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What do you do when your husband’s a writer/English major/former 5th year Seminarian/has a Masters in Philosphy and you’ve inherited his hundreds of books…with no place to put them? Well, you keep them in boxes for the first year and a half of marriage until they drive you nuts and scream for a permanent home. You come up with grand plans to design beautiful built-ins with great moldings like the ones in fancy homes (you know, the ones with lots of pretty accessories!). Then, after a quick look at the budget and timeline, plans are downsized drastically. Yup, that sounds about right.

We had a living room with a bare wall and knew it would be the perfect place for our home library. Here is our “library” before when Gram lived in the farm house, with her cozy rocking chair in the corner.

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Here’s the library now! We finally got all of our books out of boxes and onto the wall. I decided to organize the books by subject since there were that many books! I’ve known people to organize them by color or by size, but however you decide to organize them, I would suggest creating groups of books with space in between and on top for a few accessories here and there. The thing in interior design lately is to design bookshelves with pretty statement accessories, bold frames, and other knick knacks…with only a handful of “filler” books here and there. Even though I think those kind of bookshelves can be beautiful, that clearly wasn’t going to happen here. We have too many books and we are way too practical.

In the end…we now have a great Catholic library for our family and friends to enjoy. We even have our own version of the Dewey Decimal system (OCD wife here!) with some labeled sections featuring Catechetical books, Aquinas, CS Lewis, Apologetics, the Saints, Church History, Patristics, Biblical Commentary, and of course the typical fiction and non-fiction spanning the door frame on top!

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Like I mentioned, we went back and forth trying to decide whether to purchase bookcases to place against the wall or create built-ins on the wall, painted vs. stained, floating vs. brackets, etc. To stick within a tight budget, we settled on simple pine wood, some of which we had out in the shop, some we picked up at Home Depot. We stained the wood to match the trim, mounted the planks on gold spray-painted “L” brackets (about $1 each – 34 total), accented it with old-fashioned library tags that I found on Amazon for about $0.50 each, added custom toy bins made from unfinished craft-store crates and hardware store wheels, and finished it off with some simple white accessories between the books. I really love that we now have a place for toys that doesn’t scream “Toy Room!” Pretty pleased with the results for under about $200!

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