Inspiring Coffee Table Books

A lovely coffee table could stand alone, but who can resist a classic coffee table book? Thick from pages of expert photography and adorned with a well-designed hardcover, coffee table books are renowned as beautiful and intellectual elements of home decor, as well as go-to gifts.

Here are several of our favorites that offer a little bit of everything for everyone:

1. Porch Living, James T. Farmer III

Georgia native James T. Farmer III is an expert in interior design, landscaping and the art of Southern garden living. This book combines all his talents as it explores the porch, an elegant addition to the home and garden with rich Southern charm. Purchase a copy from Barnes & Noble, or visit the 2012 Cashiers Designer Showhouse (check out official program in next month’s issue- coming to newsstands soon!) on Sunday, Aug. 19 for a book signing with Farmer and other local designers and authors.

($30, Gibbs Smith Publishers)

2. The Allure of the Automobile, Ken Gross and Ronald T. Labaco

Remember when vintage automobiles of the highest quality and finest craftsmanship visited the High Museum of Art? We do and if you were unable to see them in person then swing by the High Shop and bring home this coffee table book that provides a detailed overview of the luxury motorcar’s evolution. Its sleek cover imagery and design are hard to resist if you ask us.

($40, High Museum of Art)

3. Simply Beautiful Photographs, National Geographic

National Geographic is synonymous with superb photography. So if you desire a coffee table book of photographs then National Geographic is the place to start your search. Learn about the various aspects of photography that make beautiful snapshots with Simply Beautiful Photographs, a book that gives insight as well as a visual delight.

($35, National Geographic)

4. In Vogue: The Illustrated History of the World’s Most Famous Fashion Magazine, Norberto Angeletti and Alberto Oliva

From 1909 to next month’s issue featuring Marion Cotillard on the cover, Vogue has contributed articles and artistic presentation to our society. Trace its history from the day Condé Nast took over the struggling, simple journal with this book that is complete with photography from the great Annie Liebowitz and contributions from the infamous Anna Wintour.

($75, Rizzoli)

5. Design*Sponge at Home, Grace Bonney

We love blogger Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge. She wrote a book that we want for our coffee table stack ASAP. It offers more than 700 photos for looks and an array of DIY tips and tutorials on numerous aspects of home design for substance. An additional delight is the foreword by Jonathan Adler. We cannot think of a single thing not to love.

($35, Artisan)

What books sit atop your coffee table? Which one of our recommendations appeals to you the most?