Let’s Take a Shelfie

I’ve been feeling really stuck in my decorating lately because I don’t have a project to work on at the moment (this is a dig at you not finishing digging the damn driveway hole Max).

While I wait and wait for less fun projects to wrap up so I can work on something I actually enjoy I become increasingly bored. So the other night I started to play around with the books on my coffee table. Which led to some excess books with no home. Which led to the inevitable rearranging of my bookcase.

I could be in the biggest décor rut and I would still be able to pull off some good shelves. I don’t mean to toot my own horn here but I’m just awesome at styling them. I have a few tips for bookcase styling that I thought I would share – because I’m not ready to acknowledge the hole in my yard with a post yet, and because I took some very helpful progress photos.


This is my bookcase. I started by clearing everything off of it for a clean slate.

It really is a lot shorter than I would ideally want any bookcase to be, but it was in Max’s bedroom at his parents house, and was therefore free to me, so I’ll live with it.

I started by putting our black globe on top. Max mentioned that he really wanted a globe, and so I found this black one that could fit into our décor at HomeSense on sale (of course). Putting a taller object on the top of the bookcase helps to lengthen it to give the illusion that it is not some squat little thing.

I then added this artsy photo of Remy running in the snow for some more height, as well as the spider plant. The plant kind of has to go here because it’s the only place it can fit and still allow the greenery to hang nicely – so that was more of a functional choice. This plant was a baby when I got it and despite my black thumb it is getting out of control. I have been looking for a bigger pot for it but it is difficult to find one I like with a tray underneath so I don’t get water everywhere.

I really like adding some greenery to a shelf like this.

I then went through my bulkier items, and placed the largest items in a “zig-zag” pattern down the shelf to create some balance throughout.


In case my explanation wasn’t great – I made this lovely diagram.


Next, on the taller first shelf, I layered in some more pictures. I decided to put the pictures on this shelf because it was tall enough to fit them (#genius). I pushed the larger one to the back of the shelf, and then added a smaller frame a bit in front (the stud frame which is from HomeSense). I finished this off with a blue and white flowerpot to create a grouping of three. Groups of odd numbers (3,5,7) work best in design, as mentioned in my Design Rules and Using Books post.


Here’s a wider view of that shelf.


Next I decided to layer in my books and magazines. On the opposite side of the larger bulkier items (which are zig-zagged) I placed the books in different formations (upright, laying down) for interest. Now we have an alternate zig-zag of books. This balance looks great on bookshelves like this. Also I’m getting sick of the word zig-zag.

Please note that this is not even a fraction of my books. Most are in storage, and only pretty spines get displayed.

I also placed my “Bush Flying Captured” book facing forward, to bridge the large space in the centre of that shelf and create some interest. I pushed it to the back so I could layer more items in front of it.

Next I “anchored” the stack of magazines by placing this wood box on top. This is something I talked about in my design rules post as well.


And I added some glassware because it’s pretty and I have to be hoarding it for a reason right? This is all from garage sales. It also works as a bookend for my Sarah Style books which I talked about in this post.


Behind this cool canteen that Max brought home from the firehall (one of my bulkier starting items) I added my “Best Girlfriend Award” trophy for some height, and rounded out this group of three with this welded metal star candle holder from the Salvation Army.


And we have a completed bookshelf!

I took a lot of pictures of it but you get the gist.


In the future I hope to get a rustic industrial book case like the one I saw at HomeSense from this post. Until then, adding height to this bookcase and styling it well makes a huge difference in my living room.

Let me know if you have any questions.



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