Bringing back the books

I didn’t really have project this month, but I did say that I wanted my books back. That meant finishing the bookshelf makeover that I started in August.

You might recall that in my original photo you could barely see the bookshelves because they were painted such a dark brown (oh, and hidden behind boxes that have been packed for two and a half years).

Bookshelves and boxes of books

Well, not anymore. Behold the view from the same angle.

Living room bookshelves

Bright and white and, best of all, filled with books. Hello beloveds.

The bookshelves wrap the one corner of the living room and tuck behind the comfy lounging chair that I inherited from my grandmother.

Corner bookshelves

I’m pretty happy with how things have come together. I know a lot of people struggle with styling bookshelves, and I’m no different. I’m decently satisfied with the middle section right now.

As always, the contents of the shelves have a lot of meaning for us. Besides the books we have some very special treasures.

The trophy is Matt’s grandma’s won for a school running race in 1935 when she was in high school, my dad made the small lidded wood pot on his lathe, and the hammer on the top right was a gift from my grandmother to Matt and unscrews to reveal decreasing sizes of screwdrivers. Towards the bottom, we have a brick I found in the backyard of our first house that has our city’s name stamped on it. Below that there’s a picture of Matt and me at Niagara Falls back when we first started dating, and beside that a miniature replica of Rodin’s The Kiss. (Rodin is our favourite sculptor. A miniature of The Thinker is on an adjacent shelf). The half naked man (or more accurately naked half man) was a high school art class project.


I want to tuck a few more knick knacks in some of the empty spaces, and I definitely need to get some bookends. I’ll continue to futz with the arrangement, but regardless of what things look like, I’m thrilled to have my books back.

Perhaps it’s because I had bookshelves on the brain, but as I was pulling my shelves together they seemed to be popping up on other blogs as well:

I cannot explain how thrilling it is to have my books back. I came across a few I’d forgotten I had and of course lots of old favourites. In fact the borrowed book that I was half-way through may have been set aside in favour of an old favourite. (I never do that. I’m always a one-book-at-a-time woman).

Plus, setting up the bookshelves gave us an excuse to paint some more of the living room and unpack about 16 boxes that had been piled in the corner. The room feels so much more finished! … Well, we’re still a long way from finished. At least it’s a little bit closer to the vision in my head.

How do you handle book storage at your house? Besides books, what’s on your bookshelves? Any tips on styling bookshelves? Who else is a one-book-at-a-time reader?

18 thoughts on “Bringing back the books

    • Our barn’s a little too drafty for that. I definitely didn’t love having the boxes piled in the living room for two years, but I did like having my books close, so I could dig through the boxes if I absolutely needed something. Good luck with your family room!

  1. One of the upsides to separation/divorce……I now have room to put all my books on the shelves that used to house an extensive DVD collection! 😉

  2. I love books too but I can’t stand having them organized by colour. Maybe I’m a little odd but I organize by genre and then by author. Alphabetical all the way, makes it easier to find and put away the books. Plus I dont like a lot of other stuff on my shelves. You have a nice balance of non books to books on your shelves. I want the big tall shelves with the library ladder. I heart me a ladder.


  3. What a transformation! I love seeing all those books! Great job. 🙂 Thanks for linking up with us at Motivational Monday! Hope to see you again next week!

  4. I love your bookcases, and I spy your Anne of Green Gables books! I have the same edition. (Found my to your blog from a pin about training Baxter to walk off leash, and I am reading from the beginning. My husband and I hope to buy acreage in the next 5 years, and I am living vicariously through your blog!)

    • Thanks for taking the time to reach out–and for doing so much reading! I love that you have the same edition. I haven’t seen this one elsewhere, but I love the illustrations in it. Living on a large property is such a wonderful experience. Good luck with your five year plan.

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