Thursday, April 15, 2010

Creating a Home Library

Can I just tell you how wonderful yesterday was?  I ventured out into downtown Nashville for some inspiration and came back with more ideas than I know what to do with.  My favorite part of the day was spent searching every square inch of the used bookstore Bookman/Bookwoman.  I’m honestly not even sure what I was looking for, all I can tell you is I felt so surrounded by treasure I couldn’t make myself leave.  I’ve gotta say…this store kicked Barnes and Noble’s tail.   It made me realize the only thing more fantastic than a room full of new classic books is one filled with old ones!  They’ve got a story, a place in history, and that old book smell that I actually kind of love.  I walked out with a gorgeous, embossed, hard-cover copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain from 1964.  Not only is it in perfect condition, it’s illustrated by Norman Rockwell….and it was less than $20!  The 100th Anniversary of Mark Twain’s death is coming up just next week on April 21st, which of course just made the purchase feel even more special.  Lucky for my bank account I was able to limit myself to just one book, though I suspect I’ll probably dream of one particularly classic looking set of Shakespeare books for weeks to come.  This wonderful experience got me thinking about starting a personal library of my own.  I may not have a ton of room for it just yet, but perhaps you do!  Either way, it’s always good to plan.  Here’s some ideas to get you started.  


If you’re really serious about starting your own home library, you may want to consider having custom bookshelves installed.  Be prepared to spend between $5,000-$10,000 or more for a project like this, depending of course on how big of an area you’re working with.  If you’re looking to spend a little less, or if you’re just getting started really collecting books and don’t have a whole lot to display, than one or two really beautiful bookcases should do the trick.  Here are a few different looks to consider.

If you want an inexpensive, classic bookcase you shouldn’t have to look far to find it.  I browsed quite a few today and if I wanted a standard mahogany piece, I probably would’ve gone with one I saw at Walmart.  It looks very much like the other bookshelves I saw, just at half the price (in typical Walmart fashion).  Their
 Ameriwood Industries Altra 6 Shelf Bookcase in Mahogany pictured above was less than $200.  I’m pretty picky about fake-looking wood, but this particular case passed my test.

 For a different look, try something mounted directly to your wall, like this sleek, simple shelving from West Elm.  The three shelf option is $159, while the five shelf is $259.  

Another unique way to display your books is inside this colorful BERGSBO bookcase from Ikea.  It has adjustable shelving, glass doors, and a really reasonable price.  At just $250, it’s a very inexpensive statement piece.  Here’s a few options that were conjured up a little outside the box.

Although this Contemporary Shelf was originally designed to be a Room Divider, it would work just as well against a wall.  It’s $439, on sale from $645 at IVG Stores.

These bamboo 
Kuning Shelves are the most expensive of the bunch, but they’re extremely distinctive.  Although I wasn’t thrilled with their nearly $3,000 price tag, I did find them to be very special.


Bookends are a great way to add more dimension and style to your library.  This pair ofGolden Leaf bookends is totally classic and just under $70.  

For a more modern choice, try CB2’s Blob bookends.  They’re fun, artsy and around $30.

If you want something high end and dainty, consider splurging on these gorgeous porcelain and brass bookends.  They’re $229 for the set. 


I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but lets face it, people do…both metaphorically and literally.  For books with covers as amazing as their content, look no further than Penguin Classics Clothbound Collection.  To say I am enamored with them is a massive understatement.  Each one of their selections astounded me…they’re just the sort of thing I’m looking for in an old bookstore, plus they match each other beautifully and won’t flare up my allergies.  Of course, owning them won’t stop me from continuing my search for vintage masterpieces in every last used bookstore I come across, but they would make a great start to my collection and yours.  I’ll let you know when I finally get them…feel free to do the same!  We saw a couple selections in stores for $20 a piece, but we’d suggest buying them from Amazon at their discounted price of $13 each. 


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