Decorating with Books

Book-lovers (and everyone else) can now fill their home with decor to reflect their literary tastes. Take a page from these clever ideas.

Everything In This Slideshow

  • Coordinating Colors

    Stack books that have covers with similar colors. Here, shades of white, blue, and green all coordinate and make a stylish vignette. Add a sentimental object on top such as the clock in this picture to make the vignette complete.

  • Coffee Table Collection

    Books aren't just for shelves. Convert a coffee table into a library and keep favorite books close at hand. Look for a tiered coffee table. Stack books horizontally, and create separate and distinct stacks. The overall look is clean, classic, and uncluttered. Place the books used most often on the top for easy access.

  • Clean and Contained

    Maintain order by placing several books in a tray. To make the tray more of a focal point, add in a taller element like a vase with a simple flower arrangement. Keeping books in a tray makes clearing the table a breeze. When seasons change, swap out the normal tray for a more festive version and create a completely different look.

  • Entertainment Center

    Turn an old dresser into a combination bookshelf and entertainment center. Remove all the drawers but the top ones, and stack books horizontally inside the openings. Use the remaining drawers for all your tech gear so it stays organized and hidden. Add a few small decorative objects to the top of the dresser for extra polish.

  • Kitchen Collection

    Keep cookbooks close at hand with a kitchen bookcase. Mingle cooking texts with pitchers, serving bowls, and other rarely-used kitchen items. Use the items as book ends, or stack a few cookbooks horizontally to keep a grouping of vertical cookbooks upright.

  • Color Coded

    Make the contents of your bookcases look consistent and organized. Find books with covers from the same color family. Don’t be afraid to use wrapping paper or plain colored paper to cover the books yourself if the covers do not match. Whether books are stacked horizontally or vertically, as long as they are color coordinated, they will never look out of place.

  • Reading Reflections

    To break up the monotony of a large bookcase, hang a mirror directly on the shelves. Here, a circular mirror works well since the bookcase is made of small squares. Place rarely read books or decorative objects in the cubbies partially covered by the frame, so you can still easily access books you frequently read.

  • Copy and Paste

    For a clean look, start with similar arrangements. Here, the top and bottom shelves both start with a stack of vertically positioned books, then the middle shelves sport horizontal stacks. Place stacks on the opposite sides of the shelves and fill in with accessories. Add wallpaper to the back of the bookcase to make the space feel even more personalized.

  • Story Hour

    Combine toy and book storage in a child’s room with one big bookcase. Place fabric bins filled with toys in some of the cubbies and fill in others with books. When you have kids in the house, be sure to anchor tall and heavy pieces of furniture to the wall to prevent tipping.

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    Split the Space

    Leave space on bookshelves so there is room to incorporate other mementos besides books. Photos, clocks, and other curiosities make this bookcase feel more personal and show the homeowner’s own personal style. If there aren’t enough books to fill the entire bookcase, disperse them randomly throughout a large bookcase, and add your own personal mementos.

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    Every Which Way

    For a large book collection, tilt books in different directions to make the entire bookcase look more visually interesting. Books can be stacked horizontally on top of one another, vertically, and even lean at an angle to add visual rhythm to a bookcase filled to the brim.

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    By Size

    To construct a bookcase that looks thought-out and put together, group books that are relatively the same height. For a bookcase bonus, update the back with paint. With a little background color, objects inside will pop and be noticed. If the contents of your bookcase are a lighter color, opt for a darker paint color and vice versa.

  • Next Slideshow Tips on Arranging Accessories

    Tips on Arranging Accessories

    Learn several designer techniques for arranging and displaying collectibles and accessories.
    Begin Slideshow »
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