Design in Depth: Bookish Pleasures

March 6, 2013

By Stacy Kunstel

Even in this era of iPads, iPhones, Kindles, and Surfaces I still take such pleasure in pieces of paper bound together into what has long been called a book. A book is not merely something to read or to enjoy beautiful photos. I frequently use books as a decorative item in styling to add color, texture or scale.


In this Charlotte Barnes-designed interior a strategically placed orange book provides an accent in the foreground of the photo creating interest.

Photo by Michael Partenio

Stacks of books create a layer of interest and color on a large coffee table in this apartment designed by Jeanne Duval

Photo by Michael Partenio

Books, even subtle ones like this gold book entitled, “Rodin,” add something to the space whether it is a bit of shimmer or shape in the home of Michelle Mergy.

Photo by Michael Partenio

Books also create warmth. What do I mean by that? Books on shelves create a visual texture that fills a room with a lived-in feeling. Imagine how cold and sterile a room can look with empty shelves. Here are some examples of how books add warmth to a room starting with this entryway by architect Robert Dean and interior designer Anne Miller.

Photo by Michael Partenio

Connecticut designer Parker Rogers filled a simple bedside shelf with all his favorite reads.

Photo by John Bessler

Books don’t have to be relegated to the living room or bedroom. In this shot, An Urban Cottage blogger Steve Fuller used a collection of vintage cookbooks to create a colorful visual statement in the kitchen.

Photo by Michael Partenio, courtesy of Meredith Corporation

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