I love books: I read them; I decorate with them; I give them as gifts. I wish I were one of those people cool enough to give my own books away when a friend asks for a recommendation, but I always want them back. When my husband and I moved to Charlotte from New York City, two-thirds of our U-Haul was packed with boxes of books. We did not have a sofa or a coffee table or a dining room table and chairs (or even a dresser for our clothes), but we had The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, American Psycho, When Pride Still Mattered, every Harry Potter and hundreds more to accompany us on our trip.
As much as I love books, however, they've always created a challenge for me while decorating. I've never been able to find the "perfect" bookshelf, and I quickly become bored with my arrangements. I once found cantilevered shelves from Ikea that I forced my husband to painstakingly hang--seven feet high--around the perimeter of our spare bedroom. The actual effect wasn't quite as magnificent as I had imagined it, and when I became pregnant and we switched bedrooms, the bookshelves had to come down after I had nightmares of one crashing down on my head in the middle of the night. Ten generous holes in the wall and a pint of Spackle later, my husband made me promise to put a little more thought into the next project that involved the hanging of shelves (apparently studs are hard to find).
Since putting our house on the market, we've packed up several boxes of books and moved them into the attic, but I have found a suitable alternative for those that remain in our bedroom:
A tower bookcase is great for small spaces and architecturally interesting. I found ours on overstock.com, but I've seen similar versions from Design Within Reach and CB2. In our next home, I hope to corral all our books together to create a grand impact on a singular design space. Of course, there are no guarantees that I won't change my mind. In the meantime, however, here are some great shelving solutions where books take center stage in a room's design:
Leshem. I want these shelves; I haven't shown my husband yet.
Image from Domino magazine
Image from Decor Pad
Two reasons I'm drawn to this design: 1) the books are color-coated (I once spent hours dividing my books into color groupings to achieve a similar effect) and 2) the reading chair is covered in F. Schumacher's Chiang Mai fabric.
Image from Veranda
Image from Elle Decor
Image from Apartment Therapy