Open Books Accent Wall

I wanted to share a small but pretty impactful update I made to the Ravenclaw bedroom in our modern Harry Potter-inspired Bnb. I added an open books accent wall above the bed, and I am completely in LOVE with how it turned out. It was also incredibly easy to install. Plus, you could even modify this DIY from the way I installed for a zero-damage version that would even be suitable for most renter situations.

I actually had a stash of random hardcover books that were left in our house after we purchased it. Most were things I wasn’t planning to read, so I decided to use them for this project in addition to 4-5 books I thrifted. I specially bought a few more books for this project because I wanted a few that had very yellowed pages, so there was a variety of page colors in the final design. This made the project VERY affordable as far as the supplies went toward making this open books accent wall.

Here’s everything I used:

Supplies:
-hardcover books
-command strips
-small nails + hammer
-scotch tape
-measuring tape

You could absolutely skip the nails and use all command strips, but you’ll have to use at least three times as many as I did, so that will add to the final cost. But if you’re worried about adding nail holes to your walls (like, if you cannot because of your rental agreement), I just want to put it out there that this project is still super possible.

Step One: Plan out your design. Measure your wall and lay out books and pages how you plan to have them on your wall space. One thing I planned for was how high off the bed to start my design, and keeping the bottom layer of books open flat so it wouldn’t be uncomfortable if you sit on the bed with your back to the wall. You may have to slightly adjust your design as you install, but starting off with a plan that is the size you want to cover is still super helpful.

Step Two: Add the books to the wall, starting in the middle of your design. I did this by adding one command strip to the spine of the book and sticking that to the wall. Then I added one nail on each side of the book, to hold it open. Sometimes I nailed down all the pages, and sometimes I left some open. I like the varied look this created.

Step Three: Add any loose pages, paper airplanes, or any other little accents you are adding in addition to the books. You can also fold or scrunch the pages of the books once they are hung to give them all a slightly different feeling. Or you can keep it more uniform! It’s totally up to you. I was hoping for my open book accent wall to feel almost like the books are coming alive and flying up to the ceiling as I wanted it to feel bookish but also whimsical. 🙂

This project took just under two hours once I had all my supplies. Super simple and easy for one person to do, even if you’re not super handy. And here’s one more more little detail I added to the Ravenclaw-inspired bedroom:

I bought this eagle figurine that I painted white and now he sits on the dresser in this room. It was pointed out to me that I didn’t have any eagles in the room, which is the Ravenclaw mascot. So now I’ve remedied this officially. 🙂 Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

P.S. I completed this a few weeks ago before we started to self-quarantine. Just wanted to make it super clear we’re not advocating anyone travel (especially on airlines) right now until the current health crisis changes. Elsie and I are actually planning to talk a little bit in the next podcast episode about how this is effecting our STR properties (short answer—very bad). Anyway, still proud to share projects from this home even though it’s not going to be a place for families to make memories in for a while.

Open Books Accent Wall

how to create wall decor from old books

Ingredients

  • hardcover books
  • command strips
  • small nails
  • hammer
  • scotch tape
  • measuring tape

Instructions

  1. Plan out your design. Measure your wall and lay out books and pages how you plan to have them on your wall space. One thing I planned for was how high off the bed to start my design, and keeping the bottom layer of books open flat so it wouldn’t be uncomfortable if you sit on the bed with your back to the wall. You may have to slightly adjust your design as you install, but starting off with a plan that is the size you want to cover is still super helpful.

  2. Add the books to the wall, starting in the middle of your design. I did this by adding one command strip to the spine of the book and sticking that to the wall. Then I added one nail on each side of the book, to hold it open. Sometimes I nailed down all the pages, and sometimes I left some open. I like the varied look this created.

  3. Add any loose pages, paper airplanes, or any other little accents you are adding in addition to the books. You can also fold or scrunch the pages of the books once they are hung to give them all a slightly different feeling. Or you can keep it more uniform! It’s totally up to you. I was hoping for my open book accent wall to feel almost like the books are coming alive and flying up to the ceiling as I wanted it to feel bookish but also whimsical.

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Really cool and unique. The yellow of the pages look great against the blue wall. I know it takes time to furnish a giant empty house. And I’ve been waiting to see what additions you would make to the Harry Potter House. You needed a starting point to get it rentable but it was bare as you said in the podcast. These sorts of whimsical unexpected touches will make this house memorable for renters. Now we just need the virus to pass so you dont lose a ton of money!

    • Thanks! Yeah, I hope to add to it more over time. I have the next project in mind already, just waiting on budget and not (obviously) for the health crisis to pass.

  • This is so cool. I love the color on the dark wall and the flight of fancy/fantasy it creates. Gives me ideas for retail displays. Hope everyone is safe and healthy.

  • This is everything! I love the look and the evolution from the bare-bone jumping off point. It’s a good reminder that even super-star decorators need time to really develop a space.

  • This is amazing! It is the perfect touch to this room and adds more of that Harry Potter whimsy! Love!

  • Love this! Looks amazing. I only wish you’d really commit to the color and paint all of the walls instead of just one accent wall. It would add a lot of drama (in a good way). Painted accent walls often feel a bit like fear to me unless there’s an architectural detail to support doing it. But it’s fun watching your progress on this house and your creative ideas! 🙂

  • omg looove!! could you share tips for attempting this on a large canvas or something?? dont have enough command strips but would still love to give this a. try….

  • Emma, this is SO COOL! I’m a high school teacher and I would love to do this in my classroom. How awesome would that be?

  • What a great idea! Espacially with the dark calour on the wall. Such an inspiration for your/my own bedroom, but also for hotel or B&B owners! Would love to stay in a place where the room looks cozy like this. And with some extra books next to the bed to actually read;-)!

  • Wow!! What a very unique and creative idea. I myself am not a book reader, but I love the concept and the creative touch that it adds to the room. this would be a good idea for kids that have to read a certain amount of books say during a school year or any assignments that they may have.

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