4 Reasons Books are My Secret Decorating Tool

4 Reasons Books Are My Secret Decorating Tool by H.Prall & Co. | hprallandco.com

Since we’re all friends here, I’m going to let you in on a little secret! There’s something that I take with me to every job that I do, just in case I might need it. It’s not necessarily a tool or hardware, but I think it might just work as hard. Oh man…what could it be that I’m so emphatic about using?

A book. Yep, you heard that right…a book, or books rather. Whenever I think I’m done shopping for a project, I always throw a few books into my pile of goodies, just in case. There have been a couple times that I’ve gotten to a job, finished arranging all the décor, both what my clients had and what I had brought along and, well…I’ve needed something more. For those times that I’ve forgotten to bring some prop-books along, I scavenge the house, hoping my clients have some to use…and I breathe a sigh of relief when they do. I’ve learned my lesson, though, and bring some along to every job, for the event of a bookless emergency.

Tips for decorating with books via H.Prall & Co. Interior Decorating. 

Books are my #1 decorating secret for 4 reasons:

  1. They’re inexpensive (or maybe even free). I get books from friends who are clearing out; from garage sales or thrift stores for less than $1 each, or by shopping my clients’ house.

  2. They add color. I love shopping for books based on the color of the cover; I always choose hardback and remove the paper covers to reveal what’s underneath—it’s often another color entirely from the paper. I (almost) always turn the book around to display, showing the pages of the book and just a snippet of cover, which leads to my next point.

  3. They add texture. The pages of books often get a great patina with age and, also crinkle a bit to make for a ragged ridged texture. It’s just enough to add interest to a shelf display without being too much.

  4. They add height. It’s nice to have varying heights when displaying décor, especially when styling a shelf. Books can be used singly or stacked to give objects just enough added height to allow them to stand alone as a display or to work better with other items in a grouping, or vignette.

Living room design by H.Prall & Co. + tips for using books in decor. | HPrallandCo.com
Kitchen counter styling from H.Prall & Co. 

My favorite books to use are vintage Reader’s Digest; they have colored + patterned covers that can stand alone as décor and add even more interest to the display. I look for them at thrift stores or sometimes people give them to me—since they know I like to use them. I’ll bet your grandparents have some stashed away somewhere and would love nothing more than to clear them out! 

The next time you’re working on creating a vignette in your home or styling a shelf, try adding books to the mix. I think you’ll be surprised at how much they add—for very little cost to you!