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  • Writer's pictureColin Durrant

Books to Bums...that got your attention.

The book-shaped seating outside my local Waterstones book store.

BOOK-SHAPED FURNITURE has interested me for sometime and here and there, I've spotted chairs and benches in the shape of books while I've been out and about. Of course, it's not only seating that can resemble books or can be constructed from books. There a fair share of tables and other types of furniture too.

This ball and chain bench is taking pride of place on the post and the reason for that is that this is situated outside my local Waterstones bookstore in my home town of Milton Keynes. I’ve sat on this many times just wiling away the minutes. “Not the hours?” You ask. Well, It’s not the most comfortable bench I’ve sat on to be honest but it’s certainly the most interesting and artistic seat that I’ve ever parked my behind on.

I couldn’t find any information on this on the web so contacted the local store outside of which this proudly sits. However, they were not sure of its origins either. Strange. I was particularly interested in the significance of the ball and chain. It connotes a restraint, a fettering of some kind. Perhaps the message here is that we are enslaved by the written word, not only guided by it but controlled and shaped by it. We’re slaves to books, finding ourselves drawn to the stories, fact or fiction, where we settle for hours between the covers of whatever book has drawn us in, held there, kept there by depth of character and well-written prose until it chooses to releases us, turning page after page until the last word of the last line on the last page finally allows us to shut the book, returning it to the shelf with a smile and a sigh of longing.

BOG COZY BOOKS is responsible for this little gem of a chair shaped like a book. It was made by Erik Olofson. He created Big Cozy Books after his children told him how bland the furniture was at their local library and that he should and could design better. So, he did. This is just one of many designs that he came up with. I think a setting such as this is an effective enticement for children to read an learn. It's cool and fun too.

I especially love furniture that’s not only in the style of books but have been made from books. There are so many books that are destroyed daily and it’s good to see them put to another use when, tragically, their readability has dwindled and died or they have become so damaged as to be of no monetary value.

Some of these constructions are very inventive and creative… and perfectly within the capabilities of any reader who may have dozens of books sitting around doing nothing and who wishes to put them to good use. In xamples above, the structures of the chairs are in place with only the seats removed to accomoadate the books and the backs. How comfortable these book-chairs would be, I don't know and unfortuanltey, I haven't been afforded the opportunity to test these.

A simple but effective design. It looks kinda make-shift but the whimsical feel it conveys give it its appeal.

A DIY BOOK TABLE in every sense of those words could be easily put together. But you might want to think about securing those books by gluing them together. Perhaps holes were drilled through the books and poles inserted through them. I lke that they are not aligned and that the stacking seems randomised. Mind you, could make for an interesting Jenga-like game if they were freestanding and you wanted to get stuck between the covers of one of those books. Ooh… the temptation could prove too much.

So, you're a writer? What better seat is there to get that inspiration for your next best-seller.

THIS CHAISE LONGUE style design is fantastic in it’s clever use of not only the books for form the spine of the structure but the open books showing the pages to create the seating area. Given how the pages are not slipping, I’m guessing that they have been treated in someway and possibly to the extent where this is a practical piece of furniture and can actually be used. If you’re DIY minded then and have a few books spare, then you could make something like this. Lay down, relax.

THE LONDON BOOK BENCHES was a project created by authors and designers and engineered by the the National Literacy Trust to create and situate fifty book-benches throughout the capital.

All the books on which the benches were based have ties to London in some way or another, paying tribute to London-themed literature. Sit down with Mary Poppins ( well on Mary Poppins but that doesn't sound quite right). Visit Peter Pan or share some secrets with James Bond. Take a seat, put your feet up and perhaps Jeeves and Wooster will tend to your needs. You can even lose yourself in the wonderful world of Narnia if you settle on the The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe bench.


I read an article a little while ago about the plight of librarians when it comes to ridding their shelves of books to make way for new reads. There are literally thousands of volumes that they need to get trash by way of recycling and that it really tugged upon the emotions of those librarians to see those books being tossed out because their readability has dwindled to a point that they are worth more as recycled paper than they are as they stand. It’s such a shame to see this and to know that this happens every days. It’s a cold truth that if those books aren’t being read then they will be replaced by new books that carry the greater expectation of a higher read-rate.

Books must be treated with respect, we feel that in our bones, because words have power. Bring enough words together they can bend space and time
― Terry Pratchett

One library decided to take those unwanted books and put them to good use. They constructed an entire reception desk from unread books as a mark of respect for the written word.


As well as designing covers, I write stories, mostly horror and the paranormal. My office is fairly standard. A simple desk and a simple chair that wouldn’t turn heads in a line-up. I’ve always said that if I could afford it then I would have something like this in my office… well, I first would need a larger office. This is the height of sophistication in design. I love this…but it is a little formal for what I would look for to be honest.

This writing desk that belongs to the famous author Danielle Steele would probably be more suited to my desires, although it does have a kind of “front desk” feel to it as though she’s expecting to greet fans who may wander her way. And with your name and book titles on the spines, this desk is about as personal as you can get. Just wait until those books become best-sellers before incorporating them into the desk’s design; wouldn’t want to be permantly reminded of poor sales and negative reviews if one of those books flops. I think I would opt to have the titles and author names of of my favourtie books to inspire me.


Chairs, sofas, tables, foot stall... there really are no limits to how you can use books to create furniture or to craft furniture in the style of books. I hope you've enjoyed this post. Feel free to leave a comment or two.

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