Monday, May 9, 2011

How to Make the Shelves Look Good

I'm no expert: but I do have a lot of shelves! So, I thought I would share with you the best advice and examples I found in my research for this dilemma.

The folks at Young House Love share the same attitude as I: errrrgh!

It's hard.

I want functional. No colour coding! No books turned backwards! Fortunately, they are practical people and they don't suggest it. (They do mention perhaps covering your books with plain paper, but only parenthetically, so I don't hold it against them). Here's the link to their post: Styling a Bookcase. (I have paraphrased their excellent advice below.)

Back in the old days, when I first assembled my Expedit, I set things up just so:

I was so thrilled with it.

But, it has grown--and overgrown.

Here are a few inspiration photos I followed while following the advice from YHL.

source: Flickr. left, Chez-Larsson, right, almostbunnies.

This one, however, from Karen, a Canadian blogger is my favourite, hands down. It looks functional. It looks like what it is: a bookcase. And it is attractive.

source: The Art of Doing Stuff. Technically it isn't the Expedit, but 5 narrow Billy's. Close enough!

So, how to go from mine to hers?

1) I did take everything out. I wouldn't have except I wanted to wipe the dust and dirt out of each cubby, and I wanted to move it down the wall a few inches.

How frustrating was this? I just wanted to

So, to put everything back:

2) YHL says to put the big stuff back in first. Group like-coloured things together and put them back in a staggered pattern--but not an obvious zig-zag. This is my attempt at this step:

Hmmm. I haven't quite got the hang of the "staggering" thing, do I? But see the hanging paper files peeking out at the right? W hew. All tucked in!

I decided to treat my scrapbook albums as "one thing." That is, I'd group all the red, all the green, all the blue: regardless of finish. (I have been slowly converting my albums over from modge podge of brands and styles to American Craft cloth albums.) It was an enormous improvement..

But then, then, I thought to call my scrapbook store and see if they had any more in stock. They did! And not only that but everything in the store was 30% off! Oh happy day.

I wanted to go to Ikea and get two more large green Kasset boxes, too.

3) YHL then recommends I put back the medium sized items, like plants, vases and baskets. Oh--and books, of course.

4) Lastly, the little things. I don't have "little" things, not really.

And so, after much fussing about, I finished.

There we go. I've staggered the green things, the red things and the black things. Following the example of bookshelves from The Art of Doing Things, I also grouped things horizontally (or with horizontal lines) more or less around the center. The wooden magazine holders are in an attractive "L" shape. At least, I hope it is attractive. And you know what else? All the books are arranged by subject--though, I admit, they're by height within those groupings, and not, ahem, in alphabetical order.

But then there was the top to do--and not only the top of the Expedit. There was the top of the China cabinet and another book case to contend with too. I looked to a few sources. Here's a post by Maria Killiam at Colour Me Happy. Candlesticks, books and a flower. A good place to start.

This is the top of my Billy bookcase. I framed a piece of my daughter's art with scrap paper.

For the tops of my Expedit and China cabinet, I let the following pictures inspire me:

Here is the China cabinet:

Yes, that's the wall paper that was used as shelf paper in my cleaning closet. Isn't that gorgeous?

The top of the Expedit is a work in progress, still, I'm sad to say. I bought these canvases just a couple of days ago. I was thinking of the top of Danielle Thompson's expedit, of course.

I don't like the colour of the urn but I'm not sure what exactly to do with it. The big sugar bowl is from an old tea set my half-sister's grandmother gave to her (and which she gave to my daughter).

So, here are the dramatic side by side befores and afters.


The top of the China Cabinet:

And last, but by no means least, the Expedit.

What do you think?

Linking to the 120th Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Check out the other entries! They are a wonderful source of inspiration and motivation. And thanks for visiting.


scb said...

You've done a fantastic job! I have to say my favourite thing is the top of the china cabinet. Gorgeous. The wallpaper from the closet looks amazing -- and you knew it would, didn't you?

Wonder what you'll think of my bookcases when I'm ready for the big reveal of the Writing Room?

onshore said...

Wonderfull! The green boxes on the bottom make it look more controlled but then there is a suprise green on the left upper corner. The scrapbooking albums are amazing, love the tags.

The Art of Doing Stuff said...

Good job! It's me, Karen, of the inspiration bookcase, by the way. LOL. Your bookcase looks much better! Don't expect to stop fiddling by the way. I still even fiddle with mine occasionally! The one thing I would change (but that's just me) is balancing out the bottom by putting the binders that are at the far right of your bottom shelf, in the centre instead. Either that or put the binders to the far left. With the green boxes in the upper left corner (which I love) you're too sold green heavy on the left of the bookcase. Either changes will balance it out a bit. Other than that I think it looks perfect. Heck, even w/out that it looks perfect! ~ karen

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