How-To - DIY Decor

Top 10 coffee table books

Dress up your living room and entertain your guests with these gorgeous tomes.

Good coffee table books serve a number of purposes: they're decorative, informative, attractive and, above all, interesting; they give your guests something to flip through while you're out of the room; they often become a topic of conversation. They also make fantastic gifts for housewarmings or other special occasions. No matter what your interests, there's a coffee table book for you. This selection of 10 books will catch your eye and keep you coming back for more.

books6.jpg1 Seeds: Time Capsules of Life by Rob Kesseler and Wolfgang Stuppy
(Firefly Books, 2006)
The images in this book are astounding, thanks to the latest in microphotography; full-page close-ups of millimetre-long seeds possess an almost alien beauty. These photos are accompanied by text explaining the function of the seeds' design; the book also explains topics such as basic seed botany, the evolution of seeds and how seeds are dispersed and contains a section on seed-inspired architecture. With a preface by the Prince of Wales, a keen supporter of conservation issues, and a chapter on the Millennium Seed Bank, which aims to gather some 24,000 species of seeds by 2010, this volume covers everything you could ever want to know about these astonishingly diverse feats of nature.

2 100 More of the World's Best Houses by Robyn Beaver
(Images Publishing Group, 2006)
This volume, third in a series, presents 100 of the world's most stunning houses. The featured homes vary greatly in style, location, climate and culture, ensuring there's something appealing for everyone. The book includes full-colour photographs of each house as well as architectural plans and drawings, showcasing the best in international residential architecture and offering a wealth of inspiration for anyone interested in decorating and design.

3 The Maple Leaf Forever: A Celebration of Canadian Symbols by Donna and Nigel Hutchins, with photography by Matthew Beverly
(The Boston Mills Press, 2006)
Anyone with an interest in Canadiana will find hours of entertainment in this collection of national memorabilia. From maple leaves to beavers, from hockey to the RCMP, the significance of popular symbols of Canada throughout its history is explored alongside photos of various collectibles. The authors have assembled items as diverse as vintage toys, war medals, old bottles of Canada Dry ginger ale and kitschy souvenirs to create a book that is sure to amuse and entertain.

4 Rainforest by Thomas Marent
(Dorling Kindersley, 2006)
The plants, animals and insects of the world's tropical rainforests jump off the pages of this gorgeous book in a frenzy of colour that is almost overwhelming. Swiss photographer Thomas Marent spent 16 years travelling across five continents to capture these images, which display the astounding biological diversity of rainforests in such places as Indonesia, New Zealand, South America and Madagascar. The book is accompanied by an audio CD of rainforest sounds, and two per cent of the royalties will be donated to the Rainforest Foundation. An added bonus: The book was printed on paper from sustainably harvested European forests, and the publishers promise that no wood from rainforest areas was used.

5 Furniture: World Styles from Classical to Contemporary by Judith Miller
(Dorling Kindersley, 2005)
Covering more than 3,000 years of furniture design, this encyclopedic guide is packed with more than 3,500 photos of chairs, sofas, tables, cabinets, tallboys and longboys, and every other form of furniture that can be -- or has been -- imagined. Along with descriptions of particular furniture styles you'll find profiles of designers, workshops and movements as well as outlines of key periods. Both an indispensable reference book for collectors and a fascinating history for anyone interested in style and design, Furniture won't stay unopened on your table.


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