Updated: Jul 24
In this blog series on creating a special place for you (and yours) to unwind in your home as we find ourselves in our abodes more, another suggestion is to decorate with what you got. For me that is books. I have accumulated a little less than 1000 books thus far in my life (thanks to a little help of the contribution from my four kids and me going back to school later in life). I have a daughter who tells me not to accumulate any more books with the exception that if I do acquire another book, I have to sacrifice (i.e. donate) an old one to keep my book count constant. I use a digital eReader (or audio) but then if I really like the book, I end up buying it. I try to honor my daughter's request. I assure her I do not hide things (i.e. money) in the books to alleviate that concern when cleaning and clearing up after me when that time comes.
Here’s where and how I store and display my treasures. The diamond cut, the diagonal bookshelf was a custom-made graduation gift I gave myself (https://thd.co/2Djoemg).
Surprisingly, I have a fairly good idea where a certain book can be found. There is no Dewey decimal system or color-coding. I do have favorite author books grouped together, or a subject theme within each cubby.
One question always asked by guests is if I have read all the books? Higher education (with its reading requirements against limited time) taught me how to read strategically for information. I am grateful for technology and ability to query a word in an eBook for a needed reference point for a paper but still, I remember and learn best the old school way, highlighting and making notes in books and on paper. So yeah, I have read each book but maybe not all the way through. If I find it’s a read-worthy after reviewing a chosen chapter or two, I will go back and read the entire thing.
The nearby book tree, 51 inches tall, grew into service when cheaper bookshelves didn’t hold the test of time and fell apart during moves. It takes about an hour to put the tree together depending on the number of books. The foundation with the bigger books (I used mine and my kid’s yearbooks, large dictionaries, etc.) for the base creating a circle then building my way up. I use both hard and softback books.
At Christmas, I throw some lights around it for fun to make it seasonal. I discover I still need to get to some of those books in the tree which is when it turns into a large Jenga stacking toy game. I do a “shimmy-shimmy-cocoa-puffs” with the needed book, sliding it out while simultaneously slipping another book in that is the same size into its place.
I have filled in tablespaces with books here and there. The way the books are stacked on the table below looks like it is holding the table up but actually, they are positioned between the
shelves below the tabletop. The twisting of the books to create a base needs uniformed sized books to keep the symmetry to hold the tabletop. I like using floating shelves of some daily go-to books located on either side of my small corner desk. (shown in the previous blog post)
My cookbooks are on top of the frig held in a teacher’s tabletop bookshelf within easy reach. In guest rooms, I place small books that were gifted to me. I change them up seasonally to include poetry or inspiring children’s picture books. It adds one more step in my guest room cleaning routine wiping down the books to prevent the spread of pandemic cooties but I can't imagine a room without books. I stack books under lamps for functional reasons to save space on small surfaces on for water bottles and guest’s bedside personal items.
This 24” DIY wreath is made by folding cone-shaped pages stapling them into their shape then hot glued onto a circle cut out. What makes it special to me is the pages are from an annual encyclopedia book published in my birth year. Remember when encyclopedia series used to come out with the follow on future annual dated books each year to keep their series current after the initial group was purchased?
And finally, I can’t resist a little whimsy when I decorate. In the back yard, on the entry deck steps of the landing to the back door, I painted the stair risers with book titles of books from there binders.