Beautify with Books

Cicero famously said that “a room without books is like a body without a soul.” Shelves filled with books can be a thing of beauty all on their own, but there are far more ways books can give more soul to a room. Instead of limiting yourself to the standard shelving, try out some of these ideas using whole books or book pages to give your home some stunning literary style.

Books come in all sizes and hues, so for these projects, you can—and should—judge them by their covers.

Whole Books

Floating Bookshelves

Since they can be placed at different levels on the wall and dressed up with more than just books, they can add real interest—and a break from the same old symmetry of traditional book storage. You can even make floating shelves out of books to really make them float.

Picture Frames

Books can become picture frames for photos or other (small) works of art. Books turned into frames work well for both your own family candids or vintage images, either by cutting space into the cover or inside the pages.

New Covers

Simply wrap the cover and decorate. You can use fabric in coordinating colors and patterns, good old craft paper, or an old-school paper bag for a vintage look. You could even repurpose your kids’ artwork, which is great for splashes of color. Then decorate with small items that add texture, color, or shine, like buttons, twine, or old game pieces (think Monopoly). Jewelry is also a great choice, from simple chains to antique brooches and pendants.

Cut Books

You can also cut books into letters that can stand on their own. Imagine a mantle with a row of book-letters delivering a holiday greeting. Personalize a child’s bedroom with initials mounted on a wall—or, for a master suite, add romance with the couple’s initials.


Use books to construct a coffee table, end table, side table, or nightstand. Simply stack the books (the bigger and sturdier the better, of course), and then cover with a piece of glass or a tray. Or leave the top bare in all its bookish glory. And don’t forget color: a table of books in a single hue makes a real statement.

Book Pages

  • Frame the pages. Old dictionaries with diagrams and drawings are especially great for this.
  • Tear up page scraps to fill a glass fixture like an apothecary jar or a glass lamp base.
  • Make pennants to string across bookshelves. For kids’ shelves, use colorful children’s book pages.
  • Fold and roll to make a lovely wreath or garland you can display any time of year. Or flowers. Or a whole bouquet of roses.

And remember, many of the cute, crazy, sweet, and stylish paper craft projects you find online can be done with book pages. Don’t limit yourself; look at what other people have done and don’t be afraid to try something new.

With all the ideas out there and your own style and imagination, there’s no limit to the beautiful ways books can enrich your home.

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