Thursday, August 16, 2012

The cheapest bookshelves on Earth

It's been about a year since we dealt with the upstairs landing.

We painted the walls, the trim, and the built-in cabinet.

But we did not deal with the books.

Instead, we left the wall of awesome and kept the reading material on the floor.

I had dreams of finding a few squat bookcases with glass front doors.  What I found instead? A bunch of Not-For-Sale signs on all the bookcases at the vintage furniture markets. Or they were about $400 a piece.  About $350 more than I wanted to spend.  Yes, I was in la-la land about scoring a solid wood bookcase or two, but really, what was the harm in having unrealistic expectations for awhile?

After 12 months, though, I was ready to move along on this project and finish it.

Thanks to Target and their limitless supply of el-cheapo furniture, I finally did. Recently the Tarjay put its small Room Essentials bookcases on sale for $15.  Usually, I despise pressed board furniture. It's often not any less expensive than solid, used pieces, but since I hadn't found anything I liked, I decided to bite the bullet and buy three. If we ever sell the house, we'll leave the shelving since it's doubtful it would survive any move.  

My wall of awesome has been significantly reduced.  Only left with a collage from Girl Scouts circa 1987.  But it feels good having the books off the floor.

You'll see my books are every which way but neat.  I like books for reading, not for decorating, so I rarely work too hard at placement.  And when I don't read something, it leaves the house.  Imagine at least three times this amount in a 600 sqft apartment in the A-T-L. Picture me moving dozens of boxes of books.  And then imagine me selling the majority of them on Ebay in a fit of rage over the prospect of ever moving them again.  I still keep some sentimental favorites, though, including my Hieroglyphs textbook from college.

Anywho, I think I made the right choice.  

Thanks to Ryan for taking the great After photos with no overhead lighting and twilight outside.


  1. Oh books. Mine are all piled in laundry baskets right now after being displaced from the secretary hutch.

    I have a whole bunch of textbooks from university still. I can guarantee that I'll never use them again, but I love themmmmmmmmm.

  2. Did you try craigslist? I've had great luck finding solid wood furniture for reasonably good prices.

    1. Shasha, we don't obsessively search Craigslist, but we've had the odd Craigslist find. Check this out:

  3. It looks great! And I'm still madly in love with your built in cabinets...

  4. I agree. Books are for reading, not for sitting on shelves looking pretty.

    That is a lovely landing. Your house has so much awesome character. Love it.

    Add a couple pieces of inexpensive trim? To make them look more built in?

  5. I remember the drama I had finding bookshelves when I moved into my place. Luckily my father decided he wanted to take a stab at carpentry, and it turned out he wasn't too bad at it. Nice shelves for $15 though!


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