Novel Interiors

designing with books in mind

It is safe to say that we at Four Shires are very much fans of the written word! Every month we aim to bring you the best of our local area through fascinating reads and features.

Working with words all day, you could be forgiven for thinking that we would want to stay as far away as possible from them in the little down time that we do have. However the opposite is in fact true writes Cathy Black.

Although a lot of my fiction reading takes the form of wonderfully illustrated children’s books these days, as reading to the little people in my life gives me lots of pleasure, I do still enjoy a good novel from time to time.

Within the pages of a book, one can be taken too many far off lands, mythical castles, sumptuous period homes and any era, past, present or future that you could care to think of – it is escapism at its very best.

With this in mind it is not hard to see how literature could offer inspiration for home décor.

I, myself have previously turned to literature to help inspire my design choices. Notably when designing my children’s nursery. I can still remember being eight and a half months pregnant wielding a fine art paint brush to create several book inspired murals. The largest and most intricate of these being the head of ‘Draco’ the Dragon from the book and subsequent film ‘Dragon heart’ (admittedly a guilty pleasure of mine) on the walls of what I thought was a rather small nursery – my heavily pregnant body did beg to differ with me at the time though!

However painstaking the task was, and although it didn’t bring the much hoped for labour on, the end product was in my opinion, beautiful.

Not only did it offer sentimental value (the joy of sharing something that I had enjoyed so much as a youngster with my children) but it also helped add character and a unique charm to the room. As we did not know the gender of our son at the time, it also turned out to be a neutral decorating scheme that subsequently stood up to both of our children, the second of which being a girl.

Although the murals are now long gone, in favour of fuchsia pink, much more suiting of our little ‘girly’ girl the fact that I had used my childhood literary favourites to form part of their early year’s made our nursery perfect for us.

If you are looking to add a little bit of novel into your interiors then here are some important things to think about before embarking on you literary journey.

  • The size of the space you are decorating: As the nursery I was decorating was a relatively small space I had to hone in the size of the murals I added to the room for fear of it dwarfing the available space. Although I would have loved to have done a whole wall mural, I knew that this would simply be too overpowering for the room. It is important to work to the space you have – whether large or small there will be some novel design that will work for you. A customisable mural may work large or small and can be adapted depending on size, so detail will not be lost. Alternatively if you have a larger space you could really go to town by creating a feature set piece in one corner of your room –a forest reminiscent of ‘The Hobbit’ could work well in a conservatory space or a tea party worthy of the Mad Hatter for the dining or kitchen areas are just two examples. If your room is smaller then consider decorating a wall mirror to reflect the light around the room – the mirror could also serve as a literary canvas all on its own – if big enough you could decorate it to reflect the style of your favourite story or it could particularly lend itself to a design inspired by ‘Alice through the looking glass’.
  • Who are you decorating the room for? If you are decorating a children’s bedroom then you can afford to be a little more bold and whimsical with your design choices. Large embellished pieces could work well. Equally, striking wall stickers of favourite characters will also not look out of place in these rooms. Whereas if you are decorating a communal area then you may wish to be a little more sedate with your designs – maybe using the books themselves as the feature pieces. Displaying your library of books on bespoke shelves can create a stunning look without being over powering. This will also provide extra storage space, which is an added bonus if you have a smaller property.
  • Which era: it may be worth seeing if there are any books out there that were written in the era that your house was built. This may offer you not only some inspiration, but also some design choices that will not look out of place with the age of your property.
  • Less can be more: As with any design scheme, it is usually best to stick with the old adage of less is more particularly considering that designing from literature can throw up some unusual ideas, which in thought can be fantastic but in reality may be far too much for your home. It is usually easier to add to a particular design then it is to take away from it.

However you choose to include literature within your home, by simply just embracing those words that you have enjoyed will mean that you will be able to create your very own never ending story, with an equally happy ending.