Got books? Don’t just settle for storing them in an out-of-sight box somewhere. Decorating with books is a wonderful way to add texture and a personal touch to your space. You can make a statement by creatively displaying your old books, new books, or new-to-you books by mixing them in with art and other accessories. And, a few carefully-considered books – even just four or five – can make a home feel more inviting and lived-in without creating additional clutter.
However, trying to display a store of TOO many books can end up creating an unwanted, cluttered look. I generally recommend leaving about half to a third of the bookcase empty; just because you have space doesn’t mean you have to cram it full of books or other objects you don’t really need. Building in some intentional space actually creates a more visually-inviting display.
So, how do you strike the right balance when it comes to a book display? There are ways to maximize your storage space and have a beautiful-looking bookcase without conveying the image of a musty old bookstore basement. If you have a LOT of books, it would be best to start by deciding if there are books in your collection, you’d be comfortable parting with. This really might be a great time to do a mini-purge!
Now that you’ve whittled your collection down to the books you want to keep, it’s time to put on your designer and/or librarian hat, whichever suits you best and depending on how often you access your library. Or, you could also try on a combination of hats! A grouping of books by subject matter might be somewhat random in color, size, and shape, but it’s easier to pull out the exact book you need when you need it.
Organizing your books this way may naturally look chaotic and even busy, but there are a few creative touches you can then add from a design perspective. Books naturally come in lots of colors. Embrace this, and insert some artful objects like interesting pieces of driftwood, or wooden artifacts that are all the same color, to create a sense of continuity within the colorful patchwork.
If you’re storing books that you don’t actually refer to very often, then the door opens up for you to be able to utilize even more creative display options. For starters, your bookcase will look more calming and balanced if your books are grouped more or less by color. Think about choosing your favorite color, and then focus on featuring displays of books that are similar to that color. The books don’t need to match perfectly; it’s really more interesting to have some visual variety in a collection, anyway. For books you want to keep that are the wrong color, or that just don’t look that visually appealing, you can turn those books around with the spine facing in. Alternatively, you can just pull those books out of the main bookcase and display them someplace else, perhaps in a bedroom or on a coffee table, to create a different effect.
How else do you use your books as room accessories? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section below!