How to Decorate with Vintage Books

Since my teen years I’ve been a collector of vintage books. I love their colors, their decorative colors, and the musty smell of old book pages. It’s hard for me to resist running my fingers over them at the flea market, and once I interact with them, they’re likely to come home with me. My expanding collection of books creates a need to be creative in decorating with them around the house. Here’s some ideas on how to decorate with vintage books in your own home.

Country Style Bookcase in Blue and WhitePhoto by Booth & Williams


Book cases are the obvious place for tattered pages. Group them by color for visual impact on the shelf.

Wallpapered Bookcase with Favorite CollectiblesPhoto by Alison Kandler Interior Design


A simple stack of books are always pretty and intriguing.

Vintage Books in a Shabby Chic BedroomPhoto by


Color coordinate vintage books with their surroundings. Creamy books look perfect in a shabby chic environment.

Vintage Books on a Farmhouse Bedroom ChairPhoto by Shabby Whites by Adriana Anzola


Vintage books tend to have prettier covers than their newer counterparts. They look beautiful in a romantic vignette.

Vintage Books in Cream and BrownPhoto by Shabby Whites by Adriana Anzola


Red and blue books line up on a shelved cubby hole in the bathroom.

Vintage Blue Bathroom with Built-In BookcasePhoto by Artichoke


Consider pairing two types of collectibles. Vintage books provide a perfect pairing with white ironstone. I collect both and will combining my collections this fall.

Decorating with Vintage Books and White IronstonePhoto by Jules Duffy Designs


Red, cream, and blue vintage books create a patriotic vignette.

Red White and Blue Books in Country Style BookcasePhoto by Booth & Williams


An illustrated book page adorns a wall and is just as appealing as any oil painting.

Shabby Chic Bedroom in Country GrayPhoto by Boråstapeter


I know some people don’t like to dissect old books, but vintage book pages add eclectic style to a bathroom. If you don’t want to destroy an older book, you could buy newer novels at a garage sale and use the pages for art.

Vintage Book Pages as WallpaperPhoto by Ryland Peters & Small | CICO Books


One of my favorite table settings incorporated vintage books into the centerpiece.

Vintage books used in table setting centerpiece


I also enjoying using vintage books on the mantel and elsewhere. They’re perfect for propping up bottles and adding height to shorter pieces.

How to decorate with books - vintage mantel


Stencil letters or words on books to create an interesting display.

Stencil words on books for unique decor


My most recent vintage book project is my funky DIY knife holder.

Vintage books used as knife holder


A simple way to decorate with vintage books is to simply line a few up inside an open suitcase.

Books in suitcase for unique vignette

What are some ways you’ve used vintage books in your home decor?


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  1. I love old books,there are some beautiful coverings on books. when i was young my we moved into a really old house and fixed it up, there were some old books and i have them, they have beautiful covers, i have a set called “The Pocket University” published in 1924.

  2. I love. love, love vintage books. We have a book store that carries many old books. I can smell them as soon as I walk in. Nothing like it.

  3. I too love old books and wish I had more in my collection. Hopefully, in my finished updating, there will be a special place for them. I am “romanticizing” my bedroom (even though it’s just me) so plan to use them somewhere there.

  4. I love books. You have given us some fantastic ideas for using them. Most people would say that I have too many books, but now I have a good answer—they’re part of my decorating plans!!!

  5. I do too love love these beauties. I am in aww with some of your displays. Creativity is flowing here. God bless you in your continuous inspirations.

  6. Uh, sorry, my home is filled with books of all kinds, all ages, that I love to read, and sometimes pass on to others. I love how my bookcases are crammed full of wonderful stories, mysteries, and non- fiction works on all sorts of subjects.
    Yes, I have various decor items intermixed, but the books themselves are the main story. And I would never, ever consider turning the books around to hide the spines, cover them in cloth or papers. A bibliophile like me could never commit such a travesty, lol.

    1. I totally agree. I have about all together 2,000 of them, all read or waiting to be read. Over that I have to cull and donate. Some going back to the 18th century. Seeing the knife picture broke my heart. But in general some look really nicely displayed and will be hopefully preserved. Otherwise I truly love this blog.

  7. Loved this as I love old books and have many. Great ideas for displaying. Inspired me to do something better with some of mine. Maybe go as far as painting this huge reproduction china/bookcase unit I have that I’ve never really wanted to keep but it’s high quality and serves a purpose lol. It’s very dark and the books just appear lost in there. Hmmm, gonna think this over lol.