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The question

I have noticed that most of the houses I see lately don't have bookshelves. Where do people keep their books (or is it no longer fashionable to read actual books)?

The answer

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With the onset of e-books, the computer screen has become the go-to medium for reading, whether you're in bed or on a plane. Consequently, some home book collections have shrunk and migrated from bookshelves to, say two-tiered coffee tables. The rest is now hidden somewhere in an e-book library, which is not easy to casually peek at. So when I do visit someone's home and they don't have books displayed, I do wonder about their intellect.

Don't fear, though: The bookshelf is alive, well and sexy! When decorating, you have new freedom now that you don't have to stuff your shelves with paperbacks: Hide the pulp fiction on your Kindle and reserve your bookshelves for beautiful hardcovers, which you can display alongside picture frames, bowls and keepsakes. A well-designed bookshelf can add to the beauty of your living space. You can stand the books vertically or horizontally to fill the space between objects. Rule no. 70 in my e-book is: Dressing bookshelves is similar to dressing yourself. Vertical items should be contrasted with horizontal items.

If only bookshelves came in Prada.

Architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace's new e-book, Dee Dee's Rules, is available on iTunes. Follow her on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design problem? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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