Tricks of the Trade

An In-Demand Stylist Shows Us How to Arrange Books Around the Home

January 11, 2019

Stumped by book styling? Don’t fret. Olga Naiman, the go-to interior stylist behind the confident-yet-comfortable spaces and tableaus for clients like Oscar de la Renta and Schumacher, is here to advise on arranging your favorite tomes!

Save your most beautiful art books for the coffee table.

This is where you will see them most. I choose the ones that repeat the accent colors of the room and arrange them in little pyramids of two or three.

PRO TIP: I accent them with a colorful small bowl of nuts stacked on top.

When styling a large bookshelf, assess the room it is in.

Is it spare and minimal, or warm and cluttered? I usually style the bookshelf in the opposite direction, to juxtapose the room and add a different note. Most often it is a combination of vertical and horizontal stacks that look the best

PRO TIP: I like to cover the dark spines with light paper, so that the whole shelf has a light airy look. I also leave negative spaces in there, not jamming too much in.

Use books as pedestals on consoles to display sculpture and vases.

I’ve bought inexpensive vintage books especially for that purpose. I remove the book jacket revealing the beautiful linen underneath.

PRO TIP: With the book jackets off, you can color block the stacks with neutral colors—to accentuate the piece being displayed on top.

Add height to every room. In a pinch? Stack some books!

I love using rectangular columns with books stacked on top to draw the eye upwards.

PRO TIP: I often put a statement lamp on this stack.

Create an everyday still life arrangement in the center of a dining table.

I like to use books, trays, a vase and some candlesticks. This breaks up the expanse of wood in the center of the table and gives life to a dining room which isn’t always used.

PRO TIP: I like to change out the art books on my dining table, and open some of them to my favorite art images. The others I use as stacks, both in trays and on their own.

Follow Olga on Instagram for more genius design ideas @olganaiman.