Since Jeff did all of the furniture moving for me last week I have been working on moving back into my office and studio. Don’t worry! I’ve been pacing myself, taking lots of breaks, and working mostly with my left arm. It’s been slow going (like moving one or two books at a time), but I can’t tell you how awesome it’s been being productive again. I just am the sort of person who needs that in my day.
So, one of the things I worked on over the weekend was moving into the new bookcase in my office. It’s the Amityville Oversized Bookcase from Birch Lane. It’s sold out right now but will be back in stock in June. (They also have this bookcase in a triple-wide and single-wide. Use code “GEORGE” to get 15% off for President’s Day.)
Anyway, this bookcase has been sitting in my cart on Birch Lane’s website for weeks, because it’s the style and color I wanted and it’s the perfect size for that wall. Having a taller bookcase takes advantage of the space much better than the shorter antique craigslist cabinet did. (And that looks fantastic in my studio!)
I’ll share more specifics about the bookcase in the final reveal of the room, but I wanted to chat a little bit about styling a bookcase like this.
I think bookcases are tricky because they need to straddle the balance between functional and decorative. Yes, they are there to house things, typically books, but a bookcase this large is likely the focal point of a room as well. And, in my case, this bookcase is very visible from our foyer. I don’t want it to simply be crammed with books and office stuff without any attention paid to aesthetics.
So, I started by putting everything on the bookcase that I knew I wanted on there and a few other things I might try. You can tell from the picture below that I had plenty of room! I didn’t have to purge but instead had to figure out how to spread out the books and accessories so the shelf didn’t look half-naked.
As I was playing around with some ideas, I decided to try hanging my Durer rabbit print in the center of the bookcase. Even though this seems like a slightly unconventional idea, it’s been around for a long time, making it a classic but also interesting decorating choice.
I didn’t want to put a nail hole in my new bookcase, so I used Command clear 2lb hooks. I used them for swags and wreaths during Christmas and was pleased with how well they worked.
What I like best about this idea is it’s completely temporary. If I don’t like it down the road or if I continue to build my decorating book library, I can simply take it down. (One comment on the hooks… I have heard from a few people that these seem to have a time limit and eventually fall off. I haven’t had that happen, but it’s probably a good idea to add a new adhesive every 6-12 months or so and I wouldn’t hang anything that was too precious. If this print falls, the worst thing that will happen is the glass will break, which is easy and inexpensive to replace.)
When styling books, remove any ugly dust jackets and arrange the books by color and then by size. This will make a mish-mash of books look tidier. This also works well with magazines. I grouped multiple issues of the same publications together, so they make a nice, neat stack. Ones that were more colorful or random in size, I put in the wood magazine holders.
The upside is it looks nicer. The downside is that it does take a bit of maintenance. When I get a new book or a magazine I want to keep, I can’t just throw it on the shelf or on top of a stack. I have to take a bit of time to figure out where it goes. We’re not talking that much time, though, so it’s worth it to me.
One thing that made me happy as I was arranging these books is how many were written by my friends and acquaintances. It’s amazing how the blog world and Instagram have made publishing books possible for people who aren’t “in the industry”. I look at all of the familiar names on those spines and it makes me proud of all of the creators and readers who were a part of making that happen.
Anyway, one last secret about this bookcase arrangement is that the top right basket holds our router, Orbi, etc. I cut a hole in the back, so the cords can hang out. Air can circulate, but everything is hidden. The rest of the baskets hold the original boxes for my cameras, lenses, iPhone, etc. Those are things I want to keep, but I don’t need easy access to them.
I can’t wait to show you the rest of the office! It’s looking amazing and it functioning so much better. I can’t remember a time I’ve been so excited about my workspaces.
What are your thoughts about hanging art on bookcases (or over windows)? Do you like that look?