You can't judge a book by its cover, unless it's displayed on a coffee table. These days, coffee tables are artworks all their own, where a selection of titles can help pull together an overall space's design. And perhaps more importantly, the right collection also keeps a variety of inspirational photos and clever insights within arm's reach. If you're looking for a small living room library to stack alongside other artfully arranged accessories, these 10 picks delve into a wide array of topics — from architecture, to gardening, to travel — to inform your style sensibilities and enhance your daily life. And since each one also comes with a stunning cover, it's quite all right to judge.
Birds by Hunt Slonem ($95)
Artist Hunt Slonem is known for works that use dazzling color and an impressionistic style to capture the beauty of the natural world, and this namesake title pays homage to the winged subjects that fly freely in his studio and in the wild.
The Seaside House: Living on the Water by Nick Voulgaris III ($55)
The beach house of your dreams can undoubtedly be found in the pages of this book. Inside, you'll get a peek into the coastal homes of design world icons like Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Steven Gambrel, and Martha Stewart — who also wrote the book's forward.
Plant: Exploring the Botanical World by the Editors of Phaidon ($59.95)
Mother Nature proves to be the greatest artist in this exquisite survey of the botanical world. Photos, micrograph scans, watercolors, paintings, and drawings are arranged in thought-provoking layouts that will give you a new appreciation for plant life.
Aquacotta: Recipes and Stories from Tuscany's Secret Silver Coast by Emiko Davies ($40)
This isn't just any ordinary cookbook — it's a cookbook that you'll want to keep on display. Acquacotta collects recipes, photos, and stories from Tuscany's "secret" silver coast, a region filled with vineyards, rolling hills, beaches, and fantastic food.
Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern by Wanda M. Corn ($60)
Georgia O'Keeffe lived as beautifully as she painted in two New Mexico homes that she designed herself. This book expertly captures these incredible works, which each have a modernist aesthetic that still looks fresh today.
Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein and Julie Chai ($29.95)
Anyone who has ever daydreamed about escaping the daily grind will find plenty to love in this book, which is filled with exquisite photos of Erin Benzakein's flower farm. You'll also learn how to grow and arrange your own stunning bouquets.
The New Old House: Historic and Modern Architecture Combined by Marc Kristal ($60)
Design lovers tend to fall into two camps: those who love old homes, and those who favor modern architecture. This compilation proves that both styles can live alongside each other — even in the same property.
The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes by Monocle ($49.87)
Monocle's stance is that a home should tell a story. Designed to help you create a personalized space, this book features resourceful interviews alongside inspiring photos from various properties.
The Impossible Collection of Design by Frédéric Chambre ($845)
Sometimes a book is worth fantasizing about, especially when it's a splurge item like this one. Why is it worth it? It's a limited-edition homage to some of the most beautiful furniture in the world, from the Art Nouveau period to the Memphis School, and it's written by a renowned design expert.
Pure Colour by Jane Cumberbatch ($39.95)
Jane Cumberbatch gives a strong argument for decorating with color in this brilliant book. It's almost like a highbrow Pinterest page in published form, with gorgeously-photographed spreads filled with her inspiration boards. You'll never settle for white paint again.