Books Every Southern Hostess Should Have on Her Coffee Table
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? (They make great housewarming gifts too!)
How They Decorated: Inspiration from Great Women of the Twentieth Century by P. Gaye Tapp
Buy it: $55, 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.
Foraged Flora: A Year of Gathering and Arranging Wild Plants and Flowers by Louesa Roebuck and Sarah Lonsdale
Buy it: $40, amazon.com
One flip through this lovely book will inspire you to gather your best vases and arrange something beautiful.
The National Parks: America's Best Idea by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns
Buy it: $65, 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.
In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney
Buy it: $35, 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.
Dogs by Tim Flach and Lewis Blackwell
Buy it: $50, amazon.com
Canines get their artistic due in this charming photographic celebration of our favorite four-legged friends.
Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life by Cleo Wade
Buy it: $23.99, anthropologie.com
Every coffee table should have a book filled with good advice. It’s a must for any and all moments that could be improved a dose of well-said wisdom. This one is written by Cleo Wade, who was deemed “the Millennial Oprah” by New York Magazine.
Southern Living 50 Years: A Celebration of People, Places, and Culture by Valerie Frasier Luesse and the Editors of Southern Living
Buy it: $40, amazon.com
This hardcover celebration of the South includes road trips, memorable essays, stunning homes, and heirloom recipes from Southern Living.
The Finer Things: Timeless Furniture, Textiles, and Details by Christiane Lemieux
Buy it: $60, 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.
Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
Buy it: $16.95, anthropologie.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).
Pizzazzerie: Entertain in Style: Tablescapes & Recipes for the Modern Hostess by Courtney Whitmore with Phronsie Dial
Buy it: $25.99, 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.