Bookshelf makeover

Back in November 2018 I never imagined that a superstorm and the resulting flooded rooms would eventually lead to a complete makeover of so many of our downstairs rooms. But if you like to look for silver linings, and I very much do, this particular one wasn’t very hard to see: I was finally going to get the home makeover I’d been wanting for so long.

Not long after moving into our home almost twenty years ago we decided that the shallow alcove at the end of the dining room would be perfect for a bookshelf, and after a trip to Ikea we loaded up on three Billy bookcases and a CD tower to lie across the top. It fit the space like it was made for it, and has long been a talking point when new friends first visit. Everyone bonds over books it seems.

Our Billy bookshelves, with the CD tower across the top.

When it came time to replace the flooring we decided it was time to say farewell to our Billy shelving and update the bookshelves along with everything else. And since we were also replacing the entertainment units we chose to have all of it custom made in the same finish and style. Nothing says grown up like cohesive and coordinated interior decor, am I right?

So out Billy came, and has since been moved to the garage where it once again fits the space I had for it, and fills the need for neat garage storage perfectly. Seriously, talk about getting our few hundred bucks worth out of these shelves.

Back in the house I now had a gaping hole as well as a bulkhead above the shelving that was way out of level, but in the end it all came together, and the new shelves fit even better than the Billy ones did. They’re also wrapped all the way around in skirting boards, for that really polished and built in look. {Just waiting on a coat of paint any day now…}.

What we also did, on the recommendation of the joiner, was to leave the back of the shelving open and paint the wall instead. Colour wise we chose a dusky blue shade, which will tie in with the mostly white, black, and grey colour palette, as well as complimenting the new floorboards. Seeing it done I’m so glad we took his suggestion because I think it looks amazing.

I Googled ideas for arranging bookshelves but soon realised that all the results involved pretty bookshelves with very little actual books on them. And since the new shelves were higher I didn’t want to line the books up library style as I’d be losing a lot of height and therefore space. In the end I went with a mix, lining up taller books and hardcovers and stacking the paperbacks. I also wanted the whole thing to have a symmetrical flow, so I divided according to size and subject, and roughly split everything either across one whole level or on opposite sides.

In the picture above you can see that across the top three shelves I have all the fiction novels, some standing up and others stacked in piles, but mostly keeping the height the same all the way across. The couple of books that are a tiny bit higher is me wanting to keep one author’s books in the one pile.

The next shelf down is all my cookbooks, with the most used ones in the middle, again divided symmetrically according to height and finished with a pretty little fashion hardcover standing on top of the stack in the centre. The two outer shelves have the tallest books on opposite ends, with a couple of decor items acting as bookends.

I left the very centre shelf free of books, using it instead to feature a family photo and a couple of trinkets that have special meaning. My husband’s record collection went on one of the bottom shelves, and may end up being split across the two bottom outer shelves once he buys more records because they just barely fit. I’m sure as we settle in with it and use it I’ll tweak a few things here and there, but for now I LOVE IT!!!

Finally finished!!!
Before and after


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