I love bookshelves. Partly because I love to read, and partly for the rainbow of colour books bring to a room. And being a bargain-hunter means I can't pass a garage sale or thrift shop without taking at least a quick look at their literary offerings. In addition, my dad, mom and sister have already bought pretty much any new release I'm interested in reading, and pass on most to me when they're finished. So, as you can imagine, my cosy (read "cramped") semidetached house is swimming in books.
I used to clip pictures of other readers' libraries from magazines and books, and now I pin them religiously on Pinterest.
Children's books are really no exception. I love them, and I love the way they look in a room. Recently, I relieved my local Goodwill of 28 children's books in a single visit — and 30 more at the book-sale fundraiser my daycare recently hosted. And as my seven-year-old completes grade two, she's moving into the world of chapter books — a whole new chapter in my collecting!
Obviously, a parent's bookshelf choices will depend on their child's collection. Book hoarders like me can't live without substantial shelving. Deep bookshelves with the spines facing out just plain hold the most books. When you have a collection like ours, they're the go-to style.
Nothing would make me happier than to be able to create a book nook like this one (home to Owen and Dylan, the subjects of the Little Hellraiser blog) for my children. It's an enchanting hideaway, and has display shelves down below and more practical storage shelves up top. (I could live without the mini TV — I'd like to think that the inviting environment would encourage my kids to do a bit of reading!)
Public library devotees and minimalists, on the other hand, can get away with much less shelving. Which allows for other book storage options — a good thing, since it's thought that children, especially the littlest ones, use books differently from us, and that this should be a consideration when we contemplate how to store their favourite tales.
Aesthetically speaking, racks that display books with their covers facing out are the most fun and let kids have a good look at their reading choices. And there's no denying that today's storybooks burst with colour and graphics — making them a playful pick-me-up for any kids' room.
Bin-style storage is arguably the most kid-friendly. Bins can hold a greater number of books and allow little ones to reach their libraries with ease to find just the right read for the occasion.
Here are some of the most appealing storage options I've seen for kids' libraries.
This corner unit in Swedish graphic designer Helena Schaeder Söderberg's house is the mother of all display shelves. It still wouldn't hold all of our books, but I could rotate new books in and out seasonally.
These simple book ledges featured in the Australian magazine Inside Out are low-key in style, letting the graphic storybooks take centre stage. They're made with inexpensive parts from Ikea. (Get the instructions here.)
I love the contrast between the intricate neotoile-style wallpaper and the saturated hues of the books in this colourful bedroom (in the home of Middle Class White Girl blogger Wendel — as shown in Oh Marie magazine).
Tucking book racks at the end of these bunk beds (in writer Anita Kaushal's London home — she's the author of The Family at Home (2007 Clarkson Potter)) is a clever idea — and encourages youngsters to read in bed at night or when they wake in the morning.
These days, many parents are crafting their own book racks. Some — like these little grey ones from blog Wonderful Joy Ahead — are made with simple wooden spice racks. Another project, from Martha Stewart, suggests retrofitting basic plate racks for books.
If you're feeling particularly unhandy, try this smaller, stand-alone option: the Madison 3-Shelf Book Rack from Pottery Barn Kids.
This simple white unit is one of the best book bins I've seen. Berlin-based Danish blogger Christina found it on the street! It lets kids flip through four big stacks to find a favourite read.
Washington State blogger Michelle Allen was lucky enough to find this charming — and sturdy — vintage library cart. I'd definitely grab it if I came across one at a flea market!
The Good Read Book Caddy (this is the Azure colourway — there are lots of others) from The Land of Nod is a similar option — and one that would fit in even the smallest bedrooms.
Finally, a book tower like this brings a distinctly modern aesthetic to a child's room. It would be a great option in an older grade-schooler or teen's room, but I can't picture a preschooler being able to keep it organized (or upright!). Umbra used to make a metal book tower that I coveted, and CB2 has a similar version now.
Watch this Online TV segment of a boy's bedroom makeover to see how Sarah Hartill organized books.
1. Little Hellraiser blog
2. Helena Schaeder Söderberg via Ish & Chi
3. Inside Out magazine
4. My Attic blog
5. Anita Kaushal
6a. Wonderful Joy Ahead blog
6b. Martha Stewart
7. Madison 3-Shelf Book Rack, Pottery Barn Kids
8. Dejligheder blog
9a. Cory Connor Designs via Petite Literary
9b. Luz Vasconcelos' home in Portugal via The Lovely Side blog
10. Michelle Allen
11. Good Read Book Caddy, The Land of Nod
12. Attempting Aloha blog