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Smart Solutions: Turn to books as decor for your home

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

If you’re looking for an easy way to add personality to your rooms, try incorporating some accents with substance, such as coffee table books. I’ve come to collect them over the years, which was never my intention, but happy accidents often enhance our homes.

It’s been more than two decades since I began buying decorating books, many of which are now out of print. Though I’ve sold a few along the way, I would eventually inherit many of the ones that belonged to my sister who lived in California and shared the same passion for interiors.

More recently I’ve discovered little gems at local shops like fleurdetroit in Bloomfield Hills and Leon & Lulu in Clawson that have timeless tidbits I can share with my writers group when we have a casual gathering. For instance, “The Official Dictionary on Sarcasm” features a helpful index that lets you search the quotes by subject.

Book selections and displays add character to any home, even in a neutral hue like the ones shown on this bookcase from Wayfair.

Other fun reads even combine a few of my favorite themes like “Flea Market Fidos,” a guide to canine collectibles and “The Art of Motherhood” that pairs paintings and sculptures with words.

Some of my latest additions include “Life in the Sloth Lane” featuring fascinating photos and facts about these sweet creatures that have taken the decorating world by storm. Go ahead and Google “sloth décor” if you don’t believe me.

Another current acquisition comes with a colorful cover and character called “Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon” about a phenomenal fashion muse, interior designer and more I’ve admired ever since I first read about her in a shelter magazine.

These personal selections tell a story that extends beyond their pages when they fill your home and reveal a little something about you and your interests. Whether you stack them for display or stand them upright inside a bookcase, they’ll add an attractive touch wherever they land.

You also might be inclined to loan some of your favorites to others like I did recently with a friend’s daughter, a budding artist who I thought might enjoy the wit and wisdom featured in the book “In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from Over 100 Makers, Artists and Entrepreneurs,” which I found to be a truly inspirational read.

When this book comes back to me, it will certainly earn a prominent spot in my displays, whether it tops a wine crate or a wicker basket.

In addition to stacking your favorite titles, you can feature a few in other ways with bookends or easels. You might also consider showcasing some colorful cookbooks in your kitchen, while a mini library can occupy your dining room.

Try grouping your collections by color, size or category. Find what you like best and think outside the box. Even a sturdy plate rack can hold lightweight reads like children’s books.

Some display pieces let you admire the creative covers instead of only being able to see the spines in a typical arrangement.

Fill different areas of the house with books, like a guest room that will benefit from selections with inspirational quotes or funny sayings. By doing so, you might just inspire your visitors to tweak some displays in their own homes.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at