Ashley Tisdale's coffee table books are a stylish dream — here's how to elevate the literary look, according to designers

When Ashley Tisdale's coffee table books appeared on Instagram, it was an instant like, of course

ashley tisdale in a cheetah shirt on a biege background
(Image credit: Dominik Bindl/Getty Images)

Pardon us while we gawk at Ashley Tisdale's coffee table books — arguably the best stack of reads we have yet to even crack open.

The actor and interior designer continues to inspire us with her style, documenting her favorite finds in her own abode or the projects she's tackled for her new business, Frenshe Interiors. It's safe to say we've been obsessed with everything she's shared on Instagram

Our latest crush is the Disney alumna's decorative literary collection, so of course we asked designers how to incorporate the style into our small living room ideas. Ready for a quick trip to Barnes & Noble?

Have a look at Ashley Tisdale's coffee table books

Though Ashley Tisdale's kitchen made us green with envy (in a good way) and her renowned Mario Bellini Camaleonda sofa gave us all the cozy vibes, we couldn't help but be drawn to this simple and elegant statement maker. Her coffee table books found a home on a rustic wooden stool and her generous-sized desk, yet oddly, not on the coffee table. Guess those small living room buys are pretty versatile. 

Where to place coffee table books — besides the obvious

Though we felt inclined to peruse coffee table trends, we were curious where else we should stack the books in our digs to give off a fun flair. Here's what designers suggest: 

1. On a bar cart

a bar cart with glasses and books on a purple rug next to a green chair

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

If you were mulling over bar cart accessories, books are definitely on the table. (Just watch out for spills when mixing together an Aperol Spritz.) 

"Put them on your bar cart and place nice glasses and other bar items on top," says designer Chantelle Hartman Malarkey. "It gives these items a solid base and 'home' to live on."

Chantelle Hartman Malarkey
Chantelle Hartman Malarkey

Chantelle Hartman Malarkey, a.k.a. the Lifestyle Alchemist, is an interior designer, photographer, home chef, hosting expert, and blogger who shares ideas about family travel hacks, beauty must-haves, delicious recipes, among other topics, with her followers. 

2. In kitchen storage cabinets

kitchen storage cabinets beneath a light and a table with flowers and the cabinet is holding kitchen items and books

(Image credit: @ma_vie_lala)

"Add them to your glass china or storage cabinet to bring some styling aspects to kitchen items," Hartman Malarkey adds. "This helps break up all the glass and serve trays and bowls with some other pieces. It serves as decor and can also bring in color to the space."

3. On a stool

a modern boho stool with a coffee table book on a wooden floor in front of a mirror

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

If it's good enough for Ms. Tisdale, it's good enough for us. Why not add a little flair to a rustic or colorful stool with equally eye-catching books? And just in case we haven't made it clear, we also highly encourage reading these books and not keeping them solely for show — there's no fun in that.

4. On your bookshelf

a pristine white bookshelf with books and decorative items

(Image credit: @tesslivy)

The best bookshelf ideas have variety. In between stacks of your favorite YA reads and the TBR list you've promised yourself you'll get to, add a few of these designer-friendly babies. 

"Incorporate coffee table books into your bookshelves to break up the monotony of regular-sized books," says Soledad Alzaga of Soledad Alzaga Interior Design. "You can stack them horizontally for variety. This gives you a surface to add picture frames or other decor objects."

Soledad Alzaga
Soledad Alzaga

Soledad Alzaga is the founder of her eponymous business, a boutique residential and commercial interior company based in San Francisco, which was named one of the top 15 best interior design companies in the city. It assists in all aspects of the design and build process of residential and commercial properties from start to finish including consulting and working with architects, builders, and engineers

5. On a window sill (or near natural light)

pink and white mantle

(Image credit: @mylittlebohospace)

"Put coffee table books on a wide window sill, window bench, or seat to add interest and draw attention to the natural light," Alzaga adds. "This not only adds a decorative touch but also provides a cozy reading nook."

6. In framed shadow boxes

Interior designer Nicole Cullum is in the midst of giving her favorite coffee table books a little TLC. Even though she says the works from her favorite artists and designers have seen plenty of wear and tear throughout the years — we prefer to call it love — she wants to make the most of her collection, dogeared pages and all. 

"Over time these beloved books have transformed into their own works of art. Give them their proper place of esteem and mount them in modern framed shadow boxes for display," she says. "Select three to five cherished books of similar size, odd numbers always work best, and align them either vertically or horizontally on your wall for a unique design that speaks to your personal style."

Nicole Cullum
Nicole Cullum

Nicole Cullum is an interior designer, color expert, and professional organizer in Taos, New Mexico. She is the creative founder of Color Caravan, a charming hand-painted line of wallpaper, textiles, and home decor.

Styling tips for coffee table books

Once you've found a place to store your coffee table books, it's about going the extra mile and styling them. But how? Designer Artem Kropovinsky suggests making things personal.

"Use colors of the books as a way to help the books go with the theme of the room and make it more attractive," he says. "Mix up your storybook by incorporating other personal items to make it appear as if you are in the process of writing your own chapter."

Dan Mazzarini, creative director of ARCHIVE is also looking at coffee table books as a storage option. 

"For a practical solution to unsightly remotes, coasters, etc., find a beautiful box with a lid," he suggests. From there, put it on top of your stack of books.

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York.

Dan Mazzarini
Dan Mazzarini

The Principal + Creative Director at BHDM Design and ARCHIVE, Dan Mazzarini has worked on a diverse array of residential and commercial projects, including high profile hotels, restaurants, and retail.

What to shop

Ready to try the look for yourself? We rounded up a few of our favorite coffee table books you'll love and want to style. 

We're curious to see what Ashley Tisdale tackles next. When it comes to interior style, she's an open book. In the meantime, learn how to make a small living room cozy — something you'll appreciate as the colder weather swoops in.

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.