Colourful coffee table books can be cottage essentials, especially on those gloomy summer days when you’re desperate for a little inspiration. Here are some great additions to your cottage collection, from striking photographs of Canadian landscapes and wildlife to dreamy summer tributes and field guides for starry nights.
1.Escapology: Modern Cabins, Cottages and Retreats (List Price: $39.59)
Design duo Colin and Justin’s Escapology: Modern Cabins, Cottages and Retreats is a stunning book of modern-day retreats, bucolic weekend escapes by the sea, remote getaways in the woods, and rustic mountain hideouts—to inspire peaceful and quiet living. Buy it on Amazon or Indigo.
2. Canada In Colour
Journalist Jacob Richler introduces this stunning visual journey through Canada, highlighting more than 500 photographs by George Fischer. Powerful images are divided by colour themes, moving from mountain peaks to Parliament Hill and from quiet seaside sunrises to close-up portraits of western wildlife. Buy it on Indigo ($29.60) or Amazon ($27.59).
Photographer Joanne Dugan curated this dreamy collection of colour photos capturing summer at its finest, peppered with inspirational summer quotes. Page after page, you’re reminded of why you love summer and are transported back to classic childhood memories, like misty mornings dips and lazy days along the beach. Buy it on Amazon ($34.95) or Indigo ($42.95).
4. Ansel Adams in the National Parks (List Price: $49.99)
This is a striking collection of more than 200 black-and-white photographs by legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams. Many of the images were published for the first time and feature highlights from Adams’ career-long exploration of more than 40 national parks, including Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Park. Buy it on Indigo ($43.21) or Amazon ($52.33).
5. Country Style
This is a great book for rainy day inspiration, with tons of ways to refresh your cottage décor by repurposing old cottage items, vintage knick-knacks, and salvaged materials from the shed. Activities include creating bulletin boards from repurposed door frames and unique cottage decorations using antique book covers. Buy it on Indigo ($26.95) or Amazon ($26.95).
6. Grand Landscapes of Canada (List Price: $49.95)
Get lost in renowned photographer J.A. Kraulis’ landscape portraits, taken over 20 years of Canadian exploration. Colour photographs depict the country’s diverse terrain, from glassy lakes to windy prairies and winter storms along the coast. Buy it on Indigo or Amazon ($19.22).
7. Inspire: The Art of Living with Nature
These crafty tutorials come with beautiful full-page examples of rustic, nature-inspired crafts using materials found around the cottage. Incorporate the outdoors into your décor with wreaths and mantelpiece displays using materials picked from forest trails, beaches, and gardens, and even create vases from hollowed-out red cabbages. Buy it on Indigo ($34.95) or Amazon ($61.80).
8. Sublime Nature
A gorgeous hardcover book full of vibrant and inspiring landscape photos from National Geographic. Explore the delicate relationship between humans and nature, with texts by photojournalist and conservationist Cristina Mittermeier. Buy it on Indigo ($15) or Amazon ($32.99).
9. Insect Museum
If your kids are curious about the bugs around (and inside) your cottage, they’ll love this colourful book with 114 close-up photos of insects and arthropods, including dragonflies, butterflies, beetles, and spiders. Learn about their origins, habitats, and see diagrams of their actual sizes. Buy it on Amazon ($24.55).
10. Constellations: A Field Guide to the Night Sky (List Price: $26.95)
Brush up on astronomy with this stargazer’s manual, showcasing 88 star patterns through maps, diagrams, and 300 astronomical images. Author Giles Sparrow offers plenty of tips on how to spot constellations, whether outside with the naked eye or equipped with binoculars or a telescope. Buy it on Indigo ($32.99) or Amazon ($57.55).
11. The Hidden Life of Wolves (List Price: $29.95)
National Geographic published this candid collection of photos with a narrative around wolf tales and mythology and the importance of protecting wolves in the wild. Photographers Jim and Jamie Dutcher spent years living with a pack of wolves in the Idaho wilderness, giving them a rare and intimate glimpse into the daily lives of the mysterious animals, from caring for their pups to hunting in the woods. Buy it on Indigo ($27.13) or Amazon ($29.95).
12. The Cottage Bible (List Price: $39.95)
While a bit smaller than most coffee table selections, it’s a great book to have kicking around the cabin. It houses the answers to many cottage questions that arise when outside of Wi-Fi’s reach, like getting to know your lake, cottage maintenance and repairs, decoding animal tracks, learning how to fish, and more. Buy it on Indigo ($39.95) or Amazon ($36.23).
13. The Modern Day Pioneer
A handbook to inspire you to (further) embrace the simple life. It’s great for cooks and crafty cottagers, full of recipes for going back to basics, from making homemade preserves and breads (including beer bread) to dipping your own candles and going “off the grid.” Buy it on Indigo ($18.99) or Amazon ($28.25).