Store and display your books

Here are some less conventional methods for storing your books while displaying them to their best effect.

If you are an avid reader and a collector of books and magazines, you may be wondering how best to fit these precious possessions into your home décor.

Once you realise that you don’t have to be limited by bookshelves, books can become a source of interior design inspiration and an outlet for creative energy.

Mix it up

Instead of filing all your books library-style, display a few with striking covers on a picture ledge or wall shelf, along with some framed prints. This will free up much-needed space on your shelves and create an interesting focal point.

A bar cart is a versatile piece of furniture that can be used to hold glassware, knick-knacks, as well as your favourite wines or spirits. It also makes for a splendid portable library and a vehicle for displaying some of your favourite books. Fill the shelves with books, a house plant, and perhaps a small solar lamp for use during loadshedding.

An old-fashioned kitchen dresser makes a functional and aesthetic bookshelf. Arrange a mix of coffee table books and some of your favourite novels alongside a striking house plant and objects.

Out of reach

Most homes have unused spaces above kitchen cabinets or at the top of a tall shelving unit, which are great for storing items you don’t need every day. If you have a few colourful outsize coffee table books, display them there and turn these bland spaces into talking points.

  • Mantelshelves are excellent for displaying vases, candles, plants, clocks and a host of other keepsakes. Create a focal point with attractive books combined with some decorative items.
  • An unused hearth is a wonderful place to display your books. Arrange the books in opposing stacks and include one or two décor items. Face the spines out to create a colourful exhibition, or turn them in for a more cohesive look.
  • Ladders can make interesting book storage options. They create height, and their inconspicuous lines won’t detract from the items on display.


Stacks of books can add height, depth, colour and texture to an empty space. The spaces below a bench in the hallway or at the foot of your bed are ideal for arranging stacks of books at various heights or as a horizontal display of interesting book spines. Place them on a board so they can be moved for easy cleaning.

Arranging and displaying your books as outlined above will not only allow you to use your space effectively but will also assist you in preserving your precious literature.

Writer : Sarah-Jane Meyer

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