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{My Favorite} Coffee Table Books + How to Style Them

I don't know about you but I am a sucker for a great coffee table book. I love to use them in a multitude of ways when we are styling finished spaces before their grand debut with our clients. They also make really thoughtful Christmas gifts, especially if you know the recipient loves the subject of the book you choose!

I've included some of my favorite finds at the end of this post in case you need ideas for a great gift for you or a loved one. In the meantime, here are some quick tips I use when styling a space with books (or when I'm restyling as I'm always moving things about #lifeofadesigner).


To build up a coffee table space, use a stack of books along with a few of your favorite things you love, like I did in my office space above. I stacked design books and magazines in a well loved tray and added accessories on top for a layered look. These glass beads remind of the marshes of Savannah, my hometown, and pull the colors of the area rug beneath up onto the tabletop.

Office studio space designed by and for Houston design firm Nancy Lane Interiors
Photography by Madeline Harper Photography

Because I love balance and symmetry, I used a another similar sized tray with more favorite coffee table books on the other side of a centered, textured bowl that holds a bevy of gorgeous ceramic beads. Adding similarly grouped elements gives a sophisticated take on coffee table collections and by using trays it keeps everything neat and tidy...another fav of mine.


Pick a few favorite books and create a small stack on a corner of your desk and top it with a cool object like we did above in this client's (now work from home) office. It keeps the space feeling more personal, and is a great conversation starter with anyone you have in your office!

Updated modern transitional home office by Houston area interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors
Photo by Madeline Harper Photography


Don't be afraid to take off a book's dust never know the goodness you'll find beneath. I admit that I do this BEFORE buying a book when shopping in person and have gotten some funny looks but I don't mind. I am proud to admit I will buy a book solely based on the color of the book spine itself.

Modern transitional master bedroom by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors
Photo by Madeline Harper Photography

I loved using these brightly colored books in this master bedroom project as fun way to pull undertones of color from the bedding and patterned pillow on the bed not to mention the tulip flowers {coincidence? I think not ;)}. The books also act as a riser for the vase of flowers, which is another pro tip...don't forget to utilize books if you need added height for an element in your space!


If you have a larger coffee table, don't be afraid to create multiple book stacks to fill the surface, and organize them by subject, color, or size. This is a great option if you're an avid reader and have a plethora of books that you would like to display.

Modern transitional living room by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors
Photo by French Blue Photography


In this modern traditional living room we used hues of blues and greens to create a cool coastal vibe in these built-in shelves. You see them used as risers for vases and as a collection standing vertically in one color or the other.

Coastal modern traditional by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors
Photo by Madeline Harper Photography

Pro tip: If you have books in colors you aren't loving or with unattractive spines, consider putting the spines in to the back. read correctly...think about putting books backwards thereby turning the pages out...especially if you're working with a natural color scheme to begin with.


I've purchased these books, sometimes in multiples because of their size and coloring but definitely for their content as well. Design books are a favorite of mine while travel books are always a client fav and of course how could I leave out the Lego book...a crowd pleaser for sure, especially with client's littles ;).

Mark D. Sikes's Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style

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