Work in Progress: The Guest Room (Part I)

I’ve yet to post any before and after pictures of the guest bedroom (which also doubles as an office) because up until this point its been nothing more than an embarrassing junk room.
Here are the major issues at hand:

  • small closet jam-packed with clothing and arts and crafts supplies
  • empty bookcases without shelves
  • menagerie of mismatched furniture
The first project I had to tackle was getting everything in the closet within easy reach, so I spent some time over the holiday unpacking my art & craft supplies and rearranging some storage bins to make room for everything.

It looks a little less like a disaster. I foresee custom shelving in the very near future. Until then, this works. I can access everything in there and I think I’ll even have a little hanging room for guests.

I had already picked this set of sheets that I wanted to use on the full sized bed that Patrick’s mother gave us. I also have a small collection of books, an assortment of silver frames and a few other odds and ends that didn’t seem to fit anywhere else in the house. I needed to find inspiration to tie all these things together without having the room look like the island of lost décor.

My first concern was the bookcase. I love the idea of all of that open shelving, but have absolutely no idea how to fill all that space without purchasing books en masse. At some point in this home’s 50 year life span, someone installed these lovely bookcases. They appear to be custom built, but upon closer inspection you can its actually three separate 48″ units installed side by side. The shelves, however, are missing. We didn’t find them anywhere else in the house and haven’t seen them up in the attic either. I can’t imagine why the previous owner would take the shelves down and not leave them behind, but we’ve been forced to replace them ourselves. We went to our local Home Depot and purchased enough 10 x 2s to cut out 12 shelves. I decided to leave the bottom row off since I have a toddler who gets into everything. After measuring each case separately, Patrick cut the shelves to fit. There were a few that ended up being a smidge too long, so they’re temporarily stuck under the bed until Patrick shaves the edges off. I have enough space to work with for now, so I decided to start playing with the placement of my books and accessories. 

After giving it a trial go, and being terrible unhappy with the results,  I decided to seek help from the professionals. Here’s what I found:

An article on Southern Living:

Here are a few ideas for turning your tired bookshelves into a true focal point.
  • Begin with empty bookshelves. Start your arrangement on the shelf that is closest to eye level.
  • Rather than lining up all of your books side by side, stack some horizontally.
  • If a book has a beautiful cover you’d like to display, lean it at an angle or set it on a small easel. Tip: Valuable books should be shelved vertically to put less strain on the bindings and keep them in their best condition.
  • Group your collection by similar color and size.
  • Arrange accessories in odd numbers.
  • Use a stack of books to add height to a decorative item.
  • Leave empty space. Every inch of the bookshelf does not have to be filled.
  • Bring the books forward to the edge of the shelf instead of pushing them against the back.

This lovely inspirational image from BHG:

And this very helpful little slideshow on House Beautiful.
Here’s what I came up with.
The lighting is terrible and shelves aren’t stained yet, but it is a work in progress, after all. 
Stay tuned… there’s more to come! 


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