10 Fabulous Ways to Display Your Books
Stack ’em, store ’em, pile ’em high… Just don’t hide them away. Dig out your books and give them top billing in your home
Many of us have structural pillars in our homes, especially in extensions. They might seem like a nuisance, but look again. This clever book display neatly hugs the pillar, making a feature of it while storing stacks of books. Make sure you use a book tower, though – check out the Sapien or Ptolomeo – if you want to avoid collapse every time you select a tome.
An entire wall of books adds both colour and texture to a minimal space. The simplicity of these shelves is the key to their success – thin, white slats that let the books do the talking. With such a big space, there’s room for decorative items tucked among the tomes, too, creating an artwork that will captivate residents and guests alike.
A bookcase that goes up and over a doorway is a super-clever use of space. Here, the use of wood echoes the flooring, and the crisscross arrangement of books creates a mix of horizontal and vertical lines that chime with the window frames and fireplace, making the whole unit feel part of the space, rather than an add-on.
If you have a select few books that are really beautiful – leather-bound or early Penguins, for instance – showcase them under a glass bell jar. They would still be easy to retrieve if you fancied dipping in, and you’d be able to enjoy the covers at close quarters every day.
Book covers are often beautifully designed, so use them as artworks by lining them up facing outwards. This works especially well with children’s books, as kids can easily spot and grab them, cookery books, giving you daily inspiration, and art books, which can leave their home on the coffee table to really shine on the wall.
In many homes, the staircase wall holds a few framed photos at best, but there’s an untapped opportunity there for a huge bookcase. As well as storing an awful lot of titles, this design brings interest and colour to the hallway. Beware of going too high, though – these stepped sections mean all the books can be reached.
Pretty piles of interesting books make wonderful vignettes around your home. This little stack on a vintage chair turns the blocked-up fireplace into an eye-catching feature, and makes it easy to browse the books. Try using different-coloured spines to create different effects – a pile of orange Penguins, for instance, would look great.
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Alcoves can be tricky, but this elegant living room goes one stage further than the usual shelving units. The walls are built out to match the chimney breast depth, then the bookcases are set into them for a neat, elegant effect. Spotlights and ladders enhance the library mood.
Favourite or useful books needn’t be tucked away. Have them to hand by stacking them either side of a table. These are part of a display, the colourful spines creating pleasingly stripy columns, but this technique could work equally well in a home office, where easily accessed inspiration and reference books would smooth the working day.
A comfy chair by a sunny window with a stack of books within easy reach? Where do I sign up? Book towers not only make great armchair companions, though – they’re useful where there’s little usable wall space, as here, meaning you can still create a cosy library mood and add decorative interest despite a lack of shelving.
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How do you like to display your books? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.