Living with Books

When my partner and I moved in together we knew we had to look for a two bedroom place. Not because we were planning a brood of babies anytime soon, but because the amount of books at our respective mothers’ houses was too overwhelming to sleep in the same room as… He studies philosophy, and as such has a huge back catalogue of classic texts, chunky textbooks and piles of papers and journals. Along with the sizeable coffee table books I accumulated at art school and the sheer amount I fiction I get through on a monthly basis, we had a terrifying amount of books. And neither of us were willing to part with any of our titles…

In our rented two bedroom flat, we don’t have the ability to build our own library. As much as we’d love to line our rooms with bespoke shelving, we’re barely allowed to put a nail in our walls. So what do you do with limited space, tonnes of books and a Pinterest board full of ideas?

First off, I picked our favourite covers and separated them from the ones I knew we’d only put on shelves. In a rented flat I think it’s important to inject as much personality as possible into your space, and doing it with books is a great way to do it. I filled alcoves with curated piles of paperbacks, placed them on shelves like prints, and put my ‘currently reading’ pile strategically on the coffee table.

img_3180For those books that we didn’t necessarily want on show, we invested in a few vintage trunks. Perfect for unsightly piles of books that need to go somewhere, and even better for DVDs which I can’t stand having stacked up gathering dust near our TV. My partner has a dedicated trunk for books that he’s currently using for his studies, that way he knows exactly where he can find them when he needs them.


Finally, we enlisted the help of my very talented father to build us some bespoke stand alone bookshelves. He used recycled wood to build us some beautiful shelves with compartments of different shapes and sizes. He made three sets of shelves separately, and then screwed them together the way we wanted them. That way we can take them apart and shuffle them around when we want to. I think you’ll agree they’re pretty stunning!

For all those titles that didn’t quite make it onto a shelf, we bought a cheap set of IKEA stand alone shelves and popped them in the spare room… But I’m not going to take a photograph of that, as they are starting to over-spill into piles along the walls and windowsills… It’s very much a work in progress, but it’s great knowing I can shut the door on the spare room and not have to worry about piles of books towering over me when trying to sleep! One day, when we have our own place, I’ll build myself that reading nook I’ve always wanted… Until then, I’ll carry on getting creative with my book storage 🙂