6 Smart Ways to Decorate With Books

Sharon Greenthal
Written by Sharon Greenthal
Updated August 20, 2021
Home office with book shelves
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Decorating with books changes your page-turners into decorative props

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Once you’ve finished that novel and left a review on Goodreads, don’t just toss it onto a shelf and forget about it. Books are a simple and unique way to color, dimension, and style to your space. Here are six ways you can incorporate books into your decor.

1. Make a Big Statement

Books color-coordinated on a shelf
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If you’re an avid reader, make your books the room's focal point with a wall-to-wall bookshelf. Organize them alphabetically, by genre, or by title—whatever way is best for you and your collection. 

2. Color-Coordinate

Books color-coordinated on a shelf
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Sort your books by color to add a modern, fun look to your living space. Arrange your books into a rainbow pattern or coordinate each shelf to have a different colorway. Whether you have hundreds of books or a few dozen, sorting by color will turn your run-of-the-mill library into a kaleidoscopic collection. 

3. Go Minimalist

Books On Shelf At Home
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If your home leans towards a more minimalist and muted decor, shelving your books with the pages facing out will work well with your design aesthetic. The monochromatic pages play well with a more neutral color scheme while adding texture in a low-key style.

4. DIY Book Covers

Vintage reading room with old books.
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If you want to make a statement without using words, cover your books for a crisp, uniform look. You can use any paper you want, but if you want to keep it simple and luxe you can’t go wrong with burlap, brown butcher paper, or simple white paper. Be sure to keep extra wrapping on hand for any additions to your collection.

5. Use Books as Decorative Objects

Books as decor
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Use books to style your coffee table, bedside table, or any other surface in your home.

Place a book on a display stand to highlight the cover or open the book to pages that contain images you love or words that are meaningful to you—a touch perfect for a boho design.

You can also stack two or three books to create visual interest and add objects to turn an ordinary surface into a visually pleasing vignette. You can pair your books with:

  • Bowls

  • Boxes

  • Figurines

  • Houseplants

  • Candles

  • Small vases

  • Framed photos

6. Don't Forget the Cookbooks

Cookbooks on shelf in kitchen
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Add a narrow shelf or two to your kitchen and show off your cookbooks. Displaying them spine-out adds a homey touch to your space and makes your go-to recipes easy to grab. For a delicious touch of design, display your fave with the cover out or on a bookstand.

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