Decorating With Books #3: Looks Are Everything


Books and the bookcases that house them are an asset in any décor

Display With Panache: Go Wild And Crazy…

or at least have a plan, or both.

Alternate realities include:

  • First things first: empty the shelves. Pull an interesting and relevant color from your existing color scheme. Use this to paint the backs of the bookcases or line them with paper. This will add an appealing color pop that helps incorporate the bookshelves into your decor in a way that looks planned. A patterned paper that has color(s) from your room looks great.
  • Clean up your act: Ripped dust jackets are as unsightly as (unplanned) ripped clothing. Unless the dust jacket has value for some reason, dump it. If it does has value, it would be better to find someplace else to store safely. Sort the books by size and subject. Give some thought to which books you are more likely to want take down often and which are keepers but can be stored on the upper shelves.
Order is good. Scruffy book jackets are not.
  • Speaking of dust jackets: See photo above. It’s a rainbow of organized thought. All one color can also work. Plain brown kraft paper or white butcher’s paper are cheap materials and easy to find.
  • Mix it up by alternating a vertical presentation with horizontally stacked books so the titles are easily read. Leave some open spaces for interesting objects and/or attractive boxes (great for extra storage). This is where using an interesting color on the back of the shelves becomes an inspired idea.
See what you are looking at: don’t substitute book clutter for object clutter. Edit everything ruthlessly.
  • Deep Storage: Shelves that are 16″ or more can hold two rows of books. Place one stack against the back side of the bookcase and another row along the front edge of the shelf. Use the front row for the taller books so the ones behind are hidden. Good solution for those books you’ve read but aren’t ready to part with.
For extra credit you can:
  • Lighten up: traditional library lights always look great. Some of them come with an adjustable arm to direct the light to the perfect spot. If mounting a light on a bookcase isn’t an option, look for industrial type “clamp-ons” to attach to the top or sides of the shelves. Small freestanding lamps are a beautiful touch if your shelves are open in the back so the cord can be taped so as not show.
  • Be off the wall. Hang a framed picture from the bookcase molding. This layered look can be intriguing.

“Books are the best decoration,” declared Billy Baldwin. “Best of all, when you decorate with books, no room color is wrong.”

This is a fine example of a hedge position where no one loses…
 Related Posts

Decorating With Books #2: Shelving Your Best Ideas

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