Boy Room Update {How to Style Bookshelves}

Remember this project? The one that I left off in September?  Well, we finally did the very last project a couple of weeks ago!  I wanted John’s input on how to style the bookshelves because this is his room, these are his things, and I didn’t want to display things or have things out that he didn’t love.

First things first, I put this off for so long because I kept wanting to buy a new bookcase.  In the end, I came to terms with the fact that there is nothing wrong with this one and it fits the space perfectly.  I did want to brighten it up as much as possible, so the first step was to take everything off (it had become very cluttered) and paint the back of the piece with the wall color (Ben Moore Pale Oak).

Here’s where we landed!

I put everything in piles on the floor, with like things grouped (ie. all the Harry Potter books, all the Coke bottles) in his room so that we could easily see it and also so that this project would take no more than 5 minutes of his time.  (Apparently 6th graders prioritize things like Fortenight (?) over decorating.)  He literally swooped through and just said “yes” or “no” to each item.  That made editing a breeze.  Some of the “nos” were donated but most were sweet, memorable figurines that I wrapped and stored in his memory box in the closet.  I didn’t involve him on how his things got back on the shelf.  I mean, that would really be pressing my luck.

How to style bookshelves

  1. Start with the thing you have most of.  In this case, that was the Hardy Boys books.  I divided them up into four even groups and put one group on each shelf, alternating which side they went on.
  2. Add in the rest of the books.  Again, I kept series together and then grouped the rest by size.  Vary the way you add these to the shelves by putting some upright and some laying down as a “bookend”.  Try to keep it even among the shelves.
  3. Layer in the odds and ends.

I love the way they turned out and think we got the right balance of holding “stuff” and keeping it pleasing to look at.  While he didn’t choose some sweet items, the ones he did pick are special as well.  The painting was a “forever gift” of the Tybee lighthouse years ago.  The silver baby cup and rattles were his (obviously) and are in dire need of polish (I’m out.)  The bronzed baby shoe was also his and another “forever gift”.

The duck was from when they boys were honorary duck masters at the Peabody in Memphis.  The geode (is that what you call that?) was another gift one year when he was particularly into rocks and minerals.  The Steiff bear was mine, passed down to him and the Coke bottles are two of many he decided to keep on display.

I am so glad to have this project complete, as well as the rest of the room!

Here’s what we’ve done so far:

As well as these projects not really worth of a blog post:

  • Wall hangings over bed and desk
  • Tidy up desk and figure out where it should go
  • Chair for in front of window for cello practice (I’ll believe it when I see it)
  • Chair, coffee table and bean bag for a seating area

I’ll share the full reveal as soon as I can go through all the pictures!!

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12 thoughts on “Boy Room Update {How to Style Bookshelves}

  1. I really love the look of the back of the bookshelf painted the same as the wall. I need to know how to get my 6th grader to read any of those books. We even have all of the Harry Potter ones and a huge collection of Hardy Boys in paperback. My 7th grader is a bookworm though and I can’t keep enough books in the house for her, so I guess that’s my trade off. I hear you on the Fortnight…the bane of my existence.

    1. Thank you! Well, John seems to hate reading ever since he started middle school. So….. he’s not actively reading anything outside of school. I really hope he comes back to it one day. Whit is still a voracious reader. He checked out Beowulf from the library (then Elsa chewed it up and I had to pay for it.)

  2. Hi, love the look and the symmetry. If I may, how is the mattress holding up for you? I have heard a lot of different takes on all different price points, would you repurchase? Thank you for your time.

    1. Hi!! It is great but do keep in mind that a 12 year old sleeps on it and gives his feedback. I used it once when he was at a sleepover (shhh, don’t tell) and liked it but I prefer my own bed.

  3. The bookshelf looks wonderful! I love the lighter background! But what really warms my heart are all the Hardy Boys mysteries. I was and am an avid reader and at one point had all the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books. Unfortunately, after years of trying (and reading aloud) I came to the conclusion my children just were not readers (they are now 34, 31 and 25 and, other than Harry Potter, still only read sporadically), so I gave away my books! What was I thinking? My grandchildren, so far, ARE readers-guess I’ll be buying new copies?. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Oh, Nancy Drews were my favorite. I have a few of my mom’s originals from when she was little. John read a lot in elementary school but now seems to hate it. Whit is still a big reader. I hope John comes back to it soon. xo

  4. I adore John’s older boy bookshelf set up. I do have a question about the Kingdom Keeper series. My 10 year old granddaughter loves to read and really enjoyed the Persey Jackson and Land of Stories series. How did Your boys like the Kingdom Keepers series? Thank you!

    1. John really liked them, being a big Disney fan. He loved that he know the places and characters they were talking about and often points out things in the parks that he read about in the books. Whit hasn’t started them yet!

  5. I really like the idea of painting the back of the bookcase the same as the wall – I never would have thought of that, but love the way it turned out! xo

  6. Beautiful styling. Does painting the back the same color of the wall give it the illusion that there is no back at all though?

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