by Matt Goering

Library Bookcases

Library Bookcases

Bookshelves are often overlooked when it comes to designing the interior of a home. The truth is that the right bookcase in the right place can make a world of difference, increasing the beauty of an interior and decreasing the clutter. Here are a few suggestions for different types of book shelves to consider if you’re in the market.

Freestanding Models
You can’t beat a good freestanding bookcase for convenience. Not only are they great places to store books and knick knacks, but they can be attractive furniture additions to your living spaces as well. The beauty of freestanding book shelves is the incredible variety of styles available. Corner bookcases are wonderful for making use of those odd corners in the living room or den, and provide an attractive place to store and display books and other valuables.

Rotating models are also available, and are very handy when used as end tables to store books, magazines, remotes, and other things you want to have within arm’s reach when stretching out on the couch.

If you’re looking for something really distinctive, consider a doored bookcase, a close cousin of the china cabinet. These are great for displaying everything from grandma’s old dishes to that autographed copy of The Old Man and the Sea that you’re always telling everybody about.

The fact is that when you’re talking freestanding book shelves, there’s a model out there that will satisfy just about any space, taste and budget.

Built-In Bookshelves
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the amount of furniture you already have, you’ll want to consider having built in bookcases installed instead. These can be custom designed to fit your living spaces, and often can be fitted in out of the way places or recessed into a wall where a freestanding model just wouldn’t work.

Some examples of places where built in bookshelves can really bring a room together include around fireplaces, doors and windows, beneath stairs or running up them, and in odd corners throughout the house. Bookcases have even been built in to serve as a barrier and divide a room into two distinct areas. If you have a space you think a custom built-in bookcase might be the ticket, Highlands Designs can make it happen.

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by Wade Shaddy

Create illuminated space in any bookcase using a light bridge. This type of lighting is installed below any shelf using simple ambient lights to add depth and character to the bookcase. Typical light bridges illuminate objects other than books such as vases, flowers pictures or keepsakes. They serve to open up the bookcase by providing light between rows of books on on either side. Typical light bridges are installed in bookcases that have three sections, with the middle section receiving the light bridge. It’s fine to add a light bridge to any shelf for the same effect.

1. Measure the length horizontally across the top shelf of the bookcase. Purchase a light bridge that will fit between the two vertical sides of the bookcase. The light bridge doesn’t need to fit tight flush on either end. For example, if the shelf is 48 inches wide, use any light bridge fixture measuring between 18 and 36 inches.

2. Stain and lacquer the front of the light bridge if needed. Lots of light bridge fixtures have a single piece of molding across the front. Choose a molding profile that matches your existing trim, and apply stain that matches the existing bookcase.

3. Locate the nearest power outlet. Use a drill/driver and 1-inch Forstner bit to drill a hole through the back of the bookcase on the side needed to access the power outlet. Drill the hole one inch diagonally from the back corner. If the bookcase is installed to the wall, it’s OK to drill the hole through the side of the bookcase, one inch diagonally from the back corner on the side needed.

4. Place the light bridge fixture under the top of the bookcase. Center it flush with the front edge.

5. Hold the light bridge with one hand. Use your other hand to place two 5/8-inch screws in drilled holes on either end of the light bridge. Screw the screws in tight to secure the light bridge to the bookcase.

6. Pull the cord straight back from the light bridge fixture to the point where the shelf contacts the back. Use a hammer to tap one horseshoe nail over the cord to secure it to the back of the bookcase. If the bookcase has no back, or the back is no thicker than 1/4 inch, tap the nail into the underside of the shelf to secure the cord.

7. Insert the end of the cord through the 1-inch hole. Pull it snug. Tap two more horseshoe nails into the cord to finish installing the light. Plug it in. The switch to turn the light off and on may be on the cord or the fixture itself, depending on the model.

Things You Will Need

  • Stain (optional)
  • Lacquer (optional)
  • Light bridge fixture
  • Drill/driver
  • 1-inch Forstner drill bit
  • 5/8-inch screws
  • Hammer
  • Horseshoe nails

You can also place the light bridge on the back of the shelf, which is not recommended because the light is dampened — or you can place it under any shelf to illuminate the shelf below it.

If the top of your bookcase has a decorative trim piece across the front that’s greater than 2 inches wide, you don’t need a light bridge. Purchase hobby lights to fit behind it for the same affect.

Warning: Be careful when drilling through finished wood. Drill from both sides to prevent splintering. Wear safety glasses.

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by Lauren Frandsen

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I truly love to see bookcases in homes because they are the perfect solution for adding storage and style to your surroundings.  Books and collectibles on display add warmth and personality to any space, whether it’s a living or dining area, bedroom or home office.  To any visitor, a bookcase will communicate what you read, what you collect, and what you love.  Bookcases are a window into your passions and pursuits, and an opportunity for you to put your most favorite things on display.

The challenge for most people is how to style a bookcase well.  How do you maximize both utility and aesthetic appeal, but also avoid monotony and clutter?   Styling a bookcase is an art, but a job easily tackled if you study those done right.

Analysis of a well styled bookcase:

It Starts at the Back.  Simple inexpensive bookcases become stunners when their backs are dressed up with paint, fabric or wallpaper.  Eddie’s Billy Bookcase was brought to life with a pattern that accentuates the balanced display of books and collectibles.

eddie ross billy bookcase styling for womans day

via Eddie Ross

When styled against a backdrop of robin’s egg blue, this collection from the home of model Coco Rochas has visual appeal, and showcases a love of books, antique coffeepots, vases, and glass bottles.

vogue bookcase

via Vogue

 

Think in Layers.  Here is a shelf masterfully styled by Emily Henderson.  Notice the balance achieved between the books alternating in placement from left to right with the ceramics poised on the opposite side.  The middle shelf repeats the books plus ceramics combination, and also provides the opportunity to display smaller collectibles.  Different heights and textures also add to the appeal.

emily henderson hgtv

via HGTV

 

Vary Book Placement.  Did you know there are 7 ways to stack books?  Karen fromThe Art of Doing Stuff teaches us how she styled hers in her IKEA Billy bookcases to break up the columns.  Notice how she doesn’t just stick to books, she adds art and natural objects too.  And don’t you love that reading chair?

art of doing stuff bookcase

via The Art of Doing Stuff

 

Arrange Books by Color.  Inside this IKEA Expedit, the books are grouped by color, and also displayed both horizontally and vertically.  Practical baskets mix with glass bowls, vases and collectibles to form an aesthetically pleasing display on a brightly painted wall.

ikea bookcase style at home

via Style at Home

 

Hang Something.  There’s no rule you have to keep it all inside.  Why not add one more layer of interest?  Consider using the framing of the bookcases to suspend a dramatic mirror, framed artwork, or sentimental photographs.

framed art on bookcase

House Beautiful; source unknown

bookshelf hgtv

via HGTV

 

It’s OK to be Single.   Smaller cubbies look simply perfect with a textured or sculptural object placed all by itself.  Notice the use of a single vase or shell in the smaller spaces of John & Sherry’s bookcase, and the fantastic contrast with bold blue and crisp white.

yhl painted built in

via Young House Love

 

Think Oddly.   Objects tend to look better when gathered in odd numbers, and the basic design principle of the rule of threes is cleverly applied in this bookcase featured in Lonny Magazine.  Notice how most of the books are stacked horizontally, but the bookcase becomes so stylish with the varied and perfectly placed decorative objects, prints, and forward facing book covers.

bookcase lonny

via Lonny

Varied groupings of three or five are always visually appealing.  This bookcase from the home of Lisa Martensen is an example of a well edited display from her treasure hunts and travels all around the world.

dmagazine lisa martensen

via D Magazine

 

Allow Room to Breathe.  With airy shelving, it’s best to not overwhelm and allow for plenty of breathing room around objects.  Deliberate use of open space keeps the eclectic collection on this bookshelf from appearing too cluttered.

viva terra railroad bookshelf

via Viva Terra

 

With a little concentration, it’s possible to style a bookshelf well with both books and the things you love.  The secret to doing it successfully is truly all in the placement and editing of your favorite objects.

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By Robert Robillard
Bookcase and Mantle

Installation

This post provides an example of how to install a bookcase, fireplace mantel and the panel above the mantel.

Earlier we prepared the blue stone fireplace mantel and brick corbel supports in order to install a shorter mantel to accommodate a flat screen TV. A new Somerset Mantel will cover and hide the torn off corbels and a larger panel will cover the exposed brick.

In order to get the panel to cover the brick we had to fur out the wall above 3-1/2″ to match the face of the brick. We used 2×4 lumber on edge and Timberlock type lag structural screws to lag the studs to the wall.

We took care to install all of the lags in the same spots on each stud.

The measurements were then recorded for when the TV wall mount is to be installed. There is nothing worse than drilling into a brand new piece of custom work and hitting a screw or lag.

Planning For A Flat Screen TV:Installing A Custom Bookcase And Fireplace Mantel

The electrician ran all of the HDMI, cable and power wires and we fished them to the top of our furring strips for easier access later. He will come back and mount boxes for all of the connections. These boxes will be hidden by the TV.

We purposely designed the new bookcase 3/4″ smaller than the one we were trying to match. We did this so we could fur out the wall behind the bookcase to accommodate future speaker or audio visual wires.

Prior to installing the bookcase we also cut out a rectangular slot in the base cabinet to make getting wires from the base cabinet to the rear of the bookcase.

Installing The Fireplace Mantel:

After furring the walls we set the mantel in place. We attached 3/4″ birch plywood scraps to the face of the brick with 2-1/2″ Tapcon screws. The plywood scraps will allow us to nail the mantle to the fireplace.Installing A Custom Bookcase And Fireplace Mantel

Both base cabinets had return molding touching the brick so we had to cut the mantle profile out in this molding.

We used a Japanese saw, utility knife and a sharp chisel to carve out the molding and then slid the mantel down.

With the mantle in place we cut installed the panel. Typically a panel this size would have been done as three smaller panels but it was decided that it would be better to have one panel since a large TV was being installed. The panel sits on top of the mantel shelf and was attached with finish screws.

Installing The Bookcase:

The bookcase was then installed. I purposely made the far right side of the bookcase trim larger to accommodate for an uneven or plumb wall. We scribed the wall and used a jigsaw to cut a bevel cut. Bevel cuts help the unit slid in place and are also a lot easier to make miner micro adjustments with a hand plane.

Once the bookcase was in place we secured it through the left side into the panel stud and along the top of the case, and through the back panel on the far right side. Pre-drilling and counter-sinking are important and We filled the screw holes when done.
Installing A Custom Bookcase And Fireplace Mantel

All nail holes are then filled and sanded, the entire project is vacuumed and then we caulked the seams. We then installed the shelves and re-installed the existing crown molding that we had saved.

Installing A Custom Bookcase And Fireplace Mantel

Installing A Custom Bookcase And Fireplace Mantel

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