3 Ways to Decorate with Vintage Books

3 Ways to Decorate with Vintage Books

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Do you have a collection of vintage books, but never know how to use them in your decor?

I always encourage people to keep their eyes open for vintage books when they are out thrifting.   But, finding them at a great price is only half the battle.  Incorporating them into your home in a way that you think is beautiful is a whole other ball game.

There used to be this amazing rummage sale in town that would only be open once a year.  I’d mark my calendar for the last weekend in July and get there 45 mins early to stand in line.  Vintage books were only 50 cents a piece, so as soon as the doors opened, I’d make a beeline for the back wall and buy every single one.

Gasp!  Maybe I shouldn’t have told you that.  If you live in my town, I probably just ticked you off.;)

It’s a rough world out there when it comes to rummage sales, I tell ya!

But, oh, those colorful covers and classic fonts.  All that character in those textures and patinas.  If I could find intriguing titles and rough cut pages- even better!

Now see, you’d make a run for it, too, wouldn’t you?!

So, now that we have established the importance of securing said vintage books, let’s dive into how to decorate with them.


3 Ways to Decorate with Vintage Books


Filler pieces- use them on shelves, in baskets and to add needed height.

Covered Porch Ideas by sheholdsdearly.com

  • This seems to be a controversial decorating move, but turn your spines inward or remove the covers entirely for a more neutral palette.
  • Likewise, create covers with linen or papers.
  • Even painting them can look beautiful- my favorite looks are white or gold.




Display by color, this is especially effective for seasonal decor!

Christmas Living Room by sheholdsdearly.com

  • Other ideas include organizing them in ombre or rainbow patterns, especially in children’s rooms.


Farmhouse Finds for Fall by sheholdsdearly.com


And the most unconventional of all is to use your vintage books as wall decor.

DIY Book Page Wall Decor by sheholdsdearly.com

  • This could mean book pages taped to the wall as wanna-be wallpaper,
  • Thin display shelves with covers facing out like you see in children’s rooms
  • Or framed book pages

So, I guess, that was more than 3 ideas.  I got a little carried away, but I hope you got some new inspiration just the same.  And remember, old books are a staple for the vintage diy decorator.  Always keep your eyes open for them.

The other place I like to get them when I am in a pinch is Etsy.  See examples below.

Happy Decorating, my dears!


*This post contains affiliate links to products I know &/or love.

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Ways to Decorate with Vintage Books by sheholdsdearly.com

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  1. Lynn
    January 16, 2019 / 10:45 AM

    Sarah, I so enjoy your posts. You are amazing! I appreciate the time that you spend helping others with projects, etc. I am loving this vintages books post.
    I am thinking of registering for one of your courses with the idea of gifting one or more later for my adult daughter if I feel that she will not be insulted. At first, I thought that the large course was a compilation of the smaller ones but I am now unsure that that is the case. Please tell which of the smaller courses are not included in the larger one.
    Thank you.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 26, 2019 / 2:57 AM

      Aww, you are the sweetest. Yes, you are right the large course is a compilation of the smaller ones. The only one that has different content is the Meals Made Easy one. In my experience, it is best to ask if a person would like the course gifted. She also would have 30 days to get a refund, if needed. xoxo Hope that helps!

  2. Brenda
    January 17, 2019 / 5:52 PM

    I love to collect old hymnals and KJV Bibles. Just last week I found, for two dollars, an old old book by Ira Sankey, who ministered along with Dwight L. Moody. Though I like the idea of books for decor, my preference is old books that are quality reading material … even old dictionaries.

    Our local college library has a discard shelving unit where they sell three books for a dollar. A perfect place to seek out the pretty old book covers and/or classic literature.

    We are book people and my challenge is limiting the number we are housing. Some are real treasures. I cannot imagine tearing them apart, but maybe I just haven’t come across the “right” craft opportunity.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 26, 2019 / 2:58 AM

      I love your ideas so much, thank you for sharing with us. And the library discard shelf is pure genius!

  3. Tanya Hulbert
    January 22, 2019 / 12:42 PM

    As you know, I love decorating with vintage books but love reading them as well. I’m ok with taking sleeves and even bindings off IF they are in the poorest of conditions or not considered vintage. I still struggle with “spine in” decorating! Haha! I do love color coordinating them or just organizing on the shelves by content. Love your ideas!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 26, 2019 / 3:03 AM

      You do books so well. I am always inspired by you, my dear.

  4. Aimee
    April 15, 2019 / 8:03 PM

    Lovely idea! Do you ever have issues with mold on antique books, and, if so, what do you do about it? Our house is from the 1700s, and I discovered a trove of antique books (100 years old) in the shed and started to decorate with them, only to realize most of them have mold. 🙁

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      April 17, 2019 / 12:58 AM

      You know what, I draw the line at mold. I don’t keep anything with mold. Hope that helps.

  5. July 23, 2020 / 10:17 PM

    Freeze musty books! Slip them into a large Ziploc bag and put the book into your deep freezer. Freezing kills the mold spores that causes the musty smell. A librarian friend told me about it and I thought she was nuts, but after purchasing an autobiography by Alexander Majors (Pony Express) that smelled like it had lingered too long in a damp basement, I figured I had nothing to lose, so I tried it. Left it in the freezer for a month and it worked!

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