Bookshelves Complete

November 7, 2011

Hey all!  Guess how I spent my weekend?  Filling up those bookcases we built a week ago, yippee!  I love books, and I love decorative objects.  This new wall of bookcases allows me to combine the best of both. I’ve heard such great things about the convenience of Kindle and iPad reading, but for me, there’s nothing like a book to touch and smell, and for savoring the words on a printed page.

How best to begin this project?  I had to start at the back. Grasscloth wallpaper would have been major cool, but expensive and time consuming.  Been there, done that.  Wrapping paper or scrapbook paper might have been fun I couldn’t find the right one. Stencils seemed too busy.  One thing I knew, I was going to pack it with a book + collectible combo and I worried with all the stuff, the background would compete.

I finally decided to paint the back of these bookcases a rich teal color, because 1. it’s a color I never get tired of, 2. it showcases all the white accessories, 3. it coordinates with the colors in the window panels in the room and 4. it was just so dang easy. 


I started this adventure Saturday morning, coffee cup in my left hand, paintbrush in the right. Painting the backs was the easy part.  (Tip: use a good angled brush!) The hard part was later in the day when it was dry.  After I put all the shelves back in, I was staring at piles and piles of my favorite books, and deciding where they should all go.  Very daunting.  Worse, I was distracted with the piles of books because I can’t help but crack the spines or peek at the pages I’ve tabbed in the past or flip through to see what I’ve underlined.  Do you do that?  Underline and tab and bookmark your favorite pages?  I wasn’t allowed to when I was little, but I do it all the time now, I can’t stop.

I finally decided just to organize them by category, like at a bookstore or library (wow, original concept!)  It just makes sense to group them that way.  Fiction, nonfiction, reference, design, faith, travel, etc.  I was only able to fit about 75% of my books because it was starting to feel too crowded, but so be it. I’ll either donate the rest or put them back in a closet where most of them lived before.

wall of bookcases cg


This was our blank wall before the built ins. 

kates bookcases before


For the full story of our IKEA Billys to built ins, read this.

kates bookcases during


Here they are all painted and filled with books + favorite things.

centsational girl bookcases after


I played around all weekend following some of the tips from this article, including stacking the books different ways, and hanging artwork on the outside.  I finally settled on what was visually pleasing to me. 

I bought a set of four butterfly prints at an antique faire years ago and they used to hang in the bathroom, but they fit so nicely on display on the bookshelves.  I added texture with my favorite shell ball, some faux coral candlesticks, and a simple oak tree branch. Pops of color come from other collected items like bowls, candles, and glass balls.

bookcase detail cg


Nothing like a few Goodwill finds to help out!  A few pinkish mauve dollar finds were primed and painted to create new bookends.

goodwill vases turned bookends


Some of my mister’s favorite things are on display too, like his mandolin (which he never plays but was a gift from a friend and it’s sculptural and beautiful) and his record player.  Baskets hold little extras like smaller books or travel guides.

white built in bookcases from left cg


Most of the white ceramics I’ve collected over time from flea markets, thrift stores, or in the clearance section of retails stores (like that lattice lantern, a discount Z Gallerie find).

styled bookcase detail cg


Finally, I changed the old boob light on the ceiling that was bugging me. I found this oval drum shade pendant at Lowe’s for 50% off, spray painted the metal parts antique gold, and hung it above the table. I’m still debating whether to paint those chairs and I’m on the hunt for a new rug, maybe sisal.

kates bookshelves and table


If you’re interested in the paint color, it’s a custom mix from my stash of paints.  It’s half ‘Pewter’ and half ‘Venezuelan Sea’, both by Benjamin Moore.  I’ll try to color match it with some of my paint fan decks later today.

** Update: The pendant is the Barcelona by Good Earth Lighting.  Three close color matches to the dark teal paint are: Dutch Boy ‘Turquoise Sea’ (slightly more saturated); Ben Moore Naples Blue (slightly darker); and Ben Moore Affinity Line ‘Fiji’ (closest match).



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