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Decorating with Books

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Built-in bookcases add lots of storage while taking up very little floorspace.
Photo c.2003 Glenna Morton, About.com
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• Page 2: Kitchens and Categories

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• Storage Solutions
• Shelving Links
• Fifteen Uses for a Chest

• Buy Decorating Books
• The Impatient Decorator
• 28 Tips for Hanging Art

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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If a book wasn't that good, has been outgrown, or is outdated, consider giving it away to a friend or to a library.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 shelveing so the wook 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.

Next: > Page 2: More ideas to display and shelve books

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