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Repurposed Book Table Runner Tutorial

This Valentine’s Day, how about a nontraditional (and very simple) take on a table runner for a dinner party or a romantic evening at home?

Instead of flat fabric runner, try taking it 3-dimensional by placing stacks of books down the center of the table.

This "runner" is such a versatile backdrop to all sorts of centerpieces. Cover them in groupings of pillar candles or vases with fresh flowers to suite your occasion. This idea can be completely customized to fit your theme – use antique hardcover books for a vintage feel, classic love stories for a romantic dinner, or painted books for a more modern look. 

For my Valentine's Day table setting, the look I am going for is wintery, modern, and eclectic. Instead of the traditional Valentine's Day reds or pinks, the color scheme is all neutrals and metallics, so I ended up painting the books black, white, and gold for a classy and wintery look. When painted a solid shade, the books take on a very modern look.

To lend to the eclectic feel, I stacked them askew and used an assortment of colors in varying finishes. For example, I paired a metallic gold paint with a matte black paint. These were made to coordinate with modern cupid’s arrows centerpiece . This is a really simple to pull together for a classy centerpiece!


Hardcover books

Assorted spray paint

Spray primer (optional)


A well ventilated area!


Step 1: Collect an assortment of hardcover books from thrift stores or old ones you already own. I even used an outdated textbook! 

Step 2: After removing the book jackets, take them outside and mist all sides with a spray primer. Once dry, follow up with spray paint in assorted colors. I painted some of my books solid black, some gold, and some white.

Step 3: Once the paint has cured, bring them back inside and play with an arrangement. I positioned a tall stack in the center with two smaller stacks on the sides.

Step 4: All that’s left to do is add the accompanying centerpiece! I topped mine off with modern cupid’s arrows I made - get the DIY tutorial to recreate at home!

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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