By The Book


I just adore books and designing places for them to be displayed. Books can bring instant character and warmth to any room. Bookcases can store treasured collections, family heirlooms and pictures in addition to books. They bring visual interest to a room, they can create a focal point or an architectural detail. Today I want to explore all of the ways we can live among our books and how bookcases become vital elements of the room design.


An architectural statement consisting of bold moldings, columns and arches. This built -in wall of bookcases is working double duty providing practical storage and a wow factor in the living room. Sconces hung on the columns create another layer of design.


The idea is that bookcases and thus books can be in just about any room of the house. To the left, a home office is a logical place to house books and a built- in daybed is always a welcomed addition to a room. The black wall in the nook adds depth and sconces provide light for those late nights when you can’t put the novel down. Below, built-in bookcases on either side of a fireplace provide the perfect amount of function and aesthetics. Clean and simple lines allow the architectural beauty of the the ceiling and bookcases to shine. Even further below, a wall of bookcases in a casual rustic setting is picture perfect.




My clients that are real book lovers store books everywhere and dining rooms are no exception. In the dining room I like a combination of books and accessories to create a nice balance in the room. It always takes some convincing for my real book lover clients to put anything else on the shelves but books, LOL.


Another idea is to treat the back-wall of the bookcase using paint, wallpaper or even bead board. Shown below is a fabulous shade of turquoise on bead-board with shelves styled with a combination of books, frames, collections and shells.



PicMonkey Collage

Hallways are wonderful places for built-in bookcases. If you are lucky enough to have space on a landing like this one above, with fabulous natural light, why not create a book nook? Built-in bookcases, fun lighting fixtures and a pop of color. Love this! To the left, expansive hallways lend themselves to built in bookcases naturally. The lighting choice is functional and hip while the arched ceiling and dark wood beams add to the charm.

When designing built-in bookcases I prefer going right up to ceiling with a chunky crown molding, if it makes sense. Window seats in between bookcases are functional and visually appealing. I also like building out the bottom bookshelf deeper then the top to ground the bookcase. Below, clients often ask if it is unacceptable to have books in the bedroom? I tell them, there are no rules when it comes to your home and what works for your lifestyle. I can make anything look beautiful!



I leave you with one final thought about books, one of my favorite places to use them when designing is in children’s rooms. How fabulous to have a wall of inspiration, color and fun. “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” –Maya Angelou


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  • Kate

    The turquoise bead board bookcase rocks.

    • Cathy from Adore Your Place

      I love that one to Kate!

  • Connie

    Easy way to decorate a wall and I like that I can see all the book titles on bookshelves in the nursery. Very creative.

  • Online Fabric Store

    Completely agree that books add so much to a room–any room! Painting shelf backings is a great look too!

    • Cathy Wolfram

      I’m not ashamed to admit that they also make me feel a bit smarter having then around LOL yes, I personally love painting the back of the shelves to.