Decorating with Books

A shelf adorned with books and metal letters for creative decorating.

Books, especially antique, have a distinctive aesthetic appeal that goes beyond their original intention.  If you’ve ever admired a worn gilded spine or the aged paper of an antique or vintage book, you know the draw of these volumes.  New books have their own appeal with beautiful glossy pages full of artful illustrations and photographs.  Both old and new, books can be a part of your decorating plan.

A stack of old books on a table used for decorating.
A glass coffee table decorated with books and flowers.

Bookshelves are the most common place to display books but your shelves don’t have to be ordinary.  Place decorative objects on the shelves to break up the monotony and arrange books flat as well as standing for a variety of heights and visual lines.

A white bookcase decorated with books.

Cover your books with colorful covers to add punch to your room.  Color coordinate book covers to your design scheme.  If you collect classic books in leather bindings, display them on bookshelves alongside collectibles.

A colorful bookcase featuring a couch for decorating with books.
A decorated living room with a lot of bookshelves.

Display your favorite books on the coffee table by themselves or use them as risers for accessories.  Page through a selected book daily, leaving it open to view for daily inspiration; perhaps a dream vacation spot.

A glass coffee table adorned with books, showcasing stylish decorating with books.
A coffee table decorated with books.
A coffee table with books.

On the mantel, use books as part of the décor.  Antique books look great combined with rustic or vintage accessories.  Create nostalgic groupings or pair with candlesticks and collected curiosities.  Accent books with flower arrangements to enhance texture and color.

Decorating with antique books.
Decorating with Books on a Mantle.

If you don’t have bookshelves or space is limited, make a side table from large books.  Stack your favorite reading material beside the bed as a night table.  To prevent damage, have a piece of glass or acrylic cut to go over the books to serve as the top to a book base.

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A stack of books decorating a table.
A table decorated with a stack of books.

Create art with old books.  There are some amazingly talented artists that create wonderful works of art from books.  Try out your own skills and display your work or shop for work sold online or in galleries if you love books and want something different.

A book transformed into a decorative object with a person perched on it.
Altered-book-sculptures-kenjio via
Decorating with Books: A book adorned with an owl.
Two decorative paper flowers adorning a book-themed wall.

There are numerous uses for books, old and new.  Aside from reading, books can give hours of enjoyment as part of your decorating scheme.  On bookshelves, on the coffee table or transformed into furniture or art, books open up a whole new world in your home.


A lamp with a book stack.
A bookshelf with a box filled with books, perfect for decorating with books.
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