Books, Books, and more Books

Richard Keith Langham

I love Books. They are such a source of inspiration. And I know there are a lot of you just like me who are very visual. The Peak of Chic did a great post on books yesterday and posed the question: "How best to display books". Let me know how you display your books. I display my books all over the house....in stacks, on tables, on chairs, countertops, bookshelves and even in the bathroom. I am not a fan of covering books in false jacket covers. There is so much beauty and inspiration in book covers. Having said that, for some books I take off the jacket covers because I find the original binding of the books more attractive, but I always keep the original jacket covers filed away. I also like to rotate books in stacks as decorative objects. I have stacks of books that are current around me and I put the books on top that I most want to look through first. My stacks of books are always changing depending on what I am reading or am inspired by. I do like to arrange books on shelves in subject matter as closely as possible, it makes finding them easier. Large books are better laid flat. Small books grouped together. Magazines filed in piles chronologically and by magazine. But having said all the above, I have no hard & fast rules as my book collection is constantly evolving and ever expanding. Sometimes I am very neat and sometimes books are everywhere in wild abandon.
Absolutely Beautiful Things


David Kleinberg
Bunny Williams Home from New York Social Diary

Miles Redd
Photo New York Social Diary I love this library table with the lamps and chairs all around, just ready to sit down and devour the piles of books.
David Duncan Livingston This is something how my office looks with stacks of magazines.

Cote de Texas I love the way that Cote has all her books stacked.

Bunny Williams Home from New York Social Diary
And this photo is for those of you who don't mind not being able to see the title of the books. I agree that it looks ever so Chic, but I wonder if the books become somewhat mysterious. Would you want to take each book of the shelf and see what was inside? I would!
"You are the same today that you are going to be five years from now except for two things: the people with whom you associate and the books you read." -- Charles Jones

If anyone knows the source of the above "unknown photo" please let me know.


  1. Great images! I love books too and display in all of the ways you have mentioned! I am just about to put in lots of bookshelves in my new office for all of my design books, so I am very excited about that!

    Note: Is the photo from David Duncan Livingston designed by him or photographed by him? He is a wonderful photographer, and used to design also, but not sure he does anymore. GREAT guy by the way, and a wonderful Interiors photographer!

  2. oh boy...big topic! I have a penchant for "all things neat" so books cause both a dilemma and an opportunity in terms of design.

    I have a few books that serve as decoration (one rests underneath a sculpture, another enjoys its prestigious spot on the coffee table/ottoman), but the rest are banished to bookshelves. In my next home I will have built-in bookcases in a study, the type of room that cries out for books to adorn its walls.

  3. I can't get enough of these images. Great selection! I would say my I usually keep my library as a cross between Miles Redd and David Duncan Livingston image. I find that magazines are best stacked and books either way!


  4. How great to be able to see how others display and store their books. Mine are in bookshelves, piled on tables, arranged as part of vignettes.... The list just goes on!

  5. I'm a big reader, so I have piles of novels around everywhere, as well as my coffee table and larger format books. I love books stacked horizontally so you can read the titles. Nothing bugs me more than craning my neck sideways to read titles (I have neck issues anyway, with my headaches)!

    Piles of books are great ways to showcase little objects on top! I have many little stone birds and favorite heavy things I use for paperweights and door stops.

    I don't like books in the bathroom. There is something yucky to me about books near toilets. That being said, I usually have decor magazine in drawers nearby with the spare TP!

  6. We are such huge bibliophiles around here...what an excellent post! Just no, absolutely no, book spines turned around for fashion! You'll love these color-coordinated shelves, too:
    Happy Reading!

  7. Great post, fantastic images. I am a big collector of books too, not matter what it is, and I can't seem to part with them (even books from school). Plus, my husband is an editor so our place is a little crowded with books at the moment, so your post is timely. Mostly my books are on shelves (much like the Miles Redd image) just because its easier in our small apartment, but I love the idea of having them all over.

  8. I have always liked Thomas Jefferson’s quote, I cannot live without books. I am the exact same way! I have books in every room of our home. Most of mine are on bookshelves and stacked on tables.

  9. Hi Katie..I bet you can hardly wait to get your new bookshelves installed in your office. Post a picture when you get it done.

    Hi Franki
    Your book that sits under your sculpture sounds interesting. And yes a study devoted to books sounds wonderful.

    Hi Girl Meets Glamour
    Your library sounds great. Thanks for your comment.

    Hi POC
    Your book collection sounds like mine...spreading, sprawling, happy abandon.

    Hi Terri
    I love the little stone birds resting atop your books. They sound charming.

    Hi Design Talk
    Thanks for the link to your color-coordinated bookshelf post. What a fun way to display kids books and teach them their colors.

    Hi Suzy
    It sounds like you have a fantastic book collection. And I also can't part with books. They become like good friends.

    Hi All The Best
    I also can't live without books.
    Thanks for your comment and quote by Thomas Jefferson.

  10. Patricia - How embarassing! That poor pathetic dog picture that my husband suprised me with! ugh....
    ok, enough with low self esteem.

    I LOVE your post! Isn't it weird to go in a person's house and they have NO books at all? I swear, I have clients that don't have books! If that's the case, I go to Half Price Books and buy a few boxes of them for the shelves just to "warm" the place up. This post is really up everyone's alley on Blogspot. Thanks!

  11. Thanks for the mention Patricia!! I absolutely love all of the other images you have included too! Great post!

  12. optimuscrime22/8/07

    i can't understand pilers -- those who have neat little stacks of books with sculpture poised atop the pile. do these people not read their books? i'd be forever having to undo the little book-pyramids in search of a book i need.w

  13. Hi Joni
    You are too funny. But I agree with you.I think a home has so much more character with good books to read and to look at.

  14. Hi Anna
    That shelf of yours is one of my favs.

  15. Hi Optimuscrime
    I think a small amount of piling with minimal sculpture is alright. But you have to draw the line. Thanks for your comment.

  16. Anonymous28/1/08

    I agree with Thomas Jefferson and Bunny Williams. I simply cannot live without books! I do not own a book I haven't read with the exception of a vintage steamer trunk in the bedroom I use as my "read next" section, which I eye constantly. If my selection on that table gets low, I get nervous.
    I like my books organized by subject then size. I couldn't STAND not knowing where a book was, so I couldn't do by color, but it's very pretty. While I like the neatness of parchment book covers, I'd never do it because I love the colors of the books. I confess I don't like dust jackets. I use them, but I never read a book with the dust jacket on. It drives me to distraction. I read in bed, the windowseat, my big front porch, my back deck...anywhere. I prefer the look of vertical books, but I think Albert Hadley has the right idea...stacks so you can READ the title. Also lights over the bookcase. I'm prepping a post about my dream library, so this is timely. Excellent post, Patricia.

  17. piles never look this lovely in my home! i'm jealous!!


Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™

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