8 Novel Ways to Use Books in the Kitchen

Books, and not just cookbooks, can spark the imagination and make a kitchen feel like a home.

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 little library. Here are eight reasons why you should.

1. The More At-Home Library Spaces, the Better

“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 the kitchen?” This family kitchen has cozy bistro style. Keeping favorite novels, art books, travel guides and design monographs to enjoy with a cup of coffee in the nook makes good sense.

Note: To keep books in good shape, maintain adequate ventilation around the range, and put them far enough from the stove to minimize dust and grease buildup.

2. Books Keep You Company

“I always design a place for old friends in the kitchen … both to gather together in person and with the ones I find in great books,” says designer and renovator Laura Schwartz-Muller. In this California kitchen, the book spines in the wide, built-in bookshelf add color and a selection of literary friends to choose from when the homeowners want to settle into the banquette with a good book. 

3. They Are a Nice View at the End of a Galley

Rather than a view of bulky appliances or a wall of cabinet doors, this kitchen offers floor-to-ceiling shelves enlivened by books.

4. They Aren’t So Kitchen-y

Incorporating open shelves into kitchen islands has been trending recently. The shelves not only keep books handy, but they also ease the transition from living or dining room to kitchen within an open floor plan, and help make the kitchen look less utilitarian.

5. They Can Take Up Less Space Than a Narrow Broom Cabinet

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

6. They Fit Within a Thick Wall

This pantry already had double French doors. Rather than filling out the side walls with plain drywall, this clever designer used the thick wall to make space for books. The books are easy to browse and add color to the kitchen.

7. They Break Up a Monochromatic Scheme

This clever book niche above the sink is an unexpected design element in the contemporary kitchen. It also makes it very easy to grab some culinary help from Edna Lewis, Alice Waters or Julia Child.

8. They Bring in 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 lower cabinets and shelves full of books on the left show off a cheerfully colorful personal collection.


Categories: Nest