Maybe it is the teacher in me…but I adore old books. My senses are awakened when I am holding a time worn book. Everything from the feel of the rough, tattered pages between my fingertips to the old musty smell… I never tire of reminiscing through stacks and stacks of old vintage books. I love them so much that I use them EVERYWHERE in my home decor. Due to gaining popularity, these vintage books can go for crazy high prices in antique shops… but I have a secret to share with you! With just a little bit of digging… you my friend, can find these amazing gems at thrift stores and pay only pennies a book for your vintage decor.
I frequently shop the thrift stores in our area. One particular store I enjoy rummaging through supports hospice care. This is the same foundation that allowed my grandfather to gracefully pass at home with our family surrounding him. I feel good about the fact that every dollar that I have given this thrift store is allowing other families to have the same peace as we did during our time of transition. I also am proud to display these finds in my home as they remind me of the honorable hospice organization.
At our thrift store they have a “sale” book section in which you can purchase ten books for a dollar! Yep, that is only $.10 a book! I always start here to see what I can find. This whole stack pictured below was only a DOLLAR! Their regular hard back books can be purchased for $1 – $2 a book. I search the regular section also looking for leather bound books, neutral colored books, or any other old crusty book that looks as if it has a story of it’s own!
As the old saying goes… never judge a book by its cover! This phrase rings true in this instance as well! There are a few things that I look for in my vintage finds. First, I only look for hard back books as they are the ones with covers that can be easily removed to reveal the binding. Then, I take a peek at the pages of the closed book. I particularly look for worn, tattered, and uneven pages. If there is a little staining on them…even BETTER!
If the book has a sleeve I will take a peek at the cover hiding underneath. I prefer to use neutral colors with a splash of muted natural colors in my decor. Sometimes the books will surprise me with a lovely muted color that blends well with my interior decor. Other times…I end up revealing this…wowza! Not to worry… this is when it gets fun!
I take a razor blade and score the front and back cover at the inside binding. I then remove the spine and hard back cover from the book. Voila…. now you have a raw, unbound, vintage book! I inspect the raw spine. Sometimes I prefer to leave a little bit of paper, other times I will remove everything. If the paper is getting stuck, you can hold a lighter up to the binding to melt the glue then carefully peel the remaining paper from the spine. I love it when the webbing remains intact with the spine! It adds character and really gives the books a fun look.
Don’t worry if the inside cover page gets ruined or if they are wild…often times they are very bright or have a crazy pattern! Many times I do not use the cover pages and choose to show a page with print. Dedication pages are some of THE BEST pages of the whole entire book! I can just imagine these authors mulling over the big decision of who to dedicate their precious story. This could possibly be the biggest decision the author struggled with….so why not display this page in their honor. I really liked this dedication page and proudly display it in one of my niches in our home. (This niche will be revealed in a later post!) I can just feel the love radiating off of the page of this vintage romance novel…
Sometimes the title page catches my eye because it reminds me of a time when I read the particular story in school. Or maybe the title speaks to me and reminds me of the past, or gives me hope for the future. Just like the importance of the dedication page… think about how an author spends countless hours dreaming of a title for their story. It is almost as if you are trying to find the perfect name for your child. I never underestimate the importance of these pages and I get excited when I find one that speaks to me!
Other times I just want to expose the raw type print. I have many books that start on a particular chapter because I like the way the print sits on the page, or I like the bold word that is highlighted to begin the chapter, or maybe I like the way the number of the chapter is printed. There are so many ways to find the perfect page to display, but sometimes I don’t display the pages at all. I will use books as display pieces as well as risers to make an object stand a little taller. Here are a few places in my home where I have collections of books…
How do you use books in your decor?