Sunday, April 29, 2007

When a Book Is Not a Book

I admit to being hopeless when it comes to home decor choices but an article like this one does tend to amuse me from time to time.

Stacked on top of a table or stacked up to make a table or shelved as a design feature, books have become a versatile way to create interest, warmth or vitality in today's interior designs.

"Books are happening things," said Wayne Bucy of Wayne Bucy Interiors and a consultant with Temptation Gallery, Nashville. "Books can make a big impact on a room."
For design flair, don't try to make every shelf look the same or overly coordinated.

"Theoretically, you aren't supposed to even match color with color," said Tom Oakley, staff designer at Davishire Interiors. "You aren't supposed to pick up a color in a rug or upholstered sofa and use it in the color of books."

Bucy likes the warm colors of older books, the tans and the reds that have changed with time. He once used black books with gold gilt accents for an entire shelf. Then, he arranged black items such as copper tea kettles and urns among the books. He's not a fan of filling an entire shelf from end to end, unless using "one of those wonderful old sets of books."

Instead, arrange several books on one side of the shelf. Then place an interesting object on the other side. Start at the opposite end on the shelf below and do the same. Add variety. Arrange books in the center of the shelf with bookends. Stack two or three. Add greenery or a lamp into the mix. And don't be afraid to mix old books with new ones.
When it comes to books, don't limit them to shelves. Books can be used all over the home.

• Stack books high enough beside a sofa or chair to be used as a table.

• Use four stacks of books and put a piece of glass over them to make a table.

• Frame old leather-bound books with antique gilt accents to make a new piece of art.

So now the modern homemaker is supposed to choose books for their color and not for their content? Or because they have the proper size and bulk that allows them to be evenly stacked in a way that they can be turned into an end table? I suppose that's not too surprising since it's very unlikely that these "book collectors" will ever read any of the books they are bringing into their homes.

But the suggestion that I find strangest of all is that books should be sparingly placed on bookshelves so that space can be saved for greenery and tea kettles. Unbelievable. The writer of this article most obviously doesn't have a clue as to how precious each six inches of bookshelf space is to most of us. For all the good that these books are going to do, she may as well have suggested that her readers buy little boxes of various colors to place on their bookshelves rather than the real thing.


  1. Ah, Sam, most people probably don't have enough books to fill those shelves.

  2. Do you suppose, like Gatsby, they won't cut the pages? Or will they NOT know when to stop?

  3. Nothing would surprise me, Brownie. When a book is purchased strictly for its decorative charm all the pages may as well be glued together for all the use they will ever receive.

  4. That's just silly. (I know - not a very deep answer, but it's on the level of the article's author).

  5. I know. Ridiculous. If ever I end up using books as tables, it's only because I have run out of shelf space for them (and it has happened, when my new shelves have not arrived yet, and I had stacks of books with lamps and keys on top of them), but I read them all, and I certainly do NOT buy them for decor.

    Now if only I could buy time, so I could read the rest of my fabulous to-read pile.

  6. Funny you should mention it, Maryanne, but I have one of those little book tables growing along one side of my desk at this very moment. My wife was kind enough to point out today that it seems to be getting taller everyday and that I should consider moving it. :-)