2.15.2015

Living with Books

I live in a book-lover's home. Between my partner and I, we have collected hundreds of volumes over the years: hardbound, paperback, and everything in between. Since we live in a small space (our apartment is just 650 square-feet) we had to be conscious of how our books were stored: not only for easy access and space-saving requirements, but also for aesthetics. Below are some photos of how we have organized our books and magazines at home with some helpful hints for how to keep your book collection well-managed.
The old saying goes, "You're never alone when you're reading a book." Both Tomas and myself love books and enjoy being surrounded by them. On any given Sunday afternoon, you can find us curled up on the couch or in bed reading a book. In our living room, we have a ''book nook'' with four large units (and two smaller ones) arranged symmetrically in each corner of the room. There is a comfortable suede chaise where we can perch as we flip through the pages. The books are organized by colour (a tip I got from Martha Stewart Living editor Kevin Sharkey) rather than by subject. I find it more appealing to the eye in such a small space. You will also notice that I keep the taller books towards the periphery of the shelves and the shorter ones to the center, creating a 'dip' or a 'wave' that I also like to look at. Organizing by subject is the most intuitive solution to book storage, but I prefer the colour-coded method. The lower shelves on each of the four units contains magazine folders (all white) where my vast collection of Martha Stewart Living magazines are stored. (Pillow is from Anthropologie.)
We find space for books where we can. For instance, we installed six floating shelves in a small alcove near our front door. The books I chose to store here are books with spines that almost completely match the colour of the walls. Not only are the shelves receded in the alcove, but the colour of the spines makes them 'disappear' even further. The books subtly accentuate the architectural details by drawing the eye up and down the alcove.
Dispersing books throughout the house is a good strategy. We keep all the cookbooks in a cupboard in the kitchen where they are used. Hardcover books,by the way, are best kept lying flat. This reduces the strain on the spines and helps keep them intact. Also, never store books in direct sunlight or in damp rooms. Sunlight can fade and damage the books. Dampness can encourage mold and mildew between the pages.
On my dresser, I keep magazine folders by Semikolon to house my more collectible magazines. On the shelves next to my bed are the books I'm currently reading: easy to access and easy to store.
Here are my ten tips for book storage. I hope you find them useful!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very clever and suitable storage solutions...looks so nice!

Rowaida said...

Your apt is beautiful, very well organized and very neat. Love it. Thank you for the inspiring tips Andrew xx

Nathan Schmidt said...

I too am a huge reader and have well over 1,000 books in my collection, most of which are hardback. My partner a few years ago bought me a wonderful organization tool for books called CLZ Books. It stores and keeps track of every book I own, loan out, etc, and best of all it can be downloaded to my smartphone so I no longer buy duplicates.

ANDREW RITCHIE said...

Thank you so much, Rowaida! xo

ANDREW RITCHIE said...

Nathan, thanks for the tip. Sounds like a great resource to have. I may look into that.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to live with magazines too. Andrew, was it a recent issue of MSLiving that featured the idea of dying napkins and table cloths a unifying color? The Image was captivating a deep purple. For some reason I thought it was a fall issue but I am trying to locate it in my house but now I turn to you. thank you.

maya said...

It seems like Martha herself could use some of your book organizing tips, judging by pics 22-23 from her recent reorganizing post on the Martha Blog :)

I could sure use 'em myself. I need to start getting my things together and sort through all of my mag piles! so hard. i wish i could get someone else to do it for me... :)

ANDREW RITCHIE said...

Is that a hint Maya? :-)

ANDREW RITCHIE said...

Anonymous, I have not been able to find the issue you are referring to. I'm wondering if it is in a summer issue. I did a search for napkin dyeing on ms.com and that article did not come up.