Thursday, November 8, 2012

How to accessorize bookcases

Well hello! I’m back today to share how the accessories on the bookcases came together. It was a long process (what about this project wasn’t??) and I gathered some of the items over months and months. Most of the accessories we already had, but it sure was fun to look for a few new pieces throughout this process!

Here are the bookcases again as a reminder:

DIY built in bookcases

First I’ll go through some of the pieces, and then I’ll explain how I pulled it all together!

Of course I wanted the items to have a “library” feel, so that was most important to me throughout the process. Almost all of the “new” (I’ve picked up items since January) accessories were found at local antique/thrift shops.

I loved the colors on this globe – they work with he room perfectly! The background color ties in with the walls in the room and the blue works with the backs of the built ins:

accessorizing bookcases

I had a globe from my childhood that I could have used, but my STINK sister took it. She swears it’s hers and I swear she’s WRONG. :)

This art was a more recent find and I was so thrilled when I found it!:

accessorizing bookcases

It’s an actual oil painting of a skyline and it reminds me of NYC. It was only $20 (which I thought was incredible for a real painting), I think because there was a sticker stuck to part of it. I was able to get it off with tweezers and it looks brand new! The frame was like that too – perfect!

When I shop for ANY accessory, I love finding things that mean something to us as a family, and the NYC painting is certainly one of those.

I brought in more globes with these bookends I found at a thrift shop:

globe bookends

They were going to get a paint job but I didn’t want to do it after all that work. Now they’ll stay as is. :)

I added quite a few metal pieces, the fat quails (?) were from Goodwill, the pretty cranes were from a thrift shop:

 accessorizing bookcases accessorizing bookcases

There were a few small DIY projects, including the little set of drawers that I showed you here:

CeCe Caldwell paint

I filled my little wood pots by just covering Styrofoam balls with moss sheets:

DIY moss topairies

I just cut pieces of the moss off and hot glued it on. I didn’t worry about the backs:

 DIY moss topairies DIY moss topairies 

I don’t mess with the backs or the insides of things. :)

The butterfly art was a poster I cut up and framed years ago. I just painted the frame and mat with the chalk paint I used on the set of drawers above:

accessorizing bookcases

You may remember the butterflies from my old laundry room years ago:

black and yellow laundry room

I added a little tiny bit of sapphire Rub n Buff to the frame to bring out the texture – the sapphire is such a pretty color!

The faux leather box used to sit in the bedroom (I shopped the house!) and the fat topiary (that I adore!!) was one of my only new purchases, like from a real store. ;) I got it at one of my favorite local nurseries:

accessorizing bookcases

Most everything else was ours already. :) I was surprised we had so many books! I did pick up just a few more at Goodwill, but I made sure they were all books we would actually read. It was fun to pick out some new ones. (For a fraction of the price!)

I take the book cover off my books so the pretty covers can be seen. I bought my very first design book to celebrate finishing the bookcases – I’ve never had one! (The Design Sponge book):

oil rubbed bronze cabinet hardware

Oh la la!! ;)

I used our paper back books too – we have too many of them not to!

As I’ve said before, sometimes accessorizing falls right in to place, sometimes it’s agonizing! :) Most of this fell into place nicely, it was only those bottom shelves that gave me fits:

DIY built in bookcases butcher block

As I went through the process, there were things that I repeated to make it more cohesive – first up were the metal pieces:

how to decorate bookshelves

The fan, the cranes, the bookends and the little fat birds were placed throughout.

I tried to space out the green items too:

how to decorate bookshelves

I even thought about which way to go with the books. I tried to switch back and forth – starting on the right, then left, right, etc.:

how to decorate bookshelves

Otherwise parts of the bookcases started to look “heavier” than others.

And I also thought about what to center on the shelves and what not to:

how to decorate bookshelves

The top and bottom items are all centered, and two of the shorter shelves in the middle are as well, on each end.

You know how you see those beautiful photos in magazines? Yeahhh, I can’t even imagine how many people and how long it takes them to get those perfect shots!

I’m just glad I have pictures of these, because I’ll need to refer to these when I need to put everything back after I decorate them for the holidays! The books will stay of course, but I plan to exchange a few accessories out.

So there. you. go. Whew! I hope that helps as you try to conquer your shelves or accessorizing in general. I’m certainly no expert but I do love how they turned out! If there’s something or an item you’re wondering about, please let me know and I’ll answer you in the questions.

Thanks again for all the love on this project! Now, onto that never-ending powder room project. :)

54 comments:

  1. Gorgeous! You are so talented and that room looks incredible!

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  2. You have done SUCH a good job! The styling looks stunning.

    You should be so proud of yourself!

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  3. That is a very nice bookshelf.I love it :)

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  4. Wowza! What a project! So beautiful; I wish I had only a part of your talent. You can be so proud of yourself. Love it!

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  5. Your bookshelf looks great! I will have to weed out my bookshelves so there is room for accessories!

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  6. These bookshelves look great! Definitely worth all the effort:)

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  7. I absolutely love these shelves. I am thinking hard how i can pursuade my husband to let me have some in our living room... lol!

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  8. I just reorganized my built ins, and this post would have been so helpful! Some rearranging may be in my future...

    http://createbakecelebrate.blogspot.com/2012/10/create-better-looking-built-ins.html

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  9. Okay, Sarah, I have to admit I am going to be copying a little of your inspiration! You see we have a wall of bookcases... which is starting to look a little heavy and lopsided. Talk about timing!! and... I just so happen to have some lovely antique italian terra cotta pots... empty! Thank you once again for all your inspiration!!
    Now to get pinning!!

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  10. Sarah, you are an expert to me. Everything you decorate really looks great!

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  11. Love it!!!!! It looks so great...nicely done.

    Cheers
    ~ jillian
    www.hersplitends.com

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  12. So helpful! This is a project that everyone I know struggles with. So many options!

    I think you've struck the perfect balance, stocking the shelves with both functional items like books, and purely decorative items. Nice work. Enjoy!

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  13. The built ins are beautiful! Thanks for sharing all your hard work.

    I may be showing my age here, but the little fat birds remind me of the opening to the Partridge Family. So maybe they're little partridges???

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  14. Looks great! I have built-ins on either side of my fireplace and I'm totally gonna copy some of your ideas for them! I've always felt they looked a little "off" but they're so big and overwhelming... Your ideas are great! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  15. What a great tutorial! I love how you broke everything down like that. I think we all can take for granted things like pretty bookcases but it really does take a lot of work. Great thrift store finds too!

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  16. It looks good. :) We have similar styling techniques, and I really like some of the pieces you acquired like those quail birds. The lights above are also a nice touch too.

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  17. Gorgeous, I love how your bookcases look. Fabulous job and great tutorial. Hugs, Marty

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  18. What a great bookshelf! I can't say any of mine are well accessorized at this point. I'll have to watch out for things to add to it though.

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  19. the breakdown (and arrows) definitely helps - thanks! looks beautiful!

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  20. They look amazing, beautiful job! Thanks for all of the great tips! :)

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  21. The whole thing looks really beautiful and it sounds like a (long) labor of love. I especially like that you didn't use brand new things throughout. The thrift shop finds adds provenance.(sp?) LOVE the brass things. So bookish!

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  22. I absolutely loved your posts about building the bookshelves, it's very inspirational to me as I'm knee deep in my own whole-house reno. However, you've said many times that this room is to be your library (which is an awesome concept), and the arrangement you have going on the shelves just...doesn't say library to me. When I was scrolling down the post to see the pics I was so excited, and then my very first reaction was "where are all the books?"

    I hope this is constructive and not purely negative, it just looks like a decorated bookshelf to me as it is.

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  23. I love how it turned out! Still green with envy over those lights!!! I too use some of our paperbacks, I just put them in baskets so just the tops show.

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  24. Love how it all came together! I scored those EXACT same globe bookends from an estate sale not too long ago - LOVE them!

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  25. I love how your bookcase turned out! We have been considering one on the back wall of our formal living room/turned study. I had not thought of putting lights up. What a great idea. Love it and the way you decorated it!

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  26. You, my friend, are an expert bookshelf styler! ;-) My mother-in-law is the same way -- she gets it right every time. She has built-ins a lot like these in the family room, and I always love the way she styles them for the Holidays. I cannot WAIT to see what you are going to do for Christmas!

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  27. Thank you so much for writing this how to! I'm design challenged and right in the middle of trying to revamp my built-in shelves so this was a tremendous help. They look so beautiful - just like you did have a whole lot of people working a lot of hours on them.

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  28. They are stunning! I like how everything stands out against the dark back drop...it creates a cool mood!

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  29. Wonderfully crisp and always interesting! So happy to be catching up with all of your exploits!

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  30. Thanks so much for sharing this! They look beautiful and you have inspired me to go to work on mine! I'm taking my laptop and referencing your pictures as I work on mine! They are gorgeous! Have a great weekend.
    Leslie
    houseontheway@gmail.com

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  31. Everytime I read your blog, I go home and re-do a part of our home that weekend. Hubby says it looks so nice. He never said it looked bad before, but now he actually compliments me. After 34 yrs and several homes together, that's a great feeling! And you can imagine how much I have to "shop the house with"! You inspire me to use things in new and different ways and I love that! Thanks!

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  32. Your whole room looks terrific. What a treat to have a library/reading room. A thought....my eye goes to the outlets or light switch because of the color (white pops from the blue). Would your bookcases look even more beautiful if the switch plates were painted to match the wall color? Thanks for sharing the whole process.

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  33. Gorgeous! I love getting to the point in decorating for my rooms and my clients, when accessorizing begins. So rewarding..especially when things that are dear to you are displayed :-)

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  34. You're library looks stunning, don't change a thing... I used to have a copy of "The Secret Language of Birthdays," and found it to be eerily accurate. Love, love, love your decor!!!

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  35. I love your library! Don't change anything, looks fabulous the way it is! ;)

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  36. I think if I were you, I would just sit on the floor in there and stare at those shelves. They look fantastic! I am so enjoying seeing your library come together!

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  37. Your library shelves look great. Everything is veryneat and uncluttered looking and I love the globes. I wouldn;t have the heart to change the globe bookends because I think they are brilliant as is--very "libraryish" and vintage.

    Rita at Cashel19162yahoo.com

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  38. Karen from VirginiaNovember 9, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    DO you have anywhere on your blog a tutorial on how you installed the lights at the top of your bookcase? They are so cool!

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  39. I love your bookcase! It's very elegant and classic a t the same time. Thanks for sharing your talent! mknobleatuniontwpschooldotorg

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  40. I am still amazed that you actually built that yourselves, and it is pretty the way you have arranged everything. Just lovely.

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  41. Shame on stink eye for taking your globe! Love the brass cranes/birds and the globes and of course, the shade of blue you chose for the bookcase & rug. The hammered metal light looks good, too. I didn't notice the hammered part when I read your 'light' post. ;o)

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  42. This came out fabulous. Can you tell me what color blue you used and who makes it? Thanks for sharing!

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  43. I would love to be inspired by this book! I am so inspired by your blog!! Thank you for sharing your talents!! Christy (cbeyers at yahoo dot com)

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  44. That looks great! Thanks for the pointers/letting us know the thought that you put into it. It's very helpful.

    Chrissy

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  45. Love your shelves and love how this room has turned out!

    Patti

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  46. Love the bookcases. Maybe I've been under a rock but I've never seen lighting done that way before. Keep the fun ideas coming!

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  47. Sarah you did an amazing job styling your bookcases. I LOVE a well styled bookcase. I could stare at pictures of them forever! I'm pinning yours. =)

    ~ Catie

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  48. Great tips!!! Love your shelves dear!

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  49. It looks very pretty. Where do you keep the rest of your books? I'm guessing there are shelves in some other rooms. What made you decide to have just a few books in the library and mostly decorative stuff?

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  50. Thank you so much for this post, it's so detailed :)
    Great pointers and tips!

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  51. LOVE your library and the way you decorated the shelves. It's perfect! Beautiful, Sarah!

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  52. Check out my super cute gold accent pieces! Perfect for shelves!

    http://createbakecelebrate.blogspot.com/2012/11/create-gold-accent-pieces.html

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