Nov 22, 2011

by English Muse

Too often people treat their treasured collection of favorite books as a decorating nuisance, but with the right spirit and eye they can become an asset to any room — one that lends individuality and personality. I’m constantly searching for new and creative ways to display and store my books. Here are a few tips for living stylishly with (millions) of books:

Small spaces, particularly in urban settings, often have to do double duty. Take a lesson from the English and stylish Manhattan apartment dwellers who often turn their dining rooms into libraries. Deep wall colors and a complimentary painted ceiling are the perfect foil for a glittery chandelier and vintage mix-and-match dining seating. Even is you have to eat alone, what could be better than pulling down a favorite book for company?

Don’t be reluctant to mix  your books up with other decorative home decor objects. At first glance, the wall console (above) has a kind of undergraduate informality. But the combination with modern ceramic pieces and comic decorative items gives it all a light-hearted style. The whole effect is amplified by a very 21st century ceiling fixture, a modernist sofa, and the funky table lamp on the very adult rattan bar cart. It’s a room for the young at heart, whatever their age.

Your personal library becomes a visual focal point of a room. These modern shelves with the books stacked rather than stored on end has all the character of a conceptual art piece and plays beautifully against the two contemporary floor lamps and the vintage Eames lounge chair. The quiet star of the room, though, is the contemporary chandelier, which somehow harmonizes with the architecture of the bookshelf.

Photos via Architectural Digest,  Nuevo Estilo, Alvhem, Desire to Inspire, Living Agency, Mires Paris and Penguin By Design.

(Portions of this post are from a design piece I wrote recently for Lamps Plus.)


This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 at 12:01 pm. It is filed under Books, illustrations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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21 Responses to “Living with (Millions) of Books”

  1. Chedva says:

    Nothing adds personality to a home like books! By the way, so glad I clicked through and didn’t just read this on Google Reader – your new design is great. Notebook love!

  2. E.M. says:

    Thank you!! This template started out as a temporary thing, after i blew up my last theme! I’m working on a new design, but i’m keeping the notebook look!!!

  3. Emma says:

    I love these ideas! I have, literally, hundreds of books I’ve collected over the years. I store them in bookcases around our home but am always trying to think up new ideas for my treasured novels.

    And I love the reader’s bill of rights 🙂

  4. Mary says:

    Utterly lovely!

    I have backpacked my way to the other side of the world, but I dream of settling to roost in a house with all my books. I grew up in a home with books everywhere, kitchen to bedroom, it’s lovely 🙂

    {and I also love the Reader’s Bill Of Rights :)}

  5. brian miller says:

    nice…i love books and they are sadly relegated to the basement…but like the thought of showcasing them as part of the decor…cool pics…

  6. I love books. They are a huge part of our life, bookcases everywhere! Hope you’re well.

  7. Naomi Bulger says:

    Ah, this is a blog post after my own heart, and I am going to share it on my Facebook page. And yes, I have been known to convert a dining room into a library. That works really well in old houses because dining rooms tend to be in the middle of the house with less windows which = more room for bookshelves! I am off to re-perouse these lovely ideas.

  8. Samantha says:

    i live with millions of books. they’re in stacks everywhere around my apartment and fill me with happiness whenever i lay eyes on them.


  9. E.M. says:

    aw thank you lovie!

  10. Kolbie says:

    I take pride in the amount of books that I have. For only being 19, I consider myself to have quite the beginning of a lifelong collection! I’m excited for when I don’t live in a tiny dorm anymore and can use them as decor.

  11. These all are my dream houses. I can’t wait to have shelves and shelves of books everywhere.

  12. Rachael says:

    I love all those ways to have books! I have a tiny bookcase in my room, but luckily they hold the books I have for now.
    Love seeing all those ways to store books! The more creative, the better!

  13. Katie says:

    I think that readers’ bill of rights is rather brilliant!

  14. […] ideas for displaying and storing your books. i have sooo many piles of books in my office, in the living room, in the bedroom (possibly in my […]

  15. Erin says:

    I cannot tell you how much I would LOVE to have pictures 1 and 2 in my house! I am constantly having to give up books as I don’t have enough roomnto store them. What I wouldn’t give for a library.

  16. […] Living with (Millions) of Books. Houses without books look soulless. (English Muse) […]

  17. I love love love books and have stacks of them piled up in my room, so thanks for this inspiring post.

  18. it’s not just Manhattan dwellers who turn other rooms into libraries – i’m turning my little used formal dining room into a library with floor to ceiling shelving for all of our books and treasures. can’t wait!

  19. Tina says:

    That sounds amazing!

  20. Sara says:

    Great post and great ideas! I’ve been collecting books since I was a child and my sanctuary is my library. Somehow I just feel right at home when I see lots and lots of books! Loved the quote by Daniel Pennac 🙂

  21. […] I love books; it’s no secret. Yet I love them for more than the enjoyment that can be found within the pages. I adore them as an aesthetic accent. Those who have seen my home know that there is more shelf space than there is bare wall. The English Muse has an excellent post on ways to incorporate books into room design. […]

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