Budget Decorating: Re-purposing Old Books

15 Jun

During a recent trip to Restoration Hardware to buy paint for our kitchen makeover, I took a quick peek around and instantly fell in love with this look:


A closer inspection revealed a small stack of what appeared to be old paperback books sans covers and bound together in a neat little package with twine.

I was surprised to find a price tag – RH sells these bundles for $15 each! Are you kidding me?!


I loved the look but decided I could probably create it myself for close to free.

So I marched right home and instantly went to work.  Okay, it was really about two weeks later in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and was looking for something to do and remembered the book idea.

I pulled out some books that I was getting ready to donate and reviewed my stack of recent thrift store book purchases, too.

I was completely delighted (insert happy squeal here) to discover some twine in my husband’s workshop. Yay, Honey for having twine!

I was able to quickly put this bundle together in just a few minutes:


And this one:


Then I quickly re-swizzled my bookshelf.  Really there was no “quick” about it – it took me a couple of hours and multiple tries.

Big shout out to my talented sister-in-law Michelle for teaching me to divide the shelf into thirds. Yay, Michelle!

I achieved this look by following her advice and removing one shelf on each side. Makes such a HUGE difference, dontcha think?

IMG_9454 IMG_9426 IMG_9430

Some before pics:

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To start the project, I decided which books I wanted to use by looking at sizes and page color.


Then I removed the covers from the paperbacks (aka just rip them off). I kept the hardcovers in place.


Then I bundled them, reversing every other one to create the look that I wanted.

I used Hubby’s twine to bind them together to create a nice little package:


Total cost: $0 using items I already had!

I didn’t even have to buy twine! Yes, I’m still very excited about the twine – but it was 2am and I couldn’t sleep – I guess I’m easily entertained at 2am.

This project is quick, fun, and requires zero skills. You can even involve the kids – they’ll love to rip the covers off your books!

Here’s a final shot of one of my “new” book stacks next to my thrift store lamp that I purchased for $7 just last week:


Have fun tearing into some old books!


3 Responses to “Budget Decorating: Re-purposing Old Books”


  1. My Top Favorite Thrifty Finds | Around My Home - July 22, 2014

    […] Everything on the table next to the wingback chair is a thrift store or estate sale find. The lamp cost $7 (including the shade). The books were $1.50 each. The paperbacks I already owned, but used to re-create a look I had seen at Restoration Hardware. You can read about it here. […]

  2. How To Dry And Preserve Hydrangeas (The Easy Way) | Around My Home - September 3, 2014

    […] Here’s a photo of some of the creamy-green hydrangeas that I dried and now enjoy on my bookshelf. The books are mostly estate sale finds. You can read more about how I use books to decorate in this post. […]

  3. Home Office Makeover: Gallery Wall Tutorial | Around My Home - September 23, 2014

    […] Using spatial thirds is more pleasing to the eye than equal halves. For more on this topic, you can see how I decorated my bookshelf using thirds in this post. […]

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