Displaying books and magazines under a bench or table can look just as good and be just as practical as displaying them on shelves.
Books are beautiful. And though it may seem as though electronic reading devices are starting to replace traditional books, for many of us there will always be a place in our homes for big, beautiful books – whether they're to read or just to display and look at.
If you're the kind of person who loves to collect books you may find at some point they fill up your bookshelves and start to spill over into other areas. For some of us it seems as though books begin to take over our entire homes. But don't worry, there are many ways of decorating with books that make them fit right in and look great in your space, no matter how many you have.
Decorating with Books
While a wall full of built-in bookcases almost always looks fantastic, it isn't always feasible, whether because of money, space, architectural features, or something else. If spacious bookcases just aren't in the cards for you consider some of these other ideas for decorating with books.
Use a Pile of Books as a Side Table
This works best with large coffee table-style books. Place larger ones on the bottom to create a steady base and then build upwards to the desired height. If the books are wide enough you can place a lamp, vase of flowers, or other item that you would normally put on a side table. If possible color coordinate the spines of the books (all black, all red, all neutral and so on).
Create a Coffee Table with Books
If you've got enough books you might be able to create a functional coffee table. Create four piles in a square shape in the desired spot. Again, be sure to put large ones on the bottom to create a solid base. As you build mix the sizes a bit so that you don't end up with a bunch of tiny ones at the top. Remember that you want a functional tabletop so the books need to provide a solid surface area. Play around with them until you get it right. Remember also to put books you won't likely want to look at closest to the bottom. Taking your table apart every time you want to look at a particular book will be a huge pain.
Display Books on a Bar Cart or Console Table
Books don't have to go on shelves. They can be displayed just about anywhere. If you've got a two-tiered bar cart or console table try filling the bottom shelf with books. Display them horizontally or vertically or both – whatever is most practical and looks best to you. Then you can place whatever other items you need on the top shelf (such as lamps, flowers, bar items, or whatever else). Display the table in a front entryway, behind a sofa, in a bedroom, or wherever else you like. There are no rules.
Display Books on a Mantel
A mantel is a great place to store beautiful books. They just have to be small enough to fit. Since few coffee table-style books will fit, you can always take smaller, less attractive books and cover them with a heavy paper or cloth. (Some people are really against covering books but if the spines are damaged or unattractive there's really no reason not to. Just remember to write the name on the inside of the book jacket so you can easily see the title.) Line them all the way across the mantel or create a few small vertical and/or horizontal stacks.
Make Shelves Out of Books
All you need for this project is a couple of brackets and a solid, hardcover book. Make sure the brackets are large enough to properly hold the book and then install them on the wall as you would any other shelf. As long as the book is solid and everything is properly installed you can use it as a shelf. Install a few in any arrangement you like. This is a particularly fun look in a small bedroom when used over or instead of bedside tables.