Like the occasional chair, a coffee table book represents a quiet moment, often spent alone. These thick, beautifully bound books aim to inspire us with their words and photography, and often make attractive interiors accessories in their own right. Coffee table books are to be picked up and perused at leisure, the ideal accompaniment to a cup of tea on a weekend afternoon.
From travel to house plants, there’s a coffee table book out there suited to everyone’s interests. Some of our favourites are those featuring beautiful, slow interiors which encapsulate the slow living lifestyle. They are an ultimate source of inspiration, particularly for sustainable ideas and how to build a home that reflects your values and lifestyle.
We’ve curated some of our favourite interior design coffee table books below, including recent releases. For more inspiration for your reading list, head to our guide to the best slow living books.
Best Interior Design Coffee Table Books
Calm: Interiors to nurture, relax and restore – Sally Denning
Sally Denning’s Calm shares tips around creating a calm interior and showcases 12 different homes for inspiration. This beautiful book reminds us that there’s no one single definition of a tranquil space. Turn the pages to explore what calm means inside a cottage, a Georgian home and a modern seaside retreat.
Published October 2021
Memorable quotes from Calm:
- “Our physical surroundings have a direct correlation with the way that we feel and make an important contribution to our emotional well-being.”
- “Home should be a place to retreat from the everyday.”
- “For me, a home without texture is a home without soul.”
Still: The Slow Home – Natalie Walton
Natalie’s moving introduction gets to the crux of the slow living mentality. She questions why we consume and why we are prone to constantly filling both our dairies and our homes with more stuff and more commitments. Her beautiful book shares twenty homes and the story of their inhabitants, who have all chosen to embrace slow living and start simplifying their lives. After reading Still: The Slow Home, you’ll feel encouraged to reflect on your own buying and lifestyle choices.
Published May 2020
Memorable quotes from Still: The Slow Home:
- “When we simplify from the inside out – rather than attempting quick-fix solutions from the outside in – the changes we embrace become systematic rather than just surface-based.”
- “We need to build a pause into our decision making and be more considered – from goods, media, marketing and messages, to unwanted advice and opinions, which sometimes are our own.”
- “When we focus on the real beauty of our life – and not what we think will buy us happiness – there is less room for dissatisfaction, comparison and greed.”
Curate: Inspiration for an Individual Home – Ali Heath and Lynda Gardener
Released in 2021, Curate is a celebration of creating a home that champions the owner’s individual personality and personal experiences. Featuring many of Lynda’s homes, the photography and styling is truly beautiful and the objects and antiques featured are a real testament to Lynda’s skill for seeking incredible finds and building collections. Curate considers eight elements – palette, nature, textiles, lighting, old and new, storage, collections and art, which when considered together, the authors believe ‘can help transform the alchemy of a space’. This book, including its carefully crafted words, is fantastic inspiration for mixing old and new and will have you itching to make a trip to a flea market, reclamation yard or antique shop.
Published June 2021
Memorable quotes from Curate:
- “Imperfections are celebrated, environment is nurtured, and a sense of timeless longevity is enjoyed.”
- “Spaces don’t need to be big and finds don’t need to be expensive, you just have to love them.”
- “An authentic home takes thought and is something you build up slowly, with each purchase triggered by an emotional connection, not a designer name or passing trend.”
- “It (Curate) is about unique, uncontrived spaces that reflect personal needs and life stories, and the slow curation of revered pieces, from different centuries and countries.”
The Kinfolk Home – Nathan Williams
The Kinfolk Home likely needs little introduction. This beautifully shot and artfully arranged book covers three types of homes; homes for community, homes for simplicity and homes for slow living. Williams talks about our homes as a reflection of our beliefs, shaped by what slow living means to each of us. It challenges the idea that there is one single slow living interiors aesthetic.
Published October 2015
Memorable quotes from The Kinfolk Home:
- “Slow living is less of a style and more a deeply personal mentality.”
- “The function of our homes should dictate the way we decorate them, not the other way around.”
- “Slow living isn’t about determining how little we can live with – it’s about working out what we simply can’t live without.” (One of our favourite slow living quotes which applies beyond your home’s interiors)
Home for the Soul: Sustainable and thoughtful decorating and design – Sara Bird & Dan Duchars
Home for the Soul’s focus is on creating beautiful, soulful homes with sustainability and conscious design at the core. The first section shares practical tips and inspiration for thrifting, upcycling and mixing old and new, while the second visits real life homes that have been consciously decorated.
Published September 2020
Memorable quotes from Home for the Soul:
- “In today’s fast-paced world, where haste and waste often dominate, we seem to be at a tipping point when it comes to how we design, decorate and inhabit our own spaces.”
- “We are realizing that constantly acquiring new stuff and chasing trends doesn’t necessarily make for a nurturing, health-giving, happy home.”
The New Mindful Home and How to Make it Yours – Joanna Thornhill
Interior stylist Joanna’s practical book of tips helps you to define an interiors scheme that supports your well-being and creates spaces for calm and slow living. From making vision boards to considering your colour personality, this is a great book to consult when planning a considered interiors project. It also includes lots of sustainability tips.
Published April 2021
Memorable quotes from The New Mindful Home:
- “If we fail to take the time to notice these things (the objects in our home) every now and then, it’s impossible to truly appreciate them.”
- “Online shopping has made life easier in many ways, but convenience has come at the cost of patience and brought with it a rise of ‘instant gratification’ culture (and subsequently choice paralysis), as we are presented with a bewildering number of options and are further removed than ever from the producers of our purchases.”
Mad About The House: 101 Interior Design Answers – Kate Watson-Smyth
While not discussing slow living as such, Kate’s popular book features in our list of favourites because of the focus on designing a home for longevity. Before Kate addresses some of the key decorating questions she often gets asked, she poses her own. She encourages you to ask yourself six questions (who, what, when, where, why and how) when planning a new interiors scheme to ensure you end up with a space that suits your lifestyle for the long term.
Published November 2019
Memorable quotes from Mad About The House:
- “Surely it’s about making the right choices and living with them because we love them, rather than chucking things out after a year because someone tells us they’re no longer on trend?”
- “I am constantly amazed by the number of people who just decorate a room the way they fancy.”
We’re always on the look out for more slow interiors books to add to our list. Have we missed your favourite? We’d love to hear your recommendations. For more ideas, try our list of slow living magazines, slow living books and guide to slow design principles.
- Japandi: the meeting of Scandinavian minimalism and Japanese design
- What we can learn from the meaning of Wabi-Sabi
- A guide to choosing sustainable bed linen
- How to embrace calm interior design
- What are the most sustainable fabrics?
- Where to buy second-hand furniture online
- How to upcycle furniture
- A guide to colour psychology in interior design