Decorating with Books

Decorating Your Home with Books

Books play a large role in my  life. There is something about holding a book in your hand that can evoke memories, sights, smells, and even sounds that bring you back in time. For me, and I’m sure most book lovers, it’s often not enough to read the book; we have to own it and be surrounded by them.  Over the years, I have used my personal book collection as a way to interject my personality into my home. There are countless ways to decorate with books while at the same time showing  off my love of the written word.


Coffee Table Books

The ubiquitous coffee table book, as much a design element as it is a tome, is a great conversation starter, and the perfect way to accent your living room décor. One of my all time faves is the Louis Vuitton 100 Legendary Trunks and a close second is Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life. And, don’t forget you can rotate your books just like you would your accent pillows.


Depending on the size and style of your coffee table, you can display these books prominently or subtly. I like to set them out right on top of the table, but if your table has a lower shelf like this wood and glass cocktail table displaying the books below the glass can evoke the look of a framed piece of art.

Cocktail Table-square with wood & glass (LEAD) 643x497
Gorgeous Wood and Glass Cocktail Table and the casters make it easy to move around.


Desk and Table Top Displays

If your taste in books leans toward decorative or leather bound matching sets you might want to pick up a classic.  You can display one or two sets on top of a console table, desk, or hall table and while you’re at it, why not add a large rock crystal or a pair of  fabulous blue Foo Dogs.


Pair Gorgeous Blue Foo Dogs lead 643x497
Pair of Gorgeous Foo Dogs


A helpful tip to remember is when displaying books make sure they are  large enough to fill about ¾ of the table or desktop. For example, if you wanted to complement a small wood console similar to this piece which measures 43-inches wide and

Small Wood Console with 3 Drawers(LEAD) 643x497
Clean, simple and totally righteous, this Small Wood Console is waiting for that empty spot in your foyer


14-inches deep, you want the books to take up a little less than 36-inches total including the book ends. Taking up too much or too little space can make any table look odd . For this piece, I also prefer placing the books on the top of the table and using the bottom shelf to display other items that take up height, like a large piece of pottery  and balancing it out with some  greenery at the other end giving pleasing asymmetry to the entire piece. 


Whitewash Clay Pot(LEAD) 643x497
This Whitewash Clay Pot with its unique shape can stand on its own sculpturally


Wall to Wall Book Shelves

When it comes to those wall to wall book shelves don’t be tempted to fill them from top to bottom complete with a ladder.  Instead, take the opportunity to create wall art. Layout your books both horizontally and vertically, mix your books with other decorative items like photos, pottery, collectibles; any type of personal memento. You can also color coordinate your books to match your décor.  A couple more tips to remember when filling your bookshelf –  first, balance out your books and objects with 30% empty space so you get that clean and non cluttered look and second, don’t be intimated by the high prices of coffee table or other decorative hard cover books –  you can always find some pretty amazing books at your local thrift shop, online at Etsy or eBay, as well as in the sale section of your favorite book store.


Paul McCobb Etegere (LEAD) 643x497
Collectible Mid-century Paul McCobb is waiting for your books


Show Off Your Love of Reading

While more and more people are turning to e-books, there are many people like me who are nostalgic for the real thing and those memories they invoke. I like the convenience of my iPad and Kindle, but I love to share what I read and displaying my books is one great way for me to do that.   So, if you are like me consider adding those beautiful books to any room of your home and show off your love of the written word.

Leave a Reply