reworking the office shelves

by | Feb 21, 2020 | All Things Home, Decorating, My House, Office | 13 comments

Buying used books on Amazon and regular visits to Barnes & Noble means that the bookshelves in my office and studio are always in flux.  I’m constantly having to arrange and rearrange to accommodate new acquisitions.  So, a couple of weeks ago, I took some time to get the shelves in both my office and studio tidied up.

Yes, I organize my books by color and size.  It just looks neater on the shelf to me and I can still find what I’m looking for, because books that are similar in topic are stored on different shelves in different rooms.  All of my art and design books are in my studio and my home and business books are in my office.  This method isn’t going to work for everyone, but it works for me!

I also decided to hang my guitar next to the bookshelf.  I find that I’m more likely to pick it up and practice if I have it at the ready.  I also love that guitar!  My dad gave it to me as a just-because-I-love-you gift a few years ago.  Musical instruments are my dad’s love language, evidenced by all of the guitars, mandolins, banjos, and ukeleles my parents own!  There might need to be an intervention.

I also removed the wood magazine files and am now storing the magazines I want to keep in the antique wooden box I purchased a few weeks ago and in stacks on the top shelf.  I originally had the wooden both on the shelf, but it was just too dark and heavy visually, so I found a new home for it.  I don’t keep every magazine, but I keep ones that I’m featured in or contributed to or ones that I find particularly inspiring or informative.  And I do revisit them!

Some magazines are so expensive these days $15-20, so I try not to buy ones unless I think I’ll keep them as a resource.

I also added one of my little paintings to the shelf.  It’s funny, but I almost always sell my work.  I’ve only kept a few pieces, but I need to start keeping and displaying more.   I love it when I see an artist’s work displayed in their own home.

I used a scrap piece of MDF that I gessoed for that painting.  I have a whole stack of those scraps, so I’ll paint some more to sell.  It’s a nice little size for a landscape.

Anyway, I’m off to paint my studio some more!  I’ve been working on painting the floors and will be sharing them here (along with a tutorial) next week….


  1. Kristin Hughes

    Hi, I love your shelving unit! Do u know where I could purchase or 1 similar??

    • Kathie B

      Kristin, I just went back through posts to find the bookcase. I love it too. I found a post Marian did about the bookcase on Feb 17, 2019, “Hanging Art on a Bookcase and Styling Tips”. That post lists the bookcase as the “Amityville Oversized Bookcase” from Birch Lane.

  2. Kate

    My younger sister as a teenager decided to rearrange the books in the family library by color when it was her turn to clean the living room This was a whole wall of books. She is artistic and thought it looked better visually. My father knew she meant well, but he almost hit the roof. He couldn’t find anything. No one wanted to tackle the huge project of getting it back into Dewey Decimal order, so we had to live with the color coded library for awhile and remember what color a book was when searching for it. “Arranging books by color” is a family joke now that makes us roll our eyes.

  3. Cheri Dietzman

    I could just sit in that chair in your office and look through book after book.

  4. Julie M. Anderson

    A dear neighbor’s husband got rid of the built-in bookcases in their living room, because they thought they were “clutter.” I can’t comprehend it…a home without books. I’m surrounded by them, and have different “libraries” in different bookcases around the house, on end tables, on my desk, etc… Your studio is so pretty and inspirational! Happy weekend, Julie M.

    ps My yellow lab’s “headboard” to her bed is my Art History, Biography, & Historic Non-fiction Department. 😂

  5. Martha

    Just love this space! That leather chair is gorgeous! Where is it from?

    • Marian Parsons

      It’s from Arhaus

  6. Laura

    I so love your home Marian! I’m currently cleaning my out so that I can start decorating, FINALLY, after almost 12 years here!
    Anyway, you mentioned that you sell your artwork. Can I ask where you sell it? I’d be interested in purchasing a piece or two as I love your work!

    • Marian Parsons

      I sell it on Daily Paint Works.

  7. MaryLisa

    I would not of thought of the color display of books. I need to add some jackets to mine to mine to do that. Looks terrific

  8. Pat

    I ‘like’ your method of displaying your art books!
    The guitar adds visual interest (in keeping with your artistic creative personality) in your Studio!
    My Dad, and his brothers, along with my brother all played string instruments!
    Oh, how I miss those Saturday night ‘jam’ sessions of my youth!
    Recently, I rearranged my built-in china cabinet taking inspiration
    from your “Restyling the Dining Room Hutch” post.
    Thank you for always inspiring!

  9. Maria

    I also keep some magazines and just love looking back at them! It’s so interesting to see the changes and also what hasn’t !

  10. Teresa

    Thank you for giving me “permission” (though I didn’t really need it, because I already did it, and I AM 50 years old, which probably means I’m a Big Girl and can make my own decisions now…laughing) to arrange my books by color & size. I’m a book lover, but try to limit the number of books I own. But still: I have enough to look chaotic. A couple of months ago, on a whim I removed the dust jackets from the books and divided them by color. Most of the family’s books are in my office… and it felt liberating and opened up many more creative possibilities just to have the Harry Potter series interspersed throughout!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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