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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Accessorizing a Bookcase

Thank you all so very much for all your kind comments regarding the bookcase transformation. I am trying to return a visit to each and every one of you.
bookcase 019
In this post I thought it might be helpful if I offered a few tips on how to accessorize shelves and bookcases.
bookcase 040
Let me start out by saying that I adore the old English look of an entire wall of books.
Color coded bookcases can truly be works of art just in and of themselves. color-bookcase
If you want to mix your books with accessories, a good rule of thumb is to keep a ratio of 1/3 books, 1/3 accessories and 1/3 empty space so that the eye has a place to rest. You also may want to stagger your heights, group similar collections, and balance each grouping with another, either symmetrically or asymmetrically. wall-cubbies-de
In my own bookcase there weren’t enough books for the English look so I decided to add in some accessories. The room is being redone in shades of French blue, cream and navy, so I sought out accessories that I had on hand that fit this color palette. The selections were then narrowed down even further by selecting a theme. In this case an aviary motif was decided upon.
bookcase 028
In terms of balance, a symmetrical arrangement was used on the top shelf. A balanced pop of yellow pairs well with blue. The left side of the cabinet features a birdcage that was a Goodwill find. On the right side a vignette containing a birds nest resting on a votive holder is covered with a cloche I made from inexpensive materials. The books on either side are favorites that  are easily accessible. bookcase 029
The second shelf contains a blue, silver and crème palette. Remember that your accessories only need to make sense to you. I stacked vintage jello molds on top of a wee pedestal. An antique child’s egg gathering basket, purchased years ago at a French flea market, rounds out the grouping of three. Also easily accessible~ a well loved dictionary and book of etiquette. I am a firm believer that good vocabulary and manners still matter.  bookcase 034
On the left hand side also sits a grouping of three. It  includes a pedestal that was once black, a vintage strainer used in canning and a sweet tweet picked up at Target during their after Christmas sale. I considered using chicken wire on the bookcase doors, but the Arizona dust would not be kind to old treasures such as a first edition of Dorothy Draper’s “Decorating Is Fun”.
bookcase 024-1
Also included are treasures I truly adore such as this covered dish given to me by a friend and my mother's book on Michelangelo. The tureen was filled with paper shred from the dollar store and eggs purchased from the Homegoods after Easter clearance section.bookcase 007-1
Books that didn’t fit the color scheme, but that are referred to quite regularly, are hidden behind other palette pleasing pieces of literature.  bookcase 036
Gaps were filled in with simple frames that contain images found at the Vintage Moth.
bookcase 012
Asymmetrical arrangements were also used such as the pyramid created by the positioning of the three white frames.
bookcase 040-1
Now onto the questions.
What is the wall color behind the bookcase?
It is Biscuit by Sherwin Williams. A wonderfully warm white.
Why do you wish you had used an oil based primer?
Since I open and shut the doors of the bookcase on a regular basis, there is already a bit of wear showing on the surface. I am ok with this as it gives it a more “rustic” appearance, but an oil based primer is a better choice for a piece that will receive quite a bit of handling if you want the paint to wear well. Once an oil based primer is completely dry, you can still use a water based paint.
Who carries Ralph Lauren glaze now that Home Depot has discontinued it?
Here is a link so that you can select your state and find a store.
Did you paint it with a paint brush?
I actually used a roller for the large areas and a paintbrush for the nooks and crannies. For glazing I like to use a lint free cloth which can be purchased at any home improvement store.
What are the plans for the bottom?                           The answer of which also answers the question        How do you keep the bookcase looking spare?”
The bottom half is completely full with the less pretty necessities I need to run my interior design business. I do wish that the center section also had a door as I find that I hate pulling out the files to access the books in the center. Lesson learned.
bookcase 041
Come back on Friday for a bit of French baking.
Au revior,


marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Laura, this is such great information to help with knowing how to create eye appealing vignettes on shelves. It's usually considered so hard and you make it sound simple. I host Table Top Tuesdays and that is where we show all of our vignettes on any surface, including hutches, shelves, cabinets, countertops and tables. I will have the meme up later this evening. I hope you will like this post to it so maybe some new people will have a chance to experience your expertise. Hope you are having a blessed day. Hugs, Marty

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

You did a fabulous job, Laura! I have not been able to find my accessories that I packed up last summer in anticipation of moving. I think I gave away and/or sold more than I thought. Oh well, I need more for my own bookcase, so I guess a trip to a few favorite stores is in order!

Deanna said...

Howdy Laura! That's Kansan for an enthusiastic hello!

Laura, enjoyed this post and think you look sweet in your outfit with hat.

God bless and maay you have a super week!
d from homehaven

Connie said...

Laura, you did a marvelous job on that cabinet, honey. I keep telling people what they can do to their old furniture but they'd rather toss it out than make it over. Sad!

Drop by and see if you have any interest in what I'm doing in tomorrow's post. It explains all about it tomorrow. I think you might like it, sweetpea!


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

U are simply amazing!! I just loveeeeeeeeeeee how U decorate!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

I just love this piece and how it turned out. Great job!! Thanks for all the information. Great post. It is amazing that you found it so cheap on Craig's list. A lot of hard work, but it turned out so pretty. Love & blessings from NC!

Privet and Holly said...

LAURA! I am absolutely on board with you regarding the totally-filled English library look. THAT is what I'm going for. But, as you know, it takes A LOT OF BOOKS! I prowl the local library sales as well as estate sales, Good Will, etc. but I don't want just any old paperback, so, it takes time. In the meantime, I am filling in with accessories and SPACE, and I am glad to read of the 1/3 rule. I'll have to check and see if I am applying it correctly. I also love the idea of hanging a painting right on the outside of the shelves. A lot to dream about in this post! Your shelves are really SO lovely ~ bravo! xx P&H

Bonnie said...

Great information as accessorizing table tops/bookcases is where I struggle the most. I can decorate a room and hang pictures with no problem but making those "things" I love look good is such a challenge for me!

Carrie said...

Thank you for the how to... I am in the midst of redecorating. Your tips will help.

ramblin girl said...

The difficult thing for me when "artistically" arranging books on a shelf is that I only want books on the shelf. I love books more than I love collectibles, so my idea of design and true design don't mesh. I do love the look of what you've done!

WhisperingWriter said...

Thank you for the tips.

And I LOVE Little House on the Prairie.

Linda said...

Wow, Laura, you provide some really detailed ideas!! Always impressive!

We basically have the wall of books in our home office/guest bedroom which is also riddled with cds, old cassettes, paperwork, and dvds. Basically, it's functional but not all that much to look at.

Suzie Button said...

Hi Laura, I didn't tell you I went to see Little House the Musical and really enjoyed it!
I bought my Big Shot through Ebay with a few extras in the bid and it came brand new unwrapped, a good deal! And I got the cake die through the website I linked to on the posting, I think I'll get a lot of use out of the Big shot. though I want a lot mroe diecuts now to use with it, so I'm still spending money, eek!
I love the color of your walls behind the bookcase too! So fresh! Suzie

Mary Catherine said...

Laura:I recently found your blog and absolutely love it! The bookcase is just stunning. Thank you for sharing!

Shelia said...

Hi Laura! Oh, thank you for all the tips on arranging bookshelves! To me this is not an easy task! Love love love your new wonderful piece!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Liz said...

I love that tureen with the eggs in it! So tweet! Thanks for sharing your secrets. :)


The Quintessential Magpie said...

Laura, you did an amazing job on this! I just read this post and the one under it, and WOW! It's so pretty, and I like the way you layered the bookcase, too. Great job!


Sheila :-)

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

I love a well styled bookcase and yours is certainly one of them!! Well played. :)

I am slowly but surely making a return to the world o' blogs. Having a fine time catching up with yours!

Karen said...

Hi Laura, next time you paint I would love to hear from you as I have lots of paint tips, the first one being use an adhesion primer instead of kilz or oil based! You will get the results you want and don't have to use oil. Also there is marvelous cabinet paint at Sherwin Williams meant to wear hard for things like this project! Just ask Sherwin Williams! Love your Craigslist find, you do have perseverance like you have demonstrated over and over!Nice colors! Hugs, Karen

koralee said...

Lovely post today...I adore your bookcase...I have a similar one I painted all black but the inside robin egg blue..I love it! Love all your sweet treasures in there as well...hugs to you. xo

My Cottage Charm said...

First of all, I love it that you're related to Laura...I LOVE all that is the Ingalls family! (including YOU!) :-)
Secondly, great looking bookcase...I love how your eyes have places to rest...can't stand an overfilled bookcase! (makes my head hurt! lol)
Thirdly, I'm just so glad to know're a wonderful inspiration and I'm glad you're my friend. :)
Hope you have a truly blessed week...and LONG weekend!

Rosemary said...

I happened over to your blog and I admit that my first question in mind as I saw your name was (is she related to THE Laura). Now, that said and answered (THANKS), I love your blog. What a beautiful bookcase and thank you for the design advice on how to approach accessorizing one. Absolutely indispensable. Love how you picked your motif for your own and then added those beautiful touches.

Brenda@Cozy Little House said...

You did a fantastic job of leading the eye where you wanted it to land. I have far too many books to do displays like this, but I envy and enjoy yours!

Blarney said...

A great job once again! It's the holy grail of rummage/garage sale weekends here this weekend and I can barely wait to get out there and see what everyone has for sale. You've inspired me to look for a large cabinet/curio for our living room space now that I've finished my bedroom frame re-finish (check out my post). Wish me luck!

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

Could you please speak to my hubs...he believes bookcases are 125% books...piled in as high as you can get them!
Very imformative...if I ever could do it!!!

Bringing Pretty Back said...

I didn't know about the 1/3 thing! Thank you! You have such a gift!

Mary said...

Your bookcase transformation is amazing~ love your examples too.

I didn't know the 1/3 rule & loved accessories mixed in, but I'm afraid I have too many books :-)

Natalie said...


Thank you! This was very to search again for that craiglist beauty! :)