5 easy ways to repurpose—and decorate with—old books | the ReFab Diaries

Nothing adds character to a room like vintage books. Creatively placed stacks of old books here and there can transform the feel of your home. Not only is decorating  with old books extremely budget-friendly, it’s also incredibly versatile despite being relatively low effort.


Books don’t need much help to look good in any space. A lot of them can also be wonderful conversation starters during dinner parties. So the next time you consider getting rid of old books, or you come across a couple of well-loved books in the thrift store, repurpose them as decorative pieces around your home. Here are some great ideas from guest-writer Michael Dehoyos.

Take advantage of book stacks

You can creatively stack books on shelves to create an aesthetically pleasing library. Alternatively, placing stacks all around your home creates a cozy and homey atmosphere. You can place stacks of books on the floor, on stools, or on benches. A stack of books can even be the centerpiece on your coffee table.


The best part about book stacks is that they are extremely versatile. You can place other decorative pieces on your book stacks to elevate or highlight them. This is a great way to convert an accessory that might look lacking on its own. You can stack literally almost any item on top of books and make it look better. Some great items to place on a stack of books are a decorative bowl, plants, flower vases, lamps, and picture frames.

Build a statement floor-to-ceiling book wall

This idea is perfect if you have a huge collection of books. A floor-to-ceiling book wall can dramatically change the look and feel of your home. Old books are perfect for filling in any gaps in your statement book wall. They can also add a certain classic aesthetic to the wall. It’s a great idea to balance your new books with your old ones, along with art and collectables. Book walls are your chance to show off your decorating style and collection of books. 

If you decide to build your own floor-to-ceiling book wall, a great tip is to apply minimalism to the rest of the room. This allows your book wall to be the focal point of the room. 

Don’t be afraid to layer your shelves

Placing shelves in front of other books can create a layered feel and insert depth to the space. Layering your bookshelves can add a whimsical dimension to the room. Make sure you to use a smaller sized shelf, narrow ladder, or bookcase at the front so it doesn’t block or take away from the layer of books in the background. 

Of course, layering your bookshelves does require a lot of books. This is where old books can come in especially handy. They can fill any gaps on the shelf and add more character to your shelves. It might be a good to decorate the smaller shelves at the front more minimally than the shelves in the background. This creates a beautiful contrast between the shelves.

Turn your staircase into a stair bookcase

Who doesn’t love a book staircase? There’s just something about a home with a staircase full of books. 


And if you can't afford to add built-in-bookshelves, just piling books on each step can create a dramatic display. And it's a fantastic way to show off your massive library.

Be mindful of your colors   

Old books can be a blessing if you’re trying to organize your bookcase according to color. They can instantly balance out the colors of your shelf. Since many old books have neutral colors on their covers, they can provide a great contrast to the bright covers of modern books.

However, if you love bright colors and you have no intention of neutralizing them, you can always wrap old books in brightly colored paper. Old books can be amazing color fillers for your bookcase this way.


Old books are a fantastic way to give your bookshelves and your home some character. Instead of throwing them out, or ignoring them at the thrift store, recognize their decorative potential and repurpose them.

Michael Dehoyos is a lifestyle content writer and editor at Dissertation Writing Service and Write My Essay. He helps brands come up with sustainable and eco-friendly solutions. Michael contributes to numerous sites and publications, but you can find more of his upcycling tips at Thesis Help.

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