What Do I Do With My Bookcases?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭

Ever have things around the house that you desperately need to do, but put it off for weeks…even months??  This past week I was able to mark one of those off of my “to-do” list!  On Friday, I took everything out of my bookcase, cleaned the shelves, dusted all the books, and gave it a little makeover!  Let me tell you, it was a job…but I am so glad it’s finished!  Butch and I are avid readers so of course we love books and literally have tons of them!  Also, I have been a collector our entire married life, so I have more than enough “stuff” to fill a home library (a dream I still have).

During my years as an interior decorator, one of my most asked questions was, “what do I do with bookcases, we don’t own any books?”  Like I said, I love to read, so I was always surprised to learn that people didn’t have books…but I digress.  I would often be asked to buy books for my clients!  I was hired on many occasions to just “do” the built-in bookcases!  In my opinion, bookshelves should reflect the owner’s interests and real books that have actually been read!  With all that said, let’s take a look at one of my bookcases!

This French-style bookcase sits in our family room.  My plan when I purchased it was to only have books occupying its shelves. That didn’t work because the weight of the books made the long shelves sag!  So a compromise, books and collectibles!

Opening the glass doors, you can see there are five shelves…with each one telling a story!

With Easter coming up, a pair of Fitz and Floyd rabbits hopped up to the top shelf along with a family photo and standing books!  Note that on the second shelf, I laid books down with transfer ware, a seed ball, and a sweet bunny that my Mother made at least thirty years ago.  A couple of photos are also on the shelf.  Bookcases are a great place for your family pictures!

The third shelf has a little theme.  Butch and I are both musicians – I play piano, he the guitar!  A tiny jewel-encrusted piano box sits on an antique book with an oil painting standing behind!

A miniature guitar rests in the corner next to John Denver’s autobiography.  John is our all-time favorite singer, songwriter, and musician!

A little more Fitz and Floyd on the fourth shelf with a pair of leather books!

This photo shows three of the shelves and how each one is styled different…the placement of books and accessories.  Notice, I leave the book jackets on because I love all the color!

The antique demitasse cup and saucer were a gift many years ago from a precious friend…to the right is a Wedgwood pitcher!

Butch and I love to travel, so the bottom shelf contains some of our well-read travel guides.  The most important piece is the decorative ceramic covered bowl made by Mother!

Hopefully, this might help you when styling bookcases in your own home. But, my favorite is still bookshelves loaded with books!  I thought you might enjoy a few of my pinned bookcases from Pinterest!

Designer Charlotte Moss’ personal library is perfection to me…shelves loaded with dust jacketed books!

Books come to life on the dramatic black shelves with the red accent lights!
A comfortable chair, a desk, and books…bliss!

Do you like bookshelves with all books?  Or do you prefer a mixture of books and decorative objects?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Love that your shelves display what is and has been special in your life.

    Books with slipcovered neutral covers have a decorated look which
    I also like. But many hours devoted to cover all those volumes.

    My preference is in line with with your style. The bookshelves in
    my house have books with or without covers with decorative or
    meaningful object’s.

    • Everyday Living says:

      Thanks so much for your kind comments! Bookcases definitely tell my story…family photos, things collected over a lifetime, travels, and books that I have enjoyed reading! Blessings!

  2. Kim says:

    Yes, yes, and yes! I dream of having a library someday, too. Every time I go through my books and donate a few, I always regret it! So, I keep adding. As with your gorgeous bookcase, I add memorabilia to control the weight factor – and create interest. Everything, books and all, are a collection of memories. Thanks for sharing the inspirations from Pinterest. I really like the black shelving with the eye-popping red lighting. I’m happy for you in getting a project marked off your list! 🙂

    • Everyday Living says:

      Kim, I have more projects than I can possibly finish for spring. I agree that our bookshelves hold a lifetime of memories! Happy Tuesday evening!

  3. Projects like this are so rewarding, I bet you smile every time you walk into the room now Pam! It looks great, I love a creative mix of books and accessories, and you have inspired me to get the dust cloth out and do some re-arranging!

    • Everyday Living says:

      Oh, Jenna I used to love dusting and re-arranging, but not so much anymore! But, it is nice to have completed that little project and to have my bookcase freshened up!

  4. Your bookcase is lovely in itself and has warmth and charm that reflects your personality. I do relate to the job it was to remove everything. We painted our family room and kitchen cabinets and bookshelves and all wooden trim recently. It was a huge job with ladders to remove all the books and dishes. I love books but realized I didn’t need anymore and I have many more in our office!!! I’m still tired and I didn’t do any of the painting.
    Your mother’s ceramic pieces are cherished I know.

    • Everyday Living says:

      Thanks, Bonnie! Wow, sounds like you have had a lot going on, but I know it feels good to have it behind you! I am going to refresh a couple of bedrooms and that definitely means painting. I don’t like the mess it creates, but it has to be done! Blessings

  5. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful, Pam!
    I love books too, and I am fortunate enough to have a home office with built in bookshelves for my books!
    But of course, I have more books than shelves & cases!!!
    Love your ideas!
    Esther Maddux

    • Everyday Living says:

      Esther, I know you enjoy your home office with built-in bookcases! I guess if you love books, there is never enough space for them! Thank you sweet friend!

  6. Stephanie says:

    Ah, books are the perfect companion and being surrounded by them is pure joy 🙂 I love books and have a hard time getting rid of any. I told my husband the other week that it was time to find another book shelf since I have books ALL over my room 🙂 Your shelves look simply lovely!

    Have a great week, Pam! Hugs!

    • Everyday Living says:

      Stephanie, books keep me learning and growing! I can’t imagine those who do not enjoy reading! I am hoping to change a guest bedroom into a small library! Sending hugs, sweet friend!

    • Everyday Living says:

      Sherryle, thank you for your kind words! I need a home library to house all of our books and hopefully, I am going to convert a guest room into one in the very near future! Blessings

  7. dolores says:

    Pam has tocado un tema que nos atañe muy de cerca. Mi marido es un gran lector y yo también, pero cada uno en sus temas preferidos, así que hemos llegado a tener unos 3000 libros!!! y la verdad es que a veces “pesan mucho”…pero son nuestros amigos y hay que quererlos.
    Muy interesante la explicación de tu armario de libros tan detallado y hermoso. ¡¡John Denver…Como no!!! me complace.

    Pam has touched a subject that concerns us very closely. My husband is a big reader and I, but each in his favorite subjects, so we have come to have about 3000 books !!! and the truth is that sometimes “weigh heavily” … but they are our friends and we must love them.
    Very interesting explanation of your closet so detailed and beautiful books. ‘John Denver … Since there !!! I am pleased.

    • Everyday Living says:

      Thank you so much, Kira! I need more bookshelves for my collection of books! Hopefully I am planning some built-ins in a guest bedroom that I planto convert to a small library!

  8. Barbara says:

    Hallo Pam,
    I love bookshelves only filled with books. One shelf yellow ones, one shelf red ones etc. That looks great when you only put the focus on decorative elements.Otherwise I prefer it divided in genre. That makes it easier to find a special one you are searching for and I have soooo many books.

    It looks beautiful how you decorated your bookcase and it is a kind of door to so many memories . Leave it like it is. This is your special bookcase and when you open the doors you can meet your dreams, your life, your history, all these special moments are in that treasure box.. Take care of it!

    Best wishes from Barbara

    • Everyday Living says:

      I do love having shelves full of memories…family photos, travels, keepsakes from so many years ago! Thanks so much, Barbara!

    • Everyday Living says:

      Janice, I would have bookshelves everywhere, if possible! Books bring life to a room! Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

  9. photogal01 says:

    If I could have my way, I would line every wall in my home with bookcases (filled mostly with books). I love the look of all books, and books/collectibles/photographs combined. . .These are great examples you’ve shared today, Pam, and I like yours the best!

    • Everyday Living says:

      I so agree, books are life to a room! It just speaks that someone lives here and they are a life-long learner! Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

  10. Dotsie says:

    Your book shelves look wonderful with the mix of books and collectibles. It does provide interest where all books may not. Still I love a full bookcase. Sometimes I mix in some things or put the books sideways for eye interest.

    • Everyday Living says:

      Dotsie, thank you. Bookcases can tell stories and certainly reveal so much about the people who live there. I love full bookcases, also!

    • Everyday Living says:

      Jeanne, thanks so much! I just visited your link and commented. I think we both love books! Have a wonderful week!

    • Everyday Living says:

      Libby, thanks so much! I always like the challenge of putting bookshelves together with a mix of books and collectibles! Have a beautiful week!

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