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Why Every Kitchen Should Have a Shelf or Two of Books

It’s not just about cookbooks and digital recipes – a little library can bring warmth to the heart of your home

Houzz Contributor. Hi there! I live in a 1920s cottage in Atlanta that I’ll describe… More

Books play such an important role in what makes a house a home. They take us to faraway places, provide endless inspiration, help us plan family meals and spark our imaginations, and I’m all for finding places to keep them handy in every room in the house. The kitchen may not be the first place you think of for a mini library – but here are 10 reasons why you should.

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Weave in an extra library corner
“I love putting books in a kitchen, and they absolutely do not have to be cookbooks,” says interior designer Rebekah Zaveloff. “Kitchens can include study nooks, so why not put a mini library in there?”

This family cookspace has a cosy bistro style, so keeping favourite novels, art books and travel guides to enjoy with a cup of coffee in the nook makes good sense.

Tip To keep books in good condition, maintain adequate ventilation around them, and site them far enough away from the hob to minimise grease build-up.

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Always have a companion
“I always design a spot for old friends in the kitchen… both the ones I get together with in person and those I find in great books,” says designer and renovator Laura Schwartz-Muller.

In this crisp white kitchen, the book spines in the wide, built-in bookshelf add both colour and a selection of literary friends to choose from when the homeowners want to settle into the banquette with a good book.

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Give a galley a nice view
Rather than a view of bulky appliances or a wall of cabinet doors at the end of this galley kitchen, the owners can enjoy floor-to-ceiling shelves enlivened by books.

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Tone down the kitchen-y look
Incorporating open shelving into kitchen islands has been trending recently. The shelves not only keep books handy, they also ease the transition from living or dining room to kitchen in an open-plan space, and help to make the kitchen look less utilitarian.

Are these the best kitchen island storage ideas?

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Slot in a sliver
You don’t need a large kitchen to find space for books. In this modestly sized room, a tall, skinny bookshelf provides plenty of room to keep books at hand.

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Make use of a dividing wall
This pantry already had double French doors. Rather than keeping the partition walls to each side plain, the clever designer incorporated bookshelves. Visually, the books work nicely with the tins, jars and packets in the pantry.

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Inject a little colour
The book niche above the sink is an unexpected design element in this contemporary kitchen. It also makes it very easy to grab some culinary help from Jamie or Nigella.

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Add personality
The wall in this kitchen is very yin and yang. The cabinets on the right provide an expanse of warm wood, while the blue cabinets and shelves full of books on the left show off a cheerfully colourful personal collection.

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Keep the kids busy
Book railings along an island make it easy for young children to choose a title and grab it themselves. A parent preparing dinner can keep a close eye on them and help with unfamiliar words while they read.

See more creative ways to display your books

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Let coffee table tomes entertain guests
Big books full of beautiful photographs and artwork aren’t merely accessories for the coffee table – they’re meant to be pored over and enjoyed. Placing them next to breakfast bar seating means they can entertain your guests and spark conversation while you’re cooking.

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Do you display books in your kitchen – and are they just cookery books or a range of titles? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the Comments section.
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