Simple Fix to Make Your ‘New’ Decor Books ‘Old & Antiqued’

Simple Fix to Make Your ‘New’ Decor Books ‘Old & Antiqued’

Decorating with books is obviously ‘no new thing’ as they have been made ever so popular by many of the home catalogs we adore. I love using them to simply add height to smaller items in vignettes and displays – plus they serve as good fillers too.

{photo credit ~ Pottery Barn}
We have seen them in numerous Pottery Barn settings…
{which can be also be purchased for $39.00 for a bundle of four}

{photo credit ~ Restoration Hardware}
And they can be seen lining the selves of drool-worthy Restoration Hardware displays.

Like many, I pick up old hardback books from thrift stores where they can be found relatively inexpensive. Even though you can get lucky from time to time and find a few antiques, many times the books still have nice crisp clean white pages. Even after deconstructing them and tearing the binding off they lack the authenticity of the worn vintage stained look.

I received an email asking about the books I used in my holiday vignettes and thought I would share with everyone my incredibly easy fix to turn your new books ‘vintage’ in a matter of seconds – and most likely the needed supplies are right in your pantry.

Materials NeededTea Bags
Recycled Books

Take 4-5 tea bags and soak in a cup of hot water. {The water does not have to be boiling – hot from the facet will work just fine}

Squeeze the tea bags just a bit to remove most of the water and gently rub directly on the edges of the book. If you choose to remove the binding you can also stain the exposed top and bottom page and the spine as well. You may need to dip the tea bag back in the water to complete – you just do not want to totally saturate the pages or else they will curl when they dry. If you want a darker stain, let the book completely dry then repeat with another coat. The books can be placed on a wire cooling rack to dry – just make sure they are separated. You can see in the picture above the nice vintage tint the tea adds to the pages {the bottom books have not been stained yet and the top book had been stained and dried multiple times}

I love the varied shades that can be achieved using this method; so quick and simple and definitely an inexpensive fix compared to purchasing the real deal.

I am still hemming away all my window treatments for the living room and hope to be finished soon to show you what I’ve done with my bay window. I’ve got six panels down and four more to go … not really having a blast.

Happy Monday ~ Enjoy!


  1. Awesome idea – the thought of blowing that much money at PB or RH is ridiculous!

  2. Great idea. I love decorating with books

  3. Great idea with the teabags. Love the look. Hugs, Marty

  4. Do you know we actually have a trunk of antique books with the beautiful aged pages but I can’t part with them. They are hokie young adult mysteries for the 30′,40’s, and 50’s but I love to read them from time to time. My family rolls their eyes but I really “dig” these old books!

    Thanks for the great idea! (have you tried instant coffee or old coffee grounds? … great aging and leaves your house smelling like a coffee shop for a while!

  5. Great idea! I have a bunch of “Sweet Valley Twins” books just waiting to get a makeover and be put on display! How hilarious if anyone ever picks one up, though. he he he


  6. Wonderful Stephanie Lynn. I cringe every time I see this at PB or RH, knowing there’s NO way I’m paying their prices.

  7. Perfect timing! I just bought 5 books from the thrift store this morning and after ripping off the covers, I didn’t know how to make them look “older.” I will be running to my tea bags right now…

  8. great method!

  9. Love the soft shades the tea created on the pages! These look great.

  10. Great tip; thanks for sharing. When we moved into our house we bought we found a lot of really old books (it was an estate). We were very fortunate!

  11. I love this! I have been trying to figure out how to achieve that look. Your blog is SO inspiring!! Thanks for all the great tips!!

  12. Great tip Stephanie Lynn! I’ve been lucky finding old books with aged pages at the thrifts in my area but when the well runs dry I’ll know how to age them myself.

  13. I tea stain everything I can. It works so great.

    Love the books!

  14. fantastic 🙂 I’ll add books to my list of “to get” things at the thrift store!

  15. Brilliant! I have JUST started to add vintage books to my displays this Christmas (I know, WAY behind the times), but the ones like you show, not the “coffee table” books…not really my thing – yet. Never say never! They really are handy to add the height where you need it. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  16. Hi Stephanie Lynn~

    I love this idea of yours of tea staining books! It is absolutely inspired, and I can’t wait to try it! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this!

    I hope you are doing well, and having a good week so far! 🙂


  17. great idea and way to do it…I tried with distressing ink, but I was the only thing distressed!

  18. What a fun idea!! I always buy old books just in case there’s a project, but i never thought of this… thanks!

  19. I think they are beautiful… but I have to laugh. My daughter and I saw them in Pottery Barn, and she (book lover) was so MAD! I personally think they are cute & sweet!

  20. What a great tip! I am so trying this!


  21. Hey, thanks for sharing! I’m featuring this on my blog today. 🙂

  22. Very cute!! I did something similar, except I’m a little lazier. 🙂 You can find it at … Just stumbled upon your blog, and I’m so glad I did! What great ideas you have!

    Dearest Home

  23. This is a great idea, but I have to confess, the real reason I’m posting. Just above your “materials needed” section, there is a typo that is cracking me up! “needed supplies are right in your panty.” I think you meant pantRy. 🙂 Heh.

  24. Cute Stephanie! I never thought of using the tea bags to stain the edges of the pages! Great idea!

  25. Great tip. Thank you. I will definitely try!

    ~ Meredith From A Mother Seeking Come find me on my blog, A Mother Seeking…

  26. Oh yay! What a great idea! This way I don’t have to look for old books that have the right patina but may not have words or stories I’d like my children to pick up and read! Thanks,

  27. Really I like this idea of yours of tea staining books! It is absolutely stimulated, and I can’t wait to try it! Thanks very much for sharing this with us.
    home staging



  1. […] Some of the books were old and absolutely perfect. But the for the newer ones that I wanted to age, I used a tea staining method you can read about here. […]

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