Enough

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
anthropologie.com

by Cheryl Strayed

BUY IT: $11, amazon.com

While it's not solely designed for the coffee table, we think you'll want to keep this pocket-sized book close by. It's filled with wisdom from writer Cheryl Strayed (Wild, Tiny Beautiful Things).

14 of 14

Pizzazzerie: Entertain in Style: Tablescapes & Recipes for the Modern Hostess

Pizzazzerie: Entertain in Style: Tablescapes & Recipes for the Modern Hostess by Courtney Dial Whitmore
amazon.com

by Courtney Whitmore with Phronsie Dial

BUY IT: $26, amazon.com

Keeping this book on your coffee table will ensure that party ideas are always within arm's reach, as it's filled cover to cover with hosting inspiration—and plenty of pizzazz.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles