Book Talk & Bookshelf Styling with Heal’s & Everyman’s Library

Heal’s & Everyman’s Library book talk and breakfast was insightful.

It reminded me of why I love reading so much and of my English Literature studies at University at the same time as appeasing my hunger for decorating and styling the home.

Heal’s and Everyman’s Library came together in a great collaboration recently. The former has an array of stunning furniture pieces, bookshelves included, whilst the latter is a publisher with an extensive range of classic literature. The two go hand in hand, I thought, pretty perfectly. The one offers you the space whereas the other helps you fill it, don’t you agree?

Being an interior and literary enthusiast, building my very own library that shows off two of my favourite things really excites me 🙂  

alina ghost breakfast crossaints blogger breakfast heals everymans library heals bookshelf and everyman library books

How to Style a Bookshelf

I had learnt many ways to decorate the home with books and storage units. In my video below you’ll find:

Bookshelf Styling Ideas:

  1. Tall shelves: perfect for those who read loads if you’re planning to grow your collection.
  2. Lower and longer bookshelves: create a cosy corner for an intimate atmosphere and reading space.
  3. Deep shelving: help show off your classics and ‘pretty’ books at the forefront whilst hiding your guilty pleasures at the back.
  4. Lower shelving & coffee tables: makes books accessible as well as decorative.
  5. Lighting: can be used to show off particular books if placed on shelves next to your collection.

How to Balance a Room with Books:

  1. Books by size: place large books closer to the floor and small books above and on top. This automatically draws the eye to the collection.
  2. Books by colour: co-ordinate books by colour for a quirky look or use them as room accents. You can even match a book cover colour to a lampshade or another home accessory.
  3. Books to fill awkward spaces: Britain homes have alcoves and corners in rooms that many of us don’t know what to do with. Adding a narrow bookshelf can be the key. Books and clever storage solutions to the rescue!

Creative Home Ideas with Books:

  1. Experiment: storage units and bookshelves come in different lengths, sizes, heights, colours, shapes and styles. Show off your personality and see what works for you.
  2. Free-standing: furniture doesn’t have to be against the wall. You can create a space within a space – especially in modern homes that have open-plan designs.
  3. Leave room to grow: plan ahead and leave space to add to your current book collection.
  4. Practical and move-able: Many of us rent and move around, so have a think about the practicality of buying compact shelving.

I also loved the idea where you co-ordinate your books to portray the different stages of your life. I might have to try this out for myself.

If you’re anything like me, styling the books is just as enjoyable as reading the literature occupying the shelf.

Classic Book Talk

We were asked to decide on our 5 favourite classic books, which is harder than I expected. I also share with you what I’m reading currently and what I hope to read in the near future.

My Top Five Classic Literature Books:

Well, after a long think I’ve managed to cut my list down to the below.

  1. Emily Brontë – Wuthering Heights
  2. Homer – The Odyssey
  3. Ovid – Metamorphoses
  4. Virginia Woolf – Mrs Dalloway
  5. Mary Shelley – Frankenstein

I’m Currently Reading:

Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. There are parts that I can read with ease and fly past the chapters engrossed in the story whereas other parts I find quite difficult to pay attention. No matter what I’m still pushing past the tougher sections because I love the story. It’s heart-breaking and heart-warming simultaneously. I’m also a massive fan of the theatre performance in the West End as well as the movie!

On My ‘To Read’ List:

  1. Leo Tolstoy – Anna Karenina
  2. Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace
  3. Fyodor Dostoevsky – Crime and Punishment
  4. Virginia Woolf – To the Lighthouse
  5. Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness

For a Russian born I feel like I haven’t read enough of Russian literature. Although I do speak and read Russian I’m much faster in English, I have, after all, grown up and lived in the UK for 2 decades now so I find it easier. I don’t want to forget my heritage though and my family’s roots so I’d love to read the Russian literature on my list above very soon.

Apart from the five above, I for a English Literature graduate I haven’t read as much of Charles Dickens as I should have or perhaps as I would have liked, only Great Expectations. So, once I made my way through the above I’d definitely move onto his works.

A massive thank you to Heal’s for inviting me to the blogger breakfast as I enjoyed myself very much.

What are your top 5 classic books?

Alina is the founder and writer of The Fairytale Pretty Picture blog whilst working full time as an SEO specialist at a growing online-only retailer called Amara. She owns a beautiful white Alsatian and lives in Essex with her husband.


  • June 1, 2016


    Russian literature is very beautiful but also hard to read as you need to concentrate a lot. It’s not an easy read like books these days. I also love Les Misérables, it used to be my favorite movie when I was a child and didn’t know how to read yet. 🙂

  • I love rearranging our bookshelves – they get a new look about every six weeks or so! My favourite classics are Jane Austen, The Turn of the Screw, and Wuthering Heights. 🙂

  • June 1, 2016

    Dean of Little Stepsd

    This is my problem. I have a tendency to just stuff our bookshelves with books and I must admit it doesn’t look stylish at all. We’re constantly running out of bookshelves especially since we’ve finally moved and have found ourselves even needing them more! I do love beautifully lined books 🙂

  • June 1, 2016


    Sounds like a great event. We used to have a book cabinet, but now we are decorating and we will be putting shelves instead. I shall be following your tips!

  • June 1, 2016

    Ana De- Jesus

    I love your classic top 5- I love Wuthering Heights and Frankenstein. My top 5 classic is Tess of D’Urbervilles, Ruth, Portrait of Dorian Grey, Wuthering Heights and Shakespeare- King Lear.

  • June 2, 2016

    laura dove

    What a fab event! I love reading, always have. Your top five is a fab list, I’m not sure I could possibly come up with one off the top of my head, far too many to choose!!

  • June 2, 2016


    My shelves most definitely do need a make-over they are over crammed with books and DVDs I am never going to watch again x

  • June 2, 2016

    Kara Guppy

    I have given up attempting to style our bookshelf, the kids are always getting books off it, but I am happy enough they are reading

  • June 2, 2016


    What a fab idea my book shelf is just crammed and so unorganised I haven’t read any these books yet but might need to purchase one for my holiday xxx

  • June 2, 2016

    Newcastle Family Life

    That looks like a fabulous event, I adore books and have hundreds of them scattered all over the house so these were great tips for bookshelf styling. I really need to read more classic books though as I have read so few of them xx

  • June 2, 2016

    Zena's Suitcase

    These are great tips. We really need a new book shelf so you have given me a lot to think about

  • June 3, 2016

    Hannah Budding Smiles

    What a fantastic event! I love Dickens, Wilkie Collins, all the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen… I have heard if a very many Russian works but can’t say that I’ve actually read them as of yet xx

  • June 5, 2016

    Michelle Murray

    great tips. i need to get a nice book shelf and organise my books.

  • What a lovely event.

    I have pieces of china, and pictures propped up on plate stands in between the books on my shelves. And my cookbooks by colour which looks amazing, but rather annoys me too.