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We were always told not to judge a book by its cover.

But when it comes to our coffee table books, looks do matter. Luckily, we’ve found a collection of architecture and home design books that are just as interesting on the inside as they are captivating on the outside.

Image: Holland and Green Architectural Design

Whether you’re looking for a guide to becoming a better decorator, or simply using it to decorate your coffee table, we guarantee that these books live up to their lovely covers.

Here are 20 coffee table books that have us dreaming about home design.

The Perfectly Imperfect Home

Penned by founding editor in chief of domino magazine Deborah Needleman, this half-how-to, half-storytelling collection shares the key elements she sees in every design style. Topics such as picking statement elements or shopping flea markets are written in little essays, accompanied by whimsical watercolor artwork – aka not your typical textbook.

Buy it here.

Mountain Modern: Contemporary Homes in High Places

Photographer Richard Powers and home interiors writer Dominic Bradbury teamed up for this outdoor architecture lovers book. Divided into three sections, ‘Cabin’, ‘Chalet’, ‘Villa’, the 25 homes profiled in this book are all striking examples of the magic that is made by combining nature with design.

Buy it here.

The Kinfolk Home

Kinfolk founder Nathan Williams has become an icon for living slower, more thoughtful lives through his popular magazine. After the booming success of his small-gathering-centric cookbook, Kinfolk Table, his sophomore book details 35 homes around the world built and lived in with intention.  

Buy it here.

Tree Houses: Fairy Tale Castles in the Air

If the title and cover aren’t enough to make you swoon, the contents of this book will. Philip Jodidio showcases 50 of the world’s most stunning structures in trees – and not just homes. 

Buy it here.


Once you’ve finished up Tree Houses, Jodidio’s next work is just as equally impressive. This time, the cozy homes and secluded shelters are on the ground. Get a taste of what a cabin looks like in the UK versus India, and be prepared for a case of cabin fever.

Buy it here.

Island Style

India Hicks has made a name for herself with her eclectic island style, a perfectly imperfect combination of maximalist, bohemian, and tropical styles. In her beautifully photographed book, she explains not just how she decorates her spaces, but how she designs them with intention and meaning far beyond furniture.

Buy it here.

Plain Simple Useful

If you don’t know how Terence Conran is, it’s time you learned. Starting as the founder of popular English furniture brand Habitat, Conran has become a worldly name in design (and a knight in the UK). His laid back, smart approach to style is a refreshing lesson for anyone.

Buy it here.

Living in a Modern Way: California Design 1930-1965

California has always set a style all its own, and that is especially true in architecture and interior design. The ever-popular mid-century modern styles we see today were born from 50’s SoCal homes. From the Eichler to the Koenig, this book provides a major chronicle of iconic west coast ways.

Buy it here.

monochrome home

Black-and-white Scandinavian styling is here to stay, and interior designer Hilary Robertson details how to be vibrant sans color. She delves into creating all-white interiors, dark spaces, and mixes of both — while providing peeks into the inspiring spaces of artists and architects living in black and white all over the world.

Buy it here.

Extreme Architecture

This book gives an inside look at architecture that many never know exist, let alone see. Divided into five sections — Hot, Cold, High, Wet, and Space — this book takes you to 45 different spots where design works wonders in otherwise uninhabitable places.

Buy it here.

Rock the Shack

Rock the Shack has become a coffee table favorite with its inside look at secluded architecture along beaches and in mountains. From simple shacks to luxurious getaways, paging through the modern designs in this book will leave you in awe of the spaces that have been created to blend man-made designs with their natural surroundings.  

Buy it here.

Design*Sponge at home

Grace Bonney had no idea her home design blog Design*Sponge would become an online bible for those looking to define their style without rules or formality. This book continues that mission, with home tours, DIY ideas, before and afters, and even 20 flower arrangements to make for your own home. It’s a must have.

Buy it here.  


Charles Eames and Ray Kaiser Eames love was for much more than just each other, though it began with that. Together, they became the name behind mid-century modern furniture — think ‘Eames chair’. And then they went on to revolutionize the entire world of design. To know their story is to know the history of modern design.

Buy it here.

Container Atlas

Shipping container architecture has become an unstoppable movement within the sustainable design world in the past decade. This book is eye candy for those craving ideas for container spaces, but goes far beyond pictures. With layouts, blueprints, estimated costs, and more, this book is the ultimate guide for container home living.

Buy it here.

Small Architecture Now!

Before you overlook this book as another chronicle of tiny homes, think again. In this book, the only requirement is being small. That means dollhouses, children’s play areas, workshops, cabins and more are illustrated and praised for their ability to use big ideas for tiny spaces.

Buy it here.

Fantastic Cities

Ok, coloring books are not technically coffee table books — but definitely entertaining. Take the coloring book craze and combine it with some of the world’s best architecture, and you have a book perfect for the child in all of us.

Buy it here.

Which of these coffee table books are your favorites? We’d love to hear what you liked, or what noteworthy coffee table books you already own! Send us a message on social media, or leave us a comment below.