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17 Ways to Incorporate Books Into Your Home Decor

12 January 2013

From The Huffington Post:

The best decorating item is one that’s also useful. Books — antique or new, hardcover or paperback, big or small — are the easiest, and most effective, accessory that you can have in your home. Books add individuality and personality. They can become a pedestal for a small item or provide an interactive coffee table decoration. They can even be presented in such a way that they become an artistic statement.

. . . .

Books and magazines can also make a unique pedestal for decorative items.

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A pair of mid-century bookends sit on either side of three design books. The decorative bookends stand out because I’ve chosen predominantly black-and-white book covers. I added a small mid-century black-and-white mosaic dish on the table to complete the look.

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The first comment to the article was, “When owning books becomes more about the decor than being read, you know civilisation is in trouble.”

Link to the rest at The Huffington Post and thanks to Patricia for the tip.

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19 Comments to “17 Ways to Incorporate Books Into Your Home Decor”

  1. “When owning books becomes more about the decor than being read, you know civilisation is in trouble.”

    P.G.

    Too blinkin’ right. Art is mostly a lot of wallop, sharks in formaldehyde and pictures of where a woman has micturated in the snow?

    When I lived alone, I kept a spartan place. To the point where any guests would always comment thus: “Brendan, there’s nuffink here!” In a mixture of exasperation, concern and wonder, perhaps for my artistic soul.

    Cobblers. Function dictates form and books, along with the dreadful conning thievery of almost all post modernist art, are part of the past.

    Everything must win its place in the fiery furnace of function. No shelves, and NO FLAT SURFACES. Upon which, if given the opportunity, people will place carp.

    brendan (neatnik nazi.)

  2. Feh.

    I have six full bookcases in my living room, and that is because I do not have room for seven. The rest of my books are still boxed up in the spare room, or lying around loose in the bedroom (or safely and invisibly stored on my computer or my phone). I do not have decor and would not use books for that purpose if I did.

    The first commenter has the right of it, absolutely. Using books to make a plinth for a tacky little porcelain bowl, in particular, is an abomination. It would serve the culprit right if someone yanked the books out from under the knickknack, thereby shattering it, in order to actually read them.

    • “I do not have room for seven.”

      Tom,

      I have matches, and there are homeless people in your town that need warmth!

      brendan 🙂

    • I’m with Tom. And a full bookcase can be decorative in itself. I like nothing better than seeing a full bookcase in someone’s home and will happily go through and see what they’ve got. You can tell a lot about somebody by the books they read.

      • Okay, Robert, I’ll take you up on that. Here’s my house. Bookcase 1: Children’s fantasy; classic texts such as Shakepeare, Tao Te Ching, The Art of War; and Wonder Woman coloring books. Bookcase 2: Comic books, mainly X-Men, Wonder Woman and The Sandman. Bookcase 3: Star Wars and Star Trek novelizations. Bookcase 4: Romance, mainly contemporary and paranormal. Bookcase 5: Fantasy, both urban and epic. Bookcase 6: Science Fiction. Bookcase 7: Mysteries and literary works. Bookcase 8: Reference books on magick, mythology, sex, writing, and history, plus some graphic novels that don’t fit on the comics bookcase.

        P.S. Those are just mine. Not counting Darling Husband’s and Genius Kid’s bookhshelves.

        Go!

      • Robert wrote: “I like nothing better than seeing a full bookcase in someone’s home and will happily go through and see what they’ve got. You can tell a lot about somebody by the books they read.”

        Years ago, I was invited to the country estate of (what I have ever since called) my Masterpiece Theater friends. I was the first American guest they’d ever had, and the father of the family and I weren’t sure about each other at first. On my second evening in the house, dressed for dinner, I went early into the library for pre-prandial cocktails… and discovered it was a REAL library, jammed to the gills with dog-eared, well-thumbed books the family actually READ, covering the subjects they enjoyed and the writers they liked.

        While I browsing, alone in the room, the father came in to mix drinks. I pulled my nose out of the books and straightened up from the shelves to speak with him politely. But he said, “No, no, go on with what you were doing. Nothing more annoying than hosts who WILL insist on speaking to you when all you want to do is look at their books. Believe me, I know!”

        And we’ve been pals ever since. 🙂

        • Sweet!

        • Yes, really nice story. I’m sure your host was, quite rightly, proud of his collection of books and extremely flattered when you took an interest – I know I would be. I guess browsing through somebody’s virtual library on a hard drive or eBook wouldn’t have evoked the same response.

          • “I guess browsing through somebody’s virtual library on a hard drive or eBook wouldn’t have evoked the same response.”

            Robert,

            There are one or two volumes on my shelf I would be less than uncomfortable to share with likely visitors. Bearing in in mind the general population of GA, they might get quite a a shock.

            Ally that feeling of slight nervousness, and then apply it to a computer, where people are much more private, I think it would give most of us the screaming habdabs.

            Course, could be I’m just paranoid.

            brendan

            • I think we all have books like that. I remember as a young man inviting a new girlfriend round to my place who started going through my books. She pulled out several volumes of ‘History of my Life,’ by Casanova and gave me a raised eyebrow. I managed to mollify her suspicions by pointing out they provided valuable historical insight (which was true). However, when she later stumbled across a few Playboys in a drawer, her suspicions were less easy to placate.

          • “I guess browsing through somebody’s virtual library on a hard drive or eBook wouldn’t have evoked the same response.”

            Well, for one thing, you’d have to seize their e-reader or smart phone, which might seem a tad intrusive.

  3. Nothing makes me crazier than articles on how to decorate bookcases, and then they put in everything except books! Or maybe one or two. And then they arrange them by color. Or the WORST advice, take off the dust jackets. Hello? A book with its original dustjacket can be quite valueable indeed, to say nothing of being interesting and lovely. I have books and places to hold them in every single room, and that includes bathrooms and kitchen. Right now they are a higgeldy piggeldy mess, but it makes me happy to have them around me. Thankfully, my non-book reading hubs understands this. When redesigning the kitchen, one of his first questions was “Where do you want the shelves for your books?”

  4. I hate those damn people that wander around looking for flat surfaces upon which to place their Carp. It started out with just fisherman but now its become a trend! When will this end?!! 🙂

  5. Much as I like looking at books of interior design, interior designers make me crazy! So many of them seem to forget that the space they are creating will be used, not just looked at. And must also be cleaned. (Even if that wealthy client hires out all their cleaning, someone has to do it. Seems mean to create and dump an unnecessarily impossible cleaning job on the cleaning staff just out of whim and caprice.) Books as plinths and sculpture seem more of same.

  6. My first reaction to the bowl perched on the books? Are those rejection letters stuffed inside it?

  7. The reason our home does not have two libraries is that the children’s library has a bed in it and is apparently therefore technically a guest bedroom.

    The only way that books are used for decor in our home is that we take some of the more unusual ones and put them on tabletoppers we bought from Borders which are on top of the library table. If either of us caught somebody putting a bowl on top of one of our books, it would be… unpleasant for them.

  8. If I had books stacked with a bowl on top of them like in that first picture, I would quickly run out of room for the bowl because I would stack books to the ceiling (or as high as I could reach, which is to say, nowhere near the ceiling). I do, however, have some awesome bookends I hope to show off someday–they’re marble statues of a hooded person reading.

    In my dream future house, every single wall will be lined with bookcases, even the doors. Now that’s decor.

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