It’s back to school time and that means back to the books. Even though we’re not the ones heading back to school, this time of the year is still exciting. It’s back to routine and order. There’s a comfort in knowing that everyone is where they should be, learning what they should be learning.
September always reminds me of books. Of how much I love books. I know that today many people are reading off their Kindle or iPad, but for me, there’s nothing like reading off a real live book that you hold in your hand. Call me old fashioned, but I love libraries too. Every time I go into the library I get an excited tingling feeling because I never know what treasures I’ll find to read. When I went to New York a few years ago with my mom, one of our stops was the gorgeous New York Public Library. It was stunning.
Books have a physical beauty. They also have a history and permanence. My sister has my aunt’s old and well worn cookbook, grease stains and all. Every time she cooks with it, it’s like having my aunt beside her.
When we’re doing the final styling of a place, Debbie always asks the homeowners to bring out their books so she can use them. Having books around that are meaningful, brings a special energy to a home. A home that doesn’t have any books is missing something.
An easy way to start displaying your books is to stack a few under a lamp. It adds a bit of height and brings some interest to a table. Place one or two objects on the stack of books and you have an instant Elle Decor look.
Using books as trays to hold objects is another great way to bring up the book quotient. Items loose on a coffee or consul table can sometimes look a little scattered. We like to use books to ground it all.
Styling bookshelves is an art. Debbie is really good at this. She likes to mix in some objects with the books. Her most important tip when styling bookshelves is to make sure all the books and objects have some meaning or connection to you.
It’s important to cultivate a collection of books that nourish you and speak to you. If you’re a major book collector, then maybe your bookshelves look like this.
I’ve always loved this book nook designed by Safdie Rabines Architects in The Artists House. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to spend a lazy afternoon curled up there looking through books? Oh to dream…
If you’re not really a collector or don’t have enough books to fill large bookshelves, then it’s A-Okay just to have books in baskets. The energy still radiates off them. Sometimes it’s more inviting to pick up a book off a table or from a basket.
Another fun thing to do with books, if you have a lot of hardcover ones, is to stack them and make a table. We’ve done this at several of our clients places and it makes them happy to see all their books. Remember that every book doesn’t have to be on a shelf.
They say if you want to raise a reader, it’s important to have books around. Children love books and there’s significant information available now that shows that electronic devices only hold a reader’s attention for five minutes per day; compared to 30 minutes per day a child will read printed books. That’s huge.
Whenever we design a nursery we always have some shelves for books and of course some books in a baskets.
My boys and I used to read together all the time. We had a lot of good times reading and laughing and cuddling. When we talk about ‘the old days’, it inevitably turns to all the good books we’ve read. I asked mine and Debbie’s children to list their favourite kid books. Here’s what they’ve come up with.
My youngest said, ‘don’t forget the comics’. It just wouldn’t be summer without Archie and the gang. This is just a small part of their collection.
I think the last word on books should go to Dr. Seuss. He always seems to say it best.
We’d love to hear from you. Tell us what your favourite books are. The books you keep around and look at over and over. The books that make you happy and nourish you.
Karen Fron Design is a full-service Interior Design Firm located in Calgary, Alberta. We specialize in bespoke residential & commercial interiors, custom furniture & draperies, and whole home renovations.
“A well functioning and beautiful home makes life better.”