How to Decorate with Books {Ideas & Tips}

Books are an often overlooked but invaluable tool for decorating.  After all, how many people think of books as “decor”?  The great thing is that most of us probably have books lying around the house collecting dust when we could be putting them to good use!  Books can be used for textureheight, color, or even as general filler.  And even if your books don’t have pretty covers or a coordinated look, you can still use them in decorating.  {See below for details!}

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Before we get started, though, I wanted to take a moment to share with you one of my favorite types of books – the Deckle Edge.  Deckle Edge books are those that have unevenly cut pages.  Centuries ago, it used to be that paper sheets were made individually on a deckle.  When the papery slurry {wet paper pulp} was spread out, some would seep under the screen and create a rough edge to the paper.  Modern machines now create perfectly cut edges, but books with a Deckle Edge are now seen as higher quality and thus, have a higher price.  Some modern books are now even machine-made to have the appearance of a Deckle Edge for aesthetic reasons.  The top book below an example of a Deckle Edge.

 

1. Texture

The covers {or lack thereof!} and pages of a book can add a great, organic texture to a room, space, or vignette.  Whether you have an eclectic look or a clean, contemporary space, books can add a bit of warmth and break up the space for added interest.

 

 

2. Height

Get a little boost from books!  Sometimes in design, an object that you want to use might not be tall enough for the space.  In these cases, you can use pedestals as a base, or just use books,  A stack of books is a great way to add necessary height!

 

 

3. Color

Since I’m a neutral-lover at heart, I don’t have a lot of books  with color {or if I do, they’ve been recovered – see below}, but hardcover books in particular often have gorgeous covers that are beautiful when displayed.  A carefully selected group of books can help tie a room’s color scheme together or can break up neutrals for an added pop of color!

 

4. Filler

Cabinets and bookcases in particular have a lot of space to be filled and unless you’re showcasing a collection, you’ll need some filler items to help make the other pieces of decor stand out.  Books make great filler because they take up space without detracting from other objects that are meant to be the focal points.

 

 

DIY Book Covers

Now let’s chat for a moment how to decorate with books even if they don’t have a look you like.  I buy a lot of vintage books specifically for use in decorating, so I look for Deckle Edge books or those that have covers to coordinate with my decorating style.  I do, of course, own a lot of books that I purchased for their content and I still use these in decorating by simply updating their cover!

 

1. DIY Fabric Covered

In my guest room, I have a selection of books for the guests to read and used fabric to recover them for a more cohesive look.  You can read how to cover them with fabric {HERE}.

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2. DIY Paper Covered

Another less expensive way to cover books is to just use brown kraft paper, paper bags, or even decorative paper for a fancier look.  Leave the covers blank or stamp them as I did below.  For a step-by-step tutorial on how to cover books with paper, you can visit my post {HERE}.

 

 

And lastly, books that get used often or that you don’t want to recover can still look like part of your decor if you simple corral, or group them! Baskets and trays are great ways to store a group of dissimilar books and make them feel like an intentional part of the decor.

 

 

 

I must admit I am so relieved that my site is up and working again!  Thank you so much for your patience while it was down and to those of you who tested it out for me the other day.  I love so many aspects of blogging, but the technical side is not one of them…especially when there’s a problem!

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

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2 comments on How to Decorate with Books {Ideas & Tips}

  1. Garden, Home and Party
    October 29, 2015 at 4:05 PM (2 years ago)

    I love using books in my home. We have a great public library with a “friends of the library” store where you can buy all kinds of books that have been donated. The prices are fantastic and sometimes you find vintage books with great cloth covers. Great post. I never knew the history of deckle edged books.
    xo,
    Karen

    Reply
  2. Clara
    November 21, 2016 at 2:15 PM (9 months ago)

    This is one of the most stupid things I’ve seen. You could try and read them instead.

    Reply

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