Collecting and Displaying Books..How Many Are Too Many?

One of my (many) passions is books. I have been collecting them since High School and I feel the same way about books as I do art; I couldn’t be truly happy living without either. I think the easiest way to make a house a home is to surround yourself with books that you love. This past week I have been thinking about books more than usual. You see, my oldest son is moving back to Boston after graduating college and then spending the past year in San Francisco. He is selling most of his  belongings on Craigslist but all of  his books are being shipped back to us. Every day the mail man delivers more and more boxes of books. He finally asked me yesterday if I had bought out a library.  My son warned me he had “a lot” of books but I had no idea what “a lot” meant until this week. Here is what we have received so far.

…more boxes are evidently coming….a lot more….seriously??



I guess I only have myself to blame for my son’s book obsession.  He grew up surrounded by books.  We have books in bookcases, books on tables, and books stacked next to the bed. I even use some of of my decorating books as a side table.


I consider Design Magazines, “soft” books, so I collect those as well. I have recently decided it is time to get rid of the really old ones (pre-2006) so I have been purging them…painful but not as painful as if I had to get rid of my books.  Here are 2 of the 4 sets of floating shelves under the eves in our master bedroom. All the shelves are neatly stacked with magazines.


There are so many creative ways to display books. The most common way obviously is in a bookcase. I think it  looks best to have some books standing up and some laying down, intermixed with other objects and art work. Bookcases are such a beautiful focal point when done right, like this one with a beautiful green painted back.

Molly Luetkmeyer of M. Design Interiors


If you are going for that whole library look then just line them up and fill the shelves.



If your front door brings you directly into the living room, using an open bookcase as a room divider is a great idea.




Unusually shapes bookcases can do double duty as both art and storage, like this wall of  diagonal shelves done by Kelly Wearstler for the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica.



or this creative one of a kind bookcase.



A fellow blogger, The Decorologist even used her fireplace as a unique place to display her books.



As far as how many books are too many?  I would say somewhere around this many.




Well have to run…..Boarders Book Stores liquidation sale begins today…my son just called and told me.


If you would like some help displaying your books, give me a call.

8 Responses to Collecting and Displaying Books..How Many Are Too Many?
  1. kristie@thedecorologist Reply

    Great – Love your side table of books! Books are my FAVORITE decorating accessory – plus, I really love to read!!!

  2. Linda Holt Reply

    Thanks, Books are my favorite decorating accessory too. My husband is a Kindle guy now but I still like the Real Deal…esp. when it comes to Design and Decorating books.

  3. Sheila Zeller Reply

    Love the ‘READ’ book shelves! Creative and fun… and your side table is definitely made up of a great collection 🙂 Have fun at the liquidation sale!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Sheila!

  4. Kelly Reply

    The more I read from you, the more alike I find we are! I love books too- reading, decorating and just looking at. I love the READ picture. Isn’t it so cool?

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Kelly. We’ll have to share our favorite book “reads” when we meet!

  5. Coley Reply

    I LOVE the “READ” display 🙂

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Isn’t that creative Coley? If I had a huge wall I would definitely consider doing that.

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