Shelf Talk: Decorating Book Shelves


Welcome to Shelf Talk, a bi-weekly discussion post that covers a variety of topics including, but not limited to, gardening, video games, cooking, crafting and of course books. If you have any suggestions for topics that you would like to see on future Shelf Talk posts, leave it in the comments or send me an email, and I’ll do my best to cover that topic in the future.

You cannot put anything but books on book shelves! That’s why they are called BOOK shelves!

At least that’s how I used to look at it.

Seriously, I used to get so annoyed (and a little angry) when I would see bookshelves in someone’s home and they were filled with knick knacks and trinkets and everything under the sun except books! How dare they defile a bookshelf in such a horrible way! Even my mother did this. She bought several really nice quality book shelves, not storage shelves but book shelves (that’s what they were labeled), and put her collection of stuffed bears on them. Why? Meanwhile I was the book loving kid who didn’t have a book shelf to call her own, with books piled up randomly in my bedroom. When I finally did get a book shelf of my own, I vowed to only ever put books on it.

I stuck with that vow for many years.

It was after we moved into our current home that my vow was sort of forgotten. In the chaos that ensued from packing, then having a baby and just life getting in the way, I piled stuff up on my book shelf that had no right being there. Small figurines, kleenex boxes, picture frames. Basically whatever fit there, in front of or around the books went on it. And you know, it bothered me a lot, but I had no other place to put those things, so I endured it. Then after joining the book blogger community, I was annoyed with how people put things other than books on the shelves. Why? Why would they do that? In fact it bothered me so much that I pulled everything that wasn’t a book off my book shelf. It gave me temporary relief.


Then came one day when I was looking at pictures of people book shelves. Not only was I admiring the books that they owned, but I came to realize that having other things on the shelves wasn’t so bad. Especially when those things complimented the books. Now my own shelves looked horribly plain, as they only were used for books. So I decided to give decorating them a try. It started out small, just a couple of items here and there. But I was pleased with how it looked. Then as time went on I added more things to the shelves. I found myself looking for items at the store that would look good sitting in front of my books. Next thing you know, I was wishing for bigger shelves because there wasn’t enough room for the books and trinkets without things looking crowded.

Some of my favorite things I have put on my shelf are my Warcraft figures, which sit in front of all of my Warcraft books. A few special Star Wars figures sit proudly on my Star Wars book shelf. And in my reading corner, I have two small shelves which contain a mix of books and items. I think that putting decorations on the shelves in my reading corner was the best idea ever. It really makes it feel like a special spot. It’s got my books there, but it also has those special little accents that truly make it mine.

Of course the only downside to all of this, is that I have the desire to rearrange not only my books, but my decorations, far too often. I just like changing things up so that they don’t always look the same.

Do you decorate your shelves with things other than books? If yes, what kind of things you do put on them? Or do you like to keep the shelves strictly for books?


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