Decorating With Books

In a recent post by Cote de Texas, (I love this blogsite by the way, because it's just fun to look at all the sumptuous pictures) Houston based designer Randy Powers addresses the problem of books clashing with a room's color scheme. He just turns their spines to the back, so only the paper edges show. This keeps everything monochromatic and really gorgeous, but I have to wonder how the hell you find your books that way?(Image courtesy of Elle Decor)

I know a Dallas designer who covers all his books in white paper, but then you've pretty much got the same problem -- how to tell which book is which. (And, he threw a hissy fit when the homeowner took a pencil and wrote the titles on the outside.) For those who really want to read their books and not just admire their shapes on the shelf, the answer is actually a compromise. Here's my take:
Red covers sell books, but they don't look so great in a subtle room. I have a lot of red books like these that shout off the shelves.

Instead of covering up all your books, think about just removing the worst offenders' book jackets. Some, like these red books, look even brighter underneath. I remedied that by buying some pretty papers from Paper and Chocolate and covering them just like in elementary school. (Do they still do that?) The top book below is covered in handmade, hand-blocked paper from Japan. The Japanese papers are generally larger, so they fit larger books easier. Plan to spend about $3-$6 per sheet.

I use paper book plates to write the name of the books on the outside so I can identify them easier. You can find book plates at most stationery shops and bookstores.

I chose pretty patterns in blues, greens, browns and golds to play off the colors in my apartment.

See how nice they look on the shelf? They're quiet, not loud now. Red just wrecks the zen thing I've got going on in my apartment.

I can't live without my bird identification books, including this one, a gift from a friend who first introduced me to the sport of birding. But the cover is hideous, don't you agree?

So, I swathed it in chocolate brown paper with green ferns and charming gold leaf birds on it. It makes me smile every time I look at it because I know exactly what's inside: birds.