One fun way to make a big statement using items you already own: organize your book spines by color rather than height or subject matter. I always get a lot of comments on the monochromatic arrangement of books on my bookshelves (seen above and available here — you won’t believe what a great price these are!), and have even had visitors ask whether I buy my books according to color. Ha! If you don’t have enough books in the same color family, don’t be afraid to remove the jacket cover — they often reveal beautiful colors/patterns beneath. I’ve also seen creatives arrange their books spine-to-the-wall so that you see lots of white/cream pages instead of the book jackets. Less functional (you can’t see which book you’re looking for!) but I can see the appeal if you’re simply trying to tidy up a bookshelf of never-touched books. (For example, we have loads of Lonely Planet Travel Guides that are used rarely — i.e., only when we are traveling to a particular destination — that are something of an eyesore on a shelf, but you could flip them all around to just see a tidy row of white instead.)
All that said, a few absolutely beautiful coffee table / book shelf books that I have purchased specifically for their design/color (and also lovely to spend a morning poring over with a cup of coffee!). These are great if you’re looking for a short stack on an end table or to lay flat on a bookshelf. Some of these are cookbooks that were purchased by Mr. Magpie for their content alone that proved so attractive, I gradually co-opted them into the decor of our home. (Mr. Magpie routinely asks me where such-and-such cookbook is?! — and I’ve usually nestled it artfully on a bookshelf. Ha.) I own nearly all of these!
A few specific notes on particular books, some shown above and some not…
THIS BASQUE COOKBOOK HAS A GREAT BRIGHT YELLOW SPINE WITH A FUN SQUAT FONT ON THE SIDE — PERFECT FOR A POP OF DRAMA ON A BOOKSHELF
THIS RL BOOK IS ENORMOUS AND LOOKS FANTASTIC WITH BROWNS/LEATHERS/RUSTIC VIBE
ANOTHER FAVORITE — SUCH A GREAT SHADE OF PEONY PINK, AND LOVE THE FONT ON THE SPINE (ALSO ONE OF OUR FAVORITE COOKBOOKS)
I don’t own these yet, but I also absolutely love the look of the Assouline destination books. These would be fantastic if you already have a color scheme going in a room and you want to nail it home or draw out one of the “supporting” colors in a throw pillow.
And a few other decorative books currently on my lust list:
P.S. The Prune book holds special sentimental value, as the restaurant (semi-permanently closed, sob) was the site of a major turning point in our adult lives.