Now that the bookshelves are finished, it’s time to fill them! Bookshelves don’t just have to be for books, but I always envisioned these cases being pretty stuffed full of them. I had a decent collection, but I soon realized it wasn’t nearly enough for what I had in mind. I put a call out on Instagram for some ideas of places to get books at a decent price, and after a few weeks I’ve managed to assemble a few hundred more books for less than about $50. Not too shabby.
A lot of thrift stores were having book sales after the New Year, and I tried my best to take advantage. ReStore had all books for 5 cents, another store was offering 20 books for $1 and yet another place had 50 cents a book. It’s funny how relative cost is. The 50 cents seemed like a lot to pay after clearing out the first two stores!
My rule in buying books that I don’t plan to read at the moment is as follows: it must be pretty and it must be interesting. The pretty is rather self-explanatory. The interesting can go a few different ways. If it’s a subject that’s of interest to me or one of my family members than it’s a buy: sports, interior design, arts, photography, mystery, suspense, biography, history, travel, humor. Sometimes a title makes me laugh or feels relevant in a funny way, like What a Young Wife Ought to Know or The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet who me? A stuffed bookcase doesn’t have to be stuffy.
Will I ever read the encyclopedias? Likely not, but they are such a great addition, esthetically speaking. The collections give your eyes a place to rest, and I was really happy to find several great sets of encyclopedias and authors’ full bodies of work. There are so many ways to arrange a bookshelf, but I thought I’d share how I put this one together.
I began by placing the collections sporadically on the shelves first. Then I arranged the coffee table books on the bottom shelves and simply began filling in with the rest of the books. I noticed there were mostly black and the brightest pop was usually reds so I tried to space those out evenly throughout the cases. I didn’t pay much attention to sizes – I wanted the shelves to feel very collected over time and not too thought out.
When I started filling the shelves last Saturday the books were spread out on all of the shelves. While I liked the idea of filling in as I went that way some of our original books were mixed in with all the newer books it was hard to tell how many more I needed. So I brought all the books in to fully fill the shelves and now I’m left with both side cases empty. Based on what’s already there I still need about 250 more books. Yikes. I also need to figure out what is going to go above. I love the idea of a collection: some big ginger jars or similar looking large busts, but since I’m not hoarding either of those things in my basement it’s an addition that will have to wait.
I definitely want to add in a few more decorative items and art to make it feel even more personal, but getting the books right first and then taking out a few here and there for objects seems the easiest. I got some negative feedback on Instagram regarding the fact that we built these shelves without having enough books to fill them. It wasn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last. Putting your life on the internet opens you up to criticism. I understand what people meant, but I’m sorry they think that way. “If you build it, they will come” comes to mind. They’re right, we didn’t have a lot of books, but we’ve never had a lot of space for books. Now that we have the space I’m really excited to have more books because they’re pretty and hopefully someday when things slow down a bit I’ll love reading them.