Category Archives: Decorating With Books

Decorating With Books #1: Why This Is A Good Idea

katie and al color bookcase

Designer Update: Don’t be fooled by the E-Book Craze.

Books and bookcases are not on  the verge of quaint obsolescence!


It doesn’t matter what design style you favor, enhancing your decor with books is an option that shouldn’t be overlooked. Books are a reliable element that always works and can also bridge the divide between traditional and contemporary design in a warm and innately human way. They are an attractive addition in almost every room.

Every book is an invitation to experience.

If you find that books of any description seem to be self-propagating wherever you call home, you are in luck. All kinds of books are a good thing; picture books, reference books, novels and so on are valid bookshelf fodder.

Easy Does It. Incorporating books into your living spaces can be as easy as adding a pair of freestanding bookcases. This can do wonders for a blah nondescript room. Another significant advantage is that Unfortunate Architecture can be minimized if bookcases are used for camouflage.

  • Use tall floor-to-ceiling units, long and low horizontal shelves and freestanding etageres where feasible. It’s a great way to add structure to a room and pizazz when artfully loaded with books and objet.
  • Surround a poorly placed door or window with books to create interest and symmetry.
  • Bookcases, particularly backless bookcases, make excellent room dividers too.

A room with a view of nothing much: always be mindful of where your eye lands first when you enter a room. It’s your first focal point and can’t be ignored.

If your first view of a room is a dead-end corner, or an unlovely radiator, you need a remedy.

Stacking books, along with “objet” and a vase of flowers on a tea or bar cart is a very charming option. Just fix it up, roll into place and you can feel justifiably clever.

Just laying around, constructively:
  • Piles of books stacked on various surfaces around a room add atmosphere, color and a certain sculptural presence.
  • Use a stack of books as a prop on a table along with whatever else fills out the vignette. This is a good way to raise an accessory to a better height. This is a good idea for raising a lamp to be relatively the same height as another lamp to create a pair.
  • Stack coffee table books under the four corners of a large piece of glass.
Presto! A Coffee Table is created. At last, coffee table books that live up to their name.

As bad as a fake tan gone orange. Nobody likes to be fooled. While home improvement zeal is commendable, fake books, even those boxes of leather bound “classics” you picked up at some yard sale (but will never read) are tacky. Book displays that exist only for the sake of ACCESSORIZING are as bad as any other sneaky thing you may be tempted to do to service the DECORATION GODS. Be authentic. Your home is about you, as reflected in your choice of reading matter.

Rose Tarlow said it best: “An object added for effect instead of affection will always look like an affectation.”

Next Time: Decorating With Books #2: Shelving Your Best Ideas

Related Posts

(Decorating With Books Three Part Series)

Decorating With Books #2; Shelving Your Best Ideas

Decorating With Books #3: Looks Are Everything


Article Photo: some rights reserved on this  creative commons license

Large Article Photo: