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How to Decorate a Book or Novel-Themed Room

Updated on July 8, 2016
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Dr. Middlebrook is a self-publishing expert, author (pen name Beax Rivers), online course developer, and former university professor.

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If you love books, I mean . . . if you really, really love books and reading, you might want to consider decorating a book or novel themed room in your home or apartment. If you are an avid reader, and/or a self-proclaimed "fanatic" devotee of a particular genre of books, you might want to consider surrounding yourself with things that remind you of your love affair. A book, novel, or genre themed room might be the perfect way to celebrate and honor your literary tastes.

As someone who is both a writer of romantic fiction novels, and someone who loves reading books (even though I own and love my Kindle, I still prefer paper books!), I can think of no better way to let people know how much you love books and reading, than to dedicate, in your home, a room, nook, or wall to pay "homage" to your special love. If this sounds like fun to you, this Hub includes a lot of different thoughts and ideas you can use to begin decorating a novel or book themed room. Perhaps some of these ideas will help get your creative juices flowing as you think about transforming part of your home into a tribute to your love of things literary.

Your special room can provide an inviting, soul-satisfying, and mood lifting experience, allowing you to bask in your passionate obsession, your true love of books and reading. It can telegraph, immediately—to anyone who enters into your world, your fondness for collecting things that make you feel alive, in a way that nothing else can. Filling a designated room, or even an area within a room, with décor reflecting your literary loves gives you a good reason to hoard and savor precious keepsakes that you will treasure for a lifetime—or at least until you decide to change your decorations.

Great as collectibles well-suited for framing, these love stories were popular back when comic books were only 10 cents each!
Great as collectibles well-suited for framing, these love stories were popular back when comic books were only 10 cents each! | Source
Classic comic book covers can provide inspiration and humor for those of us who love love stories. This cover art is from the Golden Age of Comic Books. Category: Romance comics.
Classic comic book covers can provide inspiration and humor for those of us who love love stories. This cover art is from the Golden Age of Comic Books. Category: Romance comics. | Source
Title page of the original edition of Wuthering Heights (1847). Emily Jane Brontë published under the pen name Ellis Bell.
Title page of the original edition of Wuthering Heights (1847). Emily Jane Brontë published under the pen name Ellis Bell. | Source

Getting Started

First, you will need to decide what you want to do to help you connect to the world of books that you love most. Will your themed room be based on a particular book or novel? Or will you focus on the genre of the books and novels you prefer to read? Romance? Science fiction? Mystery? Detective who-dun-its? It's your choice.

Best-selling romance novelist, Nora Roberts, owns a bed and breakfast inn in western Maryland that features rooms with themes linked to literary couples. For example, one of the rooms she decorated is named "the Nick and Nora room," named for author Dashiell Hammett's married detectives, Nick and Nora Charles, from The Thin Man. And, since Roberts, writing under her own name and her pen name, J.D. Robb, has written more than 170 novels, it is likely she'll never run out of couples to pay tribute to.

So, will you choose a one-book theme, like "the Nick and Nora room"? If so, you might consider a book such as, Wuthering Heights, if it's one of your favorites. Then, you could go out to find items you could use to honor the novel's tragic hero and heroine, Heathcliff and Catherine. Or maybe you want to keep your theme “broad” and use a whole genre as decorating inspiration, such as “classic love stories.” That way, you could bring in items reminding you of many of your favorite people and things from Wuthering Heights (by Emily Brontë), Romeo and Juliet (by William Shakespeare), Pride and Prejudice (by Jane Austin), and/or Dr. Doctor Zhivago (by Boris Pasternak).

Read (or Re-read) the Book or Books You'll Honor

I'm sure you don't need me to remind you to re-read the book or books you plan to use as inspiration (but I'm doing it anyway!) If you love books and reading enough to want to have a room that reminds you of your love, you're sure to have read the book or books you'll use as themes before you go out looking for decoration ideas. But, to gather a lot of different ideas for decorating, unless you have a photographic memory, you might need memory joggers. So go ahead and read or at least skim through the book or books one more time.

There could be things you might have forgotten about, that would be great ideas for decorations. Perhaps there are things you didn't pay much attention to before (after all, you probably were not thinking about decorations the last time you read the book) that would look great as items of decoration.

You don't have to simply base your ideas for decorating solely on what is on the cover of the book. You can choose to go deeper. If you love a book enough to want to surround yourself in its imagery, your feelings probably go pretty deep already, into your emotions. Now you can think of ways to bring those emotions out of you, to connect them with colors, scents, and textures; things you can see, touch, smell, and feel.

Film poster for Gone with the Wind.
Film poster for Gone with the Wind. | Source
Cropped screenshot of Vivien Leigh from the trailer for the film Gone with the Wind
Cropped screenshot of Vivien Leigh from the trailer for the film Gone with the Wind | Source
Cropped screenshot of Clark Gable from the trailer for the film Gone with the Wind.
Cropped screenshot of Clark Gable from the trailer for the film Gone with the Wind. | Source

Book Movie Posters

Many classic love stories that started out as novels have been turned into motion pictures. And, since major motion pictures always have posters, the posters can be perfect for use as wall decorations. If you decide to use a theme such as "classic love stories," you could look for posters advertising movies made from the books.

You could begin your search for movie posters (or screen shots) using a great search engine, like Google, and you could even try searching Wikimediacommons.org. Fortunately, there are lots of websites you can go to that offer high quality movie posters for sale. For example, at movieposter.com, you can search through genres, including "Current Box Office," "Original Movie Posters," and "Classic Movie Posters," and many more.

Once you find and order the posters you love, you could frame them, if you want, and hang them on the walls of your book themed room.

If you know you're going with a "vintage" or classic theme, you could shop antique stores for an old-fashioned desk and other items you could use as accents. For example, an old-fashioned typewriter, vintage lace curtains, and antique rugs or picture frames might work well in your special room.

Bookshelves

No book-themed room would be complete without a bookshelf containing one or more printings of your absolute favorite, plus copies of other books and novels that you love. And, since you are celebrating your love of books and readings, you can use bookshelves as on-the-wall storage for other items. This will extend your theme into great ways to organize your other memorabilia and keepsakes. You can keep a lot of different kinds of things orderly and within reach on bookshelves, from make-up supplies to treasured knickknacks.

Read more at www.mybeaxrivers.com.
Read more at www.mybeaxrivers.com. | Source
I "storyboard" some scenes when writing my novels. This is from  Gold: The Heat of Refinement, Book Two of my Tales from 'The Quarters' collection. I'll display some boards in my writing room once I publish the book.
I "storyboard" some scenes when writing my novels. This is from Gold: The Heat of Refinement, Book Two of my Tales from 'The Quarters' collection. I'll display some boards in my writing room once I publish the book. | Source

Stacks of Books

You could place manageable stacks of books strategically throughout the room to extend your theme while adding a "lived in" look to your room's ambiance. Books reflecting the genre of the ones you love best could make your stacks inspirational as well as functional. As you purchase more books to read, until you get around to reading them, you could store them in your stacks.

Find, Print Out, and Frame Pictures

If you really want to have some fun, take notes on the main the settings/environments of main scenes in your beloved books or novels. Were there places you read about that had you mesmerized? Places you like to think about, and know, if they were actual places, you would like to visit them one day? Collecting pictures that represent unforgettable places in the books and novels you love can add realism to your dream of visiting these settings.

Paint a Mural

Find a local artist who can paint a mural on a wall in your themed room. It could be a pictorial representation of the main character (or characters) from a book or novel you love, a memorable scene from a book, or a setting that you would like to see a visual representation of, memorialized in your special place.

A picture of my first novel provides great inspiration for me, as a wall hanging and as a framed photo, as I work to complete other books.
A picture of my first novel provides great inspiration for me, as a wall hanging and as a framed photo, as I work to complete other books. | Source
A cherished book jacket can look great  framed, displayed as a work of art. I framed the jacket of my first novel, and it inspires me, in my study, as I work on completing other books in my Tales from 'the Quarters' collection (mybeaxrivers.com).
A cherished book jacket can look great framed, displayed as a work of art. I framed the jacket of my first novel, and it inspires me, in my study, as I work on completing other books in my Tales from 'the Quarters' collection (mybeaxrivers.com). | Source

Final Thoughts

  1. Peruse your favorite books, magazines, and websites for decorating ideas. You'll need inspiration for a great theme.
  2. Think about fabric, wallpaper and paint ideas that might reinforce the theme you decide to use. Select a primary color to use to set the tone for your special room.
  3. Choose coordinating fabrics, accessories, and prints that will blend well with the main colors and fabrics of your room. Remember to repeat your main color, fabric, and print in three or more places around the room. Doing this will help you tie things together well.
  4. You’ll need a primary focal point for the room that reinforces your theme. If the room you're decorating is a bedroom; the bed itself could be the main focal point. Be sure to select bedding to enhance the theme and the color and fabrics you've selected. If your themed room is not a bedroom, other good possibilities for focal points might include a painted wall mural, display shelves, or even a photo gallery area.
  5. Be sure to add your own "special touch" to your themed room by displaying any artwork or collections of items you already own that are related to your theme.

© 2012 Sallie B Middlebrook PhD

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    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This is a great idea and do I have the books! I should have thought of this. lol Great ideas.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
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      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Hi Jackie Lynnley. Thanks a bunch for reading, and for the kind words. Like you, I have lots of books. Tons of them, really, so I'm always trying to come up with ideas for how I can use them, since I'd never consider parting with them. Always good to hear from fellow book lovers.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Great ideas. Never thought of a book theme room before. Nicely done, love the framed book cover idea. Voted up.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thanks ComfortB. I'm in the Hub Pages Apprentice program, and the topic was offered as an "exclusive" that I could choose to write on. When I saw it, I thought, "Hey, I'm already sort of doing that. I might as well write about it!" It's an idea that works well if you really, really love books and reading. Also works well for a nursery, or a little child's room. Thanks for the vote up, and thanks so much for reading.

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