Book-smart accents can enhance your décor
So many books, so little time "¦ and we're not just talking about curling up in a thick-cushioned chair to read by a toasty fire.We're suggesting you use those luscious books to enhance your living or family room décor — after or before reading them.
Companies actually specialize in selling books as décor. Leni Leth started her Fallbrook, Calif., business Book Décor, after a business associate suggested she start selling books through her antique business. Eighteen years later, books are her sole commodity, and she's got multiple ways to use them.
Leth consults with her clients to find the perfect style for their home, "I really like to speak with my customers first to get a feeling for the look they are after," explains Leth, who then e-mails photos of the books she thinks will fit the bill.
Leth categorizes her book looks to include: old world (jewel tones, leather- bound, series with similar size, stacked straight up); causal (a mixture of colors and bindings, some stacked upright, others leaning or lying down); contemporary for ultra modern homes (unusual-colored, leather-bound such as yellow, dove blue and gray), Zen (a peaceful elegant look of light bindings such as off white or green or faded by age); and her latest, the "Harry Potter," which was inspired by a 16-year-old customer (these leather-bound books are very old, worn and torn).
"Many of my customers have built these huge, magnificent homes with formal libraries, but they have no books to fill them with. Book binding is a lost art; consequently leather books are really rare," says Leth, who travels to Denmark for her merchandise.
But home libraries are not the only place books should hang out. Table tops, the floor, beneath window seats; the choices are only limited to your imagination. Interior decorating professional Coral Nafie devotes serious thought to decorating with books.
"I like to combine books with other objects. Photos, bookends, boxes and small sculptures work best," says Nafie, decorating guide for About.com. "Lay a stack of books together with a small box or photo on top, place an art piece next to the pile or raise a lamp with a stack of similar-sized books. An artistic arrangement is more interesting than stacks or piles."