HGTV Secret Revealed! Why Books Are Always Backwards

HGTV Secret Revealed! Why Books Are Always Backwards

Big HGTV secret coming at ya! And maybe it’s something you’ve never even noticed. But have you ever been watching a show on HGTV, and when they cut to the big design reveal, you see that any and all books in the space are turned around backwards?

As styling shelves became even more popular in interior design over the years, the number of times books were shown turned with spines facing inward really ramped up.  So people at home started displaying books this way, and it actually became pretty popular!  But do you know why books are turned around backwards on HGTV shows?!






So what’s the HGTV Secret?

It’s a really simple answer: copyright!  That’s right, this isn’t some breakthrough of a design trick. Although it’s actually kind of a hot button issue with book lovers who aren’t fans of hiding the titles. It’s because the network would have to get copyright clearance from every single title in order to display them.  And that’s not very realistic considering each design could have at least 10 books in them!

Look at me here (below) in Season 1, Episode 8, “Have a Big Kind Heart and Stay Weird” … I’m even holding them backwards!!!  See?! If it has a title, it can’t be shown.




So there you have it!  Tell all your friends about the HGTV secret!  And while we’re talkin’ about books facing backwards, let’s take a walk down memory lane of some of my favorite book styling moments from Hidden Potential






This was such an EPIC bookcase in Season 2, Episode 11, “It’s My Dream Home Now.”  We needed a quite a few books to style all of these shelves, and yep, they’re all turned backwards!  I think while it may not be practical for such a large bookcase if you need to access the books often, the pages facing outward do look nice here on the blue paint color.




That same house also had this cute coffee bar we installed for the homeowners. No spines shown here, either!




Another example above, this one from “Come Sit With Me” in Season 1.

So whether you’re in the “spines facing out is better” or “pages facing out looks cool” camps, bookcases and shelves need to be styled! I’m pretty obsessed with styling shelves – it’s kinda my thing – so here’s some of my favorite finds to help get you started.


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