Decorating Your Library – Where Do Your Books Live?

by Cynthia Bogart


When I traveled around England studying Interior Design and Architecture, I had the privilege of meeting Gervase Jackson-Stops, a British architectural historian and writer of such books as The Treasure Houses of Britain and The Country House Garden; A Grand Tour.  As if that weren’t enough of a thrill, we had tea with him at his home,  The Menagerie, a notable British Folly* that he had immaculately restored.

Gervase Jackson-Stops


What has that got to do with books?  Well, he totally inspired me.  Mr. Jackson-Stops, as a researcher and writer, had books EVERYWHERE.  He displayed them… he lived with them or better yet, they lived with him.

The room that impressed me the most was an anti-room he had right next to his bedroom. It had library stacks – the same kind you have at your town library, where he kept his treasured books.  Additionally, as was made fashionable by many British designers in the 20th century, he stacked his books on tables – something I do all through out my house. First, I like the look. Second, it reminds me to look at the books so blatantly on display, and last – I have run out of space to put them.  My books are in every room in our house from the kitchen, living room, entry room, bedroom and yes… the bathroom (of course!)

Even though the Nook, IPad and other readers are fast becoming the norm, I still can’t bare to part with my beloved books, volumes that I re-read and hold dear as if they were my old friends.  How could I let them go?  So, yes, my house has books that live in many built-in shelves, free-standing cases and stacked – like everywhere.  And, yes, by the way, I have a Nook, but there are just some books you have to have in your hands forever.


Join Us!

The Daily Basics has a Pinterest board dedicated to Where Do You Read?  There are so many gorgeous looking libraries on that board and so many inspirations as to HOW to display your books.   Below find some of our favorites (SO many more on the board!) and if you’d like to pin YOUR favorites to our board, let us know at and we’ll send you an invite to pin.

Meanwhile….. we’d  like you to talk back to us today and answer these two questions:

Where do you keep your books?

What Books do you re-read ?

(I have 2 favorites  – I will post them on our Facebook page today)

You can leave your answer(s) in the comments below, tweet us @TheDailyBasics, post it on our Facebook page or join our Pinterest board.


Tips on Displaying and Keeping YOUR Books

All of the shots below are from our Pinterest Board.  Forgive us for not attributing them individually here, but can find the direct links on our board.

Don’t have enough space for the furniture and art? Put the loveseat in front and hang a painting in the middle of your bookcase.

Built-in’s like these compartmentalize your collection of books and treasured objects. Wallpaper or bead-board the wall before you put the shelving up- Great look!

If you have the space, this is a great way to build bookcases in to store your books

You can line your walls with built-in bookcases, put a shelf above the door, in hallways… hey, my mantra? If there’s a wall, that’s a spot for shelves!

Create you own library room – buy antique freestanding bookcases, line the walls of the room, hang paintings above… This could be your cozy retreat

Use a bookcase as a room divider!


*A British Folly – small architecturally embellished and exquisite buildings on large English estates that were used for separate entertaining, banquets, hunting lodges or simply a ‘folly’ built by the owners.

For more on Gervase Jackson-Stops Menegerie at Horton, Northamptonshire, click here.

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  1. 01/28/2013 at 12:00 pm

    In London I turned the front room of my through drawing room into a library, all built-in with original cornices and shutters for the balcony doors. I have weeded my books ruthlessly and now have only a single tall bookcase in my bedroom, yet I don’t feel I’m missing anything… maybe it’s because I have stopped reading fiction (almost!).

    • The Daily Basics
      01/28/2013 at 4:22 pm

      It sounds like you have your favorite books with you – it is tough to get rid of them all. I have a Nook but still love my reference books, cookbooks and yes… magazines!

  2. 01/28/2013 at 4:20 pm

    My grandmother’s libraries were always prominent – She entertained in them on a regular basis. Where most people house their books alphabetically, by author or subject matter, hers were always organized by color so that the shelves resembled a rainbow of such. It was really quite magical. My bookshelves are not nearly as elegant or elaborate. I have books in every room of the house. They are a part of my life so why shouldn’t they be a part of my decor?!

    • The Daily Basics
      01/28/2013 at 4:22 pm

      LOVE THAT!!!!

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