6 Ways to Recycle Books into Decor

By Arwa Lodhi

It’s that time of year again: back to school! Whether Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince or Machiavelli’s The Prince, kids both younger and older will be loading their rucksacks with books. But with the rise of on-line reading, there seem to be more unwanted printed material lying around than ever before.

Fortunately, some very creative minds have found solutions to this problem, or have been inspired by books to create decorative objects from surprising materials. Here, we’ve found 5 ways to recycle books into home decor, ranging from large desks to small objects d’art.

1. Bench of Thought

Spanish designer and artist  lvaro Tamarit  has turned his vast collection of books into a kind of throne for readers: the Banco del Pensamiento (Bench of Thought).

These repurposed books form a curved-back chair that offers the perfect space to curl up with a book (or an iPad), and best of all, smells a bit like a charming old library. It’s more solid than you may think: the chair is reinforced with wood, and comes with optional wooden armrests. Highly durable, the bench also has built-in wheels so it can move around easily.


2. The Magazine Bench  

Ok, this may not be made of books, but the Magazine Bench still makes the best use of a good read. Personally, if I saved all the glossies I’d ever read, I could probably have furnished Downton Abbey by now. Reinforced by a steel frame, this innovative bench was created for Mexican Design Week, and unsurprisingly, took the prize.

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3. Tu Delft Architecture Bibliotheek

We’ve all used books as a makeshift ‘table’ at some point, but Tu Delft Architecture has gone much, much further and created an entire desk from stacks of tomes. We reckon desks don’t get any sturdier than this: it could practically serve as a bunker should the book store clientele start revolting over the slow release of the latest J.K. Rowling offering or something. The only possible threat to this great work of eco-innovation? Silverfish.


4. Light Reading Book Ends

Australian artist Daryl Fitzgerald of  Light Reading Melbourne  takes the phrase ‘this book is a brick’ quite literally. He refashions actual bricks into faux works of literature, so they may serve to actually stop books on your shelves from tumbling down. Hand painted with meticulous detail, Fitzgerald’s designs beautifully mimic real novels, worn ‘leather’, vintage fonts and all.

While these are available for sale in Australia, for obvious reasons, they don’t ship abroad. Love the look? Head to a construction site, find a few stray bricks, and break out the paintbrushes yourself.



 5. Books as Art

Writing has always been something of an art, and now books can be art–literally. Joseph  Decamillis upcyles old, discarded books into art. He adds small, postage stamp-sized illuminated paintings to the covers of old tomes, framing his petit masterpieces in carved niches that emphasise the storytelling elements of his work.  


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Images: MessyNessyChic.com

6. Books as Shelves

Oh, the irony…when the book becomes the shelf! Easy to do, and bigger tomes make better shelves. We’d make the brackets a bit smaller, though…


Image:  www.realsimple.com

Chere Di Boscio
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