Styling The Southern Bookcase

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We recently moved into a new home and have been slowly unpacking and making the space our own. This past week, I inherited a white Crate and Barrel bookcase from my sister. Even before we brought it into the house, I knew it belonged in our sunroom. I had some ideas on how to style it, but before I started moving things around, I surveyed the room and considered the personality of the space. A very comfortable couch (which arrived the same day as the bookcase) beckons us to lay down with a good book and a glass of sweet tea while two ceiling fans whirl overhead. Three of the four walls are covered almost entirely by windows that offer a great view of the backyard. The wall and floor colors are muted and soothing.

As the room feels soft and beach-inspired, it would have been easy to fill the bookcase with jars of shells, but instead I decided to focus on sweet tea and ceiling fans and devote the bookcase to Southern writers -- several of whom who live or have lived in Oxford, Mississippi, where we fell in love. By choosing a specific genre for the bookcase, we were able to highlight some of our very favorite authors as well as the South's rich literary history.

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Gathering the books was the most challenging part of the styling process. Some of the authors aren't well-known Southerners, so I checked inside the dust jacket of every book in question. After piling them up, I arranged them by color and then by height. I stacked some in rows and others in piles. This particular bookcase gives us room to add some future titles, but in the meantime, I placed a few vanilla candles and a porcelain urn on the middle shelf. Glass vessels filled with seashells serve as additional placeholders. After all, the beach is an important part of Southern life, especially this time of year.

I was pleased with the results. The bookcase immediately became a collection and added personality to the room. More importantly, it will inspire us to spend more time reading and writing instead of watching TV or checking Facebook on our phones. After all, if our home doesn't inspire us, what will?