I am sad to say that books these days are becoming more of a novelty than any thing else. It’s hard to find avid readers out there anymore, and many of those who do read do so on a Kindle or Nook. Rarely do I see a bookshelf full of books when I go over to friends’ houses; instead, shelves are adorned with pictures and trinkets, maybe a photo album. Books are becoming more and more obsolete as every day goes by, and with this an unwelcome trend: that of using books (old and new, unfortunately) for craft and decor projects.
We’ve all seen these projects – book page covered lamp shades, hollowed out books, book page wall papering, book stack lamps, etc, etc. I’ll admit – they look cool. But every time one of these projects pops up on my Facebook news feed I cringe. The reason I have a problem with them is this: books can make a design statement in your home just as books, no alteration necessary. Now, if the book being used is literally falling apart (aka pages falling freely from the binding) go ahead and use it. Recycle it. Make it into something beautiful. But the thing about these home decor crafts is that the books being used tend to be shiny and gorgeous – clearly not at the end of their lifespan.
Book decor, I suppose, is part of the “nerd chic” aesthetic which has been steadily growing in popularity over the years. On that topic, I will say this: Book pages on your walls do not make you look more intelligent – books on your shelves do.
Here are a couple straightforward reasons we should not be destroying perfectly good books for craft projects:
- Books were made for reading. That is their purpose.
- There are people out there who want those books you are defacing, I promise. (I happen to be one of those people.)
Now, I am well aware that sometimes libraries throw books out after library sales because there are simply too many. I know that some books are beyond repair and beyond saving. By all means, if you find a Reader’s Digest Condensed book from the sixties, do something cool with it. But if it’s a beautiful old copy of My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier or a vintage biology textbook with an amazing cover, DO NOT destroy it.
If you love the look of book decor and definitely prescribe to the nerd chic aesthetic, there are ways of decorating your home without murdering the souls of book-lovers. For instance, I started selling vintage book-cover tapestries in my shop a couple months ago. They capture the spirit of the old book without harming it. Another fun idea (which I totally want to do once we purchase our own home) is to paint a wall to resemble a page out of one of your favorite books. You can also simply make or buy artwork that features your favorite quotes from literature – this is an awesome way to make your home look sophisticated and smart.
Just please spare the books.