Books aren't just the best things to have in your house—your collection can be as cool as you are. And with National Book Lovers Day (Nov 3) today, why not relook at these tomes as decor items, too? Not only does this make your apartment to look great, but it also gives you ample permission to buy as many books as you want! Here are some designer-approved ways to incorporate your favorite books into your home's style:
Create a comfy book nook
Whether in a specific nook or even in a small area of a room, Cecilie Starin, a San Francisco Bay Area-based interior designer, always places a cozy chair with an ottoman or footstool, then adds a lamp for ideal reading light.
"I always have a small table or basket nearby to house favorite books," she says. "If there's room for it, I really love to add a curtain around the area that can be drawn closed to create a feeling of being enveloped so the reader can truly escape into their book."
Add books—and accessories—to your kitchen
Susan Serra, a kitchen designer in Huntington, New York, says she's often asked to find a place in the kitchen for cookbook collections. In fact, books are an ideal kitchen add-on.
"An arrangement of books, decorative objects, and useful items create an interesting and authentic look on an open shelf or on multiple shelves," she says. "Cookbooks on an open shelf cabinet built into an island adds warmth and convenience. Bookshelf cabinets typically seen in other rooms are perfectly appropriate in the kitchen."
Let your bookshelves personalize your decor
Bookshelves are an ideal place to not only showcase a book collection, but also truly personalize a home's decor, Starin says.
"I'll fill the shelves with a mix of collected treasures (statuaries, framed prints, etc.), family items, travel souvenirs, potted plants, etc. among books that are displayed vertically, as well as in stacks to add to the visual interest," she says. "Not only do these beautifully accent the books, the shelves become a great conversation starter when guests are over."
Sorting your books by color has not gone out of style
"It's not only playful to organize your books by color but this also keeps them organized," says Gina Gutierrez, founder and principal designer at Gina Rachelle Design in San Francisco. "To control the color of your books, you can wrap them in brown paper bags or craft paper for a natural, earthy look. It works year-round but it's also lovely for creating Thanksgiving and Christmas tones."
Play with scale and different heights
When styling a shelf, some books—larger coffee table style or cookbooks—are great to lay flat and then you stand smaller books upright and add a decor piece on top, suggests Gutierrez. "By doing this, you are playing with height and it gives visual interest to your shelving."
Devote an entire room to books
If you have a guest room or office in the house that's rarely used, consider turning it into a dedicated library with built-ins. "It will condense your collection and feel less overwhelming than being spread throughout your home," says Suzanne Lee, a Boston-based photo stylist. "It's also a great statement room during a home tour."
Stack 'em everywhere
For those book lovers who save every book, think outside the book shelf. "I love seeing books stacked on the floor," Gutierrez says. "As long as they are neat stacks, it can be a really cool 'art' feature in your living room."
Bring in a library scent
If you not only love books but adore how they smell, consider a book scented candle from Homesick's Memories Collection that pairs the notes of an antique leather-bound book with a woody desk smell of cedar and sandalwood. Add a stylish match striker like this one from McGee & Co. to hold your matches and you have a gorgeous retro look that honors the book lover in you, suggests Annabel Joy, an interior designer and a co-founder of Trim Design Co., a design firm in Swampscott, Massachusetts.