Built-in bookshelves, BAYBAAAAY! I’ve always dreamed of having built-in bookshelves in my home, and the house I moved into does! Sturdy white bookshelves on either side of a built-in propane fireplace with the hilarious brand name “Heatilator”. Sounds so Beverly Hillbillies, doesn’t it?
While these bookshelves are totally boss and everything I ever wanted in life, they come with a couple of challenges.
Challenge number one: These guys are extremely deep. We’re talking more than two feet deep. Bookshelves for giants. If I use them for books, there will be a ton of wasted space at the back, and I’m not in love with the idea of stacking books in front of one another.
Challenge number two: One of them is kinda jacked up because the previous homeowner used it to hold a small TV. You can kind of see in the picture above how the top left shelf has a cutaway on the left side. Not to mention the ugly cable box cords running down the back.
I wasn’t really sure where to start when it came to decorating these, so I started the only way I knew how – by texting my best friend. I sent her a picture and explained the above challenges. Her thoughts: put books on them, and who cares about the wasted space behind them. Okay, fair enough.
So the first thing I did was grab some of my favorite books and arrange them on the bottom right shelf.
Hey, that’s better already! I always like to place books horizontally and vertically to give my shelves more visual interest, so I surrounded a horizontal stack of books with vertical ones on either side.
After this, I did a little thinking and decided I wanted to place a candle on the horizontal stack of books, and probably find a big bowl or basket to take up some space on one of the top shelves. I had to go to Target that day for a few groceries, so I looked around while I was there and happily found what I was looking for!
When I got home, here’s what I came up with:
I found a little gold mercury glass votive candle on a clearance endcap that was perfect to place on top of my horizontal stack of books. Once I added the votive, I was happy with the way the lower shelf was looking, so I moved on to the top.
There’s an outlet at the back of each of the top shelves and I wanted to try to disguise them as best as I could. I grabbed two blankets I already had that were languishing in the linen closet, folded them neatly, and added them to the top right shelf.
I had found a little copper wire basket in the Dollar Spot for $3, so I placed it next to the blankets. It ties in nicely with some copper accents we have throughout the rest of the room, including this big mama copper wire basket I also found at Target. (Oops, left the tag on.)
I haven’t decided what to fill the basket with yet, but some ideas are: pinecones, birch logs, spools of twine, or to start a collection of cutout letters (my last initial) of different shapes and sizes and keep them there.
To hide the slap-dash-ness of that shelf, I also want to get some white MDF and make false panels for the left side and the back.
The small copper basket on the right also needed some kind of purpose, so I grabbed another stack of books, faced them backwards, and stacked them in there along with a couple of mason jars. I’m thinking about finding something with a little height to add to the jars, along the lines of lavender or wheat.
Now the right side looks like this:
Here’s the before of the whole area:
And here’s the after:
Yay! Much better. Now, to work on those MDF false fronts for that top left shelf and brainstorm something to fill that basket with. Let me know if you have any ideas on that! (And maybe I should take the tag off the basket, duh).
Bonus pic of my cat being a spoiled rotten diva:
Life tip: If you want your cat to leave you alone, get this blanket. Mine won’t leave it for anything.