7 ways to decorate books

My mom was a fantastic interior designer and she always preached that all spaces should have books & plants; I have followed her mantra in my own decorating style, finding that books & plants add warmth, interest and bring spaces alive.

Books1

Today I am focusing on books.  Since the kids started school today and are hitting the books once again after summer break, I thought it would be appropriate to share how I hit the books around here.

Spell books 1

I use books throughout the house and I pick up vintage books at thrifts stores, garage sales, flea markets, etc.  After my consigning days ended I was left with some book inventory that did not really match my decorating style.  above is an example of said books.
So I want to share ways you can alter books to coordinate & compliment your decor and decorating style.
§ painting

Spell books 2

This is a super easy way to make your books monochromatic and coordinate you decor palette.  Last Halloween I created some spell books and gave a tutorial on how to do this here.  I used chalk paint to paint the books.  This is a great way to paint your books in neutral tones, gray, beige, off white, etc.   they are fairly quick to paint and also dry pretty fast.

Spell books 4

I further stamped the painted books with the appropriate titles which brings me to my next technique.
§ stenciling | stamping

Books2

I used craft paint to stamp the titles on my halloween books.  I also used craft paint to stencil these books I sold in my booth.  I used a few different stencils to add interest to the book stack.
§ paper {wrapping|sheet music|poster|map|etc.}

Books3

Remember when we covered our textbooks for school with kraft paper?  {I might be dating myself here}  well anyway, take that same concept and use pretty wrapping paper or any kind of paper that you like.  I used sheet music to cover these books here.  The sheet music was about an 1/8 of an inch too short so I added the linen tape measure ribbon on the top cover, bringing both sides flush to the book edges.  I use sheet music for many uses and you can read about that here.  I used spray adhesive to adhere my paper to the book but you could also used modge podge, craft glue or double sided tape.
§ fabric

Books4

The same way you can cover the books with pretty paper you can use pretty fabric.  I had a remnant piece of fabric left over from covering the doors on my secretary desk and it was just enough to cover these two books.  I really love how they turned out.  Once again I used spray adhesive and it worked like a charm.
§ naked
Secretary seashells 7
A few years ago stripped books became all the rage and Restoration Hardware sold these bundles for a pretty penny I am sure.  Well, you can create your own with $1 book from the thrift store.  Just use an x-acto knife to cut off the cover.  Open the book and cut the cover away from the first page all the way down.  Do this on the front and back cover.  Once the cover is separated from the book it will expose the spine and binding.  You can do as many books as you want for your bundle and then wrap them with a piece of twine.  Viola!
§ embellishments
Books5
You can embellish books for a particular holiday, specific party|occasion, or any theme you wish.  Here is a book I embellished for Halloween using burlap ribbon, a homemade tag using an image from The Graphics Fairy and a skeleton from the dollar store.  The possibilities are endless although I seem to use the same formula; 1} some type of ribbon|twine to wrap around the book(s), 2} a graphic or word tag, 3} a doodad.  Besides the skeleton as a doodad I’ve used chandelier drops, vintage jewelry, sea shells…
§ plain

Patriotic 6

This is about altering the way a book looks by how you display it rather than doing something to it.  Sometimes when  the spines don’t coordinate with the look i’m going for I turn them around so the pages face out instead, giving a more neutral look.  Also instead of displaying a book series all lined up in a row, change the direction of the display with some standing up and some laying on their side.  This gives added height and depth which gives a display|vignette more interest.

Books6

Hope one or more of these techniques inspires you to use books in a new way throughout your home.
Happy Back to School ! 

sharing @:

amaze me monday @ dwellings-the heart of your home

show&share @ coastal charm

the scoop @ stonegable

inspire me monday @ my uncommon slice of suburbia

metamorphis monday @ between naps on the porch

make it pretty @ the dedicated house

motivation monday @ making our life matter

celebrate your story @ the sweet sensations

mmm @ keeping it simple

inspire me tuesday @ a stroll thru life

the inspiration board @ carolyn’s homework

talk of the town @ knick of time

wow @ savvy southern style

wonderful wednesday @ oh my heartsie girl

sizzle into summer diy by design

wake up wednesday @ god’s growing garden

home&garden @ a delightsome life

syc @ have a daily dose of mrs. olson

share your style @ little farmstead

vintage charm @ charm bracelet diva

the inspiration gallery @ craftberry bush

feathered nest friday @ french country cottage

shabbilicious friday @ shabby art boutique

morning cup of joe @ the cottage market

simple@sweet @ rooted in thyme

friday’s 5 features @ diy-vintage-chic

pinworthy projects @ my suburban kitchen

craft frenzy @ craft dictator

the creative collection @ the crafted sparrow

party palooza @ i heart naptime

funtastic friday @ olives & okra

saturday sparks @ pieced pastimes

bouquet of talent @ life on lakeshore drive

share it one more time @ lilacs & longhorns

sundays at home @ love of home

creative corner @ curly crafty mom

dishing it digging it @ rustic & refined

tuesdays w/ a twist @ stone cottage adventures

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15 Comments

  1. These are great ideas! I was just about to discard/give away some old books but I think I’ll try the painting technique.

  2. Mary Jo, you have some really cool ideas for covering books. I’ll be looking for some paper to use: maybe French writing, animals, paint? Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  3. So many creative ideas. I still like the “deconstructed” books, but I am afraid they are going out of style. I like the idea of painting the covers, too! Thanks for sharing at Celebrate Your Story! Now, which one of these am I going to do with my thrift store books?

  4. hi carol, thanks! yes i though about french writing too and ended using sheet music instead since i have a plethora of it & hoard my french writing paper. lol. xo- mj

  5. hi chloe. i agree, i think the deconstructed books are fading, but i still love them. i love that they’re neutral & grundgy. great texture and character. after i worked on this post i decided i want to make a few more naked bundles for myself. lol. have fun. xo- mj

  6. What a great post this is, with so many great ideas. I too have too many books and don’t want to get rid of them . About a year ago I took all my books and flipped them over showing the pages and not the binders. What an instant refreshing change that was. It created a neutral background on my bookcases. I am going to pin and share this wonderful post. And I’d alsolike to invite you to join me at my link party. It starts Friday at 10 am est.

I love hearing from you!