Here’s How I Turned One Empty Shelf Into A Pretty Space For My Books

For the longest time I’ve had a dream of owning a black bookshelf for all my books. I wanted one with nine shelves, broken down into three levels, and I knew exactly how I wanted to place my books – a few by author names, some by size and a few more by colour. Unfortunately, my home doesn’t have enough wall room to let me buy a black bookshelf. What I do have instead, is this huge, horizontal space where I stack all my books. It’s a great space, but it’s not functional. I also have two more shelves around it, one of which is almost like a mini bookshelf, but it holds about 20 books only. The other one again is a huge empty space, where I can only pile books one on top of the other. Each time I need a book from the bottom of the pile, it takes me about 10 minutes to grab the book I need and then put everything back in place.

This year, I wanted to change all that. So, while my space remains the same, I made some major changes in the way I arrange my books, to make it easier for me to access them and make the overall space pretty. It’s not the best hack, in my honest opinion, but I tried my best to make it work.

A big shoutout to all my fellow book readers at Mumbai Bookstagrammers for their ideas on how to make this work.

Here’s a grid of how the space looked like before I started.

IMG_8978.JPG One of the first things I wanted for my books was visibility. I wanted to be able to see everything; something that was not happening when I was putting my books in a pile.IMG_8979.JPG

I got my hands on these damaged cardboard boxes – my husband has a toy factory so these were easy to access, but you can also check with your local recycling shop. I placed the books on two of these and made a nice book pile at the back. The reason I added the boxes was to give the books some height, so that even with another pile out front, I could still see my books at the back.


Some of the books in the front pile came with yellow pages so to hide that I kept another pile on top; but in a way that I could still spot my books at the back.


Next up came my bookends. These are magnetic ones that I picked up from Kmart, Sydney (you can also find them on Amazon, but they are expensive). My Harry Potter illustrated books made for a good, sturdy support.


The bookends also doubled up as a magnetic board where I put up a family picture (I put a single picture earlier as seen in the above image, and then changed the size later) and a few magnets. I am planning to change it occasionally with new pictures and book quotes.


I got a great suggestion from someone to keep the current TBR pile out front and the rest at the back. To add in that element, I picked up a cane bookshelf from the Kala Ghoda fair (for Rs. 850). I loved the hot pink colour and it made for a nice divide between my books too.


On the side I put all my other books. Honestly, I am not too happy with that because I still can’t see those books, but removing one front pile to access the books is so much easier than the deal I had earlier.


Of course, I had to have a Harry Potter pile. I picked this angry and annoyed Lord Voldemort from Sydney for $20 and I love him.


Fairy lights had to find a place on my bookshelf too… look so pretty. (This shelf is on the upper right hand side.)


I also have a neat little corner with all the books that I normally never pull out for a re-read. (This is next to the huge horizontal space, on the left)


So, that’s everything and considering the space I was working with, I think it looks quite neat and pretty.

Here’s a picture from the end of my room for better perspective (oh and yes, I am OBSESSED with That ’70s Show).

IMG_8813.jpgI have a lot of tiny personal elements in there too.

You already met Voldy, who by the way hates my candle.


Behind him is a tiny pot that I picked up from IKEA, Dubai (for $2) which holds most of my bookmarks. (Also, I kept moving things around a lot, so Voldy will be seen in various spots.)


Crazy Luna Park, Sydney girl ($15) is basically me. I went there with my fam on a recent holiday and I loved it. I wanted a happy reminder of that place; there’s also a candle besides her because I am slightly obsessed.


That’s the magnetic bookend I was talking about earlier.


That lamp is given by my mom who picked it up from a local fair in Baroda, Gujarat.


Apart from the fairylights (which I got from Typo, Sydney for $2), all the little figurines are from my mom’s showcase. I was obsessed with them while growing up, and they belong to my grandma. On top of the shelf, the fake plants are from local shops in Sydney; that cane pot is a gift from mom and those two figurines are again from mom’s cupboard. That wand is a gift from a colleague (10¾” long made of vine wood with a dragon heartstring core).


If you zoom in on the picture below you’ll also spot a snow globe that I picked from the Sydney Eye Tower and the bottle with Warli art is from a local fair in Delhi.


So, there you have it, my new happy place… let me know if you like it or if you have any suggestions to make it better.

3 thoughts on “Here’s How I Turned One Empty Shelf Into A Pretty Space For My Books

  1. i love how you did the best with what you have. for a bit i’ve been on Pintrest gazing at gorgeous bookshelves but i don’t have much shelf space either! what a cute little voldemort guy. and gosh sooo many books took! I noticed you had a few Paulo C. Did you read The Alchemist? I didn’t see it in your group.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.