By Gabrielle van Welie
Even non-bibliophiles quaver under the splendor of Belle’s library or shed a small tear when thinking about the library of Alexandria turning into smithereens. Because books elevate any room’s IQ, they have often been used for interior design. But if like me, you find yourself on the hoarding end of the spectrum, your book decorating skills could probably use a hand.
A good starting point is getting a headcount of your collection. Is the number so alarming you need to take drastic measures? Do not let the heart palpitations get to you. There is never such a thing as too many books. If you’re willing to make some compromises, that is.
If you own:
1,000 Books or More
I suggest you sell your furniture. Install wall shelving across your whole home and accept that you will now live in a library. Upsides to this include: 1) You can reenact your favorite "Beauty and the Beast" scenes and 2) people will assume you’re a very well-off tycoon.
It might look bad now, but your problem is manageable. I did mention comprises would be needed, so pick a room you’re willing to forgo. Are your kids already sharing a bedroom? They can sleep on the porch. This vacant room can now be allocated for your own home library. As you can appreciate in this image, there is no need for your library to look “old” (although taste is always of the utmost importance for a dignified bibliophile). You can color-code your YA and make the room look “hip,” as the kids say.
Three-hundred is the sweet spot for book owners who don’t want to invest too much when it comes to accommodating their beloved literature. It works out even better if your collection is mostly made up of handsome hardcovers as opposed to tacky paperbacks. What you will need is a proper bookshelf unit to serve as the focal point of your living room. You can mix and match with trinkets and other artifacts.
Good news. There are also such things as TV shelving units which would allow you to tastefully intermix books, CDs, DVDs, and electronic devices such as the aforementioned television. This is a good alternative for those who are still growing their collection and need to fill some space. It’s not ideal, since nobody can really watch "Friends" and read "One Hundred Years of Solitude" in the same room, but it’ll do.
At this stage, you are close to becoming a bookaholic, but you haven’t passed the bar yet. This could be because you’re a child, an amateur, or a person who lost all their books in a fire and is now restoring their collection. In any case, your current compendium is better off finding shelter in your home office. Because it’s a smaller space, the more limited shelving units will pass as a decorative decision and not a cry for help. This way, you can gradually acquire more books until they’re ready to upgrade to the living room.
I suppose books are heavy to transport when you’re moving to a new home. I’m empathetic to the thought of you, carefully selecting 50 books to take with you, sobbing on your childhood bedroom floor. To show my support, I’ve found a solution to your temporary stack. A minimalist style will help account for the empty space of your missing books. For a better look, select accents that don’t clash with the book spines, and play around with the setup until it looks natural.
If the ballpark figure is 10, you’re better off using your books as accents. You can use them around the house to enhance some shelves, night stands or coffee tables. To create more cohesive-looking sets, match the book binding to the style of the room.
First, I want to direct you to a library. Second, although your books certainly feel lonely and need to socialize with other books, you can still make the most of what you’ve got. After all, there’s no better centerpiece than a good ol’ pile of books. If you consider three a pile, that is.
Even if you only own one book, it still works. But then again, maybe just read it?
This post was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends.