Friday, May 14, 2010

Other Ways to Decorate with Books

In my last post about backing your bookcase, you saw books in their natural environment. Lined up, stacked, contained and confined. That doesn't sound so great though, does it? If you love your books as much as I love mine, spread some of them around. Let them have some fun! These books, above and below, get to welcome your guests and roll around on a tea cart.

[Better Homes & Gardens]

These get to stack up with a bunch of their buddies on a pretty purple table. Notice how some are acting as risers to show off accessories and lend dimension to the tabletop display. Books, like dogs, are happiest when they have a job to do.

[Elle Decor]

Here, a few carefully-coordinated volumes support a beautiful arrangement of flowers so that it's not overshadowed by the drama of the shell-framed mirror.

[Lynn Von Kersting via BH&G]

Also in an important supporting role, the books on the left-hand bedside table lift the lamp to the same height as the one to the right. Think about this next time you use mismatched tables—or mismatched lamps—beside your bed or sofa. Keep your lampshades lined up. Books love to help.

[Southern Living]

When you've run out of conventional storage space, as Joni did, pile your books on a table, stack them in baskets, add a collection of objects and your overflow becomes artful arrangement. No one needs to know that you've simply bought way too many books!

[Cote de Texas]

A single, beautiful book becomes art itself. Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, below, has been the center of attention on countless coffee tables. No doubt the other books are jealous, but some are just born to be stars.

[Kendall Wilkinson via OKL]

Other books enjoy being members of the ensemble. In this display, below, colorful books arranged facing forward on ledges take the place of artwork above the sofa.

[Pottery Barn]

High above the sofa—and everything else!—these brave books line up on shelves built over the windows just for them. How will they ever get down? Your guess is as good as mine.

[Apartment Therapy]

At the opposite end of the wall, way down at kid level, the books below are displayed on an old-fashioned plate rack, making them easy for little hands to grab at story time. Plus, their attractive covers make great art in your child's room.

[Martha Stewart Living]

All the way down on the floor now, a graduated stack of books becomes a table. This is the perfect job for those over-sized volumes that don't easily fit into bookcases. A tip: don't put much on top of that stack in the way of accessories. It's not the most stable surface after all. Do leave room for your cup of tea and a small plate so you can have a snack while curled up in the adjacent chair. Reading, of course, yet another book.

[Real Simple]

The ultimate in "books as decor"—a dedicated library. This one was created from an under-used dining room. A terrific idea, I think. On most days this room serves as reading, research and storage space. Then, imagine how cozy it would be to dine by candlelight among the textures and colors and countless stories contained within your collection of books.

[Cottage Living]

If you're interested in learning more about decorating with books, here's a book named just that. I don't have this one myself, surprising considering how much I love both decorating and books. I have peeked into it at the bookstore, however, and it probably will come home with me sometime soon. Because you really can never have too many books. Even books about books.


Averill said...

Great ideas Tracy. Particularly love the plate rack as book display (this would also be great in a kitchen for cookbooks).

Love Where You LIve said...

I love books!! They're great when you want or need to alter elevations, and offer such a nice personal touch to a home!

My Yellow House said...

What an great post - I just love how you wrote it. We have a lot of books and I didn't, before now, really know what to do with them. I need to get rid of some but feel so guilty doing that - I'll just display them everywhere. The library/dining room idea is one of my all time favorites - I can just imagine how cozy it would be be candlelight ~
Enjoy your day!

the gardeners cottage said...

hi tracey,

i have always loved that last dining/library room. i would love to do something like that here but it would require a craftsman and some money. i'm short on both.

have a nice saturday.


Kathy Carbone said...

That one from Southern Living is quite inspiring. It reminds me of the rental apartment we stayed in while we're on vacation in Sarasota. The flooring is very traditional and relaxing. I like having my books on my bedside.