Books as Decor?




Books are an integral part of my life. They settle like dust on every available surface. I cannot imagine not being surrounded by these little, fiber souls.

Our books live with us. They embrace us at every corner, every turn. They populate the shelves, of course, but they are also on tables, in chairs, propped up in different angles to create "visual interest" on surfaces that are severely lacking in soulless props found in those posh decorating outlets.

Were I an archaeologist, there would be far more interesting pieces of art around my house. For now, I use books and my husband collects paintings from Goodwill.

Books, however, aren't just there for show. Sure, they take up space and create that lived-in feel, but we actually READ them. Humans surround themselves with the things that support them, that nourish them and bring them joy. My books help create the safe haven my home represents.

I found an interesting article today that looks at books as strictly objects of decor. Star Tribune has an article titled "The Dubious Art of 'Decorating; with Books". At first I wondered what could be so dubious about using one's books as home filler. The author, Laurie Hertzel, however, writes that there are people who buy books ONLY for decorating. In other words, there are actually people out there who urge others to buy books because they are of uniform size and/or are the same color. This creates, for some it seems, a sense of conformity and visual cohesiveness in the home.

This is going to sound odd but, I feel sorry for any book that is bought solely for it's aesthetic appearance. Don't get me wrong: I LOVE a good, solid, coffee-table book. I have several. But they aren't there just to add interest or gather dust. They are read, loved, browsed through, dog-eared (don't judge).

I think of my books as doing double duty. Sure, they look nice on the shelves and I try to group similar books when I use them on the side tables but they also provide conversation. Friends come over and ask all the time, "Ooooh! What's THAT one about?" I LOVE introducing people to books and stories and authors. Using my books as objets d'art, I'm able to keep my mind active, keep my friends informed, and keep my coffee table from looking forlorn.

What about you? Do you proudly display your books throughout the house or do you feel they should be designated to a library or book room? There is no right or wrong answer. Just curious.

Read widely, my Friends.


Comments

  1. My apartment is only one room so there's really only one space for the books--the bookcase!
    I think it would be sad to buy books just for decoration. I would definitely care more about reading a book than trying to have it compliment a room.

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    1. I completely understand! I have over 1500 books in storage 300 miles away! I long for the day my books and I can all be reunited :)

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  2. I can't imagine buying books just for show and not for reading. Unfortunately, because I live on a boat, I have to really minimize the amount of books we have and those that we have our tucked safely away so that they don't fly all over the place when we're underway. I do miss my stacks and stacks of books from my old land-dwelling days. Cheers - Ellen

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    1. I'd miss my books too, Ellen, but what an adventure you're having living on a boat!! And I'm sure you could find some trustworthy "baby" sitters should you ever gather more than you can float away with :)

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  3. "But they aren't there just to add interest or gather dust." EXACTLY. That's actually book abuse.

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    1. I agree! I know people who only have books on their shelves for decor. They even turn them all so that the spines face the wall. It looks lovely in their modern homes and I find the paper visually interesting but I couldn't live that way. I need my books to speak to me, yell at me from across the room, "Pick ME! Pick ME!"

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  4. I love books too. Currently I have most of my research books boxed up as I am in the process of buying a really great bookshelf to house them. My bookshelf is equally important though and I am having trouble finding the right one to hold my precious books :)

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    1. I understand! I have so many books in storage and I miss them all. The funny thing is, I can't remember what I have! It'll be like Christmas when I finally get them all.

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  5. Our books overflow in our house. Stacks here, shelves there. We cherish our books.

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    1. You sound like us, Susan. We have books everywhere and I wouldn't have it any other way :)

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