color coded books


I recently helped one of my favorite clients move and this is her new dining area. She has a nice collection of books even though this is about half of what she had before she moved. She doesn’t reference these books anymore and likes color coding, as do I, so I got 3 billy bookcases and went to town. 

The only exception is the 1 row of books for cookbooks that she uses a lot. I mean who wants to have to remember the color of a spine every time they want to make vegan cupcakes??  

organizing your books



Going thru my photos, I found these from the wall opposite the shelves from this library that I haven’t shared before. So let’s take this time to talk about how to arrange your books.

Some people arrange their books by how they look best, others categorize by subject. If you have a smaller collection, arrange by look. Those with a lot of books and actually go back and reference them, categorize into subjects that make sense to you, then arrange them on the shelf until they look best.

I say subjects that make sense to you because each collection is different; some clients see fiction, non-fiction, art. Others see local author fiction, foreign fiction, mystery fiction, non-fiction science, non-fiction true-crime… you get the point. There’s no right or wrong.

Pull the books down cleaning as you go; vacuum the spines, and wipe with a damp cloth (but not the cloth bound ones, vacuum those completely). Wipe down all the shelves with a damp cloth, then get books back on the shelves arranging until they look as best. The final step is to add decorative accessories.

How do you arrange your books?

bookshelves: before + after

These bookshelves are from the same apartment in the previous posts. She has some really pretty things and I couldn’t resist doing a quick re-styling to make it all look super fab.
The clock on the left side will eventually be hung once she finds the perfect spot. The frames without pics will quickly be filled with some great family shots.

bookshelves: before and after

To get them in the proper order we took all the books off the shelves and gathered from other areas of the apartment. We categorized and cleaned them along with the the shelves. Books she needed the easiest access are on the lower shelf. The last thing we did was add the decorative pieces and photos.

We moved the lighting around as well. The things on the top of the black surface (another bookcase) are there temporarily, once cleared it will only have the small light, clock, and large basket. Also, she already had these shelves but was concerned about it’s stability so I suggested she add more hanging standards and brackets to make them more sturdy.

upper west side apartment


I’ve been helping this client get settled into her fantastic new apartment. Wanting a calming, tranquil bedroom we opted for the white bedding and dresser. She found the gorgeous glass lamp at a local shop and is looking for a rug to complete the room.

I was there this weekend to place the new dining table and chairs, the set of bookcases and to finish styling the space. We had a great time putting it all together and in place. 

art covered walls


I helped this couple move earlier this year. They had the dining table + chairs, lounge chair, sofa and area rug and lots of art. Envisioning using this long wall as an art wall, I suggested bright white walls and minimal white furniture as not to detract from the art. We went with the three Ikea bookcases since I knew much of the art needed framing and I know how much that can cost.
I love the way the bookcase came out. Since these shelves are pretty deep I was able to layer some of the smaller books to give it more depth and interest. They said to do it whichever looked best, not necessarily by subject or author. For more pics and info, click here.

freestanding coat closet: before + after

This client is living in a share and has one room for all her things. I’m not only teaching her how to organize, but styling the room as well. By using her existing bins and boxes in a new way, she is spending the money she had put aside for this project towards a new rug and upholstered bench for the room. 
 The bins once hiding magazines are now in the ‘coat closet’ keeping scarves, totes, and handbags within easy reach. 

the library: before + after

Before, this room was the dumping grounds of the apartment for things this couple didn’t know what to do with, or didn’t want to deal with. After they did a few rounds of editing on their own, I organized the remaining books by topic and styled the shelves with their existing decorative pieces. There are a couple hidden bookends in there too.

The room is the back to being the library/television room, stayed tuned to see what I did with the television….

hidden bookends

Two ways of using simple metal bookends:
#1: In the center of a shelf to hold books in place when a book is taken out. This is so helpful for those with long bookshelves. I often refer to my Housekeeping Handbook and since it’s quite large, the books to the left of it used to fall over when I take it out, not anymore.
#2: At the ends obviously but if placed inside the cover you don’t have to see the ends and you can enjoy the seeing the whole front (or back) of your books.