There’s a lot to love about antique books. While some book hounds just do it for the money, and nothing wrong with that, many of us who would be considered old school at this point remember the hunt, the feel of a book in hands, the distinctive smell of old books when turning the pages. There’s a lot about old school books that are attractive, and for the right vintage books stunning illustrations, cloth work, or fine print were all part of the appeal!
The good news is that if you love antique books and want to build a study, a room, or even an entire house around this theme, but don’t have the budget for hundreds or thousands of antique books and stained mahogany book shelves to create the dream interior, there are still options to get a look, theme, and aesthetic that you will adore.
So what are your options when it comes to vintage book decor? Let’s dive in and find out!
Antique Book Decor: What Are the Options?
The first thing to know is what your options are. Not every one of the following options will be appropriate for every house layout, but it shows that depending on the look, aesthetic, and feel you’re looking for, and depending on what a realistic budget is, you do have multiple options available for multiple looks. All based around antique or vintage books for that classy home library.
Let’s dive into the most popular, and easily accessible, options.
Fake Antique Books for Decoration
Fake antique books are a popular decoration piece and go well with existing book shelves or depending on the buildout can even stand separately from a full sized book shelf. Contained fake or faux “collections” like collections of limited edition books put together in a box can be used as set out decorations on side tables or other displays.
These are some of my favorite decorations and can be a great way to make a book shelf look filled with leather bound tomes at first glance, or can come in a “box set” type of construction. The key here with most set ups is making convincing and good looking spines that face outward. How good these have to be on close inspection varies, someone who comes up close will see that these are fake antique books for decoration, but the main point is the aesthetic look from a distance, or to round out the overall aesthetic of a room.
They’re not meant to fool people making a detailed up close inspection. So what do these look like?
There are a few different styles, a great look of which can be seen from this site, which specializes in the leather book spine look with faux books and the decorative touch they can bring to a room.
These fake books and supported panels can all appear leather or cloth in binding, some are simple and classy, others have a deep look of leather and intricate gold lace work, some are a series and others have different titles.
In other words, there is a wide variety to choose from in order to get the specific look that fits your room, your book shelves, and your home decor best. That variety is a major plus for why these are so popular, not to mention the fact there are options in all price ranges.
Types of Fake Books
The various styles and types are just the beginning of the fake book market, because the demand is high which also means the versatility of what needs to be offered is also going to be high. These different types and common styles of fake books offer choices when it comes to narrowing down the antique book decor look that fits your individual tastes and what will work for the specific rooms you are decorating.
After all, there can be very different types of looks or styles that come with old vintage books and their looks and/or style.
Fake Book Sets
This is one of the most common types of faux book decorations, especially when going for an old school antique book look, or at least that aesthetic look that so many people think of when images of old school home libraries come to mind.
These are often made out of wood (such as this example from Amazon.com) because the material can look much better from a fancy or high-end aesthetic standpoint. There is just a certain firmness to wood versus cardboard, Styrofoam, or other materials that just aren’t the same level of thickness.
This also makes it less likely that the fake book sets won’t be damaged when moved on in transport. Let’s face it: wood is also just a great material for crafting. It takes stain, it takes paint, there’s a reason it’s a standard construction material and I’ve seen some fake book sets in person carved from wood that you had to get very close to before knowing for sure something was off.
If you have a little bit of a budget, this is generally the best way to go for the full vintage book look and feeling in your home or office when you can’t go all out buying rare and valuable first editions.
These can be make as a series of fake books together, or as an individual fake book. Some people prefer buying a lot of the latter to give that look of natural space that occurs between books stacked together on a book shelf.
Concealed Storage Fake Book Sets
These are really cool and my personal favorite among the various options for faux antique books as they not only feature fake leather spines but also convincing tops of books to more completely hide the fact there’s a hallowed out storage under these fake books.
Some of these look semi-modern, others are designed to look very vintage and old school. The variety makes sense as if you have a set “books” that really stick out like a sore thumb then it kind of defeats the purpose.
This isn’t something to take the place of a safe…and in a heavy reading family like the one I grew up in it might actually be counter-productive to hiding something away. However if the main point is out of sight out of mind, or keeping the cats from batting shiny things off the shelf, then the concealed storage fake book sets can be a great solution to that while filling out the book shelves and making a room look good.
Fake Books Storage Box
These are pretty self explanatory and probably what many people are most familiar with when they think of a fake book. It looks like a book on the outside, but slide off a cover or flip it open and there’s a hallowed out container.
There are also some decorative versions that look like a stack of books which adds a nice little flourish to a coffee table as a sitting piece. This isn’t meant to blend in per se but offers a different style of decoration sitting out that you can still but bobbles, odds and ends in, or even things like sewing thread and needs or a small number of crafts to put something together while watching TV.
Can You Make Your Own Fake Books?
There are actually many great videos on YouTube that give step by step instructions on how to create fake books. Keep in mind that most of these look at very basic and extremely cheap fake books for display as opposed to a deep antique book look, so you may need to do a little bit of looking around depending on need.
There’s a reason that people who make very high-end faux books get paid well, because making detailed leather fake book spines for decoration takes work and valuable material to make it work well.
If you are wondering how to make fake books for decoration, going over a series of these videos and getting the craft supplies ready can be a great way to do so, and it’s important to understand that those that are built cheaply are not going to look like the impressive faux leather spines lining a book shelf that many of us imagine when we think of fake antique books for decoration.
However, there are inexpensive options to get “good enough” fill-ins to create a look you enjoy or that will work until you can afford the professionally crafted stuff.
One Video on Creating Fake Books for Decoration Cheap
Going the cheap fake book route with that video can be an inexpensive way to get a basic but customized look that still adds some great appearance or a touch of personality to an area, depending on what you’re going for.
If you’re looking for something more detailed, advanced, or have the artistic skills and abilities to pull off the more antique book look with shelves mimicking leather spines, then you will need to look at a more advanced tutorial, which requires a more in-depth search.
The video below is one of my favorites because it shows the construction of some of the fake leather book spine craft while also creating a secret door. And who doesn’t love a good looking and well-hidden secret door?
Amazing Video on Creating a Secret Door Out of Fake Book Decor
How cool was that? The fake bookshelf secret door is definitely a feature that is going into my next home.
These are multiple examples of fake antique books for decoration and show that you are not restricted to a single style, shape, size, or method. There are many great options that are available, and it’s easy to fall into the proverbial YouTube rabbit hole seeing all the different options that are out there.
When it comes to fake book for decoration, or creating that fake book decor through other methods, there are some really cool potential options out there to choose from.
For some people multiple variations of fake books for decoration will be the way to go while in other situations creating the secret door behind a book shelf where either built out or a collection of fake book spines on the surface of the door to create a decorative look on the wall. That can go well with some specialty antique wallpaper, as we’ll discuss in a little bit.
The point being that there is no hard limit to the number of options available if you love the look, feel, and aesthetic of vintage antique books whether the real thing or decorative facsimiles that can take the place of the real thing.
Fake Book Decor Oddities
While fake books or decorative books are the most common way to get that special look for your home, office, or study, there are some other options that don’t fall under the conventional route. Some of these options are very niche-focused while others just kind of hit me as funny, to be honest, but it does show how large the demand is for that right look.
Here are two of the most common non-conventional options for a bit of fake book look without actually having or making fake books.
Fake Bookshelf Photography Backdrop
This makes sense for photography or maybe for a backdrop for someone filming a small number of YouTube videos or podcasts, but otherwise it’s pretty niche. Maybe a great tool for a specialty photographer but while inherently actually pretty neat, it’s not something that is going to find common use with the rest of us.
Not going to lie, part of me definitely wants one of these, but I couldn’t justify the cost especially since I don’t have a photography business of any kind. However, if you want a classic looking background image, it’s not the worst option for sure.
Antique Book Wallpaper
I mean, if it’s the look you love and not the expensive, this is a strangely on-point and niche strategy that can work. I was dubious such a thing existed but it turns out that antique book wallpaper, leather book home library wallpaper, whatever you call it, it’s an actual thing!
So if you were shooting for the overall look and feeling of the old school home libraries it’s hard to argue that antique book wallpaper doesn’t bring the reading bug home.
If you’re interested in what antique books wallpaper looks like, this will vary a little bit based on design changes, however it’s worth taking a look because some of these are actually quite good.
Some of the best examples (in my opinion, at least) that I’ve seen include this faux vintage bookshelf wallpaper, the beautifully (and artistically) rendered Norwall Bookcase Wallpaper, or if you love the old school traditional look then the Traditional Bookshelves Wallpaper from Mind the Gap via Burke Decor is absolutely gorgeous and worth the look.
There are other options, though for my taste those three are the best overall available.
Fake Bookshelf Decals
More of these seem to be aimed at the college kids with a sense of humor rather than the groups of us appreciative to antique books, but it is a very humorous look at another way to add in books to a look…especially in a tiny studio apartment the size of a dorm room. While this isn’t what most people who find this article are going to be looking for, it’s a humorous glance at some of the other options that are indeed available.
And maybe a relative just starting out in life out of school would appreciate the decorative humor that comes with this.
So Many Great Antique Book Decor Choices
If you love antique books, the look of a classic library, the artistic ways some creatives can use the images of old vintage books, then the good news is that there are plenty of options available.
As this article shows from wallpaper to framed woodprint engravings to creative uses of non-valuable vintage books to the classic faux leather books on the shelf, there are so many different options for getting that perfect antiquarian library look that many of us enjoy.
When you want that look of an old school library home of leather bound antique goodness, use one or more of these options to create an antique book lover’s dream home.
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