10 Mar 2011
avatar Author: Colette Van Den Thillart
Creative Director

Ya know sometimes…I’m just a decorator.  Not only have I not cracked open Jacques Bonnet’s ‘Phantoms on the Bookshelves’, but I was immediately sidetracked in considering the aesthetics of the cover, and my closet penchant for matching books.

Now we’ve all been wrapping and binding and cheating since the early 90′s when endless shelves of white books became THE thing – a trend that probably climaxed at Anouska Hemple’s ‘The Hemple’.  Eventually I decided that this just was TOO on trend and steered clear of the idea for ages.


I SHOULD have thought of something as chic as this which would have given the concept an edgy twist – thought realistically not too many of us (ok well NO one) have entire libraries of perfectly matched books.  This Vreeland red punch though is brilliant.  What is the word for the end edges of a book?? Is there one??

Colette's library in London

It was only recently that I succumbed to the fact that 90′s aside…I really do adore colour considered shelf displays, and I just ‘went for it’ in my own library. And yes – I’m loving them.

As luck would have it, Ruthie Burgess in our office reminded me that possibly there was a little substance to this idea, above and beyond ‘top trends from 1992′.  The blue bedroom at Kellie Castle sports a divine collection of azure blue volumes – MARVELOUS I say.

And indeed we put these turquoise ones in a London flat not so long ago.


Now for the rather more high minded, who may be alarmed at this idea of buying books for the colour of their spine – I offer you a snapshot of my bookshelves in Barbados – where coral pink is the couleur de jour…and yet I defy you to tell me that every one of these is not worth having (granted I have wrapped ONE in paper…can you spot it?)

9 Responses to “OH just GO for it!!”

  1. Love the way the books just came with their own coral, blue jackets..books remind me of little souls with grand taste. Great Post…xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  2. avatar mary says:

    Personally, color coding books is fine as long as the original spine color is in the majority and the books reflect the interests and passions of the owner–otherwise books are simply props. Isn’t life today more about expressing personal authenticity rather than simply following trends? Thanks for the platform. Mary

  3. avatar Karena says:

    The colors are scrumpious, I agree though I want to see the real thing and not a shelf full of all coverd books.

    Yours are great Colette!

    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my fine art giveaway!

  4. As long as you can vouch for each and every one- I like.

  5. N AND C-
    Brilliant post.
    As an author, I can tell you that this subject is one I am rather sensitive about.
    I can get a little prickly on the ‘decorating with book spines’ topic. But now you’ve won me over. The azure books in the very severe Irish bedroom are magical, and your coral-colored books in Barbados are delicious. A tip: next time you are in Jaipur, stop in at Mr. Jain’s bookshop at the Rambagh Palace hotel and he will hand-bind, leather, gold-embossed, traditional, very ‘Morocco-bound’, any of your books, including paperbacks. It’s an ultra-luxe look for around $15 for the binding. Can be witty or serious. Just returned with bags full.

  6. avatar Brillante says:

    Mmmhhh! I am an avid reader and I believe books and art are the soul of a house. I would never use matching books or art to decorate.

  7. avatar Asher Rozenberg says:


    Can you or Mr Haslam tell me what happened to Michael Raymond, the interior decorator? His work appears in ancient English House and Garden Magazines and I have seen pictures of his very trendy 6os office at Coleflax. Would love to see more of his later work.
    Best wishes

  8. Thanks a lot for taking some time in order to compose “OH just GO for it!
    ! | Nicky Haslam Design”. Thanks a ton for a second time ,Penelope

  9. my pleasure Penelope, thank YOU for reading.! x

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