5 Great Ideas to Decorate with Books

Metallic books on a shelf

5 Great Ideas to Decorate with Books

Got Books…Use ’em!

Decorate with books, organize books for projects you may be working on and most importantly make books accessible to the children in your life.

Even in our increasingly digital lives, we have books. Useful books, books for a project, old books, children’s books…you can just line them up, or you can use them in creative and useful ways. Here are 5 ways to decorate with books.

1. Mixed media

Decorating with Books

Use books mixed with decorative items to make your shelves interesting and appealing.

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Here are some book shelves displaying mixed uses.

In this sitting room, adjacent to the kitchen area, the walls are a neutral while the outside of the shelves painted black and distressed. By only painting the exterior of the shelving it is easier to change if you wish and it is less labor intensive.

Old books that are not referenced often line the top shelf and ground the display.

Decorative items are interspersed.

This provides a visually pleasing display, is a home for books, and stores items like the cake stands (stacked on right), decanter, and candy dish in a way that provides storage and decor! The use of vintage and new mercury glass unifies the display.

2. Use books as props to display other items

Sets of books are useful and can be used to elevate and unify a display. Look for pleasing colors that coordinate with your decor and/or the items you wish to display.

A little metallic

A set of silver bound books provides a pedestal for a covered dish to balance the height of an old cocoa pot.

Metallic books on a shelf

Go Green

A stack of green bound books elevates the small robin pitcher giving it  importance as it sits in front of old photos.

Green books with small vase

Storage and decor- Use practical things in unexpected ways

Here the books elevate a vase to fill a tall space and balance the  tall vase to the right.  The bright pink paint and navy cupboards are balanced with classic books.

Books in a nook

You can combine display and storage by using utilitarian pieces, like books with decorative pieces in a coordinated manner.  Make a pile of books work double duty! These happen to be cookbooks on a den shelf.  They are handy when needed, part of the decor, and not taking up valuable storage area in the kitchen.

Tired of the look?  It is easy to change.

3. Big Books..Little Books. Use books to ground decorative items. 

Big books

This small marble container tops off old family bibles. Plan your groupings in uneven numbers for the best look.

Big books

Little Books

These tiny old books are made more important as a pedestal for the cardinal.  Together they are a decorative element, alone they each just look like clutter.

Little books

Find things to group and develop a calm decor with organized spaces that intrigue you while giving your eye places to rest.

4. Containing books and keeping it tidy

Books in a basket

So what about books you are really using?  I corral mine in baskets or bins. Each group has a purpose.  I pull all my resources together and then when I am ready to work, I can just turn to the basket or bin and begin!  It makes it easy to find what I want, easy to move to my big multi-purpose table when the the desk gets too small, and easy to pile them all back when it is time to stop.  I usually have multiple projects at play, each in it’s own container.  Here is a large basket for one project and a fabric bin for another.

Wicker basket with books

You could also use metal containers, plastic bins, wooden boxes  – use your imagination and look around the house for other great containers to decorate with books! Or go shop for some pretty containers that bring you joy and will make your projects feel less like a chore.

5. Books in Kids Spaces

Most importantly, books belong in kids spaces!  Research shows that reading to or with a child makes a bigger difference in their academic success than any other single action!  It even has a bigger impact on college success than expensive prep programs!  So read early, read often and make your home a print rich environment.

Here a stack of books sits by the trolls and an inquisitive squirrel on built in bookshelves ready for some reading.

Bookshelf combo

Kids books

Create a reading corner for kids: Reading Nook

Kids reading corner

Here is a reading corner for kids.  Place kids books on the lower shelves in your living room or den. Add a basket to contain the small books and keep it looking neat, place a rocker there and watch as your children, grandchildren or little visitors find a good read.  A reading partner like the pig helps them have company and gives them a rapt audience for their favorite story!

Use and enjoy your books

So, treasure those books, find decorative and practical uses for them and be sure to include  books in every room!  Got books?  Get them out of hiding and use ‘em! Decorate with books!


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