STYLING ESSENTIALS- BOOKS
There is no better home accessory than a book. You can keep your candles, vases, object d’arts, bowls, and baskets. I want books and plenty of them. Books turn an empty nook into a reading area, and a small stack improves every table, shelf, and console vignette. At the very least they make you LOOK well read. Books are the most expressive item in a home, and are a direct reflection of their owner. I love to peruse bookcases when I find myself in a new home. You learn so much about a person by looking at their reading material. Oh I see you love horses and read Nora Roberts, duly noted.
Anyone who knows me knows that my book collection is my pride and most cherished possessions. It has taken me a decade of reading to pull together a little under 400 books. Upon further inspection, my titles suggest I am into classic lit, Disney, children's fiction, travel, and modern classics. I pretty accurate representation. Not everyone has the patience or even interest in reading (what’s wrong with you?), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fill your home with books.
There is no wrong way to go about displaying your books. It’s no surprise that floor to ceiling stacks with a rolling library ladder are my preference, and the first item on my dream home checklist. If you have a large collection, filling a bookcase is the normal human way to store them. This opens up so many options: simple shelves where colorful books are the centerpiece, an ornately carved cabinet with your books protected behind glass doors, or a low and long bookcase under a window. I’ll take one of each, please. The only scheme I'm not crazy about is organizing books by color, the rainbow effect. That method would mix up my authors and books in a series, and I just can't have that kind of nonsense on my shelf.
Books do take up a lot of real estate, but are well worth giving up space. If you are working with a more modest assortment of books, then small horizontal stacks on every surface imaginable is the way to go. Consoles, coffee tables, bars, side tables, media units, nightstands, mantles, and wall shelves all need there own little stack to be happy. They add color, life, and interest everywhere they go.
So you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere in your life, and you don’t own any books. What’s a person to do? Start buying now! Trying to style a home without books is impossible for me. Even if you don’t read, I think everyone should have at least a few books covering topics that interest them. Larger coffee table books are an easy place to start, because they are usually lovely to look at, have little text, and typically cover one topic. Do you like butterflies? Here is a book with pictures and everything you could ever want to know about butterflies.
Generally, I try not to purchase books just for their aesthetic value, but sometimes it can’t be helped. There are just so many good looking book covers out there. I usually decide on a book I want and find the best and most decorative binding I can afford. No paperbacks, if I can help it. I love to read, so that is the sole motivator in buying books. The decorative aspect always comes second. It's a bonus that they look good in my home. Although, I do understand the appeal of buying books in bulk to fill shelves and create a polished room. There are a few good websites that sell books in different ranges of color, vintage, or subject matter to be used as decoration. A bookcase filled with books you are never going to read is better than an empty shelf, in my opinion.
FILLING YOUR SHELVES
Here are a few of my favorite bindings, collections, and places to discover new books to fill my shelves. Everyman’s Library used to be my favorite inexpensive binding for classic novels. They all come in a simple red cover with gold lettering. The children’s series are bound in a range of colors with small plate images on the front. A few years ago, I started purchasing the set of books designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith for Penguin, and I stopped needing to source Everyman's books. My Penguin classics are a fun assortment of colors and designs, and they liven up any bookshelf.
One King’s Lane is a great place to purchase bulk groupings of books. Don’t let the price tags scare you; it’s actually a much better deal than buying them individually. You can select a genre, color, or style of book and jump start your collection quickly. Anthropologie is another good source for a range of book titles. You can find beautiful illustrated covers, fun coffee table books, and interesting subjects in their inventory.
Now you’ve got the goods, but nowhere to store them. Below are some of my favorite storage options. I’ve wanted a barrister bookcase for a while, but I think I would prefer a vintage one if I ever take the plunge. These minimalist shelves are nice if you are short on space, and so is the acrylic trunk. I’m always wary of keeping my books on the floor where they can easily get damaged, but this clear trunk is the perfect solution. I recently discovered the glass front Ikea cabinet, and I quickly saved it for future projects. Bookcases can be really expensive, so a nice affordable option is a great find.