Creative ideas to keep your cookery books easily accessible, but safely out of harm’s way
2 July 2016
From well-thumbed tomes that you turn to again and again, to glossy, aspirational editions full of delicious photography, we all have favourite recipe books that we just couldn’t do without in the kitchen. However, humidity, running water, grease and even the naked flames all combine to create an atmosphere that isn’t particularly conducive to a book’s welfare, so you need to plan in some safe spots for your culinary library. Whether you opt for bespoke joinery or some crafty customising, these creative solutions are sure to whet your design appetite.
Fill the walls
Recessed shelving is a bonus for shrewd storage seekers. Here, the two walls surrounding the doorway provide matching columns for books and wine storage. Cavity wall space like this isn’t difficult to incorporate into a building project – just make sure you plan for it at the design stage.
Populate your island
A kitchen island is a perfect home for a recipe library – simply plan in open shelving along the sides or at the end. This island has its shelves on the opposite side from the cooking and washing-up areas, so the books are less likely to get splashed, and they provide a colourful view as you look into the kitchen.
Slot under a seat
Window seats and custom-made benches are lovely items to fit into a kitchen, and the space underneath is crying out to be used as storage. With cookery books tucked neatly below, you can grab a cuppa, sit back and devise your meal plans for the week.
Install some open shelving
Perhaps the easiest way to keep your books in the kitchen is on a shelf above the worktop. Open shelves are also great for displaying other decorative items, such as quirky bottles, houseplants and ornaments. Just be aware that anything on display will need frequent dusting – and grease in the atmosphere won’t make that job any easier.
Need inspiration? See these great ways to style open shelves
Create a shop display
Why not invest in a smart display carousel for the ultimate in accessible storage? This welcoming kitchen feels like a cosy coffee shop, and the revolving bookstand has space for countless meal ideas.
Place shelves next to seating
If you have a few bar stools by your kitchen island, pair them up with a shelf of books. In this sleek space, the books are lined up below the golden stretch of worktop, with the stools in perfect position to peruse as you perch.
Fashion a book nook
As every kitchen designer knows, most rooms don’t come in handy sizes that fit with the furniture; there are often a few gaps to fill and unusual wall shapes to contend with. These complicated corners are ideal spots for installing bookshelves.
Here, the worktop returns at an angle to meet with the window frame, so the shelving underneath simply follows the same line. This would be a wonky space for most items, but books fit in here just fine.
Arrange a rainbow colour spot
If your kitchen units and walls are in neutral shades, you can create an exciting splash of colour with book spines. Brightly coloured recipe books offer the opportunity for all sorts of imaginative arrangements.
Not sure how to arrange your books? Here’s how to display them in style
Shine a light on treasured volumes
Kitchens are great places to incorporate some feature lighting, either in recessed shelving or under cabinetry. The spotlights in these shelves make an attractive series of display alcoves to house both books and pots. Use LED bulbs, which don’t get too hot and can be tucked behind or set into the framework.
Store behind closed doors
Books don’t have to be on display. This beautiful dresser unit features folding doors, which open to reveal a recipe library within. Bulky kitchen appliances are also stashed here and are easily accessed when needed. This clever unit is practical when open, and instantly tidy when shut.
Embrace the electronic age
Even a die-hard bookworm has to acknowledge that we don’t always find meal inspiration on the printed page any more. With a seemingly infinite supply of recipes online, most of us now use search engines for instant uploads, and kitchen designers have picked up on that. This kitchen features a handy pop-up tablet dock to hold your e-cookbook.
Other high-tech features include a power line behind the unit pelmet, with tablet and phone docks attached, so you can safely suspend your device away from any chopping action.
Where do you keep your recipe books? Share your ideas in the Comments below.