9 Ways To Repurpose Books That You Probably Aren't Reading Anymore

Once upon a time, you were reading a book, then — the end came. Now, the story is collecting dust on your shelf. Or perhaps it's worse, the novels are sitting in an unmarked box where the beautiful covers aren't even on display. It's okay, we get it. After you finish a good book or a bad one tossed to the side halfway through the third chapter, what do you do with it? There's only so much space in your bookcase that throwing any books away would be a crime. Instead of letting the stories wither, you can repurpose them into functional decor for your home. We have nine fantastic ideas that give the pages and your space new life.

These book upcycle projects take things a little further than simply stacking novels on your mantel or side tables, adding a vase on top, and calling it decor. So save sentimental books or ones you might want to read again for the shelf and bring on the duplicate copies, unused cookbooks, or stories that you never got past chapter four. You might even want to pick up a few from the thrift store once you see the projects we have to share.

1. A literal bookshelf

Instead of housing your books on a shelf, you can turn the piece of literature into a shelf. All you need is brackets to mount the book and turn it into extra storage space. A large hardcover book, like an encyclopedia or dictionary, works best for this project as it will give you the most surface area and support. However, smaller books can make cute mini shelves perfect for styling lightweight decor. You can even bolster slim or softcover books with a wood sheet. Further, you can mount several shelves side-by-side for a long decorative ledge.

2. Light the way with literature

A stylish table lamp or hanging pendant light starts with a stack of books. You can turn old books into unique light fixtures that are sure to make stunning statement pieces in your home. The boxy works of literature add structural contrast next to the circular bulbs, instantly forming a high-end look. Using books of different sizes or colors and angling them so the spines don't line up can bring more dimension to the piece. You can add a lampshade to your bulb or leave it exposed so the books can really stand out.

3. Tick tock goes the book

One way to put the literature on display is to repurpose your book into a decorative clock. The title cover will become the face of the timepiece, so you want to use a book with a pretty jacket. Add numeral stickers or paint the one through 12 digits onto the book to fully transform the story cover into a clock, or simply let the minute and second hands do all the talking. Style the decor by propping the timepiece on a mantel or mounting it on the wall. You can even make one for every room for a cohesive design.

4. Books hold sharp words and knives

Standard knife blocks aren't usually much to admire. However, with a simple DIY, you can upgrade the ordinary block look to an eye-catching display. Just slip the sharp utensils between the book pages, and voilá. Cookbooks are a great choice to keep the knife block on theme, but any books will do. You can paint the covers or wrap them in contact paper for a uniform look or let the uniqueness of each book spice up your kitchen counter. This project doesn't require cutting, drilling, or irreversible damage to the books, so you can switch things up any time you want.

5. The art of books

Books are literary works of art, but the black and white pages can also make beautiful visual art. Simply glue the pages on your wall, and you have a stunning gallery piece. You can cut the paper straight out of the novel or tear it out for a rustic design. Different tan-color pages create subtle artwork. However, for a dramatic attention-grabber, stain the pages with vibrant watercolor. You can even mount the entire book onto the wall or frame some of the pages to add depth and texture to the display.

6. A book tells the most picturesque story

Picture frames are a traditional way of showcasing your beloved photos, but we're not going for conventional over here. Instead, sprinkle some charm into your space by using your books to display your pictures. Simply glue the printed photographs onto the book, and the decorative cover will make a chic border around the portrait. By spreading the covers, the book can stand on its own both horizontally and vertically, so you can customize your arrangement. It also makes a unique display that can be mounted on the wall or dangled below a shelf.

7. Printed works to keep your secrets safe

Books can hold a lot of valuable secrets, including your precious jewelry and a secret stash of cash. Yep, by cutting out a hole within the pages, you can make a book safe and use the hollow spot to store your personal treasures. Then, you can stack the books on a shelf or on a counter, and no one will know the mysteries that lie within the cover. You can also add a lock to boost security, although that will probably give away the idea that there's something worth keeping secure inside.

8. Bring plant life to the pages

Besides your hidden valuables, hollowed book pages can also make a stellar place for plants. You can DIY a mini planter for succulents using old books you have lying around. This project doesn't work for all greenery since the space inside the book is small and doesn't allow for optimal drainage, but desert succulents don't require lots of water, making them perfect for living inside the pages. However, you can also use artificial flowers and foliage to create a stunning display that looks just as gorgeous and doesn't need any maintenance.

9. House your local birds with novels

Plants aren't the only other living creatures that get to enjoy your books, but birds, too. The novel's cover makes the ideal roof for a birdhouse. You can then use the other pages reinforced with cardboard or wooden planks to make the house's floor and sides. You'll also want to waterproof the house with sealant and keep the residence under an awning or somewhere directly out of harsh weather to prolong its life. Books do come from trees, so the birdies should feel right at home.