Tag Archives: Bookshelves

Best Bets: Using Books as Home Decor

When we moved into the Chophouse about a year and a half ago, we were basically starting from scratch. We had moved around so much previously that we had accumulated very little furniture, and what we did have was in desperate need of replacement. Since then, we’ve been slowly figuring out how to fill up all this space.

Roommate moved in and brought his furniture, then moved out and took it away again, so we’re in the strange position now of having a completely bare living room, while at the same time being ready to put the finishing touches on most other rooms. In just about all of our rooms, those finishing touches are going to include books.

Books should fit into a living space organically, without dominating the room.

Incorporating books into design is nothing new, and there are any number of ways to go about it. Sites like Book Decor and Books By The Foot will even sell you books in bulk to suit any design aesthetic you like, from goatskin covers to shelves arranged by size or color, or even books wrapped in custom covers. Just don’t try to actually read them though, since they’re selected solely for appearance and may not even be in English.

We see this as a tacky, slothful solution, and prefer a more organic approach. Books should say something about their owner, and need to pull their weight in any design scheme by actually being functional. If it’s not something we’d want to pick up and idly look over on any lazy Sunday afternoon, then it’s just not worth having around.

Aside from the library of novels in our home office, we’re envisioning a few choice vegetarian cookbooks living in the kitchen. It’s nice to have some fresh ideas for dinner close at hand, and trying to double check something on a smartphone while three burners are going and your hands are sticky is never a good idea.

The wine rack in our dining room has shelf space on it as well, perfect for a couple of cocktail compendiums and a book or two on wine. After all, no home is really complete without a copy of Imbibe! or The Modern Drunkard, is it?

We’ve got some stubborn empty space atop the wardrobe, and we’re thinking the bedroom would be the ideal spot to house a collection of the Harvard Classics or a vintage encyclopaedia set, easy enough to acquire on eBay. We’ve also got two nightstands and have been thinking of a floating shelf or two, which would be perfect for stacking a couple first edition hardbacks.

Of course, we’re still pretty far away from putting finishing touches on the living room, but there’s no end to the possibilities. Here’s a few we think we could live with throughout the house:

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Best Bets: Stay Away From E-Readers

We’re not gonna lie… we’ve really been digging this living alone business lately. With roommate gone from the house for evermore, the daylight savings time in full effect, and the weather turning warmer by the day, this is a perfect day for lounging around the house reading all day.

For us, that means good old fashioned paper books and magazines. For someone who travels as much as we do, and is forced to pack several pounds of paperbacks on each trip, you’d think we would have been among the first to adopt a digital e-reader. We’re still holding out though, and will continue to hold out until the publishing industry gets its shit together.

A visual approximation of the Chop's home library.

In an increasingly technological age, vinyl record sales continue to increase even as CD’s prepare to settle into the nation’s landfills once and for all. A major contributing factor in the resurgence of the LP is the inclusion of digital download codes with virtually all new records sold. Just a couple short years ago, whatever prescient indie label thought to include download codes in LP’s was a brilliant leader. Now it’s an industry standard, and the absence of a free download code can make or break record sales.

We don’t see any reason (short of bald-faced greed) why the publishing industry can’t do the same thing. It’s shameful that all downloads are still in proprietary formats, although this is a separate issue entirely. We’d go out and buy a Kindle tomorrow if every download came with a free hard copy. Hell, we’d probably buy a Kindle, a Nook, and whatever else you like. We’ve always liked keeping books, though. So much so that we’ve over-filled our giant Expedit shelf, and are quickly running out of space on the two smaller Expedit versions in our office.

We’re not going to quit collecting real books any time soon. Nor are we going to buy a magazine’s mobile app when we already get it in the mail. But we look forward to that day in the future when every book in the store comes with a little scratch-off section in the back cover to conceal and preserve a download code. We’ll be staying away from e-readers until then, and would suggest everyone else do likewise.

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