Simple living // harmonious book shelves…

lounge shelves 2

These shelves in our lounge, Dan put up when we moved in over 10 years ago.  Actually there were originally three shelves, on either side of the fireplace, but we removed the bottom ones to make way for a bigger TV.

I have always found these shelves difficult to ‘style’.  I couldn’t understand why?  It’s not my lack of styling prowess (or it might be, who knows?), or that my objects are ugly.  I just have never liked how they looked.  Every couple of months, I re-arrange the shelves, bringing new pieces, change it up a bit, but I am never satisfied.  I know, #bloggerproblems.

Then the other night it dawned on me, the shelves are positioned too close together!   Light bulb moment!  Speak to any interiors guru / stylist and they will say that every item needs to have ‘space’ around it to be able to shine. OH! They mean the height of the shelves.

So I am thinking that if I move the bottom shelf down 10cm or so, it will make a world of difference I am sure. Add that to the list of DIY jobs – a very long list.  This job needs doing fast!

Whilst on the subject of shelves.  My lounge style is a mix of white and natural hues (apart from the rug and sofa).  I want everything on those shelves to be shades of white, taupe and grey. Which I do have, all apart from the books, they are all colours and look out of place.  Solution?

Well, as much as I am aware that this might be a case of over perfectionism and all a bit ‘bat shit crazy’, I have decided to cover the ugliest of my books.  Yeah – it is a bit crazy isn’t it.  I plan to use buff coloured paper, old school days style!  I don’t want to get rid of the books with garish coloured spines or bold text, but I can do without looking at them everyday.

travel - Littlegreens shed blog france Camellas Lloret

Last summer, I was fortunate to meet Annie.  A New Yorker, interiors stylist and owner of the best B&B in France (fact).  She is the reason I want only white things in my lounge.  The little studio we stayed in, had two simple white shelves that ran along one of the white walls. In fact the whole room was white.  White painted walls, floor boards, shutters and even the light shade was painted in white emulsion.  The chairs were white, white linen sheets, a white rug and white tulip side table.

travel - Littlegreens shed blog france Camellas Lloret

Back to those shelves:  Annie had sourced, from many a flea market, cool objects all white, off white or natural in colour.  Each piece complimented the next. A stack of Elle decoration magazines, sat beside a white 1970’s phone, which sat beside a stuffed pigeon on a branch, which sat beside clear glass bottles – and so on.

The white room and it’s contents felt calm, not stark.  Each piece felt like it belonged there, and we felt very at home.  Each unusual item, was collected and loved. Given pride of place. It’s this feeling I want to replicate in my own lounge.  A space of calm, with natural treasures and harmonious shelves.


Part of the Simple Living series.

  • Rebecca Wakeford

    Rather than covering all the books what about if you turned them all around so spines faced the wall? I’m sure there would be varying shades of white, off white etc in the leaves – I guess you would then see a flash of colour though from the covers?? Just a thought! Look forward to seeing the results Lou x

    • Carolyn Elwin

      I think choosing objects for any room in the house can be a difficult walk between nostalgia and purposeful design. Be strong