In Charleston, interior design coffee table books are more than just decoration. A beautiful photo book is the perfect companion for a slow afternoon in the bed swing with a pile of pillows and a glass of sweet tea. Inspiring coffee table books are also good places to get inspiration when you want to refresh your interiors just a little.

Of course, coffee table books can entertain houseguests and start conversations at cocktail parties. They also make the perfect host or hostess gift. We have a few of those on our must-have list too!

Here are a few we love:

Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel

Photographer Seth Casteel captured more than 80 portraits of dogs diving underwater chasing balls and toys. Some photos are funny, and some reveal a different side of a dog’s personality. Either way, this book is a joyful tribute to our furry best friends.

Dogs by Tim Flasch

 If you love dogs, you’ll love this book Tim Flasch captured dozens of creative pictures of dogs. His photos are lightning-strike moments in time that we often miss, or take for granted. Flasch’s talent for bringing out fascinating nature of dogs will make this one of your favorite coffee-table books.

The Southerner’s Handbook

 No Charleston or barrier island home is complete without a copy of The Southerner’s Handbook. Compiled by the editors of Garden & Gun, this book contains more than 100 instructional essays on how to live a good life in the modern South. Topics cover food, cocktails, style, gardening, and best of all…culture.

The Romance of Flowers by Veranda

At MDI we believe flowers are a must. Veranda is known for their stunning flower arrangements, and this book is full of vibrant photos that range from simple arrangements to over-the-top centerpieces. Not only will this book inspire you to keep fresh flowers around your house, it may inspire you to plant more in your garden.

Timeless Style by Suzanne Kasler

 We believe in creating interiors that live well, which is why we love Suzanne Kasler. Suzanne’s interiors are the perfect blend of Southern charm, modern functionality, and unique personality. What you’ll really love about this book are the lavish photos in generous proportions! If you’re going to have one interior design eye candy book – this is it.

 My City by Jack Alterman

Native Charlestonian Jack Alterman is known for his incredible photographs of Charleston. Inspired by the city’s colors, textures, water, sky, cobblestones, and gardens, Altman can often be found at dusk and dawn taking photos from a bucket truck or a boat. He says people ask him, “How did you get that shot? I’ve lived here all my life, but I’ve never seen that.” Whether you’re new to the Holy City or you’ve lived here all your life – you’re sure to find something new to marvel at in Jack’s photos.

Charleston Then & Now by W. Chris Phelps

 If you’re a history lover, this book will have you walking around downtown with your head on a swivel. The author took archival photographs and matched them modern images of Charleston. Included are monuments, forts, churches, and colonial mansions. Trust us, buy two of these books because you’ll need one for you and one for the persuasive houseguest that talks you out of a copy.