• Stephanie

Pro Decor Tip: Styling with Books

"Did you grab a bag of books?"

One of our staple staging accessories may be simpler than you think: books. They play a major visual role in many of the rooms we style: a base for other decorative items as well as a space filler on shelves. They also look somewhat sophisticated, in an understated kind of way.

books and accessories on shelving

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We ALWAYS bring a collection (read: oversized grocery bag) of books to our stages because they are so versatile. We have found that books can be used to style almost every room in a home! Here are some tips on how we do it.

1. The Basics.

a. We do not discriminate what kind of book makes it into our client's home, because let's be honest: these books are not for reading, they are for decorating with. We do, however, try to avoid any books related to sex and death, for obvious reasons.

b. We go for hardbacks exclusively, and we almost always remove the paper over-cover. It offers a cleaner and more vintage look.

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c. There exists a great divide among designers: Style books with pages facing in or pages facing out. Pages facing out lends to a more monochromatic and lighter scheme, whereas pages facing in exhibits the colors and text of the cover.

books on shelves

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It comes down largely to personal preference: Anna and Melinda tend to style with pages out and Stephanie with pages in. But also take into consideration the general color scheme of a space: white and bright? pages out. Bolder colors? pages in.

d. Some decorators also swear by grouping books by color. This can create an interesting look, but must be done carefully to avoid looking a bit juvenile.

green, blue and black books on shelves

e. Where do we acquire all of our books you might ask? Literally anywhere we can find them! But we LOVE used book shops (like Half Price Books), antique stores, and garage sales. Some retailers have taken out the guesswork, however, and provide "Authentic Decorative Books" like these from Joss & Main.

2. Styling with Books

a. Shelf styling is one of the most fun and most challenging aspects of our job. The possibilities are endless when it comes to styling shelves, but too many fun accessories can look cluttered and unkempt. Stacked or grouped books provide a visual break in all that color and texture, and let several special pieces shine.

built-in shelves styled with books and accessories

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b. On coffee and console tables, books provide a great base for other accessories. Place a few larger books together in a short stack, and top with several accessories of different heights. Or place a collection of books between interesting book-ends on a console for a clean yet curated look.

books on round metal coffee tables

styled console table

Just like reading will always be cool, we believe that utilizing books as home decor will never go out of style. So go grab a stack and give it a go!

Happy styling,


#decortips #books #bookstyling #shelfstyling