Fantastic Bookish Staircases

Derek Attig

Staff Writer

Derek works in graduate student career development and is (believe it or not) one of the world's foremost experts on the history of bookmobiles. Follow Derek on Twitter @bookmobility and on Instagram @bookmobility.

To celebrate Book Riot’s second birthday on Monday, we’re running some of our favorite posts from our first two years.


Clearly, if we all had an unlimited budget, we’d fill our houses with staircases that doubled as bookshelves. Because: awesome.

Of course, most of us don’t have unlimited funds. And using regular stairs as bookcases might seem romantic at first…

Photo from favim

Photo from favim

…until someone slips on your spare copy of Moby-Dick and ends up in the hospital.

So in the absence of unlimited money (for architectural wonders and/or hospital bills), what’s a person with a yen for bookish stairs to do?

Two words: Trompe l’oeil. With a bit of ingenuity, you can trick the eye into seeing books where, alas, there aren’t any books.

For hyper-realism, there’s the approach taken by the folks at Juniper Books:

Book staircase by Thatcher Wine. Photo from Juniper Books

Book stairs by Thatcher Wine. Photo from Juniper Books

It may look like this staircase, in the Juniper Books warehouse, is stacked with books. But those are actually guillotined spines from leftover bestsellers glued to the risers, giving impressions of both depth and bookish abundance.

For people without a bunch of duplicate books hanging around, or who cringe at the thought of cutting the spines off books, there’s another way to go about it. This approach is a little less realistic, but it’s charming as all get out. I’m especially fond of the first one:

Photo from favim

Photo from favim

Staircase by Rachel Downs. Photo from Murals, Handpainting & Wall Decals

Staircase by Rachel Downs. Photo from Murals, Handpainting & Wall Decals

Conclusion: we need to go buy paint. But first, we need to figure out what books would go on our stairs. (It’d be such a shame to buy yellow paint and then decide you wanted To Kill a Mockingbird.) So what would you pick?


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