New Library Bookshelves-Styled!

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As you saw in this post HERE–my Dad built IKEA Billy bookshelves into these custom built-in looking shelves in our front living room, which now functions as a quiet/reading library type space.



I am not at all an expert at bookshelf styling and in my haste to enjoy these shelves and have this room finally pulled together, I basically just put everything up, moved a few things around and considered it done. I am sure I will continue to do quite a bit of rearranging here and there in here for months to come.



My first thought was that clearly we need more books–there are a lot of shelves in here now, and we have another set of built-ins courtesy of the builder in my husband’s office with all of his books, and he wasn’t sharing!  My son was protective of his large book collection and I admit to thinking longingly of all the books we donated prior to our first {of three recent} moves, sigh. Anyway, I used what we have and we’ll no doubt continue to accumulate more. So for the final step I added some decorative plates, vases and family pictures to fill the huge amount of display space we now have.

In the bottom corner {behind the chair} are many of our special children’s books. They are so thin they don’t display as well as adult books but they are favorite keepsakes. My aunt, a teacher, had countless books autographed by the author when they visited her school and gave them to my children. Our collection is impressive and precious and I will pass them down someday to future {gulp} grandchildren. In the meantime, having them here and at ground-level makes them still accessible to my youngest when she wants to read.


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As for the styling process I started by putting the books in groups on the shelves first, attempting to balance them throughout the four shelves. I next put the three silhouettes of my children into place since with their black and white contrast they stand out the most.  From there I added in all the other decorative items here and there.




I did a little bit of squinting to see how the colors stood out, but didn’t spend too long on it.  I shopped my house for some other vases, decorations and gold frames to keep within the same color palate.  I found this article HERE from A Prudent Life to be a great resource on shelf styling, mine are certainly still a work in progress.




I added a more decorative accessories back in the room, my chairs returned from our Family Room to their rightful home in this room, with a few new pillows and a tray for drinks and the room was pretty much done.



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A few cherry blossoms from the tree outside were the finishing touch, if only those were available year-round!  Aren’t they pretty?




I just need to get a small loveseat and then the chairs will likely move to either side of the small dresser. The dresser was my grandmother’s {as was the game table above}, and I store table linens in it. I have debated painting it but just can’t quite bring myself to do it even though the veneer is chipping away after so many moves.




An hour or so after this was all done, my children were all playing outside and my husband and I sat in the chairs and enjoyed a glass of wine with our dog sleeping quietly in a sunny spot the room. It was so peaceful, it was exactly what I had hoped this space would become in our home. It’s the perfect quiet spot to relax, something that isn’t always easy with kids and activities and jobs and such, but we’re trying!



You can see the post on how these were built HERE and HERE.



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  1. Love your styling!! It all looks so great!

  2. Amy, the room looks beautiful! I could really fill a lot of those shelves. My books are scrunched together in a small bookcase and some are packed away. I did donate a lot prior to this move but can’t see letting go of more right now. 🙂 I so love your chairs! The cherry blossoms are beautiful ~ and yes, too bad they’re not available longer.

    Enjoy your week!

  3. adriana esparta says

    beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!!!

  4. Wow – thanks for mentioning my styling guide – I”m so glad it was helpful. Your bookshelves look great!!!

  5. Gorgeous room! I like how the shelves aren’t stuffed with stuff. We have built in shelves in our office and we have so many books and knick knacks crammed in that it would be nice to unload some of the clutter.

    • Thanks Rosy! I seem to keep adding things to the shelves, it may become a clutter issue eventually! LOL. Have a nice day 🙂

  6. I would love to know where you found this rug.

  7. White BILLY bookshelves propped with books, pictures and personal objects. Closed storage baskets underneath.

  8. Rosemarie u says

    That looks fantastic, I would love to do this .

  9. your bookcases are lovely! i was actually looking for a little bit of information about finishing my billy bookcases by adding baseboards, adjusting the doors, and possibly shimming because they sit on tile floor. in your photos what really fascinates me is the level of moulding dedicated to the windows in that room – very fancy! i was hoping i could see a bit more detail in closer pics elsewhere, but didn’t come up with anything searching. oh well. the room looks great. best!

    • Thank you, that was actually molding the builder put on. This room was the “formal” living room in the house prior to us making it more useful as a ‘library’ as I like to call it. I believe the trim was an upgrade? Take care, Amy

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