Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Post We've All Been Waiting For -- BOOKSHELVES!

I say "we" because I know many of you have been wanting to see photos of the rest of my bookcases, but I've just been dying to get my precious books out of boxes. The fact that I can finally write this post and share the end of this project with you is very exciting for me. Almost six months after moving in, I am finally, officially, fully unpacked. YAY! It's a good feeling I tell you, a very good feeling indeed.

I've already shared my kitchen cookbook bookshelves and my bedroom nightstand bookshelves, but let's be honest, this barely scratched the surface in terms of "reading" books (as opposed to cookbooks, which are clearly my other obsession). The remainder of my collection is now in the "living room" with a small number also residing in the den. They say a house is not a home without books, but clearly a room is not a room unless it has a bookshelf -- in my house, anyway!

Let's start off with the last two tiny shelves in the den. First, I have a small bookcase that fits mass-market paperbacks perfectly. Instead of taking up space on shelves that easily fit much larger books, I put a few authors I have a lot of books for in this format here:

A $5 yard sale find!

Then I have another small bookcase I'm using for reference books (home/gardening/crafting), Nick's Star Wars & Yankee books, and coffee table books. I use our coffee table as a work station, so no room for them there! The piles on top are library books, so those are not there permanently.

This one they were giving away at a yard sale --
the man couldn't hoist it into my car fast enough!

Now onto the really good stuff! Our living room has officially been dubbed the "reading room" by my aunt, and I can't say she's wrong. I didn't really want a formal living room because I know that even while entertaining, everyone will gravitate toward the couch in the den anyway since it's right off the kitchen. I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on living room furniture that wouldn't really get used, so I asked myself how I would really like to use this room and, of course, the answer was to have a quiet place to read. To facilitate that, I went all out and got this ridiculously over-sized reading chair and ottoman. Heaven. Pure heaven. If only I had more time to curl up in it!

Please ignore the "construstion corner" on the left
filled with supplies for our many homeowner projects!

Other than the big-ass reading chair, the only other furniture in this room is the bookcases (Hence, "reading room.") I do want some additional seating eventually -- maybe a pair of high-back chairs or a bench under the window, we'll see -- but I don't want to overcrowd this room because someday I may move my desk out here.

My dad wanted to build us bookshelves, but wood-working is a new hobby for him that he'd like to do more of when he retires, so we decided a giant bookcase was a bit too big of a project to start out with. So we went with these shelves from IKEA instead which were the perfect balance of quality and value for us. They are actually 3 separate units from the HEMNES line installed to look like a custom corner unit. They are made of solid wood and I challenge anyone to find solid wood bookcases for a better price. Granted, the back is not wood, but I'll take that compromise since it is pressboard which is much better quality than just cardboard which I've seen on other units. I had to put them together, but at this point I am a pro at that kind of thing!

No one was more surprised than I was to realize there actually would be a few free shelves -- room to grow!

They are obviously not built-ins, but they fit into the space we had perfectly -- next to the fireplace, but not too close; filling up most of the wall, but not so much that it looks too over-sized.

I love that little wine rack I found at the Christmas Tree Shoppe -- its latest addition is this adorable bottle my aunt brought as a house-warming gift:

How freakin' cute?!
As for organization, I decided to divide up by general categories and then go alphabetically by author. So on the left I have adult fiction:

In the middle, I have the end of the adult fiction, books-about-books, memoir/non-fiction/misc....

and classics.

And on the right, I have all the young adult/middle grade books.

Looks like the collection has already grown --
1 more shelf filled since I took the earlier photos!

And I couldn't resist creating a special Harry Potter shelf. My husband had the original hardcovers on his nightstand bookcase, but I wanted to display our collection all together. Also, we remembered he had lent out a few of "his" books that won't fit on his bookcase once they are returned if we didn't do some re-arranging.

So our official collection includes all 7 hardcovers, the (newly arrived!) 15th anniversay paperback set, a British paperback edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone I picked up while in Scotland, the 2-book set of school books (Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages), a regular edition and special collector's edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and the rather frightening looking thing on top is The Monster Book of Monsters which isn't an actual book, but a gift from Harry Potter World from Nick's parents, which certainly fits the theme!

This might sound really cheesy, but our house feels so much more homey to me now that I have the reading nook and bookshelves set up. What can I say, I'm a book-lover through and through!


  1. Looks great, Christine! :)

  2. I am so envious! :D Right now we only have two big bookshelves (also from IKEA, about the size as your IKEA ones), and it's not enough. But the place we live in is really small, so there isn't room for many shelves.

    Can I just say that the lowest bottom of the classics section looks absolutely yummi. These editions... maaan! I have never read Harry Potter (blasphemy!), but but I really like those new covers, so I ordered first three ones from Book Depository last week and they will hopefully arrive soon.

    So many books I recognise from your shelves that I have/have read as well, wonderful post!

    1. Thanks Riv! IKEA can be so great for things like this! I adore my classics section, though I definitely need to make a better effort of reading more of them...they're all just so pretty, I keep collecting them! I love the new Harry Potter covers--I hope you enjoy them! They are excellent books, but also kind of light, so nice to mix those kind in every once in a while.

  3. WOW! Those are beautiful! I wish I thought of getting my books organized more like yours. Your house is just like a bookstore. So jealous!
    My shelves are sectioned off by Read-Keep Pile and need to read pile.


    1. Thanks Alysia! My husband family was joking that I need to start issuing them library cards, since I practically have my own library/store, LOL. I was very tempted to sort by Read and Not Read, but I thought I might end up doing too much shuffling around, and it would probably depress me to see just how many are unread! I can see how that could be useful though.

  4. Congrats on getting fully unpacked!!!

    Your reading chair is to die for! Also those three bookshelves in the corner do fit perfectly! And it's super awesome you have some space for new books, because we all know you will get some more. ;) Oh and your Harry Potter shelf made my whole day. P.S. Ikea is a wonderful store and yard sales rock.

    Great pictures and thanks for sharing! I'm glad your house feels more homey now. :D

    1. Thanks Kay! I absolutely love that darn chair... And yea, I definitely have gotten a few more books already, it's a sickness I tell you! My parents live right near an IKEA, so it used to be so much easier to shop there, but for these beauties, we made a special trip :)

  5. Your bookshelves look great! I love the new Harry Potter boxed set. I'm so tempted to buy it even though I don't need it. I recently posted my shelves too, and I've got my first edition Tales of Beedle the Bard in a place of honor - top shelf! I had to smile at the "House" wine. My mother-in-law's maiden name is "House," and her family had a huge reunion a few years ago with "House" wine!

    1. Thanks Kristin! I totally didn't *need* them, but Harry Potter is a weakness of mine (and my husband's!). So cool you have Beedle the Bard too, I think it was so nicely done and it's one of my favorite HP items in the collection. And that is too funny about the wine! I don't think I would find my last name or my maiden name on any wine bottles any time soon LOL


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