The Ultimate Guide: Ideas For Decorating With Books You Have And Love

Have you ever thought about decorating with all those books you love? This timeless approach adds charm and a personalized touch to your space, creating a uniquely inviting atmosphere.

DECORATING WITH BOOKS-a trio of books on the coffee table

I have seen Atlanta burn and Scarlet fall in love with Rhett and made pie pumpkin pie with pie genius Erin McDowell. I was a spy in France during World War 11 along with Kate Quinn in The Alice Network, and I cried for the abandoned hungry child in The Glass Castle and wondered out loud how this happened. I said goodnight to the moon with my grandson and laughed until I cried with my book club when Tilly ate the pie! Each book I read, no matter the genre, teaches me, touches me, and leaves its imprint on my life.

If you are a book lover like me, you might ask what do books have with decorating? What a great question! The answer is a lot!

Maybe you have never considered books to be treasured interior design elements for your home. Books don’t just belong in the confines of a bookshelf. Let’s pull these books we love out from our bookshelves and stacks and discover how books can become important home decor to enhance your home’s beauty and personality.

Whether you’re a book lover, a design enthusiast, or simply searching for creative ways to elevate your home decor, this guide will give you ideas and get you excited about decorating with books. They are a treasure that should be on display in your home!

Why Decorate With Books

DECORATING WITH BOOKS-books with a vase of tulips on top of it

Who doesn’t love a good book? Even from the earliest age, books have not only been a part of our lives but also helped shape them. Right now, my youngest grandson loves to read Good Night Moon. He can recite the rhyming words and loves pointing to what he reads about in the pictures. I remember reading this same book to his Mama!

Books hold a special place in our hearts, taking us on journeys to different worlds and sparking new ideas. Why only use them to read? Once they are closed or not being used, why not grace your home with a book and use it as decor? They tell so much about us, so decorating with them brings some of our personality into a room. It represents our love of literature and signals what our interests are.

Beyond that, books’ visual charm is key to adding them as decor to your home. I love books with book jackets or not for their sizes and colors and for the endless ways they work in my home. Books introduce color, texture (especially my burlap-covered books), depth, and even a sense of history, and this adds warmth and a welcoming sense to my home.

Who can resist picking up a book or looking at the pages in one left open? Books have a quiet ability to create curiosity in us. They also link us together and become great conversation starters. My coffee table books never stay on my coffee table when a few of my friends come over for coffee. They get picked up, perused, shared, and voila… the books become an instant conversation starter, giving guests a little glimpse into your interests that shape your life.

Our home is littered with books. My favorites are cookbooks because I read them like some people read romance novels, decorating books, which I have way too many of and art books. Bobbb’s home library consists of history books, which I like to share too. We both have Christian books, devotionals, and, of course, several Bibles.

We decorate with books, because they are our teachers, our entertainment, so why not show them off.

Different Ways To Incorporate Books Into Your Home

DECORATING WITH BOOKS-books with a vase of tulips on top of it

When it comes to incorporating books into your decor, the possibilities are endless. Let’s explore some creative ideas to put all those books to good use.

Color-Coordinated Bookshelves

How Do you arrange your books? By author, by size, by genre? Have you ever arranged them by color?

Organizing books by color is a fun way to use books as part of your decor. By arranging your books in a rainbow-like spectrum, you create a visually striking display that adds a pop of color to your space. I love this idea. especially if you have a plethora of books.

Place books book spine side to the back of the bookshelf or bookcase for a whimsical monochromatic look.

I do this on a more limited level and more monochromic color scheme. I love to cover books in burlap! They bring so much texture to my neutral-colored decor, are also very easy to make, and are great budget-friendly decor.

We also have three years, going on four, of Chatbooks that we stack in our bookcase when they are not in use.

Vintage Book Displays

For those who appreciate the charm of old books, start adding vintage books front and center to your home.

Gather a collection of vintage books with worn-out covers and stack them in different heights and sizes. Add a small lamp to a couple vintage books with worn covers. Put an antique book in a glass or plexiglass box on a table. This book display will get lots of attention!

Clever Book Storage For Smaller Spaces

If you’re short on space, books can still be a part of your decor without taking up much room. You might want to use the small space under your stairs to create a narrow bookshelf if you have stairs. Oh, I love this idea!

You can also utilize wall-mounted bookshelves or floating bookshelves to maximize vertical space. These clever storage solutions keep your books organized and serve as decor elements that will get noticed. Just keep them very organized!

Choosing The Right Books For Your Style

a stack of green and beige books that work with the color story and aesthetics of a sunroom.

Choosing ones that align with your style and interests is important when decorating with books. The books you select should complement your decor and reflect your taste and personality. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right books for your space.

Choose Books That Work With Your Color Story

Choosing books that work with your style and the home decor around them is important when using books as decor. Please don’t shoot the messenger, but hear me out. I know people are very opinionated about books!

If you are a book aficionado and have more books than you can count, it will probably be easy to pick and choose books to enhance your decor.

Consider Using Books You Love To Read As Decor

In our home, as I shared earlier, we love history, and I love decorating books. These are the books we primarily decorate with in our living spaces. This winter, I’m getting out more of my favorite cookbooks and casually displaying them on our small table in the kitchen under the long window seat.

Think about the genre of books that resonate with you the most. If you’re a fan of classic literature, opt for timeless novels and poetry collections. If you’re more into non-fiction, choose books on subjects that interest you, such as art, history, or science. By selecting books that you genuinely enjoy reading, you’ll create a space that feels authentic and true to your interests.

Pay Attention To Aesthetics

Our home’s decor aesthetic is calm and warm, so many times, I find when books are grouped together as decor, the book jackets can get a bit too loud and busy. To my surprise, under their dust jackets, so many of the hard-cover decorating books have textural fabric and interesting detailing on their spines and are dressed in beautiful hues. It’s like finding a little decor goldmine!

Mix And Match

Don’t be afraid to mix and match different types of books. Combine hardcovers with paperbacks, modern editions with vintage ones, and fiction with non-fiction. The key is to create an eclectic mix that reflects your diverse interests and adds visual interest to your decor. Experiment with different sizes and orientations to create an interesting display.

DECORATING WITH BOOKS- eclectic books in a basket near a chair

The easy way I do this is to put a mish-mosh of books in a basket. It’s akin to the bargain book bin at a local bookstore. It’s irresistible! I put what we are reading now, some children’s books for our grandchildren, a cookbook or two, a devotional, and a few other assortments. We all pick through this basket next to the most comfortable chair in our home.

Fun Ways To Get Creative With Books

DECORATING WITH BOOKS-on thin burlap book with a large shallow bowl on top of it

Now that you have an idea of the types of books to incorporate into your decor and a few ideas for displaying them, let’s look at other ways you can use books to decorate your home.

Use Books As Risers

Books are go-to risers in our home! Books are like the Chameleons of home styling—adaptable and full of character! And putting them in a stack with something wonderful on top of it creates instant design magic! Books have such diverse spines and covers to make a one-of-a-kind riser. They serve as a supporting actor for other decor to be the star.

It’s not just about elevating things but also about telling your story when it comes to using books. Depending on the books you use, just think about what those titled spines will say! When you use books as risers, you’re not just adding height, you’re adding a touch of literary charm, a bit of your own history, and a whole lot of style to your home.

Books As Fillers

Books are perfect to use in vignettes. More often than not, my vignettes and arrangements have at least one book in them. I strategically tuck a couple of books to fill gaps and add depth to arrangments and vignettes.

My coffee and end tables have shelves, so I call on a well-curated stack of books to fill up this negative space.

Wherever you have an empty space that conspicuously needs to be filled, think about adding books.

Use Books When You Just Need Something

Incorporating books into your decor is a timeless and versatile way to add a finishing touch to any space, arrangement, or vignette.

Books add texture and dimension to a space, breaking up flat surfaces and creating visual interest. The varied sizes, colors, and textures of book covers contribute to a layered and dynamic aesthetic.

The large white, shallow bowl in the image above needed something to delineate and separate it from the white buffet. So a thin-covered book was the perfect decorating solution!

Bookshelves As A Focal Point

DECORATING WITH BOOKS-colorful books with bookends

Bookshelves are not just for storing books; they can also serve as a focal point in your room. Here are some tips on how to make your bookshelves stand out.

Mix Books With Other Home Decor

Experiment with different book arrangements to create visual interest. Instead of arranging books in a traditional vertical manner, try stacking them horizontally or diagonally. Mix in decorative objects such as vases, sculptures, or framed photos to break up the monotony and add dimension to your bookshelves.

The one bookcase we have in our open-concept home is at the end of our long foyer before entering the living room. Our glass front bookcase boasts some of our favorite books mixed with other decor.

Use Books And Bookends As Decor

Bookends are not only functional but also decorative. Choose bookends that complement your decor style, whether it’s minimalist, vintage, or eclectic. Additionally, consider adding bookshelf accessories such as small plants, figurines, or decorative bookplates to personalize your shelves and make them more visually appealing.

Curating Bookshelves

Instead of filling your bookshelves to the brim, leave some empty spaces to create a curated display. This allows your books and decorative items to breathe and gives your shelves a more curated and intentional look.

DECORATING WITH BOOKS-colorful books with bookends

Check out Decorating A Bookshelf The Easy Way for ideas and ways to give your bookcases and shelves a curated look.

The Sweetest Surprise

I was visiting a friend, and of course, I could not resist picking up one of her books. To my surprise, something fell out when I was leafing through the book’s pages. My initial reaction was, “Oh, no, what did I do?’ I picked up what fell out, and to my delight, it was an old-fashioned Valentine’s card. My friend is also a collector of vintage things, and seeing this sweet postcard in the book made me smile.

Consider adding small personal touches to your book displays to make your book decor truly personal. This could be anything from photographs, postcards, or handwritten notes tucked between the pages of your favorite books. These little details make your decor more intimate and remind you of the memories and emotions associated with the books.

Of all the ideas today, this is my favorite!

DIY Book Projects To Make With Your Books

DECORATING WITH BOOKS-colorful books with bookends

If you’re feeling crafty, plenty of DIY projects allow you to transform books into unique decor pieces. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Cover Books

I’ve been covering books since the third grade. Then, it was with paper to keep their covers clean, but since I’ve been a decorator, I’ve covered books with all kinds of things.

My two favorite ways to cover books are with burlap and cocktail napkins!

Covering books with materials like linen and burlap gives them such decor cred! Almost all our public spaces have at least one burlap-covered book in them. You can see How To Cover Books With Burlap for detailed directions.

All the burlap-covered books in our home can still be read. Choose and cover a stack of old books (I get mine at a library book sale). They will quickly become one of your favorite go-to decor items.

My most recent book DIY is covering books with the printed tissue from cocktail napkins. This is addictive! Make sure to check out Easy Torn Tissue Covered Books. Aren’t these books wild?

Book Page Leaves, Flowers, And Other Things

I’ve used pages from old tattered books to create leaves for fall garlands and flowers to mimic spring branches. This is such a fun, easy way to use book pages to decorate.

Just another way to use books as a part of your decor.

Tips For Organizing And Maintaining Your Books

Once you’ve created your bookish decor, organizing and maintaining it to keep it looking its best is important. Here are some tips to help you:

Dust Your Books

Dust your books and bookshelves regularly to keep them looking clean and fresh. Use a soft cloth or a feather duster to gently remove dust from the covers and shelves. Avoid using liquid cleaners or abrasive materials that could damage the books or their covers.

Rotate Your Books

To keep your decor interesting, consider rotating the books you display once in a while. Swap out books from different genres or themes to create a new look and keep your space feeling fresh. This also allows you to showcase different books and gives you the opportunity to rediscover forgotten favorites.

This idea is a do what I say and not what I do idea. I keep all my favorites close by!

Keep An Organized System

If you have a large book collection, it’s important to have an organized system to keep track of your books. Consider using a cataloging app or software to create a digital library that makes finding and locating specific books easy. You can also label your bookshelves or use bookplates to categorize your collection and make it more manageable.

I think bookplates are such a romantic idea. There are so many different kinds to choose from. They are especially useful if you lend your books out.

DECORATING WITH BOOKS-books on a buffet with bookends

Decorating with books is a lovely way to infuse your living space with literary charm and personal style. From color-coordinated bookshelves to captivating book displays, there are endless ways to incorporate books into your decor.

Choose books that reflect your interests and aesthetics, and create displays and vignettes that showcase their beauty. Personalize your space by displaying your favorite reads and collections, and get creative with DIY book projects. Remember to organize and maintain your book decor to keep it looking its best.

It really does not matter if you are a book collector or an occasional reader. Use what you have to create a sense of literary charm to your home that hints at your interests and personality.

FAQs About Decorating With Books

The simplest and sturdiest way to stack books is to stack the largest books at the bottom and the smallest books on top. From there, you can decide how you want to decorate them according to color, genre, or style.

Designers sometimes turn books around on a bookshelf to expose the books’ pages for aesthetics. This gives books a calmer, more uniform look.

People have been doing this forever! Think of all the aristocratic libraries people in past times have owned. Coffee table books may not be read, but pictures are enjoyed. The same for cookbooks and craft books.

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    1. Laura, my office/library looks like those book shelves. I enjoy the colourful mix of books I love. I only keep favourites, the rest I donate. When decorating with larger books, I pick by color to co-ordinate with my vignettes. So I do a bit of both.

      1. How sweet! I was a teacher and we did all kinds of special things with books.

    2. I embrace many of her thoughts and ideas about books. I just don’t have lots walls to add bookshelves.

      1. Love displaying my books! I saw you have one of my favorites co-authored by Zoe Francois. Love her creativity. I am fortunate to live in the Twin Cities where she
        lives also. Looking forward to taking one of her baking classes this year.

  1. I was an elementary school librarian. A couple of my displays that the kids loved was to make different shapes representing the holidays. For example gathering all green book spines and stacking them into the shape of a tree.I would also have students choose books using the titles on the spine edge to spell out different sentences/messages when stacked on top of each other.
    Books are so magical! Thank you for this post. I really enjoyed it!

    1. Love the message idea!

    2. That is such a cute idea! Our library does a book tree.

  2. I save all the little notes my husband wrote that came with the flowers he bought me over the years and put them in the pages of my cookbooks. I often read them again when looking for recipes and it reminds me of his love for me.

  3. The Glass Castle is one of my favorite books ever and I have read several hundred. Some others are: Something In The Water, the wonderful first book by Catherine Steadman who was in Downton Abbey. Where The Heart Is by Billie Letts, and Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell.