How to Style Pinterest-Worthy Coffee Table Books

Stylish people require stylish homes. Living spaces are a reflection on who we are, in the similar way that clothes are. You wouldn't put Hamish Bowles in an outfit from Duck Dynasty, so you shouldn't mix their home decor either. Okay, that analogy was a bit extreme, but you get my point. One of the easiest things you can do to avoid looking like a graceful gazelle living in a pigsty is style your coffee table books. A few carefully placed volumes yields instant living space style. 

ONE: Collect Your Books
If you don't have any already, go out and buy yourself some coffee table books. I like to get mine from the used book section at my bookstore (never pay full price for anything), but there's always a wider selection online if you have anything specific in mind. I say "coffee table books" but any book that's pretty and interesting will work. Don't turn your nose up; my selection includes recipe books, fashion books, art and museum books, biographies, and even a few vintage novels. 

Things to Keep in Mind When Selecting Your Books:
  1. Cover- I know this is a bit shallow, but the how the book looks matters for styling purposes.
  2. Content- Is the book interesting to flip through? If it's too wordy and dense for light reading, or just plain boring, it's not the right book.
  3. Age- A well-picked selection of vintage and new books makes for an interesting assortment.

TWO: Styling
Once you have your books, now you can style them in photogenic little stacks. Think Habitually Chic and keep a Pinterest state of mind. Sort your books by color or content and then stack accordingly, largest on bottom. I had three warm-colored (in hues of yellow, red, and orange) recipe books, so they went together. Then I had a biography, two fashion books, and a book on the history of tartan, which are all loosely fashion history books, so I stacked those together. (Stacking Tip: Make sure the top book is both the smallest and has the best cover, as the covers of the others won't really be seen.) If you have an odd one that doesn't seem to stack well with any of the others, just put that book on a pretty tray with some key accessories.

THREE: Finishing Touches
Top each stack with a little object, such as a small potted plant, candle, or flower bud. It should be 3-D (not flat, like paper) and within the color scheme of the stack, yet in a contrasting color to the top cover. Your object should also be related to the stack in some way, for example, I topped my cook books with a small pot of leaves from a bouquet of fake flowers for a fresh look, and a small stem of white flowers, from that same fake bouquet, tops my fashion history books, a perfect color to contrast the overwhelming intricacy of that top tartan book.

Topper Ideas for Stacks of Coffee Table Books
  • Small potted plants
  • Snippets of a flowers
  • Candles
  • Shoes
  • Toy cars
  • Key chains
  • Glasses
  • Seashells
  • Ceramics
  • Statues
  • Magnifying Glasses
  • Bowls
  • Lamps
  • Perfume 
  • Handbags
  • Jewelry
  • Little bits and pieces that you accumulate from never throwing anything out...

The main point of styling coffee table books is to make your space look smart and chic, but nothing is smarter or chicer than reading! Even though your books may be flawlessly styled, pick them up every now and then and actually read them. Nothing can add to your style like being knowledgable. Don't let your books become mere decorations.

For Your Inspiration...

Images 4, 6, and 11 are mine, all others were found on Pinterest.


  1. I really love browsing photos of perfectly staged coffee tables and so this post was right up my street :) Beautiful books, candles and finishing touches (including flowers) are key in my opinion!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice


  2. Great article. Any idea on the author/publisher of the black "Destinations" book between the Chanel and Tom Ford books?

    1. Yes! It's actually "Design Destinations," a huge book filled with interior design fantasies! You can find it here: