Nearly all of my clients have collections of books they want to showcase. Whether stacks of paperback plays or hardbound art tomes, people have a connection with their books that is very personal and important. So how can you best showcase them without making your living room a slave to the Dewey decimal system? There are many creative ways to display your home library.
Think outside the bookcase. I like to stack a pile of sturdy hardbacks next to a cozy side chair. Making a tower of books from 18” to 24” replicates the feel of a side table—with a twist of soul. What could be more inviting than taking your favorite novel off the top of the pile and setting a coffee atop the others? Not only is this moment welcoming, it is also a conversation piece.
If you want to go the traditional route, use a bookcase. However, I don’t like to stock every shelf back-to-back with books. I prefer to mix it up. Stack some books horizontally. If you have some titles you don’t want to display, take a row and turn the spines so that they face the back of the bookcase. Instead of propping them with bookends, substitute interesting sculptural items. At the end of a line of books, I like to place a piece of heavy pottery or stack of photo boxes.
They make an assortment of unconventional bookcases nowadays. Some are spines that hang on the wall with protruding rectangular shelves. They could almost be called “book sconces” and hold ten or fewer, lightweight books. There is also the standing floor version of these book spines. When filled with books in descending sizes (top with the smallest editions to heaviest at bottom), they resemble architectural towers or freestanding floor sculptures.
Books are perhaps the most popular collector’s items. It can be fun to use a little creativity when deciding how to best store them. Rather than resorting to traditional bookcases, go for a modern alternative to show off your bestsellers in style.