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27 genius ways to use old books

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27 Creative Ways to Use Old Books

Let’s talk about ways to use old books. One thing (of many) that I just can’t pass up at thrift stores and estate sales is an old worn book. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we live in such a digital world today, but I have a soft spot for yellowed, vintage books.

They’re such a great item to collect since they’re usually very inexpensive and can be found without a lot of searching. And they’re a wonderful decorating accent, adding color and texture to any vignette. 

Today I’m sharing some fun ways to incorporate them into your decor, along with ways to repurpose them and some creative things to do with book pages. You’ll be collecting soon yourself if you aren’t already!

*Please visit the original sources and pin from there.*

Charming Ways to Decorate with Old Books

1. On a fireplace mantel

fall mantel with oak leaf printable art

One of my favorite places to use old books is on our fireplace mantels. They’re perfect for filling in empty spots and for adding height and texture. 

On our fall family room mantel, I even opened an old book to an interesting page titled “How a witch was caught”. I thought it was fun for October.

Our spring family room mantel also had several books added to the mix. 

2. On a fireplace hearth

On our fall living room hearth, I opened an old 1800’s dictionary to a sketch of a skeleton. Do they still have sketches in dictionaries today? Do they even make dictionaries today? I guess most people look up definitions online these days. One more reason to love old books.

3. On an accent table

vintage copper planter and old books on table with candle

For a cozy fall vignette, stack a couple of books and place a candle on top. See more of my favorite ways to decorate with candles here: 5 Ways to Decorate with Candles

4. On a night stand

I recently shared some tips for adding farmhouse style to any bedroom and using old books was one suggestion. They add a nice touch of character and color to the mix.

5. On a tray

Part of our master bedroom summer decor last year was a tray on the bench at the foot of the bed that had some old books and other items. 

6. In lieu of an accent table

Nowhere to set your coffee cup? No problem. Simply create a stack of books high enough to be used in place of a small table.

8. In a China hutch

Our valentine’s hutch included old books along with old linens, dishes, silverware and more. To see the rest of it go to this post.

9. On top of a cabinet

Mary Alice at Chateau Chic also uses old books in her decor and they look beautiful on top of her antique cabinet.  I love the way she tied them together with twine and raffia. To see more of her style go here.

10. As part of a tablescape

Jennifer at Town n Country Living has lots of beautiful decorating ideas including this tablescape that has old books and book pages. Isn’t it charming?

11. Inside an unused fireplace

Roxanne at The Honeycomb Home got really creative and filled up a fireplace with old books in her daughter’s rental apartment. Isn’t it adorable? My daughters would love something like that.

12. As a Christmas tree

How cute is this?? Alice over at Thoughts from Alice made great use of a bunch of old books as a makeshift Christmas tree, complete with pompom garland and a star!! I love this!

13. As a base for a small accent decor

vintage books with vintage atom on top
spring decor with vintage books and milk glass vases

Need to add some height? Stack a few books and create a little pedestal for your accent pieces. See the rest of this sweet spring mantel here: Spring Mantel with Flowers and Vintage Finds

Here some more ways to use old books.

14. As a lamp

The creative folks at hgtv made a lamp from a stack of books. For the full tutorial, go here.

Want to repurpose or give your old books a makeover? You’ll love these ideas.

15. Recovered with fabric

Knick of Time

Angie at Knick of Time covered some of her books with ticking and dropcloth fabric. They look so cute. See how she did it in this tutorial

16. Painted with metallic paint

Savvy Apron

For a more modern look, use some metallic paint on old books. Sherry at Savvy Apron shows you how to get this look in this post.

17. Covered with maps

Hymns and Verses

Going with a nautical theme? See how Doreen at Hymns and Verses got this fun look by following these instructions

18. As Stocking hangers

Knick of Time

Give your old books a completely customized look by creating the title and cover you want them to have. You can use any theme. See how Angie at Knick of Time created this holiday look in this post.

19. Upcycle the pages into leaves

diy watercolor paper leaves

Okay, so technically these leaves were made from vintage sheet music, but you could make them from old book pages as well. I used my Cricut maker for these and they could be cut free hand too. See how I made them here: DIY Paper Watercolor Leaves

20. As a shelf

Need some small shelves to display your collections? You can find how to make these at real simple.

21. As a planter

Darby smart shows you how to make a planter from an old book in this post

And here are some wonderful crafts to make from old book pages. You could also use sheet music for these creations.

22. Made into a wreath

Knick of Time

The texture and soft color of this book page wreath from Angie at Knick of Time is perfect for most any decor. See how she made it in this tutorial

23. Used as a bird’s nest

What Meegan Makes

Wouldn’t this be perfect for spring? See how Meegan at What Meegan Makes created this adorable bird’s nest in this post

24. Transformed into an apple

Hymns and Verses

This fun book page apple would be the perfect addition to any fall vignette. See how Doreen at Hymns and Verses made it in this post.

25. Covering an old trunk

The Boondocks Blog

Give an old trunk a new look by covering it with book pages. Get the tutorial for this makeover by Mary at The Boondocks Blog in this post

26. As placemats and table decor

An Extraordinary Day

Dress up your table and your mason jars with book pages. See how to create this sweet look by Diane at An Extraordinary Day in this post

27. Into a wreath


This fun wreath made for a baby shower by Randy at Frugelegance is made with pages from childrens’ books. See how she made it in this tutorial

Wow, so many great uses for old books. The next time you see one, snag it and use it in your home decor. The possibilities of what to do with them are endless.

Besides thrift stores and estate sales, another great place for old books is etsy. To see the great selection, go here.

Books are only one of the things I look for at estate sales. To see what I hunt for, some of my favorite finds so far, and my tips for estate sale shopping, visit this post

Have you used old books in your decor? How have you used them? Leave a comment below and let me know. I’m always looking for new ideas!

Thanks so much for dropping by. 




This post contains affiliate links for your convenience and to help keep this blog in operation. I may make a small commission from any item ordered but your price remains the same. For full disclosure, go here.


  1. You've given me new ideas for ways to use vintage books…so much fabulous creativity! And thank you so much for including me in this post, Angie.
    Mary Alice

    1. There are so many things you can do with them. And I love how you display yours! Have a great weekend! ~ Angie

  2. One of the best things about book themed crafts is this is a wonderful way to share your love of the written word in a creative way.

  3. Found your blog through Brenda at Cozy Little Home. Have you seen the Readers Digest books cutout into letters? Found some out in West Yellowstone, Montana. They had big ones and small ones – they are so cute. I have used old book pages to make a shade for a lamp I got online that resembles a basket turn upside down. I wove the pages through the chany and use it over my table in my park model home in Florida. Love it. Thanks for sharing.
    Connie, Indiana/Florida

    1. Hi Connie. I have seen those letter-shaped books and love them. They're so cute. And your lampshade sounds amazing. Thanks for dropping by! ~ Angie

  4. Angie thanks for using my page covered trunk. It took forever to do but I love it! All the ideas here are really great. I think pages add such interest in decor.

  5. Amazing round up Angie, there are so many creative ideas here. Old books always add such a lovely touch of charm to any space. Thank you so much for including our knife block in your post

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