In the age of kindles, i-phone, i-pads and the need to reduce our carbon footprint by moving towards a paperless society, the idea of books may seem antiquated to some, but I still opt for the good old fashioned well-thumbed paperback novel with its slightly musty smell, or the new-book scent of a lavishly illustrated coffee table book.
But my love of books is not limited to their reading pleasure, they are also one of my favourite design staples.
If you, like me, aspire to one day own floor to ceiling bookshelves with a mezzanine level like this beautiful one, whilst waiting for your dream to realise you can still use books decoratively however humble your collection.
Book covers are an art of their own, so use an empty wall space to showcase some of your favourite covers
A beautiful way to display books is by cataloguing them according to the colour of their spine. The whole point of this look is to make a visual impact with your books and make your bookshelves looks more streamlined and vibrant. Admit it, it looks good.
If symmetry isn’t your thing, create visual interest with a mix of vertical and horizontal arrangements within the same shelf.
You can also intersperse your bookshelves with decorative objects and artwork, either by propping small pieces on the shelves or even hang larger pieces on the shelves themselves.
These golden bookcases juxtaposed with the dark wall are classy, and preserve the abstract-cool look of the room.
But stacking books on a shelf is not the only option.
Some of you may balk at this, but I love the look of books stacked either neatly or haphazardly on tables, servers and chairs and even on the floor. Depending on the tone of the room they can promote a bohemian or a sculptural motif.
Now here is a really radical idea which the bibliophiles amongst you may consider sheer heresy: an unbound book stack created by taking the covers off old books to create a distressed vintage effect.
Finally, whilst I find it hard to resist a pristine new book as much as anybody else does, I do not scoff at second-hand books either.
For one thing they are bound so beautifully, usually in leather or fabric, with beautiful gold lettering, and who can resist the iconic retro covers of the old penguin books. But more importantly they are much, much cheaper than their new counterparts, and if you also haven’t embraced technology and e-books, at least you are repurposing.
For beautiful pre-loved, vintage books and first editions, visit:
Ike’s bookshop (Florida Road, Durban)
WTF (Bulwer Road, Durban)
The Book Collector (Online shop)
Last Chance Books (Online shop)