I'm also trying to make the most of the architectural features of the house by removing the heavy curtains that covered up the leaded windows. And recently the decision was made to keep the built-in bookcases in the snug instead of ripping them out and drywalling over the holes. I was for ripping them out, my reasoning being that there wasn't enough wall space for art and that they looked too heavy. But Alan and most of our
|Here they are dressed for Christmas in the original paint colour|
I must admit that once the room was painted a warmer brown, they didn't look nearly as out of place. And so I set my mind to accepting this decision and making the most of what I had. Once we decided to keep them, I needed to stage them so that they didn't look too cluttered. I hate bookcases that are overwhelmed with knick knacks, books and CDs or DVDs - which is what could have happened. We use the room primarily for exactly that - watching tv, reading the newspaper, relaxing.
No, I wanted something more stylish. Without spending a lot of money of course. So the first thing I did was go "shopping" in my own home and gathered some treasures fill the shelves. Here's tips on how to achieve a cohesive look:
Decide on a Theme:
Use What You Already Have:
|brain coral and old college books|
This white vase has been sitting in the cupboard for ages rarely being used for flowers because it's too tall and narrow. But it works quite well on the lower shelf next to the pediment that I did buy for next to nothing (yeah, Winners and Home Sense)
More coral, some old paperbacks from Alan's English Lit days at York University (just to remind us that they are bookshelves after all) and a new treasure - an orb balances off the lower shelf next.
Spaces Things According to Height and Size:
This collection of papier mache figures are a souvenir from a trip of Alan's. I like how the organic elements fit with the theme. In order to show them off properly, it was necessary to break the collection apart and place them on different shelves. Bunched together as a group of three would have overwhelmed the space. By putting them on different shelves, at opposite ends to each other, it allows the individuality of the figures to stand out and balance the smaller pieces on the same shelf.
Don't be afraid to add collections to your shelves. Grouping things together shows that you have a collection. But make sure that you don't overwhelm the space with too much of the same thing.
By putting the white vases and coral along with these figures, I was able to create more interest and light to the shelves.
Add Something Personal:
We all have a collection of favorite photographs. By adding a few of these to the bookcases personalizes the space. In this case I used an old photo of Alan and his friend, Celine, in the south of France, taken in the late 70's. It adds an element of remembrance of a special time.
But here's my take on photos on bookshelves or anywhere for that matter. Use them sparingly. You want to show off your family I know. But I don't want to make a shrine. I just want to highlight the best of what we have. That being said, I do have a "gallery" in the upstairs hall that is filled with family snapshots and favorites of the kids.
So that's it for how I styled these bookcases by making the most of what I had. Yes, I did buy a few things - the orb, the pediment, the white oval vase and that amazing free form plate - total cost $40 thanks to some thrifty shopping.