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Tell a Different Story: 7 Ways to Decorate with Books

If you’ve long supported a fiction-consumption habit, there are probably more than a few books lying around your home. And if your personal library is starting to look more like a clutter trap, put them to work! With a little rearranging, your tomes can become functional and decorative additions to any room in your home.

Try one of these clever ways to decorate with books:

1. Stable end table. Show off your literary taste and give your guests a place to set their drinks at the same time by stacking a few books next to a funky couch-side table. If you don’t have enough books to reach the top of your chairs, cheat the system by starting the stack on a basket or small stool. We like this method because a super-tall stack of books is an accident waiting to happen! 

2. Conversation-starting centerpiece. What separates a dinner party from plain ol’ dinner? Decorations! With a few stacks of books, your table will say “elegant,” “worldly” and maybe even “Gatsby.” The trick is to make it look deliberate – you don’t want your centerpiece to say “messy bookworm.” Stack a couple of pretty hardback books and then place a vase or candle on top.

3. Colorful art piece. Turn an old bookshelf into a lively display by color-blocking your books. Put your blue and gray-spined books on one shelf, reds and pinks on another and white-spined tomes in a place all their own. The more books you have, the better this décor move looks. Tip: Don’t feel obligated to only use hardback books – paperbacks add texture and visual interest to the shelf.

4. Dress up an empty fireplace. Is there a nonworking fireplace sitting empty in your house? Don’t let that space go to waste. Instead, dress it up with books. Ironically, tome-filled fireplaces look most intentional when the books aren’t perfectly stacked. Lean a few, stack a handful and play around with the directions the spines are facing – in, out or mixed up all look great!

5. On the mantle. Bare mantles are begging to be decorated. Give that empty space some literary charm with a few books. Stack them together (bookends optional) or place a candle or flower vase on top of the horizontal tome. Tip: Hardcover, monochromatic books look best for this spot.  

6. Books as a shelf. All you need for a decorated book-shelf is a book (surprise!) and a couple of shelf brackets. That’s it! Hang your shelf brackets nice and straight and then place a book on top of the bracket. We recommend only placing light objects on this shelf – the book won’t be secured to the brackets and a heavy object could send your tomes a-tumbling!

7. Wrap them up. If your personal library is full of unattractive book covers or paperbacks that you’d rather keep private (*cough* Fifty Shades of Gray *cough*), use craft paper for a monochromatic look. Hearken back to your middle school days and cover all of your books with craft paper or paper grocery bags. Then, put them back in a bookshelf. Tip: If you want to know what books live where, add labels to the spine.

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