Wednesday, June 06, 2018


Welcome to the first official post of summer! 

Here in the South, the days are now wonderfully long, it's much too hot for coffee, and the humidity gives everyone's hair a life of its own. I love every single minute of it!

My bookshelves have been the same for a good while, except for a tweak here and there, and I'm thinking of making some changes. Before I do, I thought I'd show you how they are currently styled and share some of my favorite styling tips and ideas. 

We have dark built-ins on both sides of our fire place in our living room. That makes decorating the shelves a challenge; not everything shows up well against the finish. The wall color in the room is Shaker Beige by Benjamin Moore. It's a light khaki, kind of a creamy tan color and perfect if you're looking for a good neutral. It's a favorite of mine, and I've suggested it to lots of friends and family.  

The main accent color in the room is blue, thanks to a sofa we bought without even sitting on it (story for another post). 

So, it made perfect sense to display some of my collected blue and white with the books on the bookshelves.

All that led to this arrangement, and this is how they've looked for a while.  

1. Books - They are shelves for books, after all. Before starting, take inventory of your books, and decide how much space you want to devote to them. I love shelves full of nothing but books, but really I prefer a mix of items. Thrift stores are great places to find colorful, often inexpensive books to get your shelves going. We've actually read some of these, and some I've picked up thrifting for as little as ten cents. 

2. Add art - Art helps give the shelves a layered look and doesn't have to be hung. Just lean it on the back of the shelves. I've included four pieces in my arrangements. The old man with children fishing at the sea (bottom left) was $2 from an antique mall. The framed poppies (top left) was the first piece of art purchased when we moved in some 14 years ago this summer. The unframed canvas (top right) might be my favorite; it was painted by a student. The red bird I picked up because he was pretty. 

3. Use items from a collection - If you've been around Woodbank Lane for any amount of time, you know milkglass and blue and white ceramics are the two things I like to collect. I mixed in a little of both in different shapes and sizes.

4. Add (faux) flowers - I'm not offended at all by faux flowers and loved the look of the white ones I'm using on both sides of the cases. 

5. Add interest - For added interest, I leaned an empty picture frame behind the red bird. I also used two small busts and a gray distressed peacock (I think it's a peacock) I found at a thrift store about a year ago. 

6. Use something green - If your shelves are in a well-lit room, using real plants is a beautiful idea. I don't have that luxury, so I used faux again: a moss ball and box wood balls in a blue and white bowl (right picture, middle shelf).

7. Display sentimental objects - I'm not currently displaying anything sentimental on my shelves, but I think it's a great idea. 

8. Add something that says something - I found my white apple at TJ Maxx. Do you know a teacher without one? :-)

9. Be symmetrical - Not everyone likes symmetry, but I believe symmetry is your friend. It's appealing to the eye and looks so neat. I tried to arrange the objects about the same on both sides so they would be almost mirror images.  

10. Pick a shape for the shelves - My shelves are decorated in the shape of a diamond, meaning simply that I've used fewer things on the top and bottom shelves and filled more of the middle shelves. A triangular arrangement would also work, for example. 

No telling what they will look like next month! 

Enjoy your summer day...



  1. The shelves look so pretty Kathryn! I love your idea of styling them in a geometric shape like a diamond--it works beautifully as you have demonstrated!

    1. Thank you so much! Thanks for taking a minute to comment, too!

  2. Your display is gorgeous. Is your dog painting over the mantle an Alex Cherepov. His dogs are the best. I’ve recently added a lot of blue and white chinoiserie, so classic!!


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