The Best Interior Design & Architecture Books for Your Coffee Table

Decoration and Design
Architecture
By Contractors.com Team May 03, 2021

There are many great things about having the perfect coffee table. It's cozy, stylish, and great for coffee. Another neat thing about coffee tables is that it’s the best place to show off some beautiful collectible books. Here is where book and design lovers meet — using well-designed books, each a dive into photography, cinema, fashion, or architecture, to bring character to a room. For the interior design and architecture lovers, there are a handful of coffee table books that are great to have, not just to show off, but because they are richly informative glances into the history, trends, and classics of interior design and architecture. And, anyone with a home library will surely appreciate that.

Architecture and home interior design enthusiasts will be happy to know that there are plenty of great reads to be had in that subject. In addition to the broad stable of monthly magazines which you can use to keep abreast of the latest in interior design styles, there are also plenty of classic architecture books to choose from. But which are the best architecture books to grace the coffee table of the discerning enthusiast? And what interior design books are must-haves?

Best Architecture Coffee Table Books

Best Architecture Coffee Table Books

Well as with any literature there are lots of great choices. There are so many choices that we would have to write a book ourselves if we were to tell you about all the architecture books there are. So instead, here are a few great choices that will get you started in the world of interior design and architecture books.    

The Architecture of Happiness

Happily, the importance of mental health and self-care is something we are trying to talk about more these days. But one factor of mental health that we often neglect is our environment. Many psychological findings now show that the quality of our environment plays a huge role in whether we are happy or sad. And as Alain de Botton argues in The Architecture of Happiness, our environment can even define what our full potential can be. 

As de Botton recognizes, the walls, chairs, buildings, and streets that make up our environment play an unrecognized but crucial role in shaping our identities and outlining our futures. For de Botton, architecture is an embodiment of our social values, a reflection of human emotional and mental qualities. Mr. de Botton’s book seeks to remind us of the ways we can infuse humanism back into the grey concrete hulks that dominate so many cities. 

The Architecture of Happiness is about filling a gap in our collective consciousness that may be lacking, and as such is a delightfully original read that brings together psychology, philosophy, and architecture in a poignant dialogue on social evolution. This book is a great addition for any person that loves deep dives into topics that are both current and very interesting. 

Mark Hampton on Decorating

There are few better ways to get some panache in the world of interior design than to own a book straight from one of the greatest masters of interior design. Mark Hampton is renowned as one of the greatest interior designers of all time and was hired to work for three U.S. Presidents and several billionaires. This 1989 book is a refined treasure trove of inspiration chock full of ideas, schemes, vignettes, and color palettes. All the illustrations are drawn by Hamptom himself and have inspired countless interior design projects the world over. 

This is one of those great interior design classics that remains relevant today. The chapters of this book are full of witty anecdotes, poignant observations, and the authoritative voice of one of the greatest American interior designers. Hampton was a self-described Anglophile, so it's no surprise that a lot of this book covers classy traditional ideas that draw from design styles such as Federal Colonial and English Cottage which are still favored amongst homeowners today.   

Interior Design Master Class: 100 Lessons From America’s Finest Designers on the Art of Decoration

If you want a book with a lot of eye candy, you’ve come to the right place. Interior Design Master Class is full of stunningly beautiful images of interior design that are sure to imbue you with inspiration. It is a compilation of 100 essays from some of today’s leading American interior designers. It's a great read for anyone who's just stopping by for a coffee or taking a deep dive into how the masters do interior design. That’s the beauty of a curated book of essays: it can be as involved or as casual a read as you want.

After all, we don’t always have time to read in-depth analyses of the intricacies of interior design. Sometimes we just need a pinch of encouragement for our own project, or even just a smidgen of eye candy to brighten up our day. Interior Design Master Class scratches both itches and will leave you hungry for more. You might want to get a croissant to go with that espresso...  

Best Interior Design Coffee Table Books

Best Interior Design Coffee Table Books

Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People & Vogue Living: Country, City, Coast

But if you really love some eye candy, then you can’t afford to skip the Vogue Living series. This series is made up of Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People published in 2007, and Vogue Living: Country, City, Coast published in 2017. Both books are excellent sources of endless landscape and interior design photos that make you want to dive in and never put down the book. As with Master Class, the Vogue books draw from the work of leaders in interior design, but they go to a whole new level as far as the images go. But the Vogue Living books are more than just a parade of beautiful images. Each picture of luxurious home interiors or luscious garden softscaping is accompanied by a story of the featured home and the people who live in it. As such, the Vogue Living books not only give you a bunch of gloriously beautiful photography but they also breathe life into them.   

The Vogue Living books are famous for just how visually stimulating they are. They are great examples of just how effective visual learning can be. If you just can’t seem to find the willpower to complete your ambitious home remodeling project, you’re sure to find it in one of these two books. 

The Perfect Books To Inspire and Decorate With

The Perfect Books To Inspire and Decorate With

Architectural Digest

No list of the best coffee table books on interior design and architecture would be complete without the latest issue of the architecture monthly, Architectural Digest (AD). AD is based in New York City, one of America's capitals of great architecture and iconic interior design. It’s a great one-stop shop for all things landscaping and interior design. AD will do what it does best: keep you apace of all the latest and trendiest interior design styles, highlight the beautiful luxury NYC homes we all wish we had, and give you insights into the world of high-end interior design. 

A monthly subscription to AD is the best launchpad for anyone serious about getting into the interior design literature scene. As such, the latest issue of AD is a good companion for your roster of interior design books. 

Photo by Terje Sollie from Pexels

Photo by Terje Sollie from Pexels

The Death and Life of Great American Cities

It’s time to get serious and add a dash of controversy. Indeed, a bit of controversy is exactly what you need to give your coffee table book collection the flare and character it deserves. The Death and Life of Great American Cities may be an oldie from the 1960s, but it is still as poignant today as it was then. Published by Jane Jacobs, the book is a critical analysis of 20th-century urban design. It’s an indictment of urban planning trends that emphasized the cleanliness and uniformity of a city. Jacobs saw these trends as short-sighted and believed they stripped a city of its cultural character and decreased the quality of life of its residents by diluting the sense of community. 

The Death and Life of Great American Cities is a manifesto for preserving the aesthetic diversity of the American city, and while it has criticism, it is also filled with optimism for the future. This book is great for stimulating interesting discussions with friends around a coffee table, especially during an era of gentrification and increasingly dense cities.

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team

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