Bookish Notions

Old books are a style staple and are among the home decorator’s handiest tools. Whether they are grouped by color and used as a shelf filler or stacked and placed beneath a smaller item to raise its prominence in a vignette, time-weathered tomes are indispensable. If you have newer books, you can always coat the covers with chalky-finish paint (or wrap them in fabric for a different look). A tutorial on painting books is available on the Creative Living program on Annie’s Creative Studio. Read on for five other ways to decorate with books.

1. Level Up
Lay down a couple of stacked books on either side of a fall-hued book collection and top them with tiny baskets brimming with colorful foliage. Stacked books can boost items or break up collections to lend variety to decorative displays.

This project originally appeared in the 2019 issue of Country Sampler Autumn Decorating.

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2. Page Turner
Add an aged printout and a coordinating ribbon bookmark to an old dictionary to assemble an easy seasonal centerpiece. Make a spell book for Halloween, as shown here, create the illusion of an epic love story, or feature a favorite nursery rhyme or a holiday classic to suit the season or celebration.
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3. Top Drawer
Make the most of a small chest or side table that is missing a drawer by filling in the opening with books. Select a variety of similarly sized volumes with different colored bindings and thicknesses and arrange them to fit within the opening. It may be a bit like putting together a puzzle as you figure out how best to arrange the volumes within the space.
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4. Story Time
Transform a book with special meaning, whether it’s a beloved heirloom or a favorite tale, into a personalized conversation piece by enhancing it with an item that has a connection to the story within or the history it represents. Bundle a family Bible with a pair of Grandpa’s reading glasses, or combine a spyglass with an adventure novel, for example. Secure the item to the book with ribbon or twine tied into a bow.

This home originally appeared in the July 2019 issue of Country Sampler.
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  Photographed by and Styled by Donna Pizzi
5. Supporting Character
Select unique items with a rustic feel to bookend your weathered volumes—antique clamps, greenery filled crocks or even stenciled stones, like these examples that provide a little autumnal wordplay. Search out similarly shaped stones, with fairly flat bottoms and smooth fronts. Use premade stencils and paint to spell out a fall word or phrase. If you like, further embellish the rocks by drilling small holes in which to insert faux leaves.

This project originally appeared in the 2016 issue of Country Sampler Autumn Decorating.
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