Sunday, May 9, 2010

Home Decor With Books

I have to admit. I don't think I'll catch on to the idea of e-books. Yes, they may not take up much space, but I like scribbling and highlighting on my books and carry them around until they are dog-eared to death. The problem with a love affair with books is that after awhile, you accumulate so many that you have a problem storing them. Well, try incorporating them into your decor as the pointers in this article will tell you.

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Tips on displaying and arranging books

We love books. They teach, illustrate, inspire, and explain. They also take up a lot of room in our homes.

If stacks of books are threatening to overtake your home, consider some new ideas for display and storage solutions. Perhaps it's time to consider additional shelving, categorized display, or perhaps even removing a few of the books from a collection.
To weed out, think about keeping only what you love and what you use.
If a book wasn't that good, has been outgrown, or is outdated, consider giving it away to a friend or to a library. Many libraries now offer a small bookstore of used books sold to raise money for library expenses.

For the rest of your book collection, here are some tips on arranging, displaying, and storing books.

Prop It Up -- Stack three books on a side table to use as a raised display area. Set a lamp, sculpture, urn, or plant (in a waterproof cache pot) on top of the books. This is a great way to raise another accessory that may be too short as well as create some interest in a display.

Wall of Reading -- For a large book collection, build or purchase enough bookshelves to fill one wall of a room, or one side of a wide hallway. You'll get lots of storage in only 8 to 13" of floor space.

Up High -- Install a display shelf 12" or more down from the ceiling (or near the top of the doorways). The shelf can run along one wall or even all the way around a room. Be sure to use thicker shelving so the wood won't sag under the weight of the books. Arrange books and collectibles along the length of the shelf.
Built Ins -- If you are planning built-in seating such as a window seat or banquette, consider using the space underneath the seat for bookshelves (either with or without doors).

Nook-y -- Create an instant nook area by a window, fireplace, or even on a blank wall, by flanking the space with floor to ceiling bookshelves. Set a desk, loveseat, or comfortable chair in the nook, or use the nook area for built-ins.

Deep Storage -- Many deep shelves of about 16" can hold 2 rows of books. Place one stack against the back wall of the cabinet, and another row along the front edge of the shelf. Use the front row for the taller books so the ones behind are hidden.

Side Table -- Stack a set of very large books on the floor next to a chair, then top with a small piece of glass to use as an end table. Place the books in a column or fan them around for a more interesting look.

Categorize -- To manage a large book collection, sort books by category.
Kitchen Connection -- Though not as accessible as other shelves, kitchen soffit areas (the space on top of kitchen cabinets up to the ceiling) can often be used to display a mix of cookbooks and kitchen collectibles. Arrange items in groupings with plants, baskets, bottles, or vintage kitchen items for a interesting display.

Cookbook Display -- Kitchens with a lot of counterspace can often spare a small area to hold cookbooks. Place them in a bookrack or between 2 sturdy bookends or crocks. This is best done in an area that is used for a desk or storage so the books won't get stained during food prep.

Vertical Limit -- Go with the usual method of displaying books, by setting them vertically on bookshelves in rows.

Title View -- Place stacks of books sideways on shelves so they are horizontal and titles are easily readable. It's a great idea to alternate vertical with horizontal stacks so the shelf display looks a bit more interesting.

Storage Tip -- When purchasing new or used furniture, evaluate it for its storage capacity. Instead of buying a piece with a tabletop and four legs, instead look for a cabinet with shelves, drawers, or doors. It will hold more and look neater. Also, consider the height of your books when purchasing furniture. Very tall books will need to be set flat unless the bookshelves are adjustable.

Don't Do This -- It's generally not a good idea to store books in a musty garage or damp basement as they will begin to smell musty over time and become damaged.