coffee table books

Oh, I love a good coffee table book. I could sit flipping through pages for hours…back when we weren’t spending all of our spare time flipping through iPhones.

Also back when I had a coffee table that wasn’t originally a train table slash LEGO table slash tea party table.

I dream of having a sleek, mid century modern coffee table, or maybe a rustic trunk style number, or a Friends-esque apothecary table that may or may not be vintage. My last coffee table was handed down to me from my college roommates, who stole it from one of the dorms at UT. It was oak and heavy and horrible, with 80s rounded edges and screamed “DORM FURNITURE!” I tried to mask its ugliness with a little stain in our early married days, but it gave minimal improvement. We put it in the garage when the girls started climbing, then out on the curb for bulk trash collection so that we would be forced to buy a grown up coffee table when the time came.

It was gone within minutes.

But if I did have a coffee table right now, these are the books I’d want stacked on it. Note that these are affiliate links, meaning if you buy anything through these links (and I do mean anything, so don’t be shy) I get a teeny tiny, eensy weensy percentage which will either go towards paying my hosting fees or buying coffee. Depends on how responsible I am.

Austin Then and Now. I love then and now type books. Seeing the city you live in through the eyes of history is such a cool experience.

humans of new york

Humans of New York. I have followed the HONY Facebook page for a while now and preordered the book as a birthday present to myself on October. I’m still trying to soak it all in.

the art book

The Art Book: New Edition. Everyone needs an art book.

the best of norman rockwell

Best of Norman Rockwell. My mom had a very similar version of this book that sat and collected dust in our living room. Except for the times that I would quietly sneak away and pour over page after page. Rockwell’s illustrations fascinated me, and still do.

dear photograph

Dear Photograph. I’ve seen these types of images online, and they are so hauntingly beautiful.

gaudi master architect


Antonio Gaudi: Master Architect. I have had a Gaudi book for years, and I still flip through it from time to time. Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, is a marvel.


What’s on your coffee table? Books? Those fancy wicker balls? A banana peel?

Join the Conversation


  1. It’s amazing to me how much each one of these selections speaks to me. I also love looking at history then and now, Gaudi, and I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the HONY book on amazon. I really should buy it.

  2. I want that Norman Rockwell book for my grandparents.
    (Well, I want it for myself, too, but let’s not get crazy. This is the season of giving. Right?)

    Still. The adults in our family agreed years ago not to exchange gifts at Christmas.
    “We have everything we need. Let’s make it about the kids.”

    But. I can break the rules just this once.
    (HA! As if that’s the only time I’d break a rule. Please.)

    My grandparents are in their nineties. Surely they deserve a coffee table book.
    Especially since their coffee table is something like fifty years old.
    (Not an exaggeration.)

  3. I kinda need at least 2 of these. Maybe 3.

    My coffee table is SO beat up but it has 3 big storage drawers and I love storage. There is a tray on there right now with some magazines and books but there is usually a kid’s snack wrapper or bowl (or three) or a kid’s cup (or 3) or a toy (or 10) on there too… *sigh*

  4. May I suggest another coffee table book by an Austin artist/author: LIving Witness: The Historic Trees of Texas, by Ralph Yznaga. (link below)
    It’s a beautiful homage to some of the fabulous old trees across the state, complete with the really interesting histories of the trees and famous events that happened at or near their locations.

    On the Living Witness site, Ralph also encourages readers to submit pictures of their own favorite trees, whether in Texas or elsewhere.

    Happy Holidays!

  5. Love coffee table books!! I buy those Then and Now books when we travel to other cities – they’re some of my favorites.

    We have one coffee table (ottoman, really) that is currently sporting a snot stain, toy dinosaurs, and dog hair. The other one is a little nicer, with Christmas-themed books right now. (I did, however, just walk by and see that some of the dinosaurs are now living on THAT table; hopefully there’s no snot.)

  6. We no longer have a coffee table – I dream of a day when we get one again so I can have pretty books that don’t get ruined by small children, and also somewhere to put my coffee. These all look fun!

  7. It’s been so long since I’ve had coffee table books. Maybe when the two year old stops touching everything . . .

    We used to have The Art Book out!

  8. We put our coffee table away because it has really sharp corners. Instead we have a cushioned double ottoman that doubles as storage. I could put a few books in it, though.
    Great selections!

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