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  • Writer's pictureWendy Elizabeth

Not Just For Books

Growing up, we all had bookshelves…with books on them. That was what they were for; a practical way to keep books from sitting in a higgledy-piggledy pile on the table. Books were part of our everyday life; to look up information, learn how to spell a word, and to imagine adventures before we went to sleep. Now, we have the Internet, and books don’t take up quite as much household space as they used to.

But, we still have the shelves. And, while some people throw them out with their television stands, I want to roam the world, and rescue every single one of them. All I see are magical opportunities; the perfect solution to almost every design problem.

Sometimes, we get hung up on the name. For example, thinking that a dining room table can only go in the dining room. Umm, no, it can go anywhere you want; an alarm won’t sound, and the dining room police won’t tell you off for moving it. Just because something can’t be used for exactly what it was made for, doesn’t mean it becomes useless.

A bookshelf is one of those “something’s”. For many, it could seem to be a boring (and almost extinct) piece of furniture, but for me, it is one of the best things to have in your home.

If you’re considering throwing yours away, why not try to look at it a little differently; forget about the books for a moment, and think of it as extra storage. Contrary to what you may think, it doesn’t have to be filled with pretty objects to look good; all you need is what you already have….. 

  1. Be creative; maybe you don’t need that bookshelf in your family room anymore. Could you use it in your foyer for shoes, your kitchen as a pantry, your garage for tools?

  2. Check to see if you can adjust the shelf heights, or remove one; it looks more interesting, and you can often fit more things onto it. 

  3. Whatever you are storing on it, place the nicest, neatest (or your favorite) things onto the most noticeable (eye level) shelf first. 

  4. Put the most utilitarian (and heavy) pieces on the bottom.

  5. Fill in the rest of the spaces with groups of whatever else you have.

  6. Use boxes and bowls to organize odd bits and pieces.

Have fun, and enjoy your weekend!   p.s. What about this idea of using an old book shelf as a headboard? Isn’t it clever? The lovely photograph is fromCanadian House and Home, and the paint color is Farrow and Ball’s Setting Plaster No. 231.      p.p.s. Do I need to mention safety? Check your bookshelf is safe before loading it up, and attach it to the wall if you need too.         

For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to:

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