Today is the first, of what we hope to be many, post by our esteemed guest contributer – known as “Red Hen”. We hope you enjoy!

How do you decorate with books? Do you buy “decorator books” or just decorate with books?  Well…both!

There is indeed a type of book that was not only made beautifully, but made to look beautiful on the shelf, especially in large numbers.  That is not to say that these books were a mere shell of cover and spine with no thought to content, but they were made to be purchased as large collections of literature or knowledge (think encyclopedias and dictionary series).  Check out Architectural Digest’s website and search “library”–one stunning photo after another of beautiful books on beautiful shelves in beautiful homes. (link: here)

Then there are books that are just decorative cover and spine over an empty box.  These are books used to store valuables or treasures in a secretive manner and are frequently referred to as “book-safes”.  A twist on this is an actual book whose pages are cut with an Exacto knife to hollow out a space in the pages for hiding things.

(This vintage Alice in Wonderland Book Safe is available on Etsy!)

But mostly, I like books that are interesting, useful and beautiful.  And I like to decorate with these books because I really like them and their content.  This is a way to personalize your settings into little tableaus–all about you!   Think of a kitchen setting with cookbooks.   How about decorating for a holiday with books about that holiday?  Stack coffee table books with collectibles.  Stack lighting on decorative books for height.

Your imagination is really the only limitation in how to use the books already in your possession!  And, lacking imagination, there are dozens of wonderful publications that showcase the imagination of others!

Decorator books from Lainey’s home can be found in this previous post!

Have you decorated with books?

-Red Hen