Although, I don’t have any bookshelves filled with books, I still like to use books for decorating. My favorite way to use them is stacked up with things on top. The stacked books give whatever you put on top more presence, like they are on a pedestal.
If you don’t have pretty books, you might find yourself looking high and low for books to decorate with. The cost of pretty hardcover books, even secondhand, adds up fast. I have a stylish and cheap option to share with you that will make any hardcover book pretty.
For less than $2 and a little chalk paint, I made two large white decorative books for my son’s room. They are serving as a pedestal for his globe. A little white paint made these two large, outdated and ugly books suddenly modern.
I picked up these large hardcover books at the thrift store, for less than $2 for the pair. The larger one with gold pages is an old atlas. It was tan, brown, and all kinds of ugly. But the cover had great texture. The smaller book, an old World Wildlife Fund book called Saving The Animals, started out orange. Despite the horrible color, the fabric texture of the book was nice and the book title was embossed on the spine of the book.
To give the books a quick, modern makeover, I painted them with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in white. I laid them out on the table, with spines propped up on a bowl. I also inserted a piece of wax paper under the back cover to avoid getting paint on the book pages.
I wanted the texture of the book covers to show through, so I watered down the paint before applying. To keep it simple and not waste any paint, I mixed with water as I went. I dipped my brush in a cup of water before every dip in the paint can. This gave just the right consistency to spread over the books and allow the paint to soak into the texture of the covers.
I love how the original texture shows through the paint. On the smaller book, you can even make out the faint impression of the embossed title on the spine of the book.
Any book would have worked for this project, but I did not simply judge a book by it’s cover. Although, these are meant to be decorative, I wanted to make sure the content was kid-safe, in case my son wanted to look at the books. I think an old atlas and book full of black and white animal pictures qualifies as kid-friendly.
The books give his globe the perfect perch in the corner by his desk.
I am on the look out for more good quality hardcover books to paint! I love the all white look so much, I might even be inspired to put books on a bookshelf :)
I like this idea so much better than covering books. Ugh. Reminds me of junior high. I like that you chose books he can thumb through. My kids at school loved my huge National Parks book. It even had pages that opened up like a photo of the Grand Canyon. I got it reasonable at Barnes and noble clearance shelves. My kids at school loved my Animals of North America. It’s thick. It’s good sized. And would also be great to paint for your son will know exactly which book is which just by its size. This too was a Barnes and Noble find that wasn’t pricey but also one you can continue to enjoy and also use as that big book.
I have a few books I’d like to paint the off white/more aged look. Hmmmm…you’re always helping my brain to grow.
Gwen, Go for it. Painting the books was so easy and made such an impact!
Garage sales are usually the best place to find those kinds of books. Usually to be had for 25 cents around here.
I could never bring myself to do it though because I DO have shelves full of books. :)