Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Decorating with Books

I'm sure those of you with eagle eyes and literary enthusiasm (waving and smiling at Edie) have spied my fondness for using books in my decorating. Part of the reason for this is practical...we only own one set of bookshelves for all our books, and although I don't buy them as much as I used to (working at a library will do that...so much delightful daily access!!), I still can't resist them sometimes, so our single bookshelf is full to overflowing. But the majority of the reason for decorating with books is that they give a house such personality. Once again, I go back to my love of fairy tales and "make your life a story" concept. What better way to do so than to display the beautiful words and tales you love?

So I thought I'd share a few of my "book displays" from around the house.

Beginning in the entry, you can see the books I have stacked on the foyer table right as you come in the door. To make the right first impression, these volumes are...

..a collected works of Hans Christian Andersen with a beautiful illustration on the cover from The Snow Queen...one of my three tied-for-favorite fairy tales....and a copy of Cinderella and Other Fairy Tales.Moving into the living room, the mantle proudly displays three volumes recently donated to the library that I snatched up for a quarter a piece. Hidden behind the second volume is a third book of Keats, Byron and Shelley poetry. The front book is titled The Life of Queen Victoria and the Story of Her Reign, if you couldn't read it. No idea what the copyright date is...possibly early 20th century.

Although the center book is even more beautiful, I put the Queen Victoria one in front as it represents my interests better. But the cover of this book is just so beautiful. Even my normally well-behaved bibliophile mother tried to "hide" it in her sweater when she came over and saw it for the first time. Again, no idea on copyright date...the copyright page was torn out.Also on the mantle and purchased from the same donations is this reproduction of a Victorian children's book. I bought it for the charming illustrations, but when I took it home and read it, it was utterly disturbing!!! Apparently Victorian children had no qualms with tales of frogs and mice falling in love, building a home together, inviting friends over to tea.........and then being eaten by cats and ducks. The End. (!!!)

On the living room coffee table, the coffee table books circulate out somewhat regularly, since we have so many wonderful volumes to share and feature. Right now, a wonderful book given by a friend on the art of Edward Burne-Jones is featured. Below it but unseen is a beautiful art book on the artist Charles Vess. On the little cabinet/table we currently have holding some plants in front of the bay window in the living room, you can see a recent beautiful art book by Brian Froud, World of Faerie. On top of that is a wonderful book called The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite.

In the corner of the living room is a wrought iron plant stand I bought years ago. I hate that I had to take these pictures at night with flash, as it does no justice to everything, especially this display/stand. Ah well, moving on. On the top shelf is a beautiful little volume of Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. Under that is Patricia McKillip's Winter Rose, and the book Anam Cara. On the bottom shelf is a collector set of The Lord of the Rings. Hidden in the corner is my copy of Brian Froud and Alan Lee's Faeries, and a wonderful book on medieval fashion.
Upstairs in the Dreaming Room, you can see the aforementioned only bookshelves we currently own for our books. The shelves are stacked two sets deep, and we really need to buy more shelves.
Edie requested pictures of the bookshelves. Here you go! On the top of the bookcase is a William Morris-print watering can I found at....Home Goods a year ago. Top shelf features my favorite photo of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. The art print is by Kinuko Craft and was a gift from Edie.
Yes, my license plate used to be LOTR (Lord of the Rings) fan.
Finally, decorating with books can be practical as well as quirky. Tom grabbed up this old enormous atlas at the library book sale as well, and it does a great job of hiding the extra long excess cord to the stereo on the bookshelves.


  1. BOOKS!!! Indeed. Thanks for sharing. I've been planning on sharing my collection on my book blog. Hopefully soon!

    Loving that water can and yay for deLint, the "Red Haired Girl from the Bog" and others we have in common. What is the title of the book next to "The Bell at Sealy Head"?

    I'm imagining how wonderfully all the colors will pop (the greens, the golds, the wooden tones) when you paint the room blue. Robin's Egg right?

  2. I am happy to follow your blog on decorating in the arts and crafts Pre-Raphaelite fashion as those are loves of mine as well. I have the same William Morris watering can in my kitchen. Some of the same prints and books by the same artists signed by them at past Faerie Con gatherings. Perhaps you have been there as well?

  3. Edie! If you mean the book to the right, it's _Her Fearful Symmetry_ by Audrey Niffenegger. Still have to read that one, but she wrote _The Time Traveler's Wife_ which I love. The one to the left is _A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids_ :)

    Painting Queen, I have indeed been to Faeriecon! The first year, and then again in 2009. I hope to go this year as well.

    I'm enjoying your blog too, by the way! Just went over there to check it out. :) LOVE the faerie chandelier for Christmas.

  4. Cool. Perhaps we will meet up! The chandelier is still up, as I decided its a year round enjoyment!