Decluttering and styling the bookshelves

Did anyone else catch a glimpse of the great eye candy in this recent article? If not, and you have lots of bookshelves like we do, you might want to hop on over and check it out!  I’ve been struggling for some time with most of our bookshelf spaces and have been dying to declutter.  I’d love our bookshelves to have this look and feel:

Source: via Gillian on Pinterest

Alas, what I have these days is this:

And this:


Eek!  That second one is especially bad.  That was taken on a very bad (and apparently very blurry) day.  This article, however, did inspire me to get moving with whipping our shelves in shape.  Some of our other bookshelf spaces aren’t quite as bad these days, although they could probably also use some editing and arranging.  Our hallway bookcases, for example, are at least arranged by color and there is some breathing room:

Ditto for our nursery built-ins (which unfortunately must hold DH’s dissertation books rather than fun nursery stuff due to the rather extreme space limitations in our tiny 2-bedroom!):

So I know what I want things to look like but I also know that we are very limited by space in our place.  So I’m trying to form some kind of feasible plan that will help me reach my bookshelf-related goals.  I know that the first step to any de-cluttering project is to go through everything and pare down as much as possible.  Even though this can be hard, I know it will totally be worth it.  I’ve found that spaces with doors (cupboards, closets, bookshelves like the ones in our living room with doors) can be clutter magnets.  Every time DH and I go through these spaces though, we do find stuff to get rid of.  So that’s step one.

The other part of the plan that is forming in my mind (I guess that is step 2) is to incorporate some storage into the living room that is covered–meaning space that would allow us to store all the stuff we need/want to keep, but just creates visual clutter in the room.  One idea is to replace the bookshelf we have in the corner with bookshelf along the same wall as our media center (one that matches, of course).  IKEA still makes this line (I believe they are Liatorp) so it would just mean another trip to IKEA.  We could easily craigslist the bookshelf (Billy) that is currently in the corner.  This would mean going from this current layout:

To something more like this:

Feels much more open, doesn’t it?  I’ll need to do some more measuring, but I think this might actually be a feasibly plan, and I think DH is on board.

So what is step three?  Adding some color or pattern to the backs of the glass-doored bookcases. This is actually something I had intended to do ever since we moved in and bought this furniture, but I never felt I had the right design idea so I never did anything.  The result is that the backs are still white and nothing really “pops” on the shelves.  The backs are beadboard, which is nice, and at least adds some interest, but some color or pattern would really help!  I’m leaning towards either the same color as the walls or some nice light beige-y gray color, so as not to compete too much with the rest of the space.  But I’ll leave step three for after we have everything else in the space worked out.  For now, it looks like we need to do some paring down–and schedule an IKEA trip!