One of the things we did early on was to buy some nice bookcases.
They were on sale, & unfinished, & I did the finishing myself.
We bought 3 sets, two with doors, & when we opened the boxes, one of
the "fixed" shelves in the middle, with the molding, was damaged. I
phoned the company & they sent out a replacement piece. I asked if
they wanted me to send the damaged part back, & they told me to just
throw it away. Instead, I took off the rest of the molding (since that
was the part that was damaged) then sanded the edge. I drilled some
extra holes at the top of the bookcase without doors, & added an
extra shelf. I swapped out the "plain" edge shelf for one with a lip,
& put the "plain" one behind the doors on one set of shelves.
shelves have held several sets of encyclopedias, the textbooks we kept,
plus many of our books, (we are both readers) and at the same time,
they look wonderful grouped together along one wall. They have been in
different rooms & two different houses over the years, but wherever
they are is "the library". Right now, the library is the room where our
front door is located. We group family pics on top, & reserve one
shelf in the middle bookcase for more pics of the family.Many of the
books they hold came from yard sales, but those bookcases are the single
favorite "decorative" item in our house.We have a family room, but
everyone likes the "library" better.
The end table by the
piano in the same room was $5 at a yard sale, & happens to match the
bookcases. A doily crocheted by my daughter sits on top, with a bud
vase containing a few yellow roses from my climbing vine in it. Over the
piano hangs a picture taken by our youngest daughter, & the frame
from the thrift store cost me $2. I spent another $2 on black gloss
paint to change the color. One of the chairs in the room was rescued
from the curb at our first apt, & I refinished it, then recovered
All those bookcases cost less than most people spend on a couch, but they have been great for decorating.