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Decorating with books

Morning a couple of newsy things before we kick start today’s post. Firstly our sale ends at midnight this evening and tomorrow the store is closed all day as Gem and I are doing a big revamp with new furniture, rugs, mirrors (to literally die for, wait until you see) and lots of new things. We are revamping it in two stages, now and then in a few more weeks when all the rest of the own label arrives. Cannot wait for fall this year so much exciting stuff is happening!

Down to biz. I love books. Design books, novels, recipe books, magazines, trashy guilty pleasures… nothing beats them. They’re also perfect for decorating. I use them as part of my tablescape, stacking them up in little piles and finishing off with a candle or t-light on top. It adds instant pizazz.



Shelves are a little trickier to get right, especially if you’ve got big old floor to ceiling ones like me. Here are my go-to tips…


Mix and match. Make sure the shelf is not nose to tail books. It can feel cumbersome and stuffy so leave some space. Either leave this as unadorned negative space, or throw is something totally unrelated – flowers, candles, books, a sweet little lamp, a quirky flea market find, you get the idea!

Mess it up a bit. I reckon a perfectly styled bookcase looks so contrived. You’ve got to allow for a bit of chaos! That’s where your objects come in. Once you start adding them to the shelves, it will feel way more spontaneous and natural. It’s those all important layers again, particularly if you combine some different finishes – brass, wood, ceramic, metallics etc.


Size matters. You can get all finickity and arrange by colour and size for maximum impact. I don’t so much bother with colour blocking, but pretty much always arrange by size. I find it makes the overall effect less crazy looking.

Face front. Biggest tip EVER. Bring books or mags to the very front edge of the shelf and face them out. Or conversely hang a picture on the front of the shelf – it brings everything alive and makes it instantly three-dimensional and thus much more intriguing. Simple as!


Practice makes imperfect. All of these tips are basically about how to loosen up your shelves so they look lived in and full of personality. The trick after all is to make your space feel like a home, not some gallery or library right? Stack books both vertically and horizontally, make sure there’s a smidge of space left at the top or gaps along the sides. Weirdly enough this look actually takes quite a bit of work, but experiment with different arrangements and keep stepping back to look at the overall vibe.  Too precise looks sterile, it;s why I’m always going on about adding a dash of imperfection to your interiors. Intentional imperfection let’s call it!

Oh and finally this is such a no-brainer but when styling anything tall and vertical goes at the back of the shelf and anything smaller and squatter at the front. Same principle applies to just about everything, vignettes, shelves, gardens, shop windows you name it!







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