Over Christmas I was able to relax at my parent's house in Birmingham. Sitting in their peaceful library with a dog at my feet and a cup of coffee is one of my favorite things to do. So while I was there my mom bribed me into I got the *delightful opportunity to rearrange her library bookcases!!
A lot of people struggle to find books, pictures, etc. to fill their bookcases with. My parents have quite the opposite problem: They have TOO many books in their bookcases.. and other random clutter. As my mom likes to say "Toooo MUCH'A STUFF!"
When I remembered to take the 'before' picture we had already taken out a bookshelf on the lower right hand corner so just picture more books there. For the record- and to give my mom some credit- the BEFORE picture is not bad!! (In fact, the AFTER picture is not a dramatic difference. Just small changes that lighten up the mood.)
After: a fresher, brighter look that makes the room feel more alive without sacrificing the home's specific personality (a face lift indeed :)
* Shed some light on your books! If you are having trouble with lighting and don't want to pay to add recessed cans or sconces consider putting a small lamp for additional light. In this case I added one of my mom's favorite little lamps to temporarily fix the darkness.
*A while back I posted some bookcase tips my grandmother taught me. (Click HERE to check out even more tips than the ones below.) In this post I said it's important to mix books, artwork and accessories. In my opinion it would be to mix 70% books, 15% framed artwork or photographs, 15% accessories (I prefer pottery)
* Take that 15% and find some of your favorite pottery and/or sentimental pieces. But narrow it down!
*Layer photographs or pictures. Don't just stack them in front of books. Try placing them behind a horizontal stack of books.
*Pull all of your books to the front! This is one of the first things I notice when I go into a room with bookcases. So if you are planning on having me over don't be offended if you catch me sticking my arm behind your books and pulling them forward. :) No judgement here, just a nervous tick.
*Most bookcases are installed where the adjustable shelves form a perfect grid. And most people just leave it like that. But just because 10 shelves were made doesn't mean you have to use all 10. I recommend taking out a shelf in spots, moving them around, or shifting them a bit so that it's not so gridlike. (see pic below)
*On the other side of my parent's library there is a TV and clunky components. If you style it right all those things begin to disappear...
*Add organic materials- like wheat or soy beans... just kidding. Are you still reading? But seriously- organic as in plants, flowers, twigs, bowl of fruit, etc.
*Or if you have a lot of small collectibles group them close together instead of spreading them out across the bookcases. Like in this picture, on the bottom left shelf you will find 3 small picture frames sitting on a stack of books. (click to enlarge) **shoot, I just realized one of the frames must have fallen down. oops**
* Don't ignore your bookcases. In most rooms they have SO much potential to make a space look GREAT!
* Have fun with it. Put what you love in your bookcases... and if I'm ever in your library feed me strong coffee and bribe me with Christmas presents.