14 beautiful coffee table books to give as gifts

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coffee table books to give as gifts 2023

If you follow Tolstoy Therapy, you’ll know that I love beautiful books. Special editions of classics, beautifully illustrated books, gorgeous children’s books… but I also have a soft spot for coffee table books.

Whether they’re interior design books, art books, or travel coffee table books to inspire wanderlust, I love keeping big, well-made hardcovers around to leaf through and feel inspired by.

In this post, I’ve compiled my pick of the best coffee table books of 2023; all of which are perfect to adorn your home or as books to give as gifts. Including some of the best new coffee table books from this year, I hope you and your loved ones enjoy these attention-grabbing books as much as I do.

The best coffee table books to give as gifts in 2023

The Fantastic Gustave Doré by Alix Paré and Valérie Sueur-Hermel

Browse The Fantastic Gustave Doré for… a true feast for the eyes and treat for the imagination, complete with gold foil stamping and embossing in a spectacular hardcover edition.

I first discovered this incredible book in the Glyptotek gallery here in Copenhagen and fell in love with it. Doré’s striking oeuvre of more than 10,000 illustrations and engravings helped to define literature in the nineteenth century, and this glorious retrospective shows his work at its finest.

Almost certainly my favourite coffee table book of 2023, this exquisite new hardcover reflects the artist’s moody, richly detailed, and dramatic style.

Kinfolk Wilderness by John Burns

Browse Kinfolk Wilderness for… one of the most beautiful new coffee table books of 2023 to fuel your wanderlust.

Known for delving into home, style, and culture via their wonderfully well-made books and magazines, Kinfolk’s adventurous new release for 2023 is the ideal book gift for travel lovers and intrepid wanderers. Full of stunning photographs and maps, it’s the perfect read to inspire adventures in the year ahead.

The Kaufmann Mercantile Guide by Sebastian Kaufmann and Alexandra Redgrave

Browse The Kaufmann Mercantile Guide for… a perfect coffee table book gift for men, or just anyone who wants to learn how to split wood and care for cast iron.

How about getting back to life’s simple pleasures? This wonderful book is a visual guide to mastering the delights so many of us wish we knew, from shucking oysters to starting a fire. With a few evenings of restful browsing through its pages, you’ll be well on your way.

The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands by Huw Lewis-Jones

Browse The Writers Map for… a captivating atlas of imaginary lands for any bibliophile (or cartophile) to admire, accompanied by 167 full-colour images.

Edited by Huw Lewis-Jones and with a prologue by Philip Pullman, this compendium of literary maps isn’t a new book (it was published back in 2018). However, after gifting myself a copy recently, I’ve wanted to recommend it to everyone. Even with such a gorgeous cover image, The Writer’s Map looks even more impressive in person.

Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone

Enjoy Live Beautiful for… celebrated interior designer Athena Calderone’s thoughtful and inspiring look into how creative homeowners decorate their spaces (and how you can do the same).

What makes for good design? Browse this gorgeous coffee table book for Athena Calderone’s teacherly guide to the details – layered textures, collected pieces, statement patterns – that bring a room together.

Entangled Life: The Illustrated Edition: How Fungi Make Our Worlds by Merlin Sheldrake

Browse Entangled Life: The Illustrated Edition for… a lavish illustrated edition of Sheldrake’s bestseller, featuring 100 fascinating full-colour images and abridged text from the original.

Merlin Sheldrake’s spellbinding ode to fungi, Entangled Life, is one of the most loved nature books of the last decade, taking us by the hand into a hidden, interconnected universe that we rely on in so many ways. This stunning new edition for 2023 is a book to admire, gift, and be entranced by.

Joie: A Parisian’s Guide to Celebrating the Good Life by Ajiri Aki

Treat yourself to Joie for… one of the most gorgeous new coffee table books, especially if you love the French capital.

To learn the Parisian secrets to celebrating life based on author Ajiri Aki’s time spent living in the city, read Joie. Bound with a gorgeous baby blue cover and gold font, it’s a book to share, browse leisurely, and show off.

Wanderlust USA: The Great American Hike by gestalten and Alex Roddie

Browse Wanderlust USA for… the most beautiful hardcover guide I’ve come across to U.S. long-distance treks, short day trips, and extended weekend adventures. It’s the perfect gift, but once you see it for yourself, you’ll probably want your own copy too.

The Wanderlust series from gestalten offers some of the best travel books to show off on a coffee table and keep turning to for inspiration, complete with wanderlust-inspiring photos and maps. For more, check out Wanderlust Europe and Wanderlust Alps.

The Art of Home: A Designer Guide to Creating an Elevated Yet Approachable Home by Shea McGee

Treat yourself to The Art of Home for… a beautiful and practical guide to creating an elevated yet approachable home.

I loved reading Shea McGee’s first book, Make Life Beautiful, to learn how she and her husband grew their thriving design business, Studio McGee.

This follow-up for 2023 is just as inspiring, showcasing what’s possible for every room of your home while keeping things friendly and approachable.

Mythos: The Illustrated Story by Stephen Fry

Browse Mythos for… a delightfully accessible and beautifully illustrated guide to the Greek mythological world.

Stephen Fry’s new illustrated edition of Mythos is for anyone who’s entranced by the world of Greek mythology and would like to know more of its stories.

From the birth of Athena to Persephone’s doomed journey into the Underworld, Stephen Fry captures these legendary myths in all their vivid, dazzling, and deeply human relevance for the modern age.

The Architecture of Trees by Cesare Leonardi and Franca Stagi

Browse The Architecture of Trees for… a real botanical treat of a book, showcasing the marvellous architecture of nature’s towering monuments.

Escape into this atlas of dendrology to marvel at over 550 hand-drawn, superbly intricate illustrations that are the result of over twenty years of dedicated study by landscape architects Cesare Leonardi and Franca Stagi.

The Modern Cook’s Year by Anna Jones

Enjoy The Modern Cook’s Year for… a stunning (and huge) cookbook brimming with delicious inspiration for a seasonal year of vegetarian meals.

In my home, Anna Jones’s recipes are our go-to. Her book One Pot, One Pan, One Planet accounts for at least fifty percent of our recipes (all of which are delicious and relatively fail-proof).

That said, we recently received Anna’s earlier book, The Modern Cook’s Year, as a gift. It’s now sitting pride of place on our coffee table and is picked up frequently for culinary inspiration.

de Gournay: Hand-Painted Interiors by Claud Gurney

Enjoy de Gournay: Hand-Painted Interiors for… coffee table inspiration for sumptuous design (especially if you want to adorn your house like Nan Pierce in the final season of Succession).

Known for their vibrant botanical themes, de Gournay’s hand-painted wallpapers will probably set you back $100,000 for a small room. However, this stunning coffee table book is the perfect second-best option.

Architectural Digest at 100: A Century of Style

Treat yourself to Architectural Digest at 100 for… a stunning compilation of a century of style by Architectural Digest. You can’t go wrong with this stunning coffee table book as a gift for design lovers (or to treat yourself).

For more beautiful books, complement these recommendations with my favourite illustrated books, these beautiful children’s books, and my pick of the best books to give as gifts in 2023.

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