Decorating with books is a perennial way to integrate color, texture and practicality into your home—as well as luxury and comfort.
Books banished to the basement or garage take up storage space and can become damaged from damp conditions. You can purge your old books to make way for more room. But if you love to read or just can’t part with your books, you will love how they look out of boxes and placed within easy reach around your house. You can transform your home, and use space more wisely, by decorating with books you own or those you find in used bookstores.
The practical and aesthetic appeal of all types of books translates to every part of the house—from a home library or office to the kitchen or hallway. Turn a single room into a library or your whole house into an extended library. Create a corner book nook or turn a stack of books into a makeshift end table. Colorful bindings and distinguished looking books can be displayed like pieces of art. The possibilities for decorating with books are as limitless as the books themselves.
Decorating with Bookcases
Bookcases recessed and built into walls preserve existing room space and become an organic part of wall decor. They can fit across entire walls or along hallways to accommodate large numbers of books. They can also be built into out-of-the-way niches—under stairwells or around windows for small, secluded spaces.
Freestanding bookcases and other cabinets work well for rooms where fewer books are needed. Bookcases hung high across walls or above doors provide space-saving wall decoration for books you access less.
Decorating with Books in a Home Library or Office
Dedicate an entire room to a home library if you have lots of books you want to access. Or line your office with them.
Let well-bound books be their own decoration, along with plain shelves. Arrange books according to your personal tastes and needs—visually by color and size or categorically by author or subject. If you include other decorative ornaments on shelves, choose what harmonizes with the room’s theme.
A home library can be a retreat. Whether it’s a formal library or full time office, choose substantial, comfortable furniture for an element of luxury. Include a large table to spread out on. For special occasions, turn your library table into a dining table.
Decorating with Books Around the House
Regardless of the number of books, you can artfully display them all throughout your home.
Try grouping books in related rooms—cook books in the kitchen, beauty books in the bathroom or adventure books in the family room. You can stack, prop and lean books to create extra dimension and focal points in any room.
Place a lamp on top of a stack of books for added height and interest on a tabletop. Layer books into baskets, along with a few magazines. Stagger vertical lines of books with horizontal stacks and sprinkle a few photos in.
Keep Books Looking Decorative
Too much light will bleach, fade and damage books, so keep it to a minimum, especially in a home library where more books are exposed. Rooms should be well ventilated with moderate temperatures. Too much moisture or dust invites insects and mold.
Decorating with books, whether you have one book or a thousand, lets you enjoy them long term as pieces of art. Books have embellished homes for centuries—adding ambience, luxury and comfort— whether they are read or not. Decorate with books for a formal look or for character and charm. From bookcases to tabletops, use books to enhance your home design.
- Decorating with books integrates color, texture, luxury and comfort into your home.
- If you love to read or just love books, use them to transform the décor of your home.
- The practical and aesthetic appeal of books translates to every part of the house—from a home library to the kitchen.
- Try grouping books in related rooms—cook books in the kitchen or beauty books in the bathroom.
- Turn an entire room into a library or a corner into a book nook.
- Bookcases recessed and built into walls preserve existing room space.
- Built in bookcases can fit across entire walls or into out of the way niches, like under a stairwell.
- Freestanding bookcases and other cabinets work well for rooms where fewer books are needed.
- Arrange books according to your personal tastes and needs—visually or categorically.
- When you add decorative elements onto a bookshelf with books, choose only what will harmonize with the room’s theme.
- When decorating with books, remember too much direct light will bleach, fade and damage them over time.
- Look upon books as pieces of decorative art, which can be focal points or add dimension to rooms.