16 Stylish Ways to Display Your Books and Art

Most of the people I know who love collecting art love collecting books just as much. Favorite books are like old friends. Bringing them along wherever you go makes any house feel like home. Finding new ways to stylishly and functionally display your best-loved books can be an interesting way to reinvent your décor and rediscover some valuable sources of creative inspiration along the way. Read on for 16 artful ways to display your library, while enhancing the visual appeal of your home and your art collection in the process.

1… If you have the space, floor-to-ceiling shelves are always an impressive way to showcase substantial collections of books and art. Arranging your books by color can be an attractive way to complement artwork displayed nearby.

Newport Beach Residence
(Image: Photo by Art Gray, Design by Paul Davis Architects, Courtesy of Houzz)

2… Try hanging paintings and photos on the front of bookshelves to add visual interest and break up large collections.

Oakland Hills
(Image: Photo by Wick Design, Courtesy of Houzz)

3… Freestanding bookcases are another effective way to display a multitude of books, while providing plenty of space on top for showing off your most admired art and decorative artifacts.

Little Big House
(Image: Photo by Jenny Pfieffer, Design by Lara Dutto – Laraarchitecture, Courtesy of Houzz)

4… Some bookshelves are works of art in themselves… Consider investing in a sculptural bookcase to make a unique decorative statement.

Home Office
(Image: Photo by Addition Building & Design, Inc., Courtesy of Houzz)

5… Before you pass that vintage suitcase or old crate on to a friend, try using it for a mini-library.

Country house
(Image: Photo by Juliette Byrne, Courtesy of Houzz)

6… If you like making things, try creating a gallery shelf of (very) well-stacked books to exhibit some of your original artwork.

Tenka Gammelgaards home Copenhagen
(Image: Photo by Idha Lindhag, Courtesy of Houzz)

7… Pile your books into sculptural stacks to complement original art and photographs. You can gain a new place to display unique found objects, sculpture or plants while saving a little space in the process.

The Everygirl
(Image: Photo by Cynthia Lynn Photography, Courtesy of Houzz)

8… Built in bookshelves around your reading nook can make it feel extra inviting, while sunny windows only add to the appeal. Storing your favorite books under a window seat works too.

NYC Upper East Side Residence
(Image: Photo by Udom Surangsophon, Design by Lien Luu Ltd, Courtesy of Houzz)

9… If you’re an apartment dweller, or just looking to maximize space, try stacking some books in a colorful arrangement under an entryway table. Giving guests a hint about what you’re interested in help create an inviting impression.

Contemporary Hall
(Image: Photo by AaronBDuke, Courtesy of Houzz)

10… Intriguing coffee tables make good homes for stacks of favorite books, too.

Edwardian House, South West London
(Image: Photo by David Giles, Design by Rebecca Hayes Interiors, Courtesy of Houzz)

11… Decorative fireplaces can make fantastic home libraries.

My Houzz: Emily Danforth
(Image: Photo by Rikki Snyder, Courtesy of Houzz)

12… Covering the back of bookshelves with vibrant wallpaper adds pattern and color, and provides a striking background for your favorite small works of art.

Crescent Moon
(Image: Photo by Derek Swalwell, Design by Atticus & Milo, Courtesy of Houzz)

13… Framing large artwork with a minimal bookshelf adds impact, while a shared decorative theme can help tie your art and decorative accents together for an elegant effect.

Colorful Dining Room
(Image: Photo by Ann Lowengart Interiors, Courtesy of Houzz)

14… Mix and match small books, sculpture, art and postcards for an easy-to-update gallery wall. Book ledges are a great way to show off the covers of your favorite art books, too.

Interior Photography
(Image: Photo by Marcia Prentice Photography, Courtesy of Houzz)

15… If you’re looking to create an intimate gallery space for books and art, consider reclaiming the nook under your stairs

Open plan living space
(Image: Photo by Kia Designs, Courtesy of Houzz)

16… Or creating a small library on the stairway itself!

Book Tower House
(Image: Photo by Alan Williams Photography, Design by Platform 5 Architects, Courtesy of Houzz)


If you’re looking for some new art to keep your books company, explore this gorgeous collection inspired by Jonathan Franzen’s book, Purity

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