Design & Décor


Books for Reading… and for Decorating

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The New Year not only brings great promise and hope-filled resolutions, but these first weeks of January give us a chance to catch our breath after the festive holidays.

Whether you’re on a Caribbean island, at a ski chalet or still chez vous, down time is an elegant commodity. And what better way to enjoy your time than book in hand, snuggled up by a warm fire.

For me, coffee table books are the ultimate luxury (and not just because I write them.) Once read and perused, and creative juices primed – “ what fun to try the new recipe in Ze Kitchen cookbook;” “ let me make a note re. that garden design idea in “Private Gardens of the Fashion World” – I can then put them to work to serve their very vital second purpose…a decorative accessory to freshen up many spots around the house that would benefit from the fabulous covers.

Here are some ideas. Have fun with them and may you be inspired to create your own.

A book shelf, nestled into the corner of a generously-sized second floor landing, provides many examples for decorating with books that bring a welcome visual to the setting:

fancy-bulletA good first step is to alternate the height of the shelves and the orientation of the books ( flat or standing)

fancy-bulletCreate individual vignettes with objects and treasures interspersed amongst the books.

fancy-bulletGroup books by the color of their spine ( ie. blue or black.)

Alternating the width of the shelves as well as the orientation of the books ( flat or standing.)

 

Bettie Pardee New York Book Post-7
Pair a motif on the cover of a book with its decorative accessory counterpart. Here, a pair of tole urns recall the fanciful roof of a Chinoiserie pavilion.
Bettie Pardee New York Book Post-18
Compose a featured centerpiece that includes a painting, illuminated by a picture light.
A round Biedermeire table was chosen for its 2 lower shelves that generously accommodate large tomes.
A round Biedermeire table was chosen for its 2 lower shelves that generously accommodate large tomes.
The padded cushion of a chair provides another resting place for favored selections.
The padded cushion of a chair provides another resting place for favored selections.

 

And be sure to consider all the possibilities “BB” ( beyond bookshelves.) Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. New display ideas present themselves when you need to move books for one reason or another… to suit your mood, your interest of the moment, your decorating objectives.

Bettie Pardee Xmas Turkey Curry-32
Stacks of books hide the dark depth of an out-of-season fireplace.
Stack large, substantial books to create a side table. Keep in mind…they aren’t called “coffee table books” for nothing!
Stack large, substantial books to create a side table.
Place books on a bedside ottoman in your guest room, chosen with friends’ special interests in mind.
Place books on a bedside ottoman in your guest room, chosen with friends’ special interests in mind.

 

Keep in mind…they aren’t called “coffee table books” for nothing!

Bettie Pardee New York Book Post-50a

In an often-used room, treat yourself to a rotating series of favorite topics assembled from your collection of books. This is a much-anticipated winter treat in my home; in this new year, a Christmas gift, Lanvin, prompted a selection of European subjects with a focus on France.

And closing with a touch of humor…

Bettie Pardee New York Book Post-3
A Kleenex dispenser masquerading as “leather-bound books”.

Happy, Happy New Year!

 

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