Coffee table books have eluded me for so long, and yet my wishlist for them has grown year by year.
As we became homeowners in 2011, I dreamt of a library I could call my own but the reality of renovations meant books were left in storage over many years. The addition of a “spirited” little lady meant our library fairytale became a dream come true, but not quite with the literature I had imagined.
But now, as I sit in my new house with a daughter who understand that pages must be treated delicately, I can say I’m the proud owner of 3 coffee table books. The words don’t rhyme. They aren’t covered in slobber. And I’ve been given the go ahead to buy my very first side tables for them to sit on. A great adulating victory for me indeed! These items are probably the norm for any interiors obsessive but the truth is, sometimes the items in your dream home don’t work on a practical level. So you put them on a wishlist and wait for the day that they do.
So here are my 3 coffee table books worth waiting for. Absolutely perfect gifts for any interiors lovers in your life (even if it’s a little treat for yourself!
1. The Anatomy Of Colour
Dubbed to be the most comprehensive collection of colour in interiors over a 300 year period, “The Anatomy of Colour: The Story of Heritage Paints and Pigments” by Patrick Baty is exactly that. To the point where I think it might take me the entire year to read! Beautiful illustrations and photography fill the pages, but so do explanations, psychology, pairings and influence. Everything that we long to know about colour in architecture and design, and how this has been influenced by each decade, but also how it’s changed our very feeling of space and bits of history.
I think people know me at that girl who loves colour. And I 100% am a fan of bolder, richer hues in my house. But we are all really. Just because your use of colour may be subtle, or pastel or more towards the neutral realm, is just another way of using it to evoke a feeling of time and mood. This book explains these ideas beautifully, with contemporary examples and historical references. My only disappointment is that it ends towards the 60s. As one of the few people alive who truly adored the garish décor of the 80s, I’d have loved to hear what Patrick Baty would say the method behind this madness was. In that sense though, it just gives me more ammo to buy more books.
2. In the Mood for Colour: Perfect palettes for creative interiors
What I’ve loved most about having a social media presence is the surprises it has made to my real-life world. Someone who I’d initially spoken to online only, has this year not only become a neighbour but a good friend. Karen Barlow is one of the most talented stylists you’re going to meet, with a wicked sense of humour and just utterly bloody lovely. So when she gave me this book by Hans Blomquist as a house warming present after a horrendously stressful move, I could have cried with gratitude. So thoughtful. It’s been on my wishlist for some time too. Not only is it a beautiful book to look at, perfect for displaying, but it highlights colour palettes for those who may be a little shy of brighter and bolder choices.
Blomquist is pretty well known for his use of nature in his styling anyway, so those muted and natural tones make even the more bold of colours a little bit more palatable for the masses. It’s not a text-heavy read, letting the styling do most of the talking. It’s a real beauty of a book and a great piece of inspiration for someone like me who is a bit inexperienced when it comes to finishing touches.
3. Creative Family Home: Imaginative and original spaces for modern family living
I first met Ashlyn Gibson, the author of this book, back in 2015. It was at an event where she was speaking, giving useful tips on how to ensure your home doesn’t end up looking like a showroom (I blogged about it here). She told us all about how trends are basically nonsense and that a home should become an extension of your own personality – words I live and breathe.
I came away with this book and have only just really sat down to discover it as we finally allowed it to escape the hands of our storage boxes. What I love so much about Ashlyn’s projects is that they are inclusive of family life. It doesn’t shy away from children’s clutter, but embrace it and finds a way to make it blend in without looking like the scraps of a toyshop – an ongoing struggle in my own home!
The fact that Luna can flick through the pages and feel as home in any of the images is invaluable research when you want to design a home to evolve with you as a young family. The fact that she is reading this book on a polar bear rug and on a jigsaw floor has not gone unnoticed. Style is subjective people!
Aren’t they lovely? Now I just need some side tables to put them on! Hit me up with your recommendations, and do tell me what books I should add next to my brand new collection.