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Inspired By: Rooms with Books

by | Apr 27, 2017 | Decorating Inspiration

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Inspired By: Rooms with Books
New England Home

love rooms filled with books, not just for show, but because the owners of the room actually love books. Some people just use books as a design prop. They may keep them covered with paper for visual serenity or turned backwards for uniformity on a shelf. I think books give a room character! I personally don’t think that books in a home should be considered clutter, but rather they can be a part of the authentic story of the people who live there.

Covering spines is an option if you prefer that look, but our family incorporates books into our decor because we just love books. Books hold memories and stories from our past and represent something important in our life. That’s what it means to me to decorate with what we love.

I think rooms with books are amazing, even with all the colors and different spines of the books exposed. I don’t think of books as only decorative objects, I just love the process of representing who we are and what we love into our home!

Inspired By: Rooms with Books
New England Home

Inspired By: Rooms with BooksHouse Beautiful

Inspired By: Rooms with BooksHouse Beautiful

Inspired By: Rooms with Books
New England Home

Inspired By: Rooms with Books
House Beautiful

Inspired By: Rooms with Books New England Home

Inspired By: Rooms with Books
New England Home

Inspired By: Rooms with BooksHouse Beautiful

Do you have books in your home?

Inspired By: Rooms with Books

More on The Inspired Room:

Home and Garden Design Coffee Table Books I Love

My All Time Favorite Home Decorating Book

The One Decorating Accessory I Can’t Live Without

My Decorating and Homemaking Books


  1. laney

    …a room without books is empty…such like a body without a soul…blessings…laney

  2. Anne

    Books are like old friends, waiting to tell or re-tell their story. I would never treat books as decorating props – using them only as colour accent for instance – I would feel that that was disrespectful to the book.
    I do have both Kindle and an iPad, but I still prefer the real thing, both in my hands an on my shelves :-)

  3. Kay

    Yes! We have books in a primitive vintage sorter that had been in my old retail store. Last winter I turned them around for a monochromatic display, but now they’re arranged by color. Turns out most of my books are either red or white! I blogged about it, here:

  4. Patricia Falini

    Hi Melissa, This is the first time I have ever replied to a blog! I retired 3 years ago and came across your blog one morning. I have been following quietly ever since because of posts like these that make me say to myself, “Oh yes, Melissa! Me, too, I’m right there with you!” We have books in every room, and besides bringing us joy, they add warmth and texture. I loved your blog right away because you had books and PLANTS! Thanks so much for giving me permission to love my home and affirming that it doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. You are truly inspiring and are still #1 in my “book”! Sincerely, Pat

  5. Sallie

    Yay – books!! We have a room in our house called The Library, where we store most of our books (they do tend to migrate; I cannot lie) and where we do home office work, and where I work my job from home. It’s like having your friends sitting quietly in the corner, just waiting in case you need them. My Melissa Michaels books are here too. :) Thanks, friend!

  6. Terry

    Yes! We love books in our home, and we love to read them, too! ;-) We have books in cases and on flat surfaces and in baskets throughout the house. I even have a single pile of books stacked on the floor and against the side of a hutch next to my husband’s chair in the living room. It is a collection of about 20 books by the same author, one of my husband’s favorites. Over the course of a few days of decluttering, I had gathered the books from various places around the house and placed them there, intending to make room on a bookcase shelf for the collection. But I actually liked the look of the books stacked against the white hutch, so that has become their resting place, at least for the time being.

    Thank you for the lovely and inspirational pictures. I could gaze at them all day, especially the first one.

  7. Pat M.

    Finally, a decorator who will state that books are for reading and not just for texture, elevation, color, etc. The current “style” of turning them around to show the non-colorful page edges is a decorating trick that makes no sense and appears foolish. The practice of covering books with paper or fabric is also rather questionable. If your home is that matchy-matchy, your problem goes deeper than just books. I understand that decorators must keep coming up with new ideas in order to keep them in the race, but really, why not be actually helpful and reasonable to those of us who are not.

    • Elaine

      I love your comment, Pat M!! Couldn’t agree more!

    • Lisa

      Agreed! I abhor the decorating trend of buying books by the linear foot to fill a bookshelf, or only for aesthetic appearance: color, age, etc. Either one reads or they don’t. Their books should reflect their personal interests and aspirations, not a false sense of culture.

  8. Tanya

    Oh, books! We’ve been homeschooling for 18 (19? I’m not even sure any more) years, so we have lots and lots and lots of books! Once upon a time we had a room that was a dedicated study and all our books lived there and were organized, but now we’re in a much smaller home and the books are scattered everywhere and in every room. It makes finding them a bit harder, but everyone claims their favorites for their own spaces.
    As far as the “clutter” of books goes, I did buy into it briefly. But as I tried sorting through trying to decide which I’d be purging from our collections, I was so sad at letting some of them leave. Books make me happy. If it brings me joy, then it isn’t clutter. Now I don’t feel guilty about keeping them, and I can still enjoy passing some onto friends when I know I won’t reread it again.

  9. Lynda

    Thanks so much for sharing all these beautiful images from New England Home and linking to the original articles. We appreciate it!

  10. Cindy in Oklahoma

    My obsession is embarrassing. I have two large bookshelves in this room… and when I see all the styled shelves on IG or the many blogs I read I look over and think to myself… sorry, I can’t part with half of you to make my shelves look camera ready. They’re called bookshelves for a reason!….haha

    Seriously, every now and then I go through my books looking for those I can donate… and after an exhaustive afternoon I come up with a couple. But I’m trying so hard to take one out as I bring one in and edit down to only those I truly love. But they’re everywhere. Under tables. On my nightstand. On the coffee table. On this desk. In closets. In cabinets. Seriously, some of them have been with me so long they’re like children… do you think an appointment with a mental health professional is in order????

  11. Meg

    For those who insist that books have to be utilitarian (silly people), I suggest the retort that the bookshelves lining your outer walls, and stuffed with books, are there because books add an extra layer of insulation between the inhabitants of a room and the weather outside. It quiets the Utilitarians, and you and your books can enjoy a secret chuckle together.

    • Jennifer

      Meg I love your comment! So poetic!

  12. Lisa E

    Never did get those that turn books around for just the pgs to show. Silly IMHO. Glad to see somebody else think that actually placing books on bookshelves is ok, lol!

  13. Jo Jo

    I’m with you, Melissa! We love books here! So much so we made sure to include a small library/tv/ sitting room in our recently built new home. It’s my favorite place ( besides the kitchen) to be in. It’s where I have my morning devotionals. It’s a sunny room with one wall of built in book shelves filled with our beloved books. ?

  14. Sandy

    Your first two paragraphs made me want to stand up and shout AMEN! I love books. I always notice books whether in a real home or the many magazines I look through. I am drawn to them and love to see what titles are there. I love to read and I think the books in my home tell my story. I think I have books in every room. I just added an inspirational quote book to my bathroom. Yes, I said it.

  15. Jean Marie

    Couldn’t agree with you more! Books make the person and give a home personality. I cringe when I see books used as “props”– the stories that are waiting to unfold give life and breath to a home…

  16. Debbie - Mountain Mama

    I adore a room with books and plants, that’s a huge part of what makes a room cozy to me! Not only do I have and love books, I have and love YOUR books!! :) I can’t stand when people turn the books around – how do you possibly find what you are looking for? And I don’t care for covering the books in paper, either – there’s nothing ‘real’ about that, it’s just a prop. Love all these rooms you showed but I think my favorite is that blue room with the velvet sofa/chaise – doesn’t that just look like the coziest place to curl up with a good book on a rainy day?

  17. Elaine

    What beautiful rooms!! I’m new to your blog and have to say thank goodness I found a blogger who doesn’t hide her books by recovering or turning the spines around!! I find both are terribly silly and look pretentious. Yes, I use books to raise a certain vase or lamp but my books are uncovered and ready to be picked up and read. I have stacks of them in every room. I once read many decor blogs but found they all started to look alike with their burlap-covered books and identical decor items and pillows. It got to the point I couldn’t distinguish one from the other. A book tells much of a homeowner’s interests, is a great conversation starter and is just nice to look at in their different bindings and fonts. Thank you for this post!! I’m glad I’m not alone in my thinking!

  18. Deanna Rabe

    We have lots of books! We all love them, and collect our favorites!

  19. Nicki

    I measured once – 65 feet of bookshelves in my house. You will never see my books arranged by color, turned around, shoved against the back of the shelves so decorative little objects can be placed in front of the books, etc. My books are to read and love and re-read again. Arranging books by the color of the jacket is impossible for me as my books are arranged by author and/or subject. As for turning the books around, that makes as much sense as buying a dress and wearing it wrong side out. Books make the room.

  20. susan

    Thank you for this great post. Whenever a designer turns the spines inward I turn off….just ridiculous. Our grandson asked if we had actually read all the books and was amazed when we said yes!

  21. Marie Lutzow

    We too love books. Not just their colors, or textures, but their content. Our kids grew up with books, in the library, in their rooms and spread out like a plague throughout our home. I often bring home more!%&*?
    One of the things that I enjoy about your blog, is that your rooms look lived in. Books and all. Marie

  22. Tammie

    Nobody said it better than Thomas Jefferson…”I cannot live without books.” Thanks for this post!

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