Whether you want to adorn your coffee table with some artfully placed reading material or you’re hoping to add caché to your shelfie game, these are the beautifully shot and edited tomes to dive into. With one flick of a page, you can be transported to art galleries, far-off lands, the hallowed ateliers of fashion houses and inside some of the world’s leading design spaces. Here’s how.

Amalfi Coast

Carlos Souza, £70
Amalfi Coast

Celebrating Italy’s most photogenic coastline, this cloth-bound beauty is filled with glittering seas, vertiginous cliffs, beautiful people and even more enticing food. A perfect snapshot of la dolca vita. Buy it here.

Vivienne Westwood Catwalk

Alexander Fury, £33
Vivienne Westwood Catwalk

A back catalogue of Westwood’s inimitable runway looks, documented through 1,300 images dating back to her debut in 1981, this tartan-bound tome charts five decades of anarchic design, alongside a detailed biography of the woman herself. The perfect addition to any British fashion-lover’s home. Buy it here.

AD at 100 - A Century of Style

Anna Wintour, £70
AD At 100 - A Century Of Style

Celebrating 100 years’ of the international design authority’s publication, this beautifully bound hardback distils the best of the best from the archives, including the homes of the Obamas, David Hockney and Diana Vreeland, as well as the work of lauded designers and architects, such as Frank Gehry, Oscar Niemeyer, David Hicks and Frank Lloyd Wright. Compiled by the first lady of style, Anna Wintour, this is a perfectly edited snapshot of good taste and inspirational design. Buy it here.

Accidentally Wes Anderson

Wally Koval, £25
Accidentally Wes Anderson

The book format of the cult Instagram account Accidentally Wes Anderson documents spaces, colour palettes and quirky, retro locations that look like the sets of Anderson’s hyper-stylised films. Think faded grandeur, pop colour pastels, vivid patterns and extremely pleasing symmetry. A great gift for design and movie buffs alike. Buy it here.

1000 Record Covers

Taschen, £16
1000 Record Covers

Vinyl is having (another) moment and this coffee table heavy weight is guaranteed to not only trigger a trip down memory lane, but also to earn you cool points with those discovering the joy of records for the first time, too. We challenge you to flick through 1000 Record Covers without first being hit with a wave of nostalgia, and then quickly googling the value of those dusty LPs languishing in the loft. Buy it here.

African Artists

Chika Okeke-Agulu, £49.95
African Artists

A groundbreaking A-Z survey of the work of over 300 modern and contemporary artists born or based in Africa, African Artists was curated with a prestigious global advisory board to bring together a comprehensive catalogue of some of the most important and emerging creatives in the fields of painting, sculpture, photography and performing art. Buy it here.

Living by the Ocean

Phaidon, £29.95
Living By The Ocean

If you’re missing the beach post-summer, Phaidon’s latest release is a collection of contemporary houses in jaw-dropping locations which span six continents. From rock clifftops to private islands, underwater homes to lighthouses, each property has been built with a unique connection to the sea and coastline. If you’ve always hankered after an ocean view, this is the read for you. Buy it here.

Frida Kahlo – The Complete Paintings

Taschen, £150
Frida Kahlo – The Complete Paintings

This all-encompassing XXL monograph of the life and work of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo combines not only all 152 of Kahlo’s works, but brings them to life with rarely seen photographs, diary entries, letters and an illustrated biography to add light and shade to the woman behind the easel and celebrate her pioneering work in the politics of gender, sexuality and feminism. Buy it here.

By Design: The World’s Best Contemporary Interior Designers

Phaidon, £35.99
The World’s Best Contemporary Interior Designers

A compendium of good taste, this richly illustrated best-of list was selected by luminaries from a range of creative fields, each tasked with distilling the top hundred contemporary interior designers from around the globe, based on their industry-defining contributions to the profession. Each entry includes stunning photographic examples from their portfolios, alongside a written summary of why they deserve inclusion. A balanced mix of big names and rising bright stars, this is a must-read source book for design graduates and those looking for inspiration to elevate their own homes in the coming year. Buy it here.

By Lydia Mansi
September 2021

9 Of Britain’s Loveliest Independent Bookshops
The Best Diverse Children’s Books And Where To Buy Them