Tuesday, 12 January 2010

our livingrom library

I said last week that I might need your opinion on how to make our livingroom library work better, or if we should do any changes at all.

When Lori & Ken visited us in August last year, I remember that (the interior designer) Lori asked me why we need all our books. Are you ever going to read them again? I told her that I'm pretty sure that there are lots of books we will never read again, but we like to keep them anyway. They are important parts of our lives and we like to live with them. She told me that if that is so, we should have all the bookshelves on one wall, not spread around like now. It will make a cool feature - just like she did at her client's house.

My dilemma is: I love library walls like that, but I also love low shelves like the ones we have already (photo above). I think it makes the room more airy compared to high shelves. We considered high shelves for this wall when we moved in, but I wanted that airy feeling + I pictured it would look great to hang the Peter Lik photograph above shelves. I'm still happy with this arrangement, but I'm not so happy with these two loners:

As you can see all the shelves are pretty full, so we need all the shelf space we can get. There are even two 40 cm wide shelves in the hallway full of books and magazines.

If we are going to move the shelf to the left in the photo above, we need a new thingy to put the speaker for the stereo surround system on. No big deal I guess, but it's just something to remember.

I've been thinking it might be a good idea to swap the photos with wall hung shelves, preferably something like String. That way we could get rid of that ugly stereo shelf thingy and make something good looking and functional for the whole wall. But I don't think the wall is not big enough to be our one and only livingroom library.

This wall though is big enough for our livingroom library, but I don't think it will work that well as long as those cupboards are still there. Until we renovate the kitchen one time in the future, we need those extra cupboards. (Getting married means you get a lot of extra kitchen stuff ;-)) We might hang something next to the cupboards, but I don't mind having a calm, white wall either.

So, I think that leaves us with the wall in the top photo - but will it look great as a library wall filled with white IKEA Billy shelves (like the ones we already have - I would LOVE to have Montana shelves but they are way out of our budget for the time being), or will it be too crowded?

Small side note: The wall is not even. If I stand in one end of the wall and you stand at the other end of the wall, we won't see each other (!) Our house was built in the early 1930s and I love these kind of old house quirks. Because of this funky state of the wall, I think it will work best to have a combination of 80 cm and 40 cm wide shelves to minimise the gap between the shelves (or am I wrong?) Also, we already have three 40 cm shelves and one 80 cm shelf, and I would prefer to use what we have and not buy too much new.

So friends, what do you think? New livingroom library - yay or nay? And why?


  1. i know how these questions can drive you up the wall... :)

    i agree that it might be a good idea to have the library wall behind the dinner table. you could consider having floor-to-ceiling billy shelves (i have very high walls so can stack up to three top units on top of the regular shelves, just remember to drill your shelves to the wall with proper, strong screw anchors). it really looks best when the shelves are all the way up to the ceiling, i think. looks like really expensive, custom-made library shelving then...

    oh, and i think you can get doors for billy shelves, so you might consider getting these for the bottom two rows of your shelves and keep your excess kitchen stuff in there - out of view.

  2. i did think, about lori's client's library wall, great shelves -- but where are the books?!

    bibliophiles not only keep books they plan to read over and over but also first editions, reference works, collector's items, books with sentimental value...

  3. I try to write this in inglish - the Billy system from Ikea work alright - never get wrong I think - BUT I realy like Bestå from Ika too - and they are not expencive!! But anyway you have to buy new. I think for first I would have a look on how much books/ magasin do you realy have - I know I guess there will bee more in the years - but thats for one thing see if there is enough with that wall - and if its not - maybee make one libery for only books( novels/album - but not magesine!) beacouse for what I can see of your house, on bouth side of the door it would work to have the billy shelves that you have now on the perfect libery wall - beacouse when they are not taler it does not make souch a big thing out of them self - this could be a place to have magesine...
    Another thing is that you maybee could also make a another place for all your Cds too - maybee have a another furniture under the Tv - that could have space - behind doors to Cds Dvds etc.
    I would make a big libary wall in front of your door ( from the hall way, I guess;-) for me it does not mater if you do it with buying some more tall Billys or Bestå if you want to put some more money in it - Bestå looks realy good if you hang it on the wall to - not much, maybee only 20 - 25 cm up - and then make a square out of it - how much you can make out of it with Bestå before reaching the roof - and then make it the same wide, more or less - I know you are using Ikea furnitures!!

    I hope you have understud what I now have been trying to tell you - wishing you luck - and looking forward to see the result

  4. Hei Astrid, A different alternative: keep the ikea shelves you have in between the big windows just continue the same height of shelves (since you like the airy feel) along the whole wall by measuring and fixing so that you have shelves that will fit the whole wall from end to end. Take away the curtains-invest in some new roller blinds, take away the heaters-put them some where else, by doing this this will frame in the windows a little and showoff the great view you have and keeping all the books in one area and creating a harmony in the whole living area. What do you think? Kiwi i Bergen

  5. *heia! hvordan ser gangen deres ut? noe av det fineste jeg vet er når jeg kommer hjem til folk og de har alle ( iallefall noen) av bokhyllene i gangen. det gir en varm og koselig atmofære i det du setter føttene dine inn i huset* ha en fin dag* klem vigdis

  6. Hva med å fylle veggen bak spisebordet med bokhyller fra gulv til tak, og flytte skapet som henger på denne veggen til der de lave bokhyllene står nå? Da blir skapet en slags skjenk, og du får utnyttet plassen (og kan beholde bildet på denne veggen) samtidig som du beholder følelsen av luft i rommet. :)

  7. Sånt er vanskelig. Først vil jeg si at jeg digget TV veggen. Sll teknisk/digital stæsj er aldri fint, det samme er TVen men å gjøre den til en del av collage vegg funket som bare det. ( Tror jeg gjør det i det nye huset)
    Også til tanker rundt bokproblemet... Vi flyttet en del av våre i gangen..lagde skikkelig bibliotek der8http://unadostres.blogg.no/1259585002_bilder_av_en_svrt_ryd.html - sko står vanligvis ikke i bokhyllen, nei)også har vi plassert resten i ganske lave hyller ca 50cm høye,som går langs alle vegger de kan gå langs.. Enig at en hel bib.vegg tar mye mer rom en de lave hyllene, så kanskje du kan ha lave hyller langs kjøk.veggen...slik at veggen i øyesiktet forblir hvit, du messer ikke med kjøkkenoverskapene og får litt plass. Så kan du ha fine ting oppå hyllen...
    Også synes jeg at du bør gjøre noe med de to hyllene mot gangen, gjøre de mer sammenhengende, hva å bygge hyller rundt døren og slikt...Åj, dette ble et langt forsøk på løsning... God kveld!

  8. Hello Astrid.
    I would put the library wall on the wall with the Peter Lik photograph. Just like you, I love low shelves but this wall seems the best to me because it faces your sofa which is usually a nice place to look at books pick one and sit confortably to read it and because, as I see light entering your house through the windows, it's a rather dark wall and books do not need to be so much into the light. Whereas your "kitchen" wall beautifully catches the light and creates such a pleasant atmosphere, I think it would not be nice to loose that. Here's what I think ... I hope you'll tell us what you finally choose. Have a great day ;o)

  9. I have the same shelves as in the top photo, 3 of them, and the same philosophy as you- in a small room low shelves make the room more airy. I had to add the slim shelf in photo 2, even so, lately I've had excess books everywhere. My solution is colour coordination, giving away some 20 paperbacks that I won't read again, and also putting some of my books behind the others. I'm also considering the "string" shelves if I should decide to get new/more shelves.
    I agree that your space would look better without the extra shelves, and having everything on one wall. I think you've gotten really good advice. Lise's suggestion is really good, but you could maybe use string shelves or just buy an extra shelf like the one you have and move the existing ones there, the other good advice is if you go for higher shelves- I would only put these behind the dining room table, to really go all the way up to the ceiling with extra loose ikea units, and to screw them into the wall so they are really straight and don't wobble. A skjenk would look cool in your apratement, lots of nice old ones on finn.no, stay away from the really massive ones though as your space is quite small.
    My suggestion- get rid of your cd covers and use this space for books. Put the cd's in files instead.



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