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Despite what we’ve been told since childhood, we definitely judge books by their covers.
We know, we know. Its what is on the inside that counts… but that just doesn’t cut it when you’re styling the perfect shelfie or curating a covetable coffee table.
A book with a beautiful cover is one of a stylist’s best tools. It is grounding when creating a vignette with smaller pieces. A stack of them can tie a whole colour scheme together. The typography and texture can convey an entire mood.
Books add character and reflect the owner’s interests. And, unlike most decorative objects you might find on a shelf, books are interactive and add value beyond their looks.
A guest might thumb through your book of botanical sketches while you pour the glasses of Viognier. Or a particularly eye-catching title can spark a whole evening of conversation. And when you’re lost for inspiration of what to cook for dinner or where to go on holiday, a quick flip of the page can bring a myriad of ideas.
We love to decorate with books and always keep a stack of our own. From inspiring interiors and pretty plants to holiday vibes and dream destinations, these are some particularly beautiful books that are currently lining our shelves.
And guess what? They’re just as gorgeous on the inside as they are on the outside. To us, that’s a win-win!
by Real Living
Of course, the first book on our list is both coastal and all about interiors. This recently released book by Real Living is simply divine! In it, they feature the homes of stylists, tastemakers and influencers across the shores of Australia.
“From Byron Bay to Phillip Island, each of the 20 houses, apartments and surf shacks has a different vibe, be it fresh and minimalistic or moody and textured.”
We love it most because it shows that seaside homes don’t have to all look the same and that ‘coastal’ doesn’t just mean Hamptons. Actually, it rarely does!
by Stephan Vanfleteren
Surf Tribe has been getting a lot of attention lately and for good reason. This bold blue-green book is a photographic tribute to international surf culture and the ocean. Its pages are filled with serene yet striking black and white portraits of surfers of all kinds.
“[Vanfleteren] has sought out young talent, living icons, and old legends, both competitive and free surfers.”
The images range from serious to silly but all of them share the same I-just-can’t-look-away quality. The stares are soul piercing and the rare smile is so relatable. It is a photographic book like none other and you certainly don’t have to surf to connect with it.
by Alana Langan & Jacqui Vidal
It’s no secret that we weren’t born with a green thumb. But, despite our plant killer tendencies, we still dream of having a houseplant jungle of our own.
In comes Plant Style to our rescue! It is the ultimate guide to selecting, styling and caring for your indoor plants.
“With design- savvy tips and expert advice, you’ll learn all there is to know about decorating with plants and botanical styling plus the necessities like light requirements and when to water and feed.”
It’s like Plants for Dummies but waaay better looking! And it’s minimalist monochromatic cover is the perfect palette cleanser to any overstuffed shelf.
by Gray Malin
We might get teased for how much we love Gray Malin… I mean, have you seen his gorgeous house and adorable twins on his personal Instagram? Who wouldn’t have a friend crush the size of the Pacific Ocean that separates us (i.e. the only reason we’re not best friends yet)?
Oh, and speaking of oceans? That’s kind of his speciality! He is well known for his amazing aerial photography of beaches around the world. And, while Escape certainly features its fair share of shorelines, there are also gorgeous glimpses of the snowy peaks of St. Moritz and the salt flats of Bolivia.
Escape is the book you open up when you want to get away from it all.
by Hoxton Mini Press
We have to admit we first bought this book strictly based on the colour of its cover and, well, dogs. Duh! We get our daily fix of puppy pics from the likes of @dogsofinstagram, so it took us a while to pull this book off the shelf. But when we finally cracked the cover, we discovered a whole new take on dog photography and it is, in fact, really good.
“They approach the dog as a dignified, intelligent and noble being, and they consider our relationship with man’s best friend for the extraordinary thing it really is.”
From posed pooch portraits to an interesting take on pee stains on sidewalks, this book is a compilation of the fine work of the many featured photographers. We’d recommend it as a gift to that dog loving friend with elevated sensibilities.
by Nina Freudenberger & Brittany Ambridge
Maybe we’ve been in Manly too long, but another surf book has made on our list of favourites. This time though it is not just about looking at the people who embody the surfing lifestyle but understanding how and where they live.
“Lush lifestyle photography shows just how sophisticated and inviting these homes are with personal accents (like handmade surfboards, cactus gardens, or Mexican blankets) juxtaposed with dreamy architectural details (outdoor showers, plunge pools, and skylights).”
We are firm believers in the idea that homes should reflect the lifestyle you live and Surf Style is a testament to that philosophy.
by India Hicks
Talk about life goals! India Hicks is an inspiring example of working hard and having it all while still looking ridiculously chic and living by the beach in the Bahamas. Just looking at the cover with her perched on her perfect porch amongst the lush greenery has us booking a one-way ticket to Harbour Island.
Once you delve into the pages, the understated glamour continues. Her style combines “carefree Caribbean culture with British colonial form and formality.” The spaces embody her signature style and feel more collected than curated. Her home is stunning, yet more importantly feels like a home. We often flick through Island Style to be reminded of the importance of the personal amongst the well designed.
by Slim Aarons
Slim Aaron’s famously summarised his career as “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places”. And what’s more attractive than the glamourous jet-setters of yesteryear lounging by pristine pools in places like St. Tropez? We can’t think of much.
Poolside with Slim Aarons pages are filled with “magnificent, suntanned bodies, well-oiled skin, bikini-clad women, yachts, summer cocktails, sumptuous buffets, spectacular locations and most of all fun.” It immediately transports you to a different era and makes you long to be one of the fabulous people reclining by the glittering water.
by Stevens, Kerr & Buck
We didn’t have a bucket list until we read Chic Stays. And now, when people ask what’s on it, we just tell them to read the book.
If you’ve ever had a touch of wanderlust, a tendency to get starstruck, and a penchant for staying in beautiful places, this book might just be too much to handle. It is a tour of thirty-six of the world’s most spectacular destinations through the eyes of famous actors, writers, musicians and models.
“From Jeremy Irons’s historical Palacio Belmonte escape in Lisbon, to the beaches of Kate Winslet’s secret Scottish hideaway of Eilean Shona, to Kate Moss’s favourite beach in the Maldives, each of these thirty-six personal tales of the loveliest spots around the globe are packed with anecdotes and lyrical descriptions to transport readers.”
We cannot wait to rub shoulders with celebrities and start checking some of these off the list!
by H. Walter Lack
We wouldn’t call ourselves historians but, when it comes in the form of 240 exquisite illustrations of the palms of Peru and Brazil from the 1800’s, then you can count us interested. It is incredible to see how Martius documented his discoveries in uncharted corners of the Earth centuries ago.
Having The Book of Palms on your coffee table is like having a looking glass back in time. The fine forms on the pages remind us that our best source of inspiration is nature. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the cover is beautifully decorated in palm fronds.
Keen to get your hands on any of these? Click on any cover to shop.
And do you know of any great books you think we’d love? Please send them our way as we’re always on the hunt for more. You can get in touch by clicking here.
Photography by The Palm Co.
All quotes from Amazon.com.au, February 2019.