8 Ways to Style Your Home With Books

The home décor approach du jour (and for the foreseeable future) is all about mixing trends, working with what you've got, and only investing in special pieces that you love.

More affordable than a rare coffee table or a one-off artwork, books are a way to add texture, structure and personality to your home. You probably already have a decent collection, and there are plenty of books on offer at secondhand stores and online.

It's not just what's inside them that counts – books are also the underrated heroes of home décor. Here are eight ways to style your home with books.

Front-facing Shelf

The oversized, forward-facing bookshelf is one of Poppy Lissiman's favourite pieces (among the many incredible finds at her vintage-filled apartment). Anyone with an impressive collection of art books – and enough space – should seriously consider one of these for their home. Each book cover acts as a work of art when displayed front-on, and with the right books you have even more options inside each one. Just open at a new page and you've got something new to look at.

Room Dividing Shelf

Get yourself a freestanding bookshelf, not too deep, and use it as a room divider to demarcate an entryway from a living space, or your bed from the rest of your bedroom. The small stepped bookshelf inside artist Lucy Roleff's Melbourne apartment is a perfect example of how to use a bookshelf to add structure to your home. A plant and a jumble of small vases on top adds height without overcrowding the space or blocking light. 

The Pile

So simple, so effective: gather together your favourite assortment of coffee table books, varying sizes, and stack next to a chair or sofa. Pop a vase or small plant on top and you've got yourself a piece of furniture that feels infinitely more personal than even an amazing vintage find would. Be sure the floor is level and your books aren't overly warped if you want your stack to function as a table.

Strapped In

This method is especially good for well-read magazines you can't bare to part with. Use a vintage belt to strap them in, with your favourite cover on the top. Place beside an armchair. Voila.

Up, Down, Across

Purposefully alternating between vertical and horizontal stacking creates a sense of balance, and makes it easier to store books of varying size. Lucas Wearne's open-faced bookshelf is the perfect example of how to use space efficiently without creating a crammed-in effect.

The Artefacts

Treat your home like a museum and display your best books on a stone plinth. A vase of fresh flowers on top provides an extra special touch.

The Tower

Stack your books in a super high pile for a furniture-free way to keep your books in one place without taking up much space at all – like this impressive tower at Talisa Sutton's minimalist haven. If you're worried about structural integrity, find yourself an invisible bookshelf to help keep the tower in tact.

Lowrise Shelf

Prudence Caroline's spectacular, colourful home is full of inspiring ideas, including her open-front, low-rise wooden bookshelf (pictured above). This piece provides the perfect base to hold the artist's pastel canvases, with a selection of hard-cover books sitting horizontally below it adding texture and detail. Keep your stacks neat – you don't want clutter, you want thoughtfully placed items working in harmony with bigger pieces of furniture and artworks.

Want more inspiring (but affordable) home décor ideas? We investigate why bricolage is the next big trend you should try – and how you're probably already doing it...

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