There’s almost nothing as pretty as a well-organized bookshelf. One of my all-time favorite images is this Expedit shelf, packed to the brim with gorgeous fabric samples and tidy woven baskets, delivering lots of out-of-sight storage. Image via Better Homes & Gardens.
How about this wall of deep, dark bookcases, lined with linen magazine holders and a few elegant accessories? Image from A Thoughtful Place blog.
Here’s another fabulous monochromatic display. The OCD part of my brain (in case you’re wondering, that’s definitely the bigger half) is thisclose to hauling off and wrapping every book in our house in white craft paper. Image via Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper.
Pottery Barn‘s leaning shelves are more colorful and heavily accessorized, but still avoid being visually chaotic.
Two of my favorite bloggers rock some seriously drool-worthy bookshelves. I love Emily A. Clark‘s combination of white wood and navy blue shelf backs.
This image from House Beautiful is jam packed with books, but the white wood and soft yellow shelf backs keep the overall feeling serene. Image via House Beautiful.
Here’s another image I adore.
Just kidding. In case you haven’t guessed, this last photo is of our very own bookshelf, nestled in the corner of the living room. The chaotic mishmash of books and mismatched accessories makes me want to wear a blindfold. Obviously that would lead to a broken limb or two, so for the last year, I’ve stuck to a safer alternative: completely ignoring that corner of the room. Unfortunately for the bookshelf, our living room update is in full force, and no corner is safe.
I started by emptying out the bookshelf and sorting the mess. We had accessories…
Hardcover books in worn, torn or ugly jackets…
And hardcover books that lost their jackets along the way.
I started by shucking any remaining dust jackets. I know they have a functional purpose, but the books underneath are so much prettier. Librarians across the world are probably shaking their heads at me.
I put a pair of baskets from Walmart to work corralling all the paperbacks and started adding my hardcovers back on to the shelves. Once I was happy with the books, I trimmed the accessories down to the neutrals. I also put away my twig reindeer, who had long since outlived his Christmas welcome. To the attic, you!
After standing back to appreciate the way-less-cluttered view, I decided it was time for a little Pottery Barn knockoff. I spied some baskets with big, bold metal numbers in the last catalog, and figured it would be easy enough to make my own by adding some house numbers to my Walmart baskets.
I picked up a 1 and 2 at Home Depot for $4.87 each, and then attached them to the baskets using hot glue.
If you’re trying this at home, be sure the back of your numbers have some flat spots you can apply glue to!
So, in less than an hour, my bookshelf went from being an eyesore to sporting some solidly organized (and dare I say, way more attractive) shelves.
Here’s a little side-by-side before & after fun.
Of course, there’s still that not-so-tiny voice shouting at me to put my middle school book-covering skills to work… I’ll be sure to let you know if I succumb to the madness.
What’s your stance on bookshelves? Neat as a pin, or cheerfully crammed full of books?