• Home Decor
  • Creative ways to store & display books in your home

    My name is Emily and I have a problem, a book buying problem. Not for me, of course not.. I don’t read 🙂 I have a problem buying books for my kids, they looove reading and I love to encourage this over giving them more toys. However the problem is all of these books have to go somewhere, so I am sharing a few of my Creative ways to store & display books in your home. I figured if I have this problem, there is other well intentioned parents who are filing their kids brain with stories and words, while simultaneously filling up their house with books. Unless you have a whole room dedicated to books, (maybe with multiple stories and a ladder, which I need to visit and sing on like Belle did in Beauty and the Beast) this book situation is a problem in your home too. These ideas of course are also great options for not just kid’s books, I do read but most of the time it is a book on my phone or tablet. I have gone to that side, but my kids still enjoy the physical books.


    Seriously, I have three book worms. My daughter is especially obsessed with books, reading them, writing her own, or thinking about them. She is almost 9 but has already read Little Women and Anne of Green Gables, she actually daughter herself to read before Kindergarten. My oldest son Caleb is in first grade and has become a great little reader who is happily powering through chapter books now. My youngest Gavin is in Kindergarten and is just at the point of reading small words, he was so excited for kindergarten because he is the only one in the house who cannot read. Luckily for me they all still enjoy us reading a good book together as a family.


    Since we had Nora we have kept their books in the living room or sun room, the common areas of the home. Because crawling babies and toddlers with books means they all have to come out of the shelf… ALL THE TIME. It was nice to be able to visually see when one of those messes were being made and stop it before it got out of hand. Oh the days of toddlerhood.  As Nora matured and began getting her own books the “common area” in the sun room for all of the books was not working anymore. She needed her own space.


    I created this small seating area and reading nook out of two tall and vertical bookshelves. Stacking them on each other. I added the cozy pillows, and the seat cushion is simple patio chair cushions. Nora wanted a window seat and this is as close as we can get with her smaller bedroom windows.


    The key to any bookshelf situation it so not overfill them, because it will appear too cluttered and also it is difficult to pull out the books. If you are wanting to have a decorated and functional bookshelf like this my recommendation is to stagger the direction the books are in. Lay some down and stack them on top of each other, another shelf put them on the left, then the next switch it up to the right. It is also fun to add non book items. The items can be used as a book end or to simply add some fun colors.

    For Nora’s bedroom shelf I added special trinkets that are personal to her. Items she has painted, pictures her cousin drew for her, pictures of Nora or her brothers. Smaller things like that really allow the space to feel personal and also has the bookshelf for like a part of the decor instead of just a storage area.


    Another great way to hide away book is to create or get bins to go under the bed. This can be a really useful space that typically gets unused. I created this one out of wood pallets, but there are a ton of options in stores as well for under bed storage. I think books laying with the spine showing would be a really functional way to make this storage idea work without preventing anyone from seeing what book they want.


    However, Nora is not the only reader in our home now. Both of my boy’s are just getting into books in a big way. I put this little reading nook in their bedroom that I redid last year. Truth be told, this spot will need to be altered to allow more books soon. We are bursting with more books now that Caleb is reading chapter books.


    The great part about this nook, is it can be altered very easily. I created most of this bookshelf area out of wood crates. I painted the inside of them a dark green color, the same accent color in their bedroom. It adds just a tiny example of using the bookshelves as a portion of the room decor.


    With kids bedroom especially you can also get creative with book ends or fun bins. I found these adorable car boxes at a thrift store and they were a fun addition.


    The boy’s theme is transportation in their bedroom, with a vintage feel so this covered wagon fits right in. It was actually made from Dale’s Grandfather so it is very special. Again using the same technique I explained of staggers books with varying heights and direction of them within the shelf is key.



    This next tip is not going to give you a lot of storage, but shows an example of how to decorate with books. I always have a few books on top of this fireplace insert I have in my bedroom. I typically will have a handful of books I am either reading or plan to be reading, which I keep up here. Because the decor in my bedroom is all light and bright sometime the spines of the book do not fit with the decorations. So I simply turn them around to show just the pretty and neutral pages.

    This would be too complicated if I had a ton of books here, to then have to turn around to see if it is the book I want. But because I only have a few here, this idea works really well as a decorating option. This way I can have the books I want here without worrying about the color scheme. Reading should be about the story not the pretty book spine.


    I have used this dresser for a ton of different things, none of which has had it ever hold clothes. When we first got it secondhand I used it as out TV console table. Then it moved into the dining room where I stored some napkins and a few other kitchen specific items. However, the bottom drawers for years houses a lot of our kids books. This is a great option to have those books out, easily accessible but not cluttering up the living room.

    I do not have a picture of it with the books inside, because this has since been moved downstairs into our newly decorated family room. Which I hope to be able to share with you all soon, it is still a work in progress with big time renovations to be had. But for now the basement family room is functional and I fancied it up to be more homey. I am thinking after the rush of the holidays I can finally clean it up (my kids playroom is also in the family room) and take some decent pictures to share with you all.


    This bookshelf I made from a simple storage shelf, You know the ones, you probably have one in your basement or garage. It is metal and ugly, I added some wood pallets that i stained a dark walnut. The pallets added such a beautiful and rustic element to this shelf it became a legit piece of furniture. The nice thing about how I have the books set-up in this is that even though I am storing about 30 books here it does not look it. I only have a few on each shelf and have them laying in different directions. Spreading out the books within the shelf and not overfilling the shelf allows that nice balance of function and pretty with storing books.


    I know these are only a few Creative ways to store & display books in your home but this is what works for my home to help coral my kids obsession and my encouragement of all things book related. As my kids get older and their reading becomes different, possibly on a tablet instead of a actual and physical book the need for storing of the books will evolve. For now these ideas work great for our family. I will admit we have about 3 boxes of books in the basement that Dale and I have not been able to put in our home yet. But truthfully, we also do not have time to read them, so no harm, no foul here. Since I can only share so many creative ideas with you all I decided to ask my home decor blogging friends what they so with their books. They shared some great ideas that I wanted to share with you all, that is what it in the slideshow below. I can only share my ideas, so bringing in other peoples as well gives you a ton of options to choose from and decide what works best for your home!

    How do you handle having books in your home? Do you try and incorporate it into the decor or just let the overfilled bookcases do their job? Either way works! 


    Click on the picture to see the full post from the original blog!

    Just call me Homegirl

  • Christmas
  • Christmas tree craft, easy decorations for the kitchen without adding clutter

    More of my holiday crafts! Today it is all about these cute Christmas tree craft, they are easy decorations for the kitchen without adding clutter


    I warned you about my Christmas crafting obsession,  I am the complete opposite of the Grinch. I am the green guy after his heart grew three times it’s size. Beware, I feel the stirrings of the jingle bells, chestnuts roasting on an open fire (do people actually do that?). I may or may not be playing Christmas music 24/7, “allegedly”. Can you tell I like this time of year?! I went all out with my home for this season, the full home tour you can see here.  I loved cozying up my living room and sun room, but the kitchen I try and keep as clutter free as possible year round. Christmas is no different.

    We suffer from small-kitchen-syndrome which means every counter top space is important to have available. Last year I added pine tress to the top of my cabinets. I loved the look and smell of them, but this year I am feeling like a fresh and clean look to my home is where it is at. Less is more for this year. Next year will be different I am sure. In keeping with my light and simple theme for this year, I knew I wanted to put something on my counter tops to spruce up the kitchen. I decided to go with a gray color scheme for this one. A little spin on the standard green and red.


    I had these left over wood boards from another project.


    This is so simple and easy I figured a collage with the steps would be best for this one. I drew the tree trunks with white. Then added the “branches” with the dark gray color. This is an artistic interpretation of a Christmas tree. I wanted the white of the tree trunk to shine through like snow, so I did not wait for the white paint to dry before I began putting the gray on. Letting the white bleed through a little, giving it a winter wonderland feel.

    Once all was dry I added little bits of snow. This is a super easy trick to keep in mind when wanting to create dots or snow. Use the paint brush, but the opposite side of where the brush is. So just the pointy tip and then dip that in paint. You get perfectly cute small circles!


    That is it! I have said it so often, but little crafts like this are what make my home be ready for the season. I can go all out with decorating because I have all of these tiny and random smaller decorations at the ready for my home. I love the mix of the gray trees with the light mint colored cabinets. It adds some warmth to my very light and bright kitchen.



    We all need simple, low cost and easy this time of year. As I said, I am such a big time Christmas person, I adore this season! But, my to-do list is a mile long and our social schedule is crazy hectic. Also our list of gifts to get other people is bank account cry-inducing. So this type of craft is the kind we all need. Zone out, listen to some Christmas music, paint some trees on scrap wood and get that decorating done for the season!



    I had planned to create three identical trees but decided to change it up with two fuller ones and one sparse tree. It seemed to work really nicely.



    Whelp, this is pretty painless decorations here and these Christmas tree craft, easy decorations for the kitchen without adding clutter is perfectly put into that low maintenance decorating box. My kids even helped with this one, when they saw me painting they were all for this. Typically they ignore my crafting or I am doing this while they are in school. But they were all playing nicely together and I planned to knock this out in 5 minutes. Something about kids and paints is like a moth to a flame. They all helped draw a few branches and some snow. So while this craft is technically a 5 minute craft, my kids prolonged that process a little. Such is life!

    I don’t mind though because me decorating our home for Christmas is about my love of home decor, but most importantly helping them see the magic of the season. They really get into our home being transformed for Christmas. Have you had your kids craft anything for holiday decorations?


  • Christmas
  • DIY ideas to decorate a Christmas fireplace mantel

    Decorating my home DIY style is a big deal to me. Today I am breaking down all of my DIY ideas to decorate a Christmas fireplace mantel!

    Simple and low cost DIY ideas to decorate a fireplace mantel for Christmas!

    I had such positive comments from people and interest in my fireplace mantel decor from my Christmas home tour.  I had such a fun time layering this look together. I always struggle with the scope of my extra large fireplace and the vaulted ceilings. Each year I have gone with bigger items, and I think that really brings the look together. Since there was such an interest in my mantel I thought I would break down what exactly I put on the mantel, my thought process behind layering in the look and lastly, the simple DIY tutorials I did to create the complete look! Oh, in case that is not enough decorating talk and inspiration I am also sharing other home decor bloggers Christmas mantels and some of their DIY ideas.


    Here is the fireplace mantel I put together for this holiday season. I went with a blue theme, which is new to me. Dale is serious about his traditional red and green Christmas colors. So I cannot do a lot, for a man who generally does not care about home decor this is really important to him. I snuck in a little blue, mainly to make the large wall decor I already had there work for the space.


    I created this large wall decor from a curtain. The process to create this was so simple and easy. I was able to create an over sized focal point that had some subtle texture ane color. It is a little on the bland side, but with the rest of my decor and layering things like I did for my Christmas mantel it works really well.


    The next addition to this fireplace mantel was the reindeer canvas I created. This was done with a stencil. I added a tiny bit of blue because I have an obsession with the color. It also feels very fresh to me. The stark white of the canvas really plays up a bright finish to the art.


    With so many fresh colors and lots of blue I wanted to warm up the fireplace mantel. Christmas is all about warm tones. I created these wood snowflakes out of scrap wood pieces. The plan was to stain them a dark color, but again the light and bright feel won out and I left them as is. The wood tone still really brings a rustic element to the Christmas mantel. The large size of the snowflakes helps with my over sized fireplace area.


    The above picture is my Christmas fireplace mantel 5 years ago, and three really tiny kids ago.  I struggled for a few years finding the right balance of decorations for this space. Always going smaller because I did not want the mantel to feel cluttered, but actually more items that were smaller made it feel very cluttered.

    As you can see I went small with the decorations, and it just feel a little on the busy side. My previous decorating ideas worked, and were very traditional. I was stuck in a rut of decorating with limited funds (weren’t we all just starting out?) we had a lot of kids, a lot of bills and I wanted to decorate. I did not think to DIY things yet, so getting just enough at the store to call it decorated. I never fully got the look I was hoping for, we do have the same Christmas stocking holders even now. I also have the same cutie kids, they are just bigger now.


    Over time I have transitioned into my own unique style, gained a little more free time with my slightly more independent kids, and I learned to create what i could not purchase. Either because items were too expensive in stores, or what I was wanting the decorations to look like and I could not find them in the store. I stumbled into making them myself and have ended up in a sweet spot of decorating my home exactly how I want it to. As you can see I also learned how to not be afraid of over sized decor, but even last year I did not have the scale of it right yet. When decorating a home, and especially a fireplace mantel decorate for the size of the space. No extra large Christmas topiary if you have a smaller space. Dopn’t under-decorate in a larger space.

    The above picture is my fireplace decorated last year.  I have kept some of the elements like the snowflakes, but have changed up everything else. I like the reindeer art I made, however it was still too small for the space. I like my look from last year, but it still had a traditional flair to it. I am learning to trust my decorating instincts and go with how each year transitions. This year I am seeing blue! Can I go back and cuddle those little, tiny kids of mine from 5 years ago? I would go back to that so happily, even with the chaos and stress of a young family. Oh guys, this picture has me all emotional thinking about Christmas pasts and that I will blink and they will be even bigger than they are now.


    OK, sorry for that Mommy moment, let’s get back to talking fireplace mantel decor! Since going big works well for my fireplace mantel I decided to reuse another DIY item. I created this blue board to be an outdoor towel rack, which it will be used for that purpose again in summer. For now it is a fun and rustic backdrop for the Christmas wreath. Full disclosure, I did not make the trio of wreaths. I purchased them on sale years ago at Target after the Christmas season, so it was wayyyyy marked down.

    Another full disclosure, the Santa stocking holder broke right before I took these pictures. I am so sad, we have had these since we were pregnant with our last baby and knew we were completing our family. These have lasted 6 years and now one is broken. Poor guy!

    Such a creative rustic Christmas wreath idea!

    I re-purposed by DIY boards and figured I would share the simple way I created these, in case you missed the original post. It is really simple, select boards in the size you want. Use painters tape to create lines, then spray paint them. Once dry I connected them together with small wood pieces, and it is done! The color I used is a beautiful and deep navy color. I love it!


    The last addition is not a DIY project, but new family stockings. I have been jonsing for perfectly monogrammed ones for the whole family and finally splurged on them. I got these from Pottery barn and am so happy I did it. I am obsessed with putting my kids name’s on things, it took me forever to pick the perfect name for them. I like to show it off, they are my three favorite names (and people) on the planet. My only regret is that I did not get our dog’s Teddy & Finn one too. I could not handle to inevitable side eye from Dale when I informed him of the dog stocking and monogrammed purchase. This was a battle not worth it. But, BUT… I will be adding a monogrammed stocking for each eventual spouse and grand kids to our fireplace mantel. I can guarantee that!


    If you are like me and like to decorate for Christmas, unless you have a unending amount of funds to do so… getting creative is needed to keep it all possible financially. Creating simple crafts and DIYs like what I did is the way to get around breaking the bank for holiday decorations. It also allows me to splurge on the monogrammed Christmas stockings, of the 8ft tall Christmas tree. It is surprising how much you can create on your own to add to the decor. Also surprising how much just a few new additions can completely change the feel of the home for the season.

    As far as advice to decorate a fireplace mantel. I always start with what I have. In my case it is the large wall decor made from a curtain. Yes I can move it and put something else there, and eventually I will. But using what you have and layer in items is what create the cohesive look. Have a focal point in the center and two matching or similar items on each side, towards the outside. Then layer in a few varying height items. This is how a fully decorated fireplace mantel comes together.

    Love these DIY ideas! Perfect to decorate the fireplace mantel for Christmas!

    Doing it DIY style also allows you to have a perfectly unique look to your home for the season. Even if you make every one of my projects to put on your fireplace mantel, you will have different fabric for the wall art. You will have a different wreath. You will automatically make it your own, and blend in your year-round decorations. These DIY ideas to decorate a Christmas fireplace mantel I shared to explain my Christmas mantel overall look. Highlight the power of DIY and also get people thinking outside of the box when it comes to decorating. People, I stuck scrap wood, a curtain, and paint on my mantel. Technically those items should not make something this pretty. But using them and crafting away I am able to create a fun, whimsy and unique fireplace mantel decor. In case this is not enough oohhing and ahhing over mantels and crafts for the fireplace, don’t forget to check out my home decor blogging friends and what they created. I asked a few to share theirs, and they delivered!

    Has your holiday decor changed throughout the years? 


    I love all the vintage and rustic Christmas decor she used to decorate this gorgeous stone fireplace mantel for the holidays.