• Building a Bookshelf Gallery Wall: Inspire your little reader with an interactive floating library!

by Guest Collaborator April 07, 2019

A former teacher turned stay-at-home-mom, Kelsie from Inspiration from a Messy Desk shares her life motherhood journey from her home in Katy, Texas where she happily resides with her husband Matt and son Brooks (6 months). With emphasis on marriage and motherhood, Kelsie believes that a simple life is beautiful and loves to share her home, DIY projects, and recipes on her blog and Instagram page. Kelsie values a healthy lifestyle and shares her simple and family-friendly weeknight recipes live on her Instagram each week. Through her “messy desk” of ideas, some great and some less than, Kelsie hopes to inspire her readers with a positive outlook and confidence to live their best life!

The Magic of an Interactive Floating Library

It was summer and I stood in awe, gazing over the blank canvas that would become our first-born sons nursery in just a few short months. I could feel his little kicks as I shielded my nose from the smell of fresh paint and crisp new furniture, a smell that simultaneously brought me so much excitement. Everything was in place, but the room felt bare. I knew that I wanted the room to epitomize three things: curiosity, tranquility, and joy. So, I thought to myself, what is the ONE thing I want to utilize through his childhood that can produce such feelings? The answer: books.

Building a Bookshelf Gallery Wall for Baby Nursery or Child's Bedroom

A book can calm a baby to sleep, inspire a toddler to explore, and provoke big belly laughs that shake the floor! What “decorative piece” could possibly elicit all 3 of these responses? None other than books, so I decided to allow the books themselves to bring this space to life. Instead of stacking the books on the counter or sliding them hidden into a shelf, I used them to create a fully functional and ever-changing gallery wall & library. A “patchwork quilt” of stories, a floating library is a simple and fun way to add a unique spark to any children’s room or nursery! Below are three easy steps to bring the magic of a floating library to your son/daughters’ room.

Add a personal touch to a book shelf wall with a personalized wall banner featuring child's name

Building a Floating Library – 3 Simple Steps

      1. Choose Your Space & Shelves
        Before you begin designing and decorating your shelves with toys and stories, begin by selecting the space you can spare. It is likely that your floating library will become the focal point of whichever wall it resides, or even the room itself, as it will carry a LOT of weight once it is complete! That, and it will be in use daily by you and your kiddos (unlike the pretty wall hangings that don’t get touched). I would recommend to select a spot for it to stand out as the “primary” piece. When complete, it will look so busy that it will compete with any other decorative pieces nearby, so keep the area around it clean and simple!

        Once you’ve chosen your space, select the size/style/shape of shelves that best compliment the space. For example, My floating library resides in the center of the primary wall in the room and is surrounded by windows. So, I used 3 reclaimed barnwood shelves that were 2 X 8 X 40. I purchased mine off Etsy (from “OldWoodShelf”), but you can easily make such a unit yourself! Be sure to allow no less than 6 inches of width so that there is enough room to prop books in front of each other and even sprinkle a few fun toys in the mix!
        In addition to books, add personalized toys and other keepsakes to add another dimension to your gallery wall
      2. Fill your Library
        This is the fun part! I had an absolute blast hand selecting the books I would proudly display for my son on his floating library. Ask for recommendations from friends, go with old favorites, and do a little digging! You can sure find some tacky looking children’s book covers, so I did my best to put only the appealing ones on display! (The small, goofy books sit in a wooden “overflow” crate beneath it). A few of our favorite children’s books that are also easy on the eyes and make for great functional décor are:
         A River – Marc Martin
         Home – Carson Ellis
         Yellow Kayak – Nina Laden
         My Four Seasons – Dawid Ryski
         Seeds and Trees – Brandon Walden
         If I Had a Little Dream – Nina Laden
         You Belong Here – M.H. Clark & Isabelle Arsenault
        Don’t forget to leave some space for growth! Your son or daughter’s taste in books will change over the years, and as such will his or her library!A personalized name puzzle doubles as a beautiful piece of decor on a bookshelf!
      3. Sprinkle in Some Fun!
        To make your floating library even more interactive, have some fun with a few of your kids’ favorite toys! This floating library will soon become their one-stop-shop for all things inspiring. I like to change ours up with the seasons… it is ever-changing and that is truly the beauty of it! Along with dressing it with a few of his favorite toys, I’ve also included a personalized bunting from Smiling Tree Toys that perfectly completes the space! It reads “Brooks’ Books” and brings another level of personalization and intrigue to this special wall.

This custom wall banner from Smiling Tree Toys is a perfect finishing touch on Brook's Bookshelf!

My son cannot yet walk and at the moment the wall is simply something he likes to stare at as we hand pull the bedtime stories for him. But it is my hope that in the days to come he will eagerly run up to his floating library and excitedly pick out his books himself. Reading can be so fun and magical to children, and we have a special role in making it that way with our own! Whether your child is still cookin’ in the tummy or already in school, they will never be too old for a pretty and functional way to store their favorite stories! One day you’ll find yourself wishing those walls could talk… while they are young, why not let them!

Brooks Gallery Bookshelf wall is now complete with our favorite books, keepsake name puzzle, toys, and a personalized wooden wall bunting to top it off.

Guest Collaborator
Guest Collaborator


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