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Racks + Books

From my title you may assume this post will be about some dumb new American reality show where beauty competes against brains to win the bachelor or something. But no, I’m simply pulling together inspiration for my next apartment (we’re currently on the hunt) and I thought I’d share some from Skona Hem in Sweden and they happen to include a rack and some books and I am simply making an attempt at being clever with my quirky title.

Skona Hem

I love the pendant above, though I wonder if little Greta is missing her ballet tutu and hasn’t thought to look up? And I’m digging the clothes rack in the home below, not because I’d ever consider doing it now (my clothes are not nearly as hip as this homeowner), but because I had one from an old store in my bedroom in Boston for years and my friends would laugh at me for not having a proper closet. They thought it was so tragic that I had a vintage rolling clothes rack in my bedroom. I wish I could have pulled out this exact photograph below to prove to them that I wasn’t only too broke to afford a proper closet, but apparently I was hip and cool to have even used one in the first place. Plus we all know that once the Swedish give something their stamp of approval that things we once saw as strange suddenly become Oh My God desirable.

Skona Hem

Skona Hem

What do you think of books with pretty covers displayed as art? I see this idea in lots of decorating magazines here where a series of 3 shelves are installed, usually slim ones with lips created specifically for leaning art against the wall, and instead of photos and prints you see cookbooks or artsy books. I loved this idea when I first spotted it a few years ago and the more I see it lately I’m considering the idea for my kitchen. Would you do it? Anything in these images that catches your eye?

(photos: skona hem)

Posted by decor8 in uncategorized on January 22, 2010

Your comments...

  1. Siobhán commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 4:15am

    Hi Holly,

    I’m also falling in love with this way of displaying art, photos or books – I’m thinking about using these to display my son’s books, also making them easier for him to see and access:

    Those black chairs under the picture ledges are fab!

  2. Juana @ SweetVisualAids commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 4:37am

    I also love the idea of using the shelves to display books. And in the kitchen definitely comes handy! :) Nor days the cooking books come with some amazing cover pictures! that are indeed art!
    .-= Juana @ SweetVisualAids´s last blog ..The Portuguese Life =-.

  3. Kristin commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 4:48am

    Die Lampe im Wohnzimmer ist toll!
    Weißt du wie die heißt?
    Ich muss sie haben!! :)

  4. Ele commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 4:55am

    I love the idea of a slim display shelf for cookbooks! Even just one, for my pretty favourites, would be great- practical, too.

    Swedish mags seem to love that tulle light fixture! I featured a photo of it in a kitchen on my blog a few months back, from Hus & Hem. I think I like it even better in a kitchen, because of the contrast:

  5. Melibu commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 4:56am

    Hi ! I already saw this house with books displayed as art and I thought it was really pretty on those white shelves !
    .-= Melibu´s last blog ..Soutien-gorge et String Eres 80A/38 =-.

  6. Erin commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 4:58am

    oh la la, I love those slim shelves and am planning on putting them in my new apartment (picking up the keys in an hour!). I don’t know where to buy them in France though – I guess I may have to make them myself, but the effort is wonderful.

    Good luck with the next house visit!

  7. Anna commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 5:10am

    I’m rather bemused by the red tool chest in the first photo – only because I think it is a Snap on tool chest that costs ££££’s and my husband is coveting. He would love to see it on pride of place like this instead of hidden in a garage. But because it is so obviously a tool chest I’m not feeling it in that space….I’m all for repurposing but is jarring a little for me.

    I love the other images – particularly fond of the sheer lampshade.

    On the kitchen display shelves – I think it is a great idea. I have 2 shelves over the loo in my ensuite bathroom that I use to display artwork like this. It feels good to have them in an unexpected place like a kitchen or bathroom I think…..where it is a surprise someone has made the effort to display art.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..This trunk =-.

  8. juliette commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 5:12am

    love tutu pendants! I blogged about them a while back – so fascinating in their tactile-ness, yet so freak-out for those of us w/big dust allergies!

    and I had to laugh:

    Plus we all know that once the Swedish give something their stamp of approval that things we once saw as strange suddenly become Oh My God desirable.

    ha ha!
    .-= juliette´s last blog ..Fabric kick-off for 2010 =-.

  9. Sandra@Botanys commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 5:13am

    I LOVE the idea of using book covers as art. Besides, many book covers are professionaly illustrated so they are actually works of art. Hope that makes sense LOL.

    Also, I like the red garage tool box. I don’t know if I would do it myself but I can see how it would be very useful in an office as storage for all kinds of things.
    .-= Sandra@Botanys´s last blog .. =-.

  10. amber kane commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 5:31am

    I really like the first room, the light is so interesting. Recently I have been cutting up my slip from my wedding dress and reusing the tulle in projects. The storage pieces in this room are also wonderful.
    .-= amber kane´s last blog ..Wallpaper Envelope Design =-.

  11. jules @ the diversion project commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 6:14am

    Be still my heart, that home is beautiful. I love the very gentle use of colour, very well done!

    .-= jules @ the diversion project´s last blog ..News Just In =-.

  12. Renee commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 6:57am

    I live in a 1929 Bungalow and my kitchen has very little storage space. I was just pondering the idea of putting white shelves above my stove to store & display and I love the idea of adding the vintage books as art pieces. You should definitely do this in your new apartment.

    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Barbie =-.

  13. Heather commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 7:54am

    As a book designer, I think this is a terrific idea…my books will suddenly become display art as well! That room with the bay windows is beautiful by the way! Nice choice, and good luck w/ your apartment hunt!

  14. Lil Jessy commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 8:02am

    How cute and sweet face is in the first article, all the rooms are wonderful.

  15. Narumi commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 8:12am

    The tutu pendant is adorable ! I love the idea of showing pretty books or cook books, I think the three shelves are from Ikea because I’ve got exactly the same !
    .-= Narumi´s last blog ..Random sunday pictures =-.

  16. Caroline commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 8:21am

    I love the shelves with the books/magazines displayed. Really nice, some books are art pieces in and of themselves and it’s a fantastic way to display them, especially if you don’t have a coffee table like I don’t. :)

    Great rooms. I think Greta definitely lost her tutu, though!
    .-= Caroline´s last blog ..Clothing to Covet from Nadinoo =-.

  17. Gina commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 8:29am

    These are *fantastic* ideas! I love the clothes rack – love. it.

    Never thought of books as art, but it makes sense. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Gina´s last blog kitty, kitty. =-.

  18. Molly Jean commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 8:43am

    books as art always works, in my opinion, whether thoughtfully covered by their owners in pretty paper/fabric or displayed in all their old & worn & natural glory. love love love books in design!!! ps: that red tool box in the bedroom (top) is so so awesome & unexpected!
    .-= Molly Jean´s last blog ..Gearing up for next week’s Paris couture shows, sans Christian Lacroix (le sigh) =-.

  19. Gina commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 9:06am

    I love my books in the kitchen. They are featured in an open, permanent kitchen cabinet. Most of the books are cookbooks but a few garden books and medicinal plant books have found their way into the milieu.

    .-= Gina´s last blog ..Gold Leafing Tutorial II =-.

  20. kristina commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 9:12am

    does anyone know what the name or type of that brown chair sitting right next to the bed? i looooove it.
    .-= kristina´s last blog ..Black Diamond BIB and BURP set =-.

  21. Whatever DeeDee Wants commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 9:15am

    I love the use of the big tool chest in the first picture. I never would have thought to use one inside the house. Love it!

  22. Sandra commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 9:30am

    Can someone tell me more about the lamp on the last picture on the left? Beautiful!

  23. Carmella commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 9:37am

    I did this in the dining room in our former house, and displayed cookbooks there. I’d always admired the great photography found on the covers of a lot of cookbooks these days, and was looking for an inexpensive solution to wall art. It looked wonderful, and visitors complimented it often. I’ll probably re-interpret the idea in another room in this house.
    .-= Carmella´s last blog ..Nest this House: Found =-.

  24. Eliza commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 9:58am

    wow books as art is such a good idea…and you can get very cool covers/books on the cheap at used bookstores/thift stores! It’s a double win! My husband and I used a “American National Parks” picture book as the guest book at our wedding…it would be cool to have in on display like that!
    Thanks for sharing this!

  25. Sarah commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:16am

    I am loving the 3 shelf idea in these images. You could mix and match books, art, miniatures and knick knacks and super easy to switch them out when you feel like it.

    I also love the pink chair under the windows…so cozy!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Add some boogie to your Friday =-.

  26. Gini commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:19am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the red tool chest-as-dresser! How smart! Slim little drawers for jewelry and such, medium-size drawer for panties and socks, and deep drawers for all the rest. Brilliant!

  27. Julia commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:39am

    The lamp pendant is pretty, but oh so expensive…

    I’ve seen some of these pictures on a Swedish blog (not too long ago) and as the homes are so beautiful it’s lovely to see them on here as well.
    I believe the one with the clothing rack is Malene Birger’s home (she’s a Danish designer) and the living room with the beautiful window is Ebba von Sydow’s home (which she is/was in the process of selling).
    .-= Julia´s last blog ..the Sweetheart necklace =-.

  28. Jillian commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:53am

    I love the idea of books as art. What a great excuse for collecting both new and vintage children’s books (since I don’t actually have any children)!
    .-= Jillian´s last blog ..Shop Sneak Peek =-.

  29. Ericka commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:54am

    Oh..the ballet pendant is lovely…i have seen one using a full black and white dress in a hotel and thought it was great!
    .-= Ericka´s last blog ..Color Theory {Haiti} =-.

  30. Leslie commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 11:05am

    I love Love the pendant light hanging low in the living room over the coffee table.

  31. Solvi commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 11:24am

    Kristina, the chair is vintage, it used to belong to the owners grandmother. Sköna hem calls the style “Emmafåtölj” (Emma chair).

    Sandra, it’s from Dis, Click on Produkter and then Lampor and you will find it.

  32. nina commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 11:31am

    I love the coats on the coat rack!
    .-= nina´s last blog ..So pretty Thursday =-.

  33. honey living commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 12:46pm

    i like the idea of displaying books, though specifically i like it in a way that doesn’t look too planned. i guess that’s to say i like them as part of a display of other objetcs too.

    i love the well-chosen pops of black in the rooms you’ve shared with us. we’re so used to seeing rooms that are all white and muted with sometimes pops of color, and i think in those settings, black can be underused. i think it looks great the way it’s worked in here.
    .-= honey living´s last blog ..happy weekend! =-.

  34. decor8 commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 12:59pm

    honey living – I agree 100%, I want to use black more in my home when I move, I keep thinking of how I want to bring it in and I’m excited to think about the idea of having shots of it around. You are so right!!!

  35. Design Fixation commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 1:11pm

    Love the shape of the room in the sixth photo – it feels so welcoming. Not to mention the color scheme…

  36. Sara commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 1:39pm

    I love the idea of using book covers as art. I’ve made a few pieces of art for my own home (using fabric & paint) and have been searching for more ideas…I think I may have to use this idea!
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..My Dream Dining Room =-.

  37. lush bella commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 1:41pm

    what caught my eye was that organza pendant that appears in a couple images. solvi, thank you for the link!

  38. Juliet commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 1:48pm

    I love displaying art on small ledges because of it’s versatility. Remember though for the kitchen, things could get gunky, so I wouldn’t do any books I cared about. Love the photos! More white rooms!
    .-= Juliet´s last blog ..Snowy Golf Trees =-.

  39. Pattie C commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 4:59pm

    The book idea so good, but the tutu seems like a fire waiting to happen and the clothes rack seems tragic. Buy a wardrobe.

  40. Carina commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 5:02pm

    Definitely loving the books displayed as ‘art’. Books need to come out of the bookcase and into the open where they can be properly appreciated! (-:
    .-= Carina´s last blog ..Name it to win it =-.

  41. Coco commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 5:34pm

    I don’t lke how the shelves are just on the wall and not hanging above a low cabinet or sofa.. They are just shelves now and look so lonely!
    I’ve kind of the same shelves above my sofa and i have displayed some books on them. Now i’ve two photographs in black/white and one in shady colors. Next to it i’ve one book with a b/w photograph cover of an old war victim. It sounds more dramatic than it is… by grandpa was a war victim and the photograph reminded me of him, he looked just the same as this old guy so thats why i liked the cover.

  42. Chloe commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 5:35pm

    I love rolling racks! When placed/used in the right way they work and look better than a closet. Pull it out of hiding :)
    .-= Chloe´s last blog ..New York New York! =-.

  43. Kirsten commented
    January 22nd, 2010 at 5:39pm

    I love the shelve idea! I wanted to do the same thing for my livingroom but it might be even better in the kitchen to display my cookbooks!

    “Viel glück” with the appartment hunt, I hope you find The One!

  44. modGIRL commented
    January 23rd, 2010 at 8:08am

    Sweet house!!! Love it :)

  45. elizabeth commented
    January 23rd, 2010 at 11:17am

    i am in love. i can’t get enough of Scandonavian design. seriously. I love that little pink settee. the splash of color just adds so much warmth. love love love.
    .-= elizabeth´s last blog ..Peter Reinhart’s Neo-Neopolitan Pizza Dough =-.

  46. Maleah commented
    January 23rd, 2010 at 11:20am

    I really love the shelves, I noticed them right off! The only downside with magazines would be cleaning and dusting, which I passionately hate! For myself I might do some art and books or magazines to make it a little easier.
    .-= Maleah´s last blog ..Mod Meadow Collection – Nine 4×4 Fine Art Prints =-.

  47. Manette commented
    January 23rd, 2010 at 12:55pm

    My favorite is the pendant over the coffee table – I want one. I first noticed the snap on tool box, it works well in this space and a clever idea for crafters, jewelry storage etc. I have one in my office for jewelry supplies. The use of shelves as art display always a great touch. Thanks for me a touch of spring on this raining day in CA.
    .-= Manette´s last blog ..New Wave Sea Glass Necklace =-.

  48. Shell commented
    January 23rd, 2010 at 2:27pm

    I love the tutu chandelier and that adorable soft yellow chair in the first picture. This apartment radiates with beautiful charm and grown up sophistication.
    .-= Shell´s last blog ..My name is…. =-.

  49. decor8 commented
    January 23rd, 2010 at 3:26pm

    Shell – I want to cut in for a moment to personally thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your lovely comments on a regular basis. It’s encouraging and people like you make me feel really happy and grateful to be here each day. You are a wonderful person, I never want you to think for a moment that I don’t read and appreciate every single comment you leave. Shell, thank you. So much.

    Everyone go read Shell’s blog – she’s such a supportive and wonderful woman and blogger!

  50. cynthia commented
    January 23rd, 2010 at 6:05pm

    I think using your books as art is a great idea! I love showing off the beautiful art on the covers and looks especially good on white walls. Great ideas, thanks for sharing. xoxo

  51. Thea commented
    January 23rd, 2010 at 7:36pm

    Love the three white ledges. I think it would look lovely in a kitchen. I may try it in my living room.

    The pink love seat and black accents stand out in the photos to me.

    I am trying to get to homework for week one in our class, but am enjoying browsing here…procrastinating:)
    .-= Thea´s last blog ..paige ~ theater headshots ~ thea coughlin photography albany ny =-.

  52. Renata Gennari commented
    January 24th, 2010 at 11:58am

    Hi Holly,

    I love this idea too, however in this picture the books and pictures are so symetric placed that it became boring. For me, it can be a little bit messier.

    Love your weblog!


  53. Yasmine commented
    January 24th, 2010 at 5:43pm

    What a lovely and simple idea for the pendant in the first photo! I think I might try to make it as a 30 minutes DIY project!

  54. Kika commented
    January 24th, 2010 at 6:24pm

    Displaying books as art? Definitely yes. Books are beautiful. I’m a homeschooling mama and love having different books out on display. If they were books that nobody really loved (as in just there b/c of front cover) then I wouldn’t like that. However, displaying a collection of well-loved and used books sounds wonderful.

  55. Katherine aka. Urban Flea commented
    January 24th, 2010 at 10:02pm

    i love that tutu light! isn’t skona hem great?

    xo katherine aka. urban flea :)

    .-= Katherine aka. Urban Flea´s last blog ..malene birger at home =-.

  56. Peter commented
    January 24th, 2010 at 11:49pm

    I prefer the living room with the guitar one, very stylish!

  57. Monique commented
    January 25th, 2010 at 4:23am

    I love the way Skona has displayed beautiful coffee table books as art on free floating shelves. What a stunning idea!

  58. 31everything commented
    January 25th, 2010 at 10:03am

    omg! omg! omg! omg! LOVE the red tool cabinet in the bedroom… WOW! That is a first. Wonderful, just wonderful! Great post!
    .-= 31everything´s last blog ..Love at First Gasp #3 =-.

  59. Etincelle commented
    January 25th, 2010 at 10:06am

    I love the idea of the tutu as a light!! my little one would absolutely love it :)
    Having the books displayed is great too, I used to do it when living in Paris… unfortunately now that I am living in Asia, all my books are in Europe (I am scared of them getting damaged by the humid weather or when constantly moving countries) and I don’t have shelves in my current place that would allow such display. By the way, how would you decorate the walls of you apartment when you are not allowed by the owner to drill holes in the walls? it is my current challenge, and as much as I love the place (very spacious), I am getting annoyed and bored by my big empty white walls…

  60. decor8 commented
    January 25th, 2010 at 2:31pm

    @Etincelle: Use bookcases from IKEA or something mobile like a folding screen to wallpaper and place behind a sofa or bed to add some sort of interest and to break up all of the white space. You can also use something like a ladder, or even a bookcase that leans like a ladder. Wall decals are also popular for adding some pattern to the walls. If you are allowed to put a few holes in the ceiling, which I’m sure you can and no one would notice it, use a few tiny hooks and screw them into the ceiling and using clear plastic string, you can suspend things in the air to appear as if floating in front of windows or over a buffet. Often when we cannot decorate in a more traditional way, we see it as a negative, but it can force one into thinking more creatively outside of the box which is not only fun but often can build our confidence and make us feel proud of our innovations.

  61. Etincelle commented
    January 26th, 2010 at 10:19am

    Thank you for sharing the tips! it is so true that obstacles make us think out of the box (and not only in home decoration). I will think about your advices and maybe compile a few ideas from magazines/ blogs before I start re-thinking the space.
    Here in Singapore we do not have so many interesting flea markets going on, however we can find beautiful and affordable teak furniture, and it is also easy to make to order them :)
    I like the idea of the ladder and the ceiling option very much….
    .-= Etincelle´s last blog ..Mini Me Doll – Stella =-.

  62. Solvi commented
    January 26th, 2010 at 1:17pm

    The latest issue of Sköna Hem, 2/2010, has a picture of the same pendant (the black one over the coffee table) but in a pale dusty pink. It is very cute too.

  63. Danielle commented
    January 27th, 2010 at 11:42am

    Love it! I said it before, but I am totally in love with decor8 now.

  64. Anna commented
    February 2nd, 2010 at 8:32am

    I really want that white tv console…looks like they put at least 2, maybe 3 units together to form the console! LOVE!
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..New Prints from Made by Girl =-.

  65. riza @ kitchen drawer organizers commented
    May 5th, 2011 at 11:11pm

    Hello! I really love the racks! It did organize the books beautifully and it attracts readers. I think I’m gonna try to do it on my bookshelf too. Thanks for the idea! Cheers!
    riza @ kitchen drawer organizers´s last blog post ..Wire Kitchen Drawer Organizers – How to Re-Organize Your Cluttered Kitchen

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