Interior decorators are always messing around with what are-- to me-- vital pieces of furniture in any house. To many of them, bookshelves are bland and boring, and they're constantly trying to come up with ideas to spice them up.
Enough with the spice, I say! I want bland and boring bookshelves because I'm going to fill them with books, and the books will be absolutely beautiful in and of themselves. I've pulled a couple of photos of the books and bookcases in my house, one fairly recent and one not, to show you that I don't need spicy bookshelves.
The photo above is of my to-be-read shelves, and the only time I believe in gussying them up is for Christmas when it's with a garland, finials, and carolers on top. Well, and some festive faux greenery on the bottom-row baskets. Those baskets on the bottom shelf mark me as a bit eccentric. I don't like standing on my head to try to see which books are down there, so I use baskets to store seldom-used items instead.
As you can see, my idea of interior design when it relates to bookshelves is rather bland and boring, and it doesn't bother me one little teensy weensy bit.
What bothers me are some of those "spicy" ideas cooked up by those interior decorators. Want to see the ones that irritate me the most? I thought you'd never ask! Let's take a look....
Do these people read?!?
I used to watch a fair amount of HGTV, and whenever an interior designer proudly showed off bookcases in which books were displayed spine-in or covered in plain white covers, my reaction was a very unladylike snort.
I'll be charitable and say that the designers probably don't intend the books to stay that way and that they're only displayed in that manner so they won't take the focus away from the room's design, but please! If they actually do believe books should be shelved this way, they're nuts... or have photographic memories. Many of my reactions and opinions come from growing up in a library. In a public library, the focus is on the books, and they should be organized and shelved in a way that makes them very easy for everyone to find what they're looking for. That's been my bookish interior design mantra my entire life.
Books by Color
Another way to shelve books seems to be by color, and I've seen some results that are very attractive, but this method just isn't practical in my opinion. It might be for a small collection of books, but not for a large one.
As I've said, I grew up in a library. Literally. My mother was the librarian of the village library in the small farm town where I grew up. The books were not shelved using the Dewey Decimal System because it wasn't practical for our patrons. Books were shelved by genre, alphabetically by the authors' names. It's a system that works well for me to this day. Looking at the photo makes me remember this line: "I don't remember the title, but the cover was blue."
Waste Not, Want Not
I've seen this touted by designers for people living in small spaces, and it just doesn't make sense to me. Why would you want to have all those lovely bookshelves-- and then shove your furniture right up against them so you can't use every last bit of storage space?
If I absolutely had to do this, I suppose I would use those shelves to store keepsakes that I don't want to display but refuse to get rid of. There's certainly no way that I would put something back there that I'd have to move heavy furniture back and forth to get at!
If nothing else, this post shows you how cranky I can be, doesn't it?
Shelving for Show-Offs?
Now... doesn't the shelving in the following two photos look absolutely stunning?
No matter how eye-catching and impressive the bookshelves are in these two photos, I wouldn't have them in my house. I don't know about you, but I've never wanted to risk life and limb to get my next book to read. You can't even see how to get at some of the sections of books, so to me, this interior design ploy is all about showing off and has very little to do with the actual reading and enjoyment of all those lovely books.
Make Up Your Mind--
Art Gallery or Bookshelves?
Here are the last two photos I'm using to illustrate another design tactic that makes little sense to me.
Why would anyone want to hang artwork on their bookshelves? I would find the background of books to detract from the art, and I would bet the farm that every single book I wanted to take off a shelf would be behind one of those paintings. In addition, if you have to take a painting off the hook on the shelf, how difficult is it going to be to hang it straight when you put it back? (You have to think of these things!)
As I've worked my way through this post, I think I've come to the conclusion that many interior designers are not readers and know little about the proper way to showcase books. If I were ever to win the lottery and be able to build the home of my dreams, I think the first question I would ask both architect and interior designer would be--- Do you read?
Now it's your turn. What do you think of my choices? Do they irritate you, too? Inquiring minds would love to know!