The Highs and Lows of Decorating a Bookcase

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The Highs and Lows of Decorating a Bookcase

We have moved past the large furniture stage of decorating and are tumbling headfirst into “the hard part.” My new approach to what I like to call “musical objets” is to focus on one area of the room at a time. This month, the bookcase has been my never ending project.

Originally I had my sights set on a vintage Milo Baughman etagere (similar to the one above) that I thought would really become a statement piece in our living room. But once I saw the price tag of similar items, it became clear it was either the book case or the  Jonathan Adler sofa I had been begging for. Ultimately, I chose the piece of furniture I was destined to spend years sitting on instead of the one banished to a corner.  So this is the bookcase we went with instead.  The price was right at around $250 and I honestly get so many compliments on it from people who think it is more of a luxury piece than it is, I don’t miss ol’ Milo one bit. An easy decision.

Decorating it has been another story.  The last month has been a series of rearranging books, re-framing art, buying vases and boxing magazines in an attempt to come to some sort of arrangement that seems cohesive and effortless. I’m like a one woman expose on indecisiveness.

The framework for decorating the bookcase has understandably become our collection of coffee table books. My favorites – the Kate Moss book and the new Avedon: Women collection, a gift from our friends at – taking center stage and becoming focal points.  That part was obvious. It’s the building around the books that has become an obstacle.  Everything I have flanking my hardbacks feels like a hodge podge of crap I pulled from other rooms in the hopes that something might stick. It feels like that because that’s what I did.

So I developed a plan.

I’ve been on a hunt for cool objects that feel different and singular, specifically searching for items at various heights, with interesting aesthetic appeal and in neutral tones or metallics. I’ve spent a lot of time in vintage and antique stores trying to find that one piece that so perfectly pairs with more affordable pieces from mainstream retailers – like these vases I found at Anthropologie and this urchin from Lulu & Georgia (who is, as an aside, having a rather significant sale at this very moment).

Just a few more stops and a little moving around and I should be ready to share the end result.  If you’ve found anything cool you think would be a good fit feel free to drop it in the comments. I’m not finished just yet, and God knows I need all of the help I can get.


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Everything I have flanking my hardbacks feels like a hodge podge of crap I pulled from other rooms in the hopes that something might stick.

  • Girl, I feel you. Story of my life since we moved! Two awesome resources I tell everyone I know about:

    Chairish, which is an online marketplace for people to sell vintage and antique goods — except, actually easy to nav and search through. You can even search for local finds, to eliminate shipping costs. And you can bid on items if you don’t want to pay what the seller is asking! I love it.

    I also will forever love High Street Market. Kelly’s shop has many items that are a little more traditional, but she not only manufactures many of the items herself, but she sells tons of vintage items she’s constantly finding on treasure hunts. I have so many metallic pieces in my home that I purchased from her.

    Happy decorating!

    • Lynsey

      I don’t know whether to curse you or hug you. I’ve just spent the last few days obsessing over everything on these sites. How did I not know about Chairish prior to this?!

      I feel like everytime you try and take items you purchased for one space and move them to another, making them work is like putting together an old puzzle with pieces missing mixed with pieces from another puzzle that don’t fit. It’s been almost two years and I am STILL moving things around.


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