Nosegay is one of those silly sounding words that back in seventh grade would have given my best friend and me the extreme giggles. During those Keiser Junior High days, everything was extraordinarily hilarious and something as simple as a funny word (such as nosegay) would often push us over the edge earning us a trip to the principal’s office for classroom disruption. I call those the Giggle Box Years. And though I may seem to be rambling, I do plan to tie all this together, you’ll see if you keep reading. Promise.Continue Reading
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
Raise your hand if you thought spring would never arrive! I know, me too. In Dallas I’ve learned to really appreciate spring because summer brings challenges I’d rather not think about like trying to keep plants alive in blistering days of drought. But right now I’m celebrating cool nights and perfect days, days of front porches, a good book and a glass of white wine.
Okay I’m rambling, but I do have a point, and that point is how simple spring decorating can be. With only a few dollars (or zero dollars) you can transform your home from dull and uninspired to fresh and inviting using items around your house and plants growing in your garden.
Take a look at the centerpiece (below) I arranged for my dining room table. For five dollars, I purchased a bouquet of white gerber daisies at Trader Joe’s and created this natural look using Fostoria goblets (handed down from John’s Godmother) centered inside an antique picture frame layered over a plaid runner that covers my table almost year-round.
The next arrangement is so basic I almost didn’t include it—a crystal vase filled with budding branches. Take advantage of the many trees and shrubs in full bloom now. Forsythia, Redbud, Dogwood, Spirea, Azalea… Snip a few buds or branches from your own yard, alley or roadside. Or maybe your neighbor will share? Ask first of course.
The vintage glass basket (candy dish?) which belonged to my mother-in-law makes a sweet and aromatic arrangement of herbs and flowers from the garden. Only a few snips and it is filled. Keep it nearby in the kitchen, and you won’t forget to use your herbs when cooking supper.
Bring spring indoors by placing dogwood blooms in vintage drinking glasses. Clean, classic, timeless.
If you are a regular reader, you probably already know I have a love for dandelions. This casual looks is perfect for outdoor spring entertaining.
What are your favorite spring decorating ideas?
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
“Sometimes not much is just enough.”
― John O’Callaghan
Joss Stone: The Simple Things