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100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

I Am Clearly An Interior Design Visionary

The other day, my wife showed me this picture from The Magnolia Journal, a magazine “containing inspiration for life and home”:

Books on Stairs

Huh, looks like having huge piles of books on your stairs is cool now.

That’s funny – BECAUSE I’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR YEARS. You might remember this from my post The Top 10 Piles of Books at My House back in 2015.


OG Books on Stairs

I took the fact that a popular lifestyle magazine completely stole my idea the only way one could – that I am an interior design visionary. Simply put, I see trends in home decor before non-visionaries (everyone else).

So now that I’m walking around with a (completely deserved) puffed-out chest, rightfully thinking Martha Steward ain’t got nothin’ on me, allow me to show you a few of my other book decorating tips. Look for them in national lifestyle magazines soon – but never forget who was one step ahead of the game.


For summer, I like this playful stack of picture books. The trick is to put it somewhere that other members of the house find very inconvenient. Move it when you get complaints, then let it pile back up by early fall, incorporating orange, brown, and red-covered books.


Or you could slowly add to a number of piles all around a chair until you are encased in them and unable to escape. I call this stacking technique the Edgar Allen Poe, so named because of his short story The Cask of Amontillado, where a man buries his enemy alive with bricks and mortar.


If you really want to push the envelope, try this edgy pile in the middle of an otherwise clean, typical room. Guests will be delighted and confused.

What are your book decorating secrets?

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Mr. Smith says:

    My first thought when I saw the title of this post was: “Man, Lauren Child is taking Charlie & Lola in a strange new direction.”

  2. isn’t it great to be a visionary? i, too, have been at the forefront of this trend for years.

  3. If I could add a photo here, I’d show you the bookshelves in our bathroom.

  4. I never knew I was a trendsetter! Stairbooks are an integral part of my & my childrens’ design aesthetic. Also by-the-bathtub books, books as kitchen table centerpiece, and the somewhat reckless porch-swing book pile (not recommended for stormy weather.)

    • Books as centerpiece! Yes! With a handy book stand for easy reading while eating. This has been my design choice for years. When will the lifestyle magazines catch on?

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  6. I made a bookcase . . . out of books!

  7. This is brilliant, Travis! It’s not clutter – It’s vision! I have a sort of grid aesthetic with the piles in my bedroom. And there’s a fun game aspect to knocking books off piles that have grown too high when I open a lower dresser drawer. (And of course moving them to a different pile.)

    I’m not a slob. I’m a design visionary!

  8. I’m partial to a pile of books holding up a flat TV antenna for better reception. Stylish *and* functional!

  9. I keep books on my stairs, too, Travis! Clever post! Thank you for sharing!

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