|Decorating with Books|
The most avid reader I know is my partner and co-host, Matt Fox. He reads every new and talked about book in the bookstore. There are times we go out with friends
and I can’t be a part of the book discussion because I’m at the stage of life when I’m reading SpongeBob and Transformer books! However, I just had a brainstorm that will stop the embarrassment during these very nice dinner encounters. I CAN talk about how books are a very important part of decorating a home!
Just think about it. We use them in nearly every room in our homes. Let’s start with the family room. You are bound (no pun intended) to have shelving of some sort in your family room or den. Yes, they are great for accessories, but books are the décor of choice.
How about the kitchen? We all have those cookbooks either displayed or stacked on the refrigerator for those holiday cookie recipes or just to use as weight to hold down glued school projects.
I have a dictionary near the computer in my office, not to mention two bookcases filled with research books for project ideas and proper terminology.
I know in Matt’s bedroom, there is always a book on the night stand, and several lined up on the dresser just waiting to be read. And, although I never seem to get to them, I have two or three in my night stand that try to entice me to stay up way too late just to get through a couple pages!
My children’s rooms are filled with books, and I spend quite a bit of my time keeping the ratio of video tapes to books weighted on the book side if you know what I mean! Also, I’m sure I don’t have to go into too much detail about the reading material available in the bathroom of some homes, and we can’t forget the basic “coffee table book”! You know, they’re set out on the coffee table and they’re filled will lovely pictures depicting places or things we enjoy. So there, I don’t think I left out a single room in the home where books aren’t a part of our lives.
And books are for more than just reading. I’ve used them in several locations of my home to prop things up. This computer screen was too low so a couple of heavy volumes become the perfect “leg up” to help eliminate back pain from slumping!
I also have a couple of lamps that I adore, so couldn’t get rid of, but they just aren’t quite the right height for….anywhere! So, I place them where I want them and go to the bookshelf for just the right number of books to bring them up to the right height!
Another decorative use for books is for color. As you know, book spines can be quite colorful and the perfect bright accessory in some rooms and in others, quite distracting to a decorative color scheme. If this is the case in your home, there is an option. Simply turn the books around and show off the cream colored pages. Color problem - solved! Specific book location – a total mystery!
Another solution to crazy colored spines is to cover your books with left over wallpaper, brown craft paper or even wrapping paper. I did this many years ago on a couple of those wild covered bathroom readers for my guest bath. The décor was very subtle and refined and then these books looked horrible on the little shelf I’d place there.
So, I gathered up some of the left over wallpaper from my house and covered them both up! It’s a very simple project. The steps follow, and this works just as well on your kid’s school books too!
Scrap wallpaper, kraft paper, or wrapping paper
1. Start by laying the book opened on the paper. I used wrapping paper for this demonstration and I have to admit it was inexpensive, thin and very hard to work with. Cut around the book leaving about an inch on the top and bottom and about 4 inches on the sides.
2. Close the book and wrap the paper around the book evenly.
3. I did the front cover first so you could see how it looks and I’m demonstrating on the back cover that I folded the 4” sides in half.
4. And then in half again to make the fold tight against the outside edge of the book cover. Keep closing the book to make sure you aren’t pulling the paper too tight which won’t allow the book to close properly.
5. Before folding the bottom and top in you will need to cut out the area by the binding. Remember that the binding may hold tight to the book and you’ll have to cut the flat end part and a bit further around towards the covers to allow the paper to fold over freely.
6. At the outside corner, fold the paper in a triangle towards the bottom edge of the book. Then, fold up the paper and crease the fold at the bottom.
7. When both the top and bottom are folded in, the inside covers should look like this.
8. In a close up you can see that I used clear tape to hold the fold in place at the corners. Notice too that I didn’t touch the inside of the book cover.
There. If I’m lucky, this joke and riddle book, which was mine as a kid, will get lost on my son’s bookshelf. He told me a short while back, in a very proud way that “he was going to be a jokester when he grew up!” He had this book in his hands…maybe this will throw him off track long enough to find a new life goal!!
ut, back to decorating with books! Here’s something really interesting that Matt and I discovered while working on a home for Room by Room. Several manufacturers of decorative products have made it possible to display books in your home without having to by a hard bound copy of anything. Blue Mountain Wall Coverings are the perfect example. They have a wallpaper border that looks like one shelf from a very nice bookcase. There are a couple of accessory items on the shelf, including a globe, but the rest of the shelf is filled with books. The idea behind the border is to stack it on top of each other until you’ve created a “faux” library wall. Matt and I have used this very successfully at the top of the stairs in one of those open lofts over looking a downstairs room, and also in a half bath. The look is refreshing and rich and can be quite the conversation piece.
A fabric designer has used scattered books as the design element for an upholstery fabric. This makes up well on very straight lined pieces like sofas and simple chairs. It infuses the room with color, pattern and a touch of sophistication that the library feel invokes.
If you are looking for a way to add a bit of history to your home, try purchasing a collection of antique books from a local antique shop. If world travel is your desire, spark interest in the rest of your family with gorgeous coffee table books that beckon you to the far corners of the globe. If your kitchen counters look bare or you’d like to impress your next dinner guests, layout a couple of gourmet cookbooks or line them up with appropriate bookends. Books on humor are great in the “throne” room, and a simple prayer or sentiment of the day might be all you have time for on the night stand in your bedroom.
So the next time you are out shopping for just the right accessory, try your local bookstore. Books are more than doorways to our imagination…they are the perfect accessory for every room in your home!