This is My Favorite Way to Repurpose Old Living Room Coffee Table Books

updated Jun 18, 2020
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Credit: Reid Rolls

When I moved into my first post-grad apartment, I cut out images from a favorite calendar, popped them into gold frames, and hung them above my sofa for easy, affordable wall art. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed doing the same thing with black and white images from coffee table books that I’ve purchased secondhand and were in disrepair, with pages already missing. Framing book pages, while not a brand new concept, is an excellent way to majorly upgrade your wall art situation without spending big bucks.

Before I go any further, let me be clear: I’m not telling you to order a gorgeous, brand new coffee table book and immediately take a pair of scissors to it. Rather, if you’re anything like me, then it’s entirely possible you’ve accumulated books from used book sellers, thrift stores, or rummage sales over the years. Perhaps a few of your once mint condition copies now have missing pages and aren’t as fun to flip through.

The books I’ve been using for my most recent projects are an old Audrey Hepburn book with a spine that has seen better days and a worn coffee table book of old Vogue photographs that I purchased from someone who was downsizing before a move. But as an avid reader, I did find the idea of literally tearing a page out of a book—no matter how battered—a little off-putting at first! However, thinking about the fact that a once beautiful book could still live on as art in my home instantly made me feel better about taking this kind of a project on.

Blogger Chrissy McDonald of Harlowe James frequently styles coffee table book images in her own apartment, as seen above. “I started tearing out pages from my coffee table books and framing them years ago as a way to have nice art without the price tag,” McDonald says. “Even though I like to buy higher end art now, I still go for books, occasionally, because they often contain unique work and sizing. I generally lean toward photographs, but I have used line drawings as well.”

It’s possible that you already have a couple extra gallery wall-sized frames in your home that would be perfect for a project like this. If not, I’m a big fan of the affordable IKEA Ribba frames as well as these sleek gold ones from Target (which are what I used, since I prefer a glam look). McDonald selects similar styles for her own pieces. “I love the natural and white wood frames from Target for a quick fix, she says. “But if I really love the art, I will have it framed in something a bit more chic from Framebridge.” 

And there you have it—an affordable, simple way to add some personality to your space while giving used books in disrepair a new life. I really can’t think of anything better!