Wednesday, 9 January 2013

What They Are and How to Choose Them

Most books we choose because we are interested in a story or idea that we associate with them and we want to read about it. However, coffee table books are less about reading, and more about decoration, impact and creating a statement about yourself, your interests and your home. These books are not for private consumption, although of course you can enjoy them too. They are a public display just as much as any of the other furnishings in your home. They make a statement about you.

Whilst a novel may take us hours to plough through, coffee table books are designed to dip in and out of, to be consumed in small, bite size chunks. In many cases the images are actually more important than the words, photographs and pictures are easier to digest in the small snippets of time that guests may have to look at them whilst you are out of the room or otherwise distracted. The best coffee table books are the ones that reflect something about you, whether it be the place that you live, destinations that you have travelled to, or interests and hobbies that you have. However, if you are really stumped for ideas the following may be a good starting point.

Pick large books, but ones that will not be out of place on your coffee table. You may want to have 2 or 3 on the same table so select books that work well together in terms of size, colour and theme.

Books about photography interest everyone. Virtually every well known photographer now publishes coffee table books that showcase their work. However, if you have small children or guests that are easily offended always flick through these books before putting them on display. Your idea of the fine line between art and unacceptable may be different to a photographer's.

Vogue magazine also now publishes a selection of coffee table books with pictures and illustrations stretching back through the life of the magazine. These can make visually interesting choices. Books about homes are another universally appealing choice. Many books showcase photographs of different styles of houses i.e. beach houses, city apartments, loft apartments etc.

Travel books of destinations where you have recently travelled are a great choice as they serve as a reminder of your trip whilst also helping to stimulate conversation with your guests. Similarly, books with old photographs of the area in which you live can be fascinating. Another interesting coffee table idea is to create photo books of your family. Many photo printing companies will now make these for you, allowing you to choose the size and format that suits you best. Pictures of a holiday, one year in your families life, great successes etc are all good choices as a starting point. These can also make great gifts for other family members.

Whichever coffee table books you choose remember one simple fact. If the books you choose are interesting and beautiful to you, they probably will be to other people too.

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