25 best coffee table books of 2021

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Nothing says “I read and worry about the decoration “like a beautiful stack of coffee table books in your living space. But just like their owners, the best coffee table books are more than just a pretty face. In order to stack up (pun intended), they must have a worthy cover to adorn the most well-designed living room table as well as the type of photography and writing inside to make it worthwhile. ‘to be picked up and read, too. If you can’t snuggle up with a cup of coffee, tea, or your drink of choice, this isn’t on our list of favorites. After all, books are meant to be read.

While many tabletop books feature writings on architecture and design, they cover the gamut of topics and subjects. That’s what makes them so perfect for giving: A book about photography, food, art, or just about any subject your recipient loves to read makes a great, timeless gift for any occasion. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites to give you plenty of options for all tastes. Pack it up with one of the best books of 2021 or one of our wellness book club picks and you’ve got a book lover’s dream.

1

Women: The National Geographic Image Collection

National Geographic

$ 27.05

With stunning portraits and inspiring testimonials from some of the most powerful and amazing women in the world, this is the perfect book for any #girlboss or the people who love them. With over 400 photographs and interviews of women like Laura Bush and Gloria Allred, this is a must-have for every household.

2

Freaker sneakers. The Ultimate Sneaker Book

For the kick collector in your life, this drool-worthy book brings together 15 years of street style history, facts, and of course, gorgeous sneaker photographs from the past 15 years. Even if you don’t collect sneakers, this book might inspire you to get started.

3

Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition: An Explorer’s Guide to the Hidden Wonders of the World

Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton

$ 33.49

Travel the weird, wonderful and darkest corners of the world from your sofa with this guide to curious and unusual destinations. If you don’t book tickets somewhere on the last page, you’re stronger than us.

4

Buckingham Palace: the interiors

For those who are swooning over all things the Royal Family, get your fainted sofa ready for this tour of the Royal Residence. Designer and artist Ashley Hicks will walk you through each glorious room with descriptions and photographs that will make you feel like you are there.

5

Salad for the President: An Artist-Inspired Cookbook

Yes, it’s a cookbook. But it’s also beautiful enough that you can surprise yourself (or sit down intentionally to) just flip through admiring the gorgeous art and thoughtful interviews with food experts like Alice Waters and Tauba Auerbach.

RELATED: The 46 all-time cookbooks to buy for friends and family

6

Colorstrology: what your birthday color says about you

For fans of astrology, home decor, and color theory, this vibrant book will offer a glimpse into your life and relationships that you never thought you needed. He also comes with samples, so you don’t have to leave his lessons on the table.

7

Japanese garden

If the color story on this blanket doesn’t immediately make you exhale deeply, the 100+ gardens inside will. With a detailed exploration of the art and science of Japanese gardens, this is the perfect book for gardeners, architecture enthusiasts and art lovers of all stripes.

8

Houseplants and hot sauce: a research book for adults

Those of us who spent hours with Where is Waldo and I spy books that children will be delighted to discover in this magnificent adult version. Not only does it look whimsical on your table, but it’s also a great tool for relaxing after a long day.

9

Sotheby’s New Wine Encyclopedia

Pour a glass of your favorite wine and unlock this oenophile’s dream. It’s a definitive tome on just about anything you could want to know about wine with over 400 photographs to walk you through it. We will drink to that.

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A Big Party: Designing the Perfect Celebration

Plan your next night out with this wonderful guide to entertainment from Bryan Rafanelli, a wedding planner who has hosted events like Chelsea Clinton’s wedding and numerous Obama gatherings at the White House. Even if yours aren’t that high profile, you’ll definitely find inspiration here.

11

american boys

Through intimate portraits of trans-male men across the United States, this book challenges our conventional understanding of what childhood is like, while inviting the reader into the beautiful life experiences of people in its pages.

RELATED: 40 fantastic LGBTQ + books

12

Plantopedia: The Definitive Guide to Indoor Plants

Lauren Camilleri and Sophia Kaplan

$ 36.00

If you also spend far too much time scrutinizing your plants to figure out why your plants are dropping and their leaves turning brown, you need this pretty and useful book. At least you’ll know why your money factory looks a little broke.

RELATED: 30 beautiful houseplants that are almost impossible to kill

13

Cinemaps: an atlas of 35 great films

Movie buffs can get ideas on what to watch next with this colorful 35-card atlas of the best movies on the market. If you are the type of person who enjoys visualizing the places inhabited by the characters, this is the book of your dreams.

14

Follow Your Happiness: The Wisdom Of Inspirational Women To Help You Find Purpose And Joy

15

Scrawl: An A to Z of Famous Doodles

Caren, Claudia and Todd Strauss-Schulson

$ 38.93

Anyone who’s ever gotten into hot water scribbling on the sides of their test papers needs this collection of drawings from some of our most influential cultural figures. It contains sketches and scribbles by Mark Twain, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, and Clara Barton, proving that the doodlers might be on to something.

16

1,000 Perfect Weekends: Great Getaways Around the World

National Geographic

$ 35.99

Even if you’re spending yours on the couch or doing household chores, browsing through this collection of places and travel ideas will transport you to an idyllic place. It’s packed with destinations you can discover within 36-72 hours, so prepare this weekend.

17

Upstate: living spaces with space to live

When hygge season demands you to be cozy, snuggle up with the tranquil photographs of upstate New York interiors. Ranging from modern to elegant to deliciously original, it’s packed with design inspiration, whatever the size of your space.

18

Le Corbuffet: the classics of edible art and design

Combine your love of food and design in beautiful packaging with this coffee table cookbook. Artist and architectural historian Esther Choi uses food to mimic the masterpieces of famous architects and artists, in a playful collection that’s sure to spark conversation.

19

Great women artists

Showcasing over 400 artists from 50 countries and spanning 500 years, this is the definitive collection of women’s creativity through the ages. Perfect for longtime art lovers and those just getting started, you are almost guaranteed to find a new favorite artist in these pages.

20

Kwame Brathwaite: Black is beautiful

Kwame Brathwaite used his photography to spread the slogan ‘Black Is Beautiful’ in the late 50s and 60s, and now you can browse through his remarkable work in a stunning monograph.

21

Accidentally Wes Anderson

Fans of the iconic filmmaker, explore the striking destinations that captured his imagination in this colorful travelogue. It covers the world with quirky discoveries and new attractions to help spark your own travel aspirations.

22

Chinatown Pretty: Fashion and Wisdom of Chinatown’s Most Stylish Seniors

Andria Lo and Valérie Luu

$ 18.50

Through interviews and photographs of elegant pòh pohs (grandmothers) and gùng gungs (grandfathers) in Chinatowns in New York, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and Vancouver, this book offers both a stylistic inspiration and sound advice. If you can’t call your own grandparents, this book is the best thing to do.

23

In Bibi’s kitchen: Recipes and stories from grandmothers from the eight African countries that touch the Indian Ocean

Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen

$ 18.69

Grab a snack before flipping through this elegant and educational cookbook that features recipes and interviews with grandmothers from eight African countries. Whether you are trying your hand at the 75 recipes or just immersing yourself in their stories, this is a wonderful addition to any table.

24

Family style elements: elegant spaces for everyday living

Just because your home is littered with more toys than tastefully decorated knickknacks doesn’t mean you have to ditch the style until college years arrive. Let design expert Erin Gates guide you in creating a beautiful (but lasting) home aesthetic.

25

The Very Embarrassing Daddy Joke Book: Because Your Dad Thinks He’s Hilarious

Disclaimer: Buying this book for the father of your life can lead to even more humor. But it will be worth seeing him laugh at the gems inside.

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