I moved a few months back and between chasing after my 8 month old and keeping up with my design work I still have not settled in properly. Yes, those are boxes in my “before” photo above {eek!} So I decided that I really must take a bit of time and get it under control! I have three bookshelves in my room so today I rolled up my sleeves and tackled one of them.

It’s not perfect and it’s not done quite yet but I do think it’s a vast improvement!

Here’s how I did it…

Step 1: I began by “wallpapering” the back of the shelf with a pale pink damask scrapbook paper {shown in the “during” photo above}. I wanted to break up the wood tone and this was a perfect solution that will allow me to easily change it if I want to.

Step 2: Now I started putting things on and off until I reached a mix that I was happy with. I like a layered look and I have so many books and such that a minimalist look is definitely out of the question :-)

Here’s my breakdown
{Shelf One} Often I think it’s great to group books by color but for this project I preferred to group things by height – there’s also a bit of genre grouping but even that’s a little random. I started this row with books in a traditional vertical order and placed a few on their side at the mid-point. These made an ideal pedestal for a mini oil painting and cast iron dog (more about those below). I am so inspired by Carolyne Roehm’s books and I particularly love the cover of A Passion for Parties so I thought it would be nice to turn that facing out as a bit of extra “art work” on my shelf. In front of this I included a ceramic white pumpkin from my small tureen collection which I placed on a hand-painted salad plate that has a scalloped border. I rounded this shelf off with a few more entertaining books.

{Shelf Two} I have a wicker basket that I knew I wanted to include for extra texture so I filled that with some books. I thought it needed a little something “extra” on the front so I attached one of my “Baby’s 1st Christmas” keepsake ornaments to it which I thought was just enough detail and not detracting from the overall look. (I really should now fill this with some of my daughter’s baby books – I need to remember that!) then I centered it on the shelf and filled in the sides with a couple of book series. {Shout out to all you Harry Potter & Twilight fans!} I placed two sweet little wrought iron scottie dogs in front and done!

{Shelf Three} My collection of Victoria magazines – well most of them anyway – fills the last shelf. I really need to get some magazine storage bins but in the meantime I like this arrangement. A combination of vertical and horizontal stacking kept this from getting too boring. I turned a couple of issues facing out behind the horizontal stacks which showed off the logo (which I love seeing) and added a nice pop of color. My wrought iron Frog Prince figurine and a decorative plate from Anthropologie add a bit of whimsy and color to an otherwise plain shelf.

{Top} Topping it all off is another beloved Carolyne Roehm book At Home with Carolyne Roehm, a chipped paint birdcage (more about that below) which is resting atop a couple of stacked books, and a few more sentimental treasures.

One thing I noticed was while arranging my books I found that I preferred the look of them without their dust jackets… but I hate to just toss the dust jackets… I’m wondering should I store them for a while before I decide that I don’t want to keep them… of course then there’s the question of where to store them! Do you keep yours? Drop me a note in the comments, I’d love to know!

As I described above in addition to stacking some books/magazine horizontally and vertically I also like to mix in some other beloved objects for extra visual appeal… enter a few of my favorite things:

{Top left} This is one of a pair of cast iron dog bookends that have been hanging around my family since I was a young girl. Nestled behind that is a mini oil painting by Ken Burnside that I found on ebay.
{Top right}
Here is a lovely old Fortnum & Mason tin that I scooped up at the Greenwood Country Store. I especially love that it has the accents of blue which match my wall color!
{Bottom Right}
This is another great Greenwood Store find – the white cast iron Scottie. I {heart} little iron figures from turtles to dogs and find myself with a growing collection of them.
{Bottom Left}
A closeup of the top of a birdcage I scored on clearance at Michael’s last year!

None of these are expensive items – each cost around $10 or less – but they are all loved and to me that’s what matters most!

Above the shelf I hung one of my Pottery Barn bulletin boards. I plan to create an inspiration board on it and will share that with you one of these days!

Enough for now…. I hope this inspires you to tackle a shelf in your home and if you do please share! I’d love to hear your ideas on organizing with style!

Happy Celebrating!

Jennifer Carroll. Celebrating Everyday Life blog

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