Battle of the Bookshelves...and Inspired Solutions

It's a classic battle of two selves. Good vs. evil. my case, Vagabond Minimalist vs. Unabashed Book Whore.

Beyond the bookshelf, my collection occupies nearly every conceivable space--beside the bed, underneath the bed, back of the toilet, piled like modern art in the living get the idea. In fact, at one point, I had so many books in my car, you'd swear I was running a bookmobile!

The other day, I overheard my five year old neighbor ask, "Why does she have so many books in her car?"

Her fast thinking mom said, "Just like you...she loves to read." Bless her!

In an attempt to regain some control, I ruthlessly culled my collection--four times! Each book endured a mini-audition. "Why should I keep you?" and probing even deeper, I asked, "Fess up. What are your redeeming qualities? You know, a nice cover will only get you so far....."

Gone are the cookbooks I'll [really, and truly] never use.

And I made peace with the one-hit-wonders. Like musicians, the literary landscape is littered with one-hit-wonders. Cookbooks are no exception. Is it worth hanging on to a book for one killer recipe? Nope. I typed up my favorite recipe and tossed the rest.

In my mind, I was ruthless.

And yet, when I was finished, hundreds of books remained. What to do?


Let's look at some options:

(Upper left) Bookshelves as stairs?

Skip the over-the-door dormer. How 'bout a bookshelf?

This dining room does double duty as a library.

While this is the more realistic solution, the minimalist in me sees nothing but a wall of clutter. What to do?

Here, a floor-to-ceiling curtain conceals bookshelves, and provides a solid punch of color.

Bright white shelves and plenty of open space minimizes the "clutter" feel.

A neutral color palate also helps minimize the "clutter" effect. But really? Who has books in just white, beige and black? Designer fantasy.

Here, the bookshelf serves as the room's focal point and provides the only visible color/object of interest.

In the end, I went for a riff on this idea: organized by color. Here, the bookshelf lends a strong visual appeal. Notice a sense of order is created, without the need for white space?

Another example of bookshelves organized by color.

A smaller book collection, again, organized by color.

And while I was surfing for images, here are a few more noteworthy options:

{Fantasy shot} My desk: flanked by floor-to-ceiling books, overlooking a quaint arrondissement in Paris. Or...

Imagine casting your gaze out on this charming sokak in old Istanbul. Ahh.....

And as long as we're exploring fantasies, take a look at this pantry! Oooh la la!