The Best Ways To Use Books In Your Decorating

Kristin Sullivan
by Kristin Sullivan

Vintage books in rainbows of colors are my favorite! I want to share the best ways to use books in your decorating.

I’m singing “I Use Books In All My Decorating” in my best Gaston voice just like when he sings “I use antlers in all my decorating”. And from here on out I think we should all do that. Assume the pirate stance. Then with a sweeping arm gesture sing when you’ve created a beautiful vignette, tiered tray, mantel, or centerpiece with books is optional but completely fantastic and deserved.

“How can you read this? There’s no pictures!” – Gaston

Let’s fix that!!

Where To Find Books To Use In Decorating

  • Estate Sales – a great place to find lots of vintage books at inexpensive prices. Pull off dust jackets to see the colors of the books underneath. I love to collect hardcover books in shades of blue, white, gold and the ever rare pink. Collect books in your home’s colors or in colors for your holiday theme.
  • Yard sales and garage sales – the home owner will often have boxes of hard cover books tucked under tables. These often can be bargained for and bought by the box. These are great for painting the covers, stamping on and crafting with.
  • The library discard section – old books are put in this section because they have outlived their shelf life (See what I did there? I crack myself up.) The hardback books most of the time cannot be recycled due to the glue, string and other materials that hold them together.
  • Thrift stores and resale shops – these are great places to find both vintage books, newer books to craft with and coffee table books to use the pictures out of.
  • Flea markets, Vintage Market Days, and antique shops – Antique dealers see the value in antique books and collect them from the above places. If you’re looking for a specific color, title or theme you can save yourself some legwork by visiting your favorite shop.
  • Etsy – This is great when you need to purchase a specific vintage book! Just type details in the search field (title, year, etc.) and your shopping options are vast!

Thrift Store Shopping Guide

Stop the frustration of going from pin to pin and site to site, this is the answer to all your thrift shopping questions! This guide has items you want to look for in thrift, resale, and antiques stores, ideas of how to use those thrifty finds, a go-to list for tiered trays, a holiday on a budget tips and tricks section and a spot for lists so you can thrift with a plan!

There is so much information, pictures to inspire you and budget friendly ideas in the Thrift Store Shopping Guide to help you thrift with a plan and “fifth sparrow no more” all the pieces you find!

How To Use Books In Your Decorating

In Tiered Trays

Use Books on your Mantel and Hearth

  • On your mantel and hearth
  • Three books in the main colors the hearth is decorated in sits in a copper casserole carrier.
  • A book becomes the bottom of a house (and a riser) for a pumpkin on this pastel fall mantel.
  • On this school mantel theme specific vintage books become accent pieces on the mantel along with other vintage school supplies.
  • For this spring mantel a spot on the hearth is given to a riser and a two books – one as a riser and the other as an accent.

In All Of Your Vignettes

  • In vignettes on tables and shelves
  • For this vignette I used a Dolly Parton book as an accent. Music sheets are rolled up and placed in my vignette as well.
  • Two of my favorite colors, pink and jadeite, found on the cover of these books was combined with other feminine bits in this rustic planter to dress up a side board.
  • The entry way table is using a Miss Manner’s Guide book as a riser.
  • A red book acts as a riser and adds to the festive charm and bright colors of a farmhouse Christmas as a riser on this coffee table tray.

Get Your Vintage Music Sheets Here!

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Use Books In Your Centerpieces


I Hope This Inspires You To Use Books In All Of Your Decorating

And sing like Gaston …

Before You Fly Away To Decorate With Books

Pin any of the images to Pinterest so you save all the ideas for using books in all of your decorating – hover over any picture to save the pin to your Pinterest account. So easy!

Kristin Sullivan
Want more details about this and other budgeting & minimalist living ideas? Check out more here!
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2 of 13 comments
  • 77candybug 77candybug on May 04, 2024

    I thought this would be more of a repurposing books article but instead it's just random hardback books thrown into more random decor. Why? Especially since they don't hold any sentimental value bought at a garage or estate sale.

  • Barbara Brown Barbara Brown on May 26, 2024

    Yes, this is just adding clutter! How about useful ideas to repurpose old books?