DIY Bookcase Display May 13, 2019 By Janie Sussenbach My husband and I designed and built these bookshelves from scratch. We actually moved them from a previous house because I can’t imagine not having them for all of my ever changing displays! Here, you can see that they look a bit uneven, but you won’t notice that after they are filled. How to begin making impactful bookcase displays? The next step is to place larger objects in each opening. For example, I knew I wanted to highlight this cool art glass vase right smack in the center, and put some cool books on display around it. Then I just filled in and started tweaking. In this close-up, I used a stack of Architectural Digest magazines to prop up my elephant. He is holding a book that I covered with some Florentine paper I had brought back from Italy, a fun puka shell coaster, and a beaded box…why not? He provides great display space on his little back. Colored books all in shades of blue and green make a vertical statement, and the tree book almost feels like the elephant is going to trek down that path. Fun little story there! Green trailing plants always soften hard lines and bring in an organic feel. This sea fan I found on a Mexican beach, and this fabulous art deco blue heron stand was actually a Goodwill find. Mixing in a blue glass plant mister gives a little variety to this vignette…I just love blue and green glass! Most of my books are coffee table books – I kept all of my antique books in my study so there wouldn’t be much brown. Instead, I opted for bold color and more of a modern feel. Some books have these wonderful old indented tabs in the pages, so turning them around can give you more interesting texture. The round bowl and asian pot bring circular shapes to all the linear lines. The little black stand under the pink vase elevates it and gives it importance. Another fun blue glass find sits next to a colorful cover that is pure art in itself – even with a bit of wear and tear on it. Old baskets are also a way to add some soul and fun texture. And who doesn’t love old marbled book pages? This beautiful nest is such a work of art by the little bird who made it. The glass case protects it and keeps it from getting dusty. This vignette is fun with the yellow, black and white items. I often use graphic cigar boxes to prop things up. The graphic font is so pretty. And an inexpensive iron stand elevates the candle and creates a bit of airiness beneath it. More graphic cigar boxes in different shades of yellow are a fun conversation piece. There’s my colorful art glass vase which takes center stage next to my cloth flower buds that used to be my grandmother’s – I loved the colors and patterns as I played with them as a little girl. These may have contributed to my love of colors and patterns! A favorite deep blue glass vase that belonged to my mom is their home for now. I’m crazy in love with these black and white covers of the National Geographic magazines. They are so vintage cool. And this yellow is what I refer to as Janie yellow – it makes me so happy. Mixing in a modern pottery bowl and a French travel picture completes this shelf. The two canvases are actually my own paintings – they add just the right touch. The Better Homes and Gardens books were my mother’s – I admit I’m sentimental about some of the special things that hold memories from my childhood, and I love enjoying them in displays. The African basket is so fun with it’s “hair” – that was a garage sale find. So many people comment on this ferris wheel. Next to the book on Cape Cod (which is actually the back cover, not the front) it feels like it could be part of the town. Kind of like the elephant going down the tree covered path on the other shelf. More fun book covers that are propped up, and a tin plate and ceramic jar bring in more texture. An old sewing basket that was a dear friend’s found it’s home here. These were the same bookshelves that we built for our townhome. The ceilings were higher, so we had to cut them down to fit into our living room, and we weren’t able to use the ladder. You can see what a different look they had here. I opted not to use my antique books on it, but instead go for more of modern, bold look to shake things up a bit. And here it is again – living a different life in my new home. I will continually add things and change it up as the inspiration strikes. It literally takes people’s breath away when they walk in the front door. It’s so much fun!