For the longest time I’ve had a dream of owning a black bookshelf for all my books. I wanted one with nine shelves, broken down into three levels, and I knew exactly how I wanted to place my books – a few by author names, some by size and a few more by colour. Unfortunately, my home doesn’t have enough wall room to let me buy a black bookshelf. What I do have instead, is this huge, horizontal space where I stack all my books. It’s a great space, but it’s not functional. I also have two more shelves around it, one of which is almost like a mini bookshelf, but it holds about 20 books only. The other one again is a huge empty space, where I can only pile books one on top of the other. Each time I need a book from the bottom of the pile, it takes me about 10 minutes to grab the book I need and then put everything back in place.
This year, I wanted to change all that. So, while my space remains the same, I made some major changes in the way I arrange my books, to make it easier for me to access them and make the overall space pretty. It’s not the best hack, in my honest opinion, but I tried my best to make it work.
A big shoutout to all my fellow book readers at Mumbai Bookstagrammers for their ideas on how to make this work.
Here’s a grid of how the space looked like before I started.
One of the first things I wanted for my books was visibility. I wanted to be able to see everything; something that was not happening when I was putting my books in a pile.
I got my hands on these damaged cardboard boxes – my husband has a toy factory so these were easy to access, but you can also check with your local recycling shop. I placed the books on two of these and made a nice book pile at the back. The reason I added the boxes was to give the books some height, so that even with another pile out front, I could still see my books at the back.
Some of the books in the front pile came with yellow pages so to hide that I kept another pile on top; but in a way that I could still spot my books at the back.
Next up came my bookends. These are magnetic ones that I picked up from Kmart, Sydney (you can also find them on Amazon, but they are expensive). My Harry Potter illustrated books made for a good, sturdy support.
The bookends also doubled up as a magnetic board where I put up a family picture (I put a single picture earlier as seen in the above image, and then changed the size later) and a few magnets. I am planning to change it occasionally with new pictures and book quotes.
I got a great suggestion from someone to keep the current TBR pile out front and the rest at the back. To add in that element, I picked up a cane bookshelf from the Kala Ghoda fair (for Rs. 850). I loved the hot pink colour and it made for a nice divide between my books too.
On the side I put all my other books. Honestly, I am not too happy with that because I still can’t see those books, but removing one front pile to access the books is so much easier than the deal I had earlier.
Of course, I had to have a Harry Potter pile. I picked this angry and annoyed Lord Voldemort from Sydney for $20 and I love him.
Fairy lights had to find a place on my bookshelf too… look so pretty. (This shelf is on the upper right hand side.)
I also have a neat little corner with all the books that I normally never pull out for a re-read. (This is next to the huge horizontal space, on the left)
So, that’s everything and considering the space I was working with, I think it looks quite neat and pretty.
Here’s a picture from the end of my room for better perspective (oh and yes, I am OBSESSED with That ’70s Show).
I have a lot of tiny personal elements in there too.
You already met Voldy, who by the way hates my candle.
Behind him is a tiny pot that I picked up from IKEA, Dubai (for $2) which holds most of my bookmarks. (Also, I kept moving things around a lot, so Voldy will be seen in various spots.)
Crazy Luna Park, Sydney girl ($15) is basically me. I went there with my fam on a recent holiday and I loved it. I wanted a happy reminder of that place; there’s also a candle besides her because I am slightly obsessed.
That’s the magnetic bookend I was talking about earlier.
That lamp is given by my mom who picked it up from a local fair in Baroda, Gujarat.
Apart from the fairylights (which I got from Typo, Sydney for $2), all the little figurines are from my mom’s showcase. I was obsessed with them while growing up, and they belong to my grandma. On top of the shelf, the fake plants are from local shops in Sydney; that cane pot is a gift from mom and those two figurines are again from mom’s cupboard. That wand is a gift from a colleague (10¾” long made of vine wood with a dragon heartstring core).
If you zoom in on the picture below you’ll also spot a snow globe that I picked from the Sydney Eye Tower and the bottle with Warli art is from a local fair in Delhi.
So, there you have it, my new happy place… let me know if you like it or if you have any suggestions to make it better.