Sunday, May 6, 2012

Shelf Style

I keep reading blog posts about how to style bookshelves. Interior decorators have brilliant ideas, like this:


And this:

While I read them all like a good student, I have a major problem with implementing their advice: I actually have BOOKS. Who has only one bookshelf with room for ceramic sculptures? I have books in every room of my house and it still never seems like I have enough space for them all. I'd started to style the big bookshelves in my living room and dining room, but quickly got distracted and the shelves became Grand Central Station for Stuff.

The first step was definitely the hardest, because I'm much better at buying books than getting rid of them...I found a grand total of about ten books I no longer need or intend to read. Mostly it's my collection of John Grisham paperbacks - great stories but I don't read them more than once and since he writes a new book every week I'd long ago given up on my goal of owning everything he writes. The second step was letter rearranging. I love these "L-A-U-G-H" letters I bought with my nephew, but my tactic of scattering them in different levels of the bookshelf just made it hard to tell what they said - so onto the top of the bookshelf they went.

That freed up space on the dining room shelves so I moved books in from the living room. I had to interrupt a little of the library-esque organization and categories I'd created (political biography is now divided between two rooms, gasp!) but since the goal was to make my living room look less like the overstuffed shelves of my favorite bookstores I am learning to live with the change.

I've been teased about the seemingly partisan nature of the books I most want to display. I don't care. Read into whatever you want, I'd criticize the sanity of anyone who had an autographed copy of a Madeleine Albright book and DIDN'T require everyone who walked through the front door to drool over it. I did have fun creating an alternate political shelf, however, just because I'm a nerd like that.

The species of the gorgeous ceramic creature next to those books is another thing that makes me giggle every time I look at it. Sorry, Christine Todd Whitman.

So while these shelves will never, EVER receive the HGTV stamp of approval, I love them and do think they look a little more styled even though they're in danger of caving under the weight of the books I can't bear to sell.

I have big plans for thde center of the living room shelf, though I haven't implemented them yet. I want something like this, to break up the monotony of the shelves with a tall, dramatic feature.


The shelf rearranging was the first (and easiest) tasks I want to have done before I host book club in June...suddenly that doesn't seem so far away. Still much to do:
  • Style bookshelves
  • Install and paint baseboards
  • Style TV stand
  • Spray paint IKEA floor lamp and replace lampshade
  • Find a rug!
  • Take Goodwill donations (seriously, they're hidden in all sorts of cabinets now)
  • Pillows for easy chairs
  • Hang curtains
  • Hang knife maginet
  • Cushions for kitchen table
  • Get accent light/tall flowers for living room shelves


  1. The book shelf looks great and I am quite smitten with the white rhino!

    1. Thank you, Kristie! I'm pretty crazy about him, too - he was a Ross find that was worth every one of those $15.