The Shelf Dilemma

8 Nov

You might remember me posting before about my dream home spaces.  In a nutshell: white and grey with a hint of colour.  Blissfully uncluttered, light and open, minimalist in a cozier, lived in kind of way.

Meet my shelf and reality.

the shelf

We picked it up a few years ago off the street.  It was put in the kitchen to hold our growing book collection.  It was not meant to stay – it is varnished blue for goodness sake!  However, it has made the journey with us to our new house and is in fact the only shelf we own.

What you will note:

  1. We own a lot of books: see the ‘little’ pile on the floor and the delightful way I have crammed books into every space (well at least most of them are off the floor right?)
  2. The top is cluttered with non-book related stuff.
  3. Books are colourful, i.e. they do not fit into aforementioned dream notion of white and grey with a hint of colour.

Aside from throwing half our books out (or at least taking them down to our local secondhand book store/charity shop) I am a bit stumped as to what to do with this assault on my delicate senses.

Firstly, I am planning on painting the shelf. As with comments on the post about painting wood I think I do generally prefer plain wood to painted, but I think getting the blue varnish off of this would be far too much effort.  I have a can of white paint to hand but was pondering a light grey…

Then I thought I could colour code the books.

I am hoping to get a bureau type piece of furniture for a bit of space outside the kitchen where my cook books could be relocated to (they currently take up about half a shelf)..

Not sure if we will hang the picture of Florence or leave it there – it is quite a heavy frame.

Any other thoughts would be great?

(click bottom image for source)


4 Responses to “The Shelf Dilemma”

  1. The Girl 8 November 2011 at 9:46 am #

    Yep I think a lick of paint would make the world of difference here.

    I am totally torn when it comes to colour coding. Part of me absolutely loves it because it is still ordering and I feel strongly about having things in order but I don’t think I could relinquish a grasp on the greatest order of all – alpabetising. I would worry that I wouldn’t be able to find a book because I couldn’t remember if the spine was yellow or red.

    But then I have mental problems so I wouldn’t worry about me.

    But I think you might well have to buy some more shelving space given that little teetering pile of books you have piled up next to it – I don’t think moving the cooking books is going to free up enough space!

    And a clear out is always fun in my book – set them free to go and live somewhere else if you really really hand on heart are never going to pick them up again.

    I. love. books.

    And this post is oddly timed because I have a bookshelf post of my own lined up – I just need some decent light in order to take pictures!

  2. Fiona 8 November 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Oooh, what a tough call! When we moved house I actually kept a box of books packed up because I knew there wasn’t enough shelf space for them, and I worried my husband would force me to get rid of them if they were piled around the room (which to me, is a completely fair way to store books!).

    A lick of paint makes sense, maybe with some contrasting backing paper (if you did it light grey, maybe some striped wallpaper/drawer liners)?

    I’m of the “categories” school of thought when it comes to organising books: too many different themes in my bookshelf: maths, economics, art, fiction, travel etc – I like to keep like with like. This also inadvertently keeps similar sizes together (text books vs travel guides vs novels).

    Also… for me, giving books to a charity shop makes me feel free to purchase a new one (probably from the same charity shop) – nice circle of book-life!

    Those are my (many) thoughts on this topic!

  3. myschoolhouserocks 9 November 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    I always love the photos of the colour coded books but I looked at my bookshelf and they simply aren’t pretty or colourful enough to code without lots of paper and then you are just covering up the books. I went with categories like Mystery (Ian Rankin), book series (Harry Potter), Fantasy (The Bible) and am content to look at photos of other people’s lovely colour coded books.

  4. kellyyoung192 10 November 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Wow… so the book dilemma continues… LOL 🙂

    I think a lick of paint is a great step in the right direction, but then have you thought of either getting some roman blinds or wall hanging in a cool fabric that goes with your ultimate colour scheme, that you could use as a ‘curtain’ to essentially hide the mess…

    It means you could stuff more stuff in there… and then have a smaller pretty bookshelf, coded in whichever way you want and all the things that can’t be coded neatly, can be chucked behind the curtain… 😉

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