Today I’m ready to reveal our library and how I arranged our bookshelves. Since our recent move consisted of more books boxes than anything else, the fact that our new (to us) house has a library is a good thing. The room is not large, but there are two walls covered floor to ceiling with shelves. Plus the cabinets down below hide my crafty messy stuff.
Look at the possibilities. I’ve always wanted a room devoted to books. And this one reminded me of the Beauty and the Beast library—on a much smaller scale.
In case you are curious, the paint color is Benjamin Moore HC-109, a historical color named Sussex Green. The shade is moody and restful and perfect for a library.
For a week, the room became a catch-all. We dumped everything in there.
We organized other rooms in the house before attempting the library. That space was a huge deal because a) I love my books and b) it’s where I will do lots of writing so I need the room to feel comfortable and inspirational.
Naturally, I turned to Pinterest and plowed through photos of bookshelf arrangements for examples. Let’s be clear. I am NOT a decorator or a designer, but I do enjoy organizing things. Even so, our bare shelves were somewhat intimidating at first.
I discovered there are various schools of thought about book organization beyond those library rules from my Keiser Elementary School days. Apparently it has become popular to turn books backwards to create a monochromatic look like this display by cline rose interior design.
While I can appreciate this clean look as a backdrop for other art or collectibles, there’s no way this would work for us. First of all, we actually read our books. Book titles are somewhat key in the process of book selection. I keep staring at the picture above wondering which sad books have been turned backwards. (But I do love those wooden clothespins.)
Another popular organizational style touts displaying books by color. While this is an interesting idea and looks visually pleasing to the eye (I think?), this sort of arrangement would keep me awake at night because bottom line it seems odd. I simply don’t think of books in terms of color. Hmmm, now where did I put that book with the orange cover I read last summer? Oh yes, it’s in the orange section.
Nope. Not for me.
I decided to loosely arrange our books according to genre. Traditional. Common sensical. Maybe boring to the rest of the hip world especially those who use books merely as props.
My process took several hours spread over two days.
First I made leaning towers of books, stacking books all over the room until genres were separated. It got worse before it got better.
Piles and piles of books.
I started with the top shelves and finished one shelf before moving on to the next. I varied the look of each shelf, placing some books horizontal, others vertical. Adding antique vases, pottery and family pictures provided interest, layers and memories. I left space to add more books because let’s be real, it will happen.
While our books may not be as uncluttered and color coordinated as some, I can find what I need. We have a large section of fiction and a separate section for classics. Hemingway (and Hemingway related) has his own section as does Donald Harington. There’s a religious section that includes our collection of family Bibles and my mother-in-law’s Last Supper artwork.
Next to the Jesus section is Horror and Sci-Fi. I have a group of books about writing and poetry. There’s an entire shelf devoted to Arkansas books. I lumped Texas, westerns and history together. There are business related volumes and of course, a section on gardening. I even have a shelf of children’s classic and comic books, most vintage.
I know you will be surprised to learn I did not alphabetize the books within sections (yet).
While there’s no right or wrong way to arrange your bookshelves, when you hit upon a design that works for you, you’ll know. It will feel good.
Now I’m curious. How do you arrange your books? What do you think of the backward books and the color scheme design? Do tell.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Coming soon: arranging photos for wall groupings—lots of photos, not much space.
Beauty and the Beast Library Scene