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How to style your home with books

April 25, 2022

While photo frames, fresh flowers and candles are more common finishing touches, styling with books is a novel (excuse the pun) way of completing an interior makeover. 

Designers have often used hand-picked books as props when dressing show homes but the art of primping with paperbacks really went mainstream during recent lockdowns.

The Zoom months gave birth to a new design movement, which you can find all over social media if you search #bookcasecredibility. It refers to the careful editing of your bookshelves in case people on video calls are scrutinising the book titles behind you.

The right reading matter is now such an issue that in April 2022, singer Adele reportedly rushed out and bought £1,000 worth of books to create a library behind her ahead of future Zoom broadcasts. It was a similar story for actress Ashley Tisdale, who confessed to buying 400 books ahead of a photoshoot at her home. The good news is styling with books is the interior design trend that everyone can follow, with most of us already having a head start. 

If you already have a bookshelf, merely organising it will create a more polished look. Neaten up your act by displaying books in height order, from left to right, or for an unconventional but still organised approach, lay piles of books flat, working from bottom to top in size order. 

For something more design-led, organise the spines according to their colour. Creating a rainbow is a trend that’s gaining traction on Instagram  – search #rainbowbookcase for ideas. Don’t forget a sparse bookshelf can be pepped up by using bookends, plants or other objet d’art to fill the space. Just ensure anything displayed is kept dust free.

If you’re starting your book display from scratch, you may want to follow a theme. One of the easiest to achieve is a gentleman’s library – especially if the room you’re working on is panelled or painted in rich colours. Scour charity shops and boot fairs for leather-bound books, especially those with gold printing on the spine.

Reluctant readers and those who really don’t like clutter can still incorporate books into their interior design. A neat stack of books is a good way to create interest with different heights. Something to try is a pile of three similarly-sized books on a sideboard, with a table lamp placed on top. Show off the book spines if they feature interesting fonts or if the book titles convey a theme,  or hunt out hardbacks with gilded pages, as flashes of gold can add a touch of luxury. 

Finally, the world of coffee table books is alive and well. A curated collection of two or three large format, hardback books – casually left out or even open – can speak volumes about the lifestyle you want to purvey. The traditional themes of haute couture fashion, photography, travel and architecture are still favoured and Glamour Magazine has done the hard work for you by creating a list of 43 coffee table books selected for their aesthetic appeal.

If you are thinking of moving for more space to display your books, contact us for advice and available properties.

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