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Decorating with Books (House Beautiful) Hardcover – June 28, 2006

3.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Typically, books are valued for what's written inside them. But as a collection, they also tell us a lot about their owner, which is why Hueston, an author and contributing editor at Country Living magazine, believes they are so effective as decoration. Here, she demonstrates how a display or library of books can enhance the look of almost every room in your home. Using copious photographs to illustrate her sparse text, she captures the aesthetic appeal of books and how they add color and texture to a space. With a broad sensibility that expands far beyond traditional configurations, Hueston encourages readers to keep books "stacked on an ottoman, piled on the floor, lined up on a bench, or ... draped over a ladder," in addition to keeping books "confined to shelves and tabletops." Judging books by their covers, as it were-as objet d'art, without regard to content-Hueston includes tips for displaying, organizing and caring for book collections of any size, which should give any book owner more than one new way to enjoy their favorite titles.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

For those who adore books and all forms of the printed word, the very idea of decorating with them might seem to akin to sacrilege. Yet, after a few paragraphs, House Beautiful magazine contributor Hueston persuades with a few chosen quotes--like Jorge Luis Borges' "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." The ways in which books can become a vibrant design theme are multiple--stacked on ottomans, piled on floors, lined up on benches, and draped over ladders. Each chapter delves into specific ideas: libraries, throughout the house, as focal points, as architecture, and practical matters like shelving, lighting, and caring for books. And each features a few pages called "a closer look," a few-page pictorial examination of specific design details in a room or two, pointing out, for instance, a London antique armoire-credenza perched on a black plinth. Remember that in the most physical of senses books are three-dimensional objects possessing a variety of colors, sizes, and textures. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: House Beautiful
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Hearst (June 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588164934
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588164933
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.7 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #646,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barbara A. Lee on August 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
For anyone trying to solve the problem of living with books, Ms. Hueston provides no help. She arranges books by size and color, for what she perceives as visual interest. One of her displays even uses trompe de l'oeil wallpaper to create the illusion of a library! Many of the rooms shown are in architects' houses, "seaside" homes and European castles. Most of the results are cluttered: every surface in every room (including surfaces created by stacks of books) is covered with vases, ceramics, sculptures, candles, flowerpots, fringed shawls and what she calls "cherished possessions." In addition, many of the bookshelves are encumbered with framed prints or hangings that hide the books. Unless you share her flamboyant taste (including an inordinate fondness for the color red) and have a budget to match, look elsewhere.
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Format: Hardcover
When you have 6000 books and counting, it is a continuing challenge to find ways of storing, shelving and displaying them without looking like you've taken up residence in a public library.

"Decorating With Books" is not my favourite book on this subject. (I preferred "At Home With Books" by Ellis, Seebohm and Sykes for the sheer volume - no pun intended -- of books shown in the illustrations). Nevertheless, "Decorating With Books" is a very practical choice for many book owners and is chock full of interesting ideas for incorporating your collection into your décor.

Who knew that a stack of books could double as a bedside table as well as bedtime reading, or that leaving piles of books on the tables and on the floor would function as design elements?

Works for me!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a specialized guide with lots of useful hints, photos, ideas, and sources for further help, like contractors and desginers, if your goal is to integrate your books into your home decor. On the other hand, if you want to put your books in a rational, logical order, like LC or Dewey, as I do, so I can find them easily, it is not that useful. But the photos are great show a side of book collecting that definitely has a strong appeal to some collectors.
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Format: Hardcover
I love this book. My husband and I are avid readers and enjoy collecting books. We have a lot, to put it mildly. This book gave me many ideas for decorating our home to showcase our books. There are tons of pictures so in addition to being useful, it is just enjoyable to leaf through the pages. I would think that anyone with even a small home library would really enjoy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I sent the book back to Amazon. Was disappointed in it. I expected it to be more about books and less about elegant rooms to put them in. A few books put on a chair or on a table or, obviously, in a bookcase really isn't that imaginative. A good magazine showing displays of collectibles including books does a better job as far as I'm concerned.
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Format: Hardcover
Photo book featuring home libraries and - shock - books stacked throughout homes! Five year olds decorate like this when you tell them to put their books away. No original ideas or actual creativity to be found. There are other books on this subject, search Amazon for them. I suggest "Living with Books" by Alan Powers.
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Format: Hardcover
Yes, it's book-porn. This selection features page after page of full-color photographs featuring various home libraries. I didn't think this was quite as satisfying as "The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World" but a lot of the photographs are really quite fetching. Put together by House Beautiful magazine, the book features a lot of "old money" styled homes, with pretty architectural features and a hint of shabby chic. The most unique idea I found in the book was the idea of turning book jackets inside out... so as to create a uniform, white bookshelf. I could totally picture myself doing that. I'm not such a big fan of leaving piles of books artfully arranged about the house, however. (how will I tell them apart from books I'm reading and have simply set down?) As a librarian, and book lover, I was naturally curious to see what kind of titles were on the shelves... seeing someone's personal book collection can tell you so much about them. Most of the books featured in these photos were home decorator titles, books about art, plenty of biographies and a few non-fiction titles. Aged, leather-bound gilt volumes were heavily in use as well. The kind of books that typically get used by home-stagers and the like. In other words, non-readers who want a lot of books around the house in order to appear smart. This was a very pretty book, but not terribly memorable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I initially had loaned this book from the library before purchase and it has to be one of my favorite decorating books so I headed to amazon to purchase. I have a large book collection and a small 1200 sf house so finding places to put them has been a chore. This book helped me use the nooks and crannies of my house, plus give me some "bookcases" to look for and I love the idea of putting a library in the bedroom & the dining room if necessary. Not to mention this book actually makes a good coffee table book - perfect size and neutral colors.
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