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Coffee Table Books

Coffee Table Books | Style Stories

Darren PalmerDarren has a broad portfolio, having studied fine art & graphic design, originally working in advertising and owning his own graphic design company. After succumbing to his true passion, Darren now operates his own interior design studio and has been a judge on numerous seasons of The Block.

When I wrote my first book, my publisher at Murdoch Books left a hilarious note in the manuscript saying that she nearly fell off her chair when she read that I had suggested that books are great as décor. To paraphrase, I said they’re great to read to learn from, but they’re a necessity to finish off coffee tables and vignettes throughout the home. Here are a few of my rules and recommendations on which books work well and where they’re best used.

If you want an easy go-to, then buy anything by Karen McCartney. Karen’s books on interiors and architecture are informative, well-crafted and are the perfect addition to coffee table vignettes due to their striking cover and spine deigns, which are available in an array of colours. As hard covers of a substantial size, they fit the brief of having a statement book as a centrepiece of your coffee table. Stack up 2 or 3 and you’ll have a grand statement.

If you want to diversify your knowledge, then of course you need to explore whether either of my two books will work in with your colour schemes. My first book, Easy Luxury, has just been reprinted for a 3rd time in soft cover and is a lovely light blue; with HomeSPACE, my second book, available in green hard cover.

Books on artists never disappoint. Two of my favourites are the works of Alexandrer McKenzie (self-titled) and Gillie & Marc, 25 years of love and art. They’re both aesthetically gorgeous and full of beautiful art.

To help battle the doldrums of returning home from a holiday, I find it always helps to come back with a book from your travels. On my coffee table I have a great one called Jaya Contemporary Design with a Pedigree, which covers Balinese resort architecture and features a sultry and moody cover.

For a fresh white cover, Simplicity by Nancy Braithwaite is a beautiful addition to your coffee table repertoire.


Coffee table book styling tips

Coffee tables aren’t the only place for books. You need though to choose the right size and type of books for different applications and inclusions throughout the locations within your home.

A styling vignette on any type of occasional table doesn’t look complete without a book or stack thereof. My simple rule for a good vignette is a candle, a vase or lamp, flowers or a plant, a stack of books and something from your travels. For your book stacking, pay attention to the size and shape of books, putting the largest on the bottom, working with similar dimensions that get smaller as you gain height. Work the colour of spines and covers into your schemes or choose books that reflect the colours of your room or other decoration elements.

A console table needs a mid-sized book, probably something broad or general in content, that works with your colour scheme. The Monocle Guide to Better Living is a nice, compact, bright yellow little pop of goodness, full of interesting things that will make you look decidedly learned and well-travelled.

A bedside doesn’t look like the home is being enjoyed unless it has a book carefully placed in a careless looking manner! I always like to style in novels, fiction or non, that work in with the colour scheme and mood of the room.

Kid’s rooms need kid’s books, and they make great styling additions to shelving, wall ledge shelves and bedside tables.

A kitchen doesn’t look complete without great cookbooks. They can be in the kitchen, on the bench, or in some shelving in adjoining spaces within reach. Cookbook cover design is most often gorgeous, making you salivate at the sight of them, so be warned they might actually make you want to open them, read the recipes and cook yourself up a storm.


Coffee Table Books | Style Stories

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