don’t judge a book

Welcome to All in the Detail... I am so glad you are here! 

distressed numbered books

The famous quote 'Don't judge a book by its cover' was first stated by author George Elliot in 1860. This phrase was used by Elliot in the book The Mills on the Floss and became a popular saying in the early 1920's.

Whether you love to read or not, books have a place in everyone's home. Books are a great way to get lost from the everyday stressors of life by escaping to another time or land. I love to head out to some of my favorite thrift stores to collect books that look beautiful, interesting (and could even make a great display). Even if you aren't a book lover, displaying books throughout your home can bring a beautiful (and yes, some might say peaceful) ambiance to the space.

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Choose the right books:
One of the most important factors when displaying books is what does their covers look like. If you have a collection of books that you love to display, then aesthetics of size, color and proportion may not be an issue. However, many try to coordinate their home decor and then choose books that blend or compliment the surrounding furniture, textiles or even wall color. I am a very monochromatic stylist when it comes to my own home but this seems a little over the top to me. But I will admit that if done properly, it is amazing.

I am not saying that it’s necessary to get overly concerned with colors, as books look natural when they are varying heights, sizes and color. You have a choice; decide if you want your books to make a statement when people enter the room, or if you want them to enhance the backdrop of your interiors (and conversation).

Choose the right technique:
Furniture designers have found countless ways to creatively showcase literary finds, from bookshelves and built-in architectural cabinets to freestanding and custom shelving, there is a perfect solution for every home.

Assess your space and discover hidden areas you may have forgotten about: over doorways, under stairways, and bare walls are ideal places to start. Decide if you will need to use these books on a regular basis, if so; ensure they are easy to reach.

For rooms that your books add ambiance more than function; consider housing books high up on a home office or library wall. Library ladders or step stools may be required for shelves that are too high for arm’s reach... and nothing says an avid reader like a great library ladder or stool to add to the decor.

Choose the right style for your architecture:
The architecture and design style of your interiors will help you decide if your open floor plan warrants an eye-catching book display in the center of the room or if your traditional-styled home office will look better with bookshelves flanked on either side of windows. Borrow cues from windows, doorways, ceiling heights, columns, and even cabinetry and furniture placement can influence your book display options.

For minimalist interiors, choose low profile credenzas and book displays and in traditional or ornate rooms choose shelving that commands attention with intricate details and architectural visual interest.


Have just a few books in your collection:
If you are trying to determine what to do with just a stack of books that is piling up in your garage or if you just started collecting books, here are inspiring ways to liven up your interiors. Let your personal style and the architectural style of your room help you decide how to beautifully showcase those collections.

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And Now, the Star of Our Show…

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I swear I am going to have built-ins one of these days in my Music Room (this is at the top of my Wish List). I can already visually place every single shelf, book and item on them… I just have to construct them! Over the past 25+ years, I have collected… and saved… and sorted… and piled… and separated... and gave away... books upon books upon books that are just lying in-wait for their honored resting place on my shelves.  I’ll get it (fingers crossed - someday) and I will be sure to share that process right here with you!

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Ever wonder what to do with all those paperback Love Novels that you read at the beach each year? Flip them around on the shelf... you really don't need to see the binding and look how marvelous they look arranged like this?

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kenneth Jay Lang jelelry designer
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pampierce houston designer
As I am sure you have surmised by now… I just can’t seem to get enough of books and decor that uniquely displays them.

Design Bottom Line: There really is no right or wrong when it comes to displaying books. They are the Carte Blanche of the Design World… use them anywhere for anything… let your imagination run wild.

Want some more help with organizing your books? Click Here