Decorating with Old Books

I absolutely love books!

I love to turn the pages, to highlight, to write in and to smell books.

Yep, you read that right.

I love the smell of books!

Like, walking into a library is heaven to me.  There is just this overwhelming smell of… books.  I can’t even explain it.

Now, don’t even get me started on old books.  Old books have a smell that is like no other.  Old furniture and even museums smell the same way to me.  It isn’t even like they have their own distinct smell.  It’s just the smell of… old.

So, when my husband and I go to estate sales, we always look for old books.  Sometimes we’ll get lucky and find old letters or pictures stashed inside them, and sometimes we’ll find nothing but old notes in the margins, but either way, it always feels good to hold an old book and wonder where it’s been.

We both love old books for different reasons.

My husband has old books that line the shelves in his office that range from different topics from machinery to science, but I like to use them for a different purpose.

I like to decorate with them.

The Rustic Pig: Decorating with Old Books

I love how old book pages have that old tea-stained look.  I simply turn the book spine towards the wall and face the jagged pages outward.


But, yesterday, I decided to grab a few old my books and try something different with them.

I pulled two off the shelf in my husband’s office.  (Shh.. he’ll never know.  It’s not like he reads them anyways!)

The Rustic Pig: Decorating with Old Books

I decided I wanted to paint the covers white.

Now, before I pulled out my can of paint, I opened them up to make sure I wasn’t painting some famous book that was worth millions…

The Rustic Pig: Decorating with Old Books

.. and I’m pretty sure this Advanced Calculus book isn’t worth diddly-squat!  (Sorry all you math-lovers out there!)

Then, I opened the second book and found..

The Rustic Pig: Decorating with Old Books

…my late grandfather’s name written in the top corner.

It stopped me dead in my tracks and I just sat there.. staring at his cursive handwriting.  Wondering how old he was when he wrote in this book.  Was he in grade school?  College?

It was an accounting book with a copyright date of 1934.

I pictured my grandpa holding the book.  Studying it.

And then I quickly put it back on the shelf and pulled down a different book.  One that didn’t hold my grandpa inside.

I painted both books with Linen White chalk paint by Rustoleum.

After they dried, I wrote this quote from Erin Hanson on the front:

What if I fall?

Oh, but my darling, 

What if you fly?

The Rustic Pig: Decorating with Old Books

I love this quote for so many reasons, but mostly because it reminds me to go after my dreams.

The Rustic Pig: Decorating with Old Books

To not worry about the “what ifs” and to trust God.  If it is His will for my dreams to come true, then I will never find out if I don’t jump first and hope to fly!

I absolutely love how it turned out and can’t wait to paint to more!

Love you friends!!



My name is Claire and I am behind the blog... The Rustic Pig. I am a wife, a mother to 2 boys, and I just might be addicted to Craigslist. I love to buy antiques, paint them, and give them a chance to be loved again! Please feel free to pull up a chair and stay for a while. If you ask a question or leave a comment, I will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible!


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Texas gal, wife, mother to 2 boys, author behind the blog The Rustic Pig, business owner, antique lover, and Christ follower!
I've been horrible about posting my blog posts on Facebook because each post I do only gets seen by about 100 of... https://t.co/DVUtG6qQri - 6 months ago

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  1. Tina Nolen says:

    I have the same love of books, old and new!!! Love what you did with these!

  2. Olá,
    adoro decorar com livros, adorei as belas inspirações.
    Tenha um ótimo fim de semana.
    ANAJÁ SCHMITZ recently posted…Nem tudo é fácilMy Profile

  3. What a great idea and cute saying on the old book!
    Terry Moore recently posted…From Boring to Crazy Cool Light FixtureMy Profile

  4. Great fun post. My Cowboy and I love books too! I’d love for you to come over to my Fabulous Fall Linky Party. It starts on Sept 1. You can link all your Fall theme posts. Come and join the party over here . . .

  5. For me, it’s the smell of new books that always do it. That’s why I love reading physical books more than anything else.
    Tyler Kelly recently posted…How To Get A Dream Job In Pharmaceutical Sales EbookMy Profile

  6. Sandi Allen says:

    Love, Love, Love this! Thanks for sharing!


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