Backward books

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

Author: Lauren Coleman

In April 2017 my home was photographed for the largest interiors magazine in the UK, Ideal Home. The publication hit subscribers over Christmas and news stands at the start of the year.
Very soon the magazine featuring my home found its way to a comedian who published an image and tweet referring to me as a ‘blithering idiot’ for the way I choose to display the books in my living room. And then it exploded. Thousands of retweets and hundreds of comments passing judgement on a small bookcase of backward facing books in a Northamptonshire living room. Some of them jovial, others were actually witty but some were utterly sinister, particularly through a Facebook post originating from a book lovers page.

Over the next few days the storm became viral and the dividing opinion was picked up by The Daily Mail and The Independent. Yesterday, as I was driving to an appointment I was invited to give a comment to The Times. Unfortunately what these huge publications failed to document was that ‘Lauren’ had become a victim of cyber bullying. Over the last few weeks I have been referred to as a dumb slut, a psychopath and a degenerate. One facebooker even requested her friend ‘come and help me find Lauren she needs her head kicked in’, while another suggested ‘Lauren needs to die and be fed to pigs’.

I make no apology for the way I choose to store a tiny percentage of my book collection. You may call me shallow, call me pretentious, I do it for no other reason than to provide a display backdrop. I would like to come up with a profound reason why I do it, but there isn’t – it’s purely because I like the look of it, much like the impractical sofa you may have purchased purely for aesthetic reasons. I am not a book hater and contrary to popular belief, I can read. However as the daughter of someone with dyslexia, I also find the notion that this is a negative trait highly insulting.
I understand that by opening my home up both on and offline I invite feedback. Everyone has a right to an opinion after all but trolling to express your thoughts is not, and never will be acceptable. Day by day, I see plenty of interior images on Instagram that don’t float my boat and what do I do? I scroll right on by. Backward Facing Books

I haven’t wanted to draw attention to the incident for fear of perpetuating the keyboard warriors. I have declined requests to appear on the BBC, Channel 5 and Lorraine but I’ve chosen to use this corner of the internet to attempt to put the backward books to bed and draw attention to the real story here; the subject of cyber bullying. Over the last four years I have worked with a team of articulate, smart and kind women (and one man!) to create a safe online environment to chat about a topic of the day; whether that be as trivial as a new lipstick or as valid a conversation as the #metoo campaign. While we welcome healthy debate we have always advocated respectful behaviour. I am proud not only of the team and what we have achieved but of the community we have created and I feel I can highlight the story that the broadsheet and tabloid media missed.

The resources that exist to support victims of cyber bullying are often focused on children and the policies put in place by Facebook are woefully inadequate. I’m not aware of anything I can do beyond the general consensus to ‘grow a thicker skin and let it blow over’. Friends have suggested those writing the comments are ‘spotty juveniles tweeting from their mum’s house’ but I’m not entirely sure that’s the case, it’s far more alarming. I wonder if some people even realise their behaviour constitutes trolling? At the time of this post being published the offending tweet is still highlighted at the top of the comedian’s feed. I would like to think he meant no malice and it was intended as a bit of fun rather than an online bullying campaign. Anyone typing an offensive, rude, insulting or abusive online message aimed at another person is carrying out cyber bullying. I’d urge people to think before they comment on social media and question if they would be willing to say the same face-to-face. Would you really be comfortable for your friends, family or employer to read your interactions?

Do I regret the Ideal Home experience? Not at all. It was after all a childhood ambition fulfilled, however the comments from several thousand individuals have tainted the experience somewhat.

Thank you to all of you who have contacted me to offer support and let’s continue to highlight the cyber bullying aspect rather than my interior design choices. In light of the topic of conversation I would encourage you to be respectful in any comments you choose to post despite any feelings you may have towards the trolls.


Photography and Styling by Rock My Style

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
This post may include affiliate links.
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266 thoughts on “Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

  1. I bought and read this magazine over the weekend. I saw the bookcase and thought “how do they know which book is which? I think that would drive me mad. Maybe they don’t access them often.” Page turned. Next lovely picture. Next inspiration. Not another thought.

    I’ve come here now and seen this and feel so sad for you. So disappointed that you’ve had to go through this. What is wrong with people? Seriously. Unfortunately I’m not surprised or shocked, and it’s so prevalent online that it’s almost funny. Almost. Because actually it’s still horrid and unnecessary and just plain unkind.

    I wish our fellow humans who do this could be better people, but the world is full of those who prefer to be unkind. The rest of us just have to try and balance it out by being even more lovely than we already are.

    Your home is beautiful. I’m equally jealous and inspired. What an achievement to be proud of that you’re in those pages and on this website. Enjoy your moment. Bad words and finger signs to the rest of em.


    1. Thanks for the support Claire. Yes it’s becoming all too common unfortunately.
      The finger signs have been used a lot recently 😉 x

  2. Lauren this is horrendous! I had no idea this had happened, but unfortunately can all too readily believe the horrible comments you got. The internet sometimes makes it too easy for people’s comments to make it back to the person they are about. I don’t understand why people got so irate over some books…?! If only they’d channel that energy into being angry about something more worthwhile!

    I went out especially to buy the issue of Ideal Home with your house in it. I think your house is stunning and it’s always given me so much inspiration (hello wilko ottoman!!). I hope when you sit down in your gorgeous living room you feel pride at how many more people read that article and thought how beautiful you’ve made your home, rather than the idiots who just want to look clever on social media. Much love xxx

    1. Gotta love that Wilko ottoman Katie!
      And yes to channelling the energy in something worthwhile! Thanks for your lovely comment. x

  3. Oh Lauren, I don’t know what to say. To dismiss them as dickheads is easy for me, but I can’t imagine how you’ve felt!

    You’d think right now there’s more important issues for people to get fired up about, but no, looks like your bookcase is too of their agenda. How absolutely pathetic!

    Please don’t let them affect how open and honest you are with us lot. We love your bookcase, you and everything in it… Even if you are hiding the full Fifty Shades set in there on the sly 😉

    Stay classy girl xxx

    1. Karen, you know there’s some Jilly C hanging out back there 😉
      Lots of love to you. You’ve always been one of our biggest supporters and we really appreciate it x

  4. Lauren I’m so sorry this happened to you – It’s a shocking response to a no-name comedian going for a cheap, cruel laugh. Who are these sad creatures who don’t, as you put it – scroll on by, but instead are arrogant enough to think their violent, mindless comment deserves to be seen. You are accomplished, successful, and gracious. I’m so sad this amazing accomplishment has been tarnished for you, but we all think you’re fab x

  5. Oh Lauren. I really want to use the sweariest of swear words about these vile people who think it’s appropriate to pass comment in such a way. I had no idea this had happened. Who the flip cares how the hell you decide to display your books. I’m sure all of the RMS readers will be behind you all the way, I certainly am x

    1. Thank you Rachel. The support of the RMS readers has been overwhelming. I feel very lucky to have you all x

  6. Lauren, having had the immense luck to sit 2 desks away from you for a good 6/7 months of my life, I would never ever describe you as a dumb slut, psychopath or suggest you die.
    You’re one of the kindest people I have ever met; the kind who when I was nearly in tears over the weather forecast for my sisters wedding sent me RMW blog posts of people who’s weddings had got totalled ruined by the weather but still had brilliant times. You told me to only eat cake if it was a celebration because it was rude not to. Last week you messaged me to check I was on. Generally you’re one of the good guys in this world.
    I am horrified that people have done this to you, in fact I am going to be late for something this evening because I wanted to vent my frustration at this. I am so sorry that you have had this happen to you. If I ever live in a home HALF as beautiful as yours then I will die a happy lady.
    Keep doing you because you is fabulous. Beckie x

      1. Oops! Not intended to make you cry! And apologies for all the anger fuelled spelling and grammatical errors! 🤦🏻‍♀️

  7. Lauren, I actually saw the picture and thought – what a great idea! We are getting a new bookcase for our living room next week, and after seeing the picture had made a mental note to give your way a go to see how it looked! Our living room is super neutral and I have (for some reason) a lot of bright yellow books 😂 – so I’m grateful for the tip!

  8. I only saw all of this today Lauren and I was honestly shocked and saddened at how you had been treated over something so trivial. I guarantee you that the people commenting would never dare say anything to your face. I think these individuals seem to forget that behind ‘the story’ is a real person, with real feelings and their own battles.
    Sending you all the love and hugs I have. You are absolutely wonderful and you know I adore your home. Keep your head high and those wonderful standards higher xxx

  9. This made me both angry and sad and also scared for the world my children are growing up in. Just commenting to give you some support and hopefully even out the scales a bit as it is too often only negative comments that people receive these days.X

  10. Really shocked at what you’ve had to put up with. What happened to kindness, I feel this more as time goes on, that there is too much nastiness around and this is a case in point. It’s easy to say don’t be bothered about things said by people you don’t care about but this is another level. Take comfort from the fact of how many people enjoy your articles and want to replicate your lovely home. Keep doing what you do with your head held high, all of your followers on Instagram and readers on here can’t be wrong. x

  11. Lauren, how awful for you! And what a wonderful and balanced response. I’m sure you haven’t always felt this reasonable during this horror. I just want to send my love and support. Who cares on what way round your ruddy books are. It doesn’t matter. It’s a tiny interior style choice. You are right about scrolling past things that don’t appeal. Why do people need to be mean? It blows my mind. Some of the comments are disturbing, scary and clearly not about backwards books. I’m sorry something inconsequential has turned in a nasty media circus. Sending love. It will blow over but I can imagine how cautious you may be feeling after it.

    1. Thanks Lizzie. There have been a few tears I have to say but I was determined to stay dignified so it’s taken me a while to compose myself!

  12. I just read an article about this in The Guardian. You know what my initial response was? Why is a paper like The Guardian paying a journalist to pass judgement on how someone presents their stuff? In their home?! Surely Trump’s up to something, no?!

    Honestly, I like spines out. I have some beautiful books and I like to see the inconsistent colours (although I admit the chick-lit is a bit buried at the back…). It’s your house though, and your deal entirely. And the people who see fit to pass judgement, have too much time. Isn’t that lovely for them? You just keep on being busy with this lovely blog. Hopefully you don’t have enough time to worry about it.

    1. I didn’t realise The Guardian had also covered it. My husband has just read some of the comments and they’re even worse than The Daily Mail!
      Agree with you entirely. It must be very quiet at The White House this week.

      1. One of the Guardian comments has just made me spit my tea out in hysterics “how can you possibly curate books if their spines are not showing”. 😂🤣😂

  13. I cannot even believe this!! You are awesome. Your home is awesome. You are clearly much happier than those idiots. I don’t even know what else to say!! Kill ‘em with kindness. Don’t let the ba@*ards grind you down xxx

  14. Oh bloody hell Lauren sounds like it’s been horrendous!

    I’ve nothing to add really other than I honestly can’t see why everyone has got their knickers in such a twist! It’s a few paperbacks stacked how you like them!

    I must say you have handled this amazingly and with some poise I definitely do not have. Well done for bit retaliating and potentially further fuelling these idiots.

    You all rock x x

  15. How sad that people can’t just move on when something isnt to their taste. Some people obviously have lots of time on their hands to worry about somebody else’s books and how they are displayed. Your response is so dignified and should teach those whose responses are less so, a lesson.

  16. Lauren, so sorry you have had to put up with this horrid behaviour, especially on the back of something that was so exciting for you. It’s crazy that some people feel the need to pass judgement on others and bully.

    You will must certainly come out as the dignified one with all the style. 🙂 Lots of love x

  17. WTF Lauren?! We live in a world where Donald Trump can call certain countries sh**holes, UKIP leaders can make racist comments about the royal family and Hollwood actors can abuse hundreds of women and you get targeted for some…books? People need to learn some respect, you weren’t trying to provoke or make a statement with what you were doing, just creating something a bit different to spark some creativity in people’s homes!

    I love this blog and this community – Lauren you let me write an article for it (which I woulf love to do again!) and throughout you were kind and gracious and suportive and I am astounded at these comments.

    Hold your head high Lauren, you write beautifully about a huge range of subjects and the sad individuals who hide behind the anonymity of the internet can do one…the thought of a backward boom must have blown their tiny, tiny minds. SO SO much love xxxxx

  18. I can’t understand why people would be some unkind but i think you have handled it gracefully.

    My home isn’t as stylish as yours but like you I have a few books turned outwards. They are so tatty, it looks much nicer this way and I don’t mind a quick rummage to find what I’m looking for!

    1. I think a lot of people would admit that once they’ve read a book they don’t really go back to the shelf very often to get it out again. All for a quick rummage 🙂 x

  19. I’m so so sorry to read this Lauren. Having your beautiful home featured is such an achievement and it’s horrible to have it tainted in this manner, and to have escalated to such an extreme. Sadly the anonymity a computer screen provides leads people to make comments they surely would never do in a face to face situation and being on the receiving end of such faceless abuse is something nobody should have to experience. RMS creates a safe forum to discuss so many topics (lipsticks to political campaigns!) which is something the team should be incredibly proud of as it is all too rare. There’s few words of support other than your home is beautiful and you clearly work so hard to achieve what you have and I hope that some positive comments can overwhelm the negative. Xxxx

    1. Thank you Sophie, the support from readers this evening has been incredible. Thank you for being a part of the community x

  20. Gah, don’t let the weirdos get you down. I was delighted to come across your house in Ideal Home at the weekend. I have masses of books which I’ve read but can’t get round to recycling or taking to the book bank, this seems an ingenious way of creating a display. I think the magazine could’ve maybe described it better – it’s more like a small art installation than a bookcase for books. No-body balks at sticking rowing oars on a wall, or a dead stags head. This is a similar feature – repurposing something for a display. So sorry for the nasty comments, it’s too personal and I can only imagine how horrible it makes you feel. Your house looks beautiful and, in my opinion, was the nicest out of all those featured in Ideal Home this month.

  21. Lauren I’m so sorry you have been treated this way. I hoped that in this day and age we were past calling people names and being unkind because they have different opinions. I think that the way you have dealt with it has shown what a lovely person you are. Your home is lovely and it’s yours. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home, inspiring decor and for showing a different way and thank you to the RMS team for standing up for kindness. x x

  22. Lauren, you said it in your concluding paragraph “your choice”. I too bought the magazine because I knew you were in it. How amazing for you to have your home featured in a magazine. Perhaps your haters could share a photo of their bookshelves so we can pass comment?

  23. More people like you needed please! Silence can be so much more powerful than fueling a debate with more words. Well done and thank you for being one of the good ones. I believe every act of positive action leads to another. One by one.

  24. Oh my! I’ve never commented on a blog post, but am an avid reader! I have just read the above open mouthed, absolutely aghast at the comments you have received. I find it crazy that creativity is what a lot of us love about social media and how so many people use it as a tool to learn and develop their own ideas that you have been punished for this! I do hope the outpouring of support and love has helped and you continue to do what you are so talented at! *Rushes to bookshelf to turn books round* Keep up the awesome work 👏🏻

  25. I have a real love/hate with social media. On one hand it can bring together like minded people and without Facebook I would have lost contact with a number of people over the years. The other side is the speed at which things can spread, the reach it has and unfortunately many of those trolls it reaches are cruel just for the sake of it. How anyone stores their books is up to them (although my ocd tendencies would argue any other way than alphabetical by author is wrong 🤓), don’t like it jog/scroll on! Thinking you’re anonymous and making threats is totally unnecessary and I am glad the police deal with cyber bullying as a crime now.

    Something that does come to mind from this post though is awareness of what you are opening yourself up to online. I’ve seen many a blog or Instagram post complaining about negative comments (not always serious trolling) and I do think that if you are going to open up your life to hundreds or thousands of followers, you need to realise not everyone is nice and is going to like everything you post. Some people I follow post dozens of videos a day (no idea where they find the time 🤷🏻‍♀️) and when I’ve heard enough I just scroll on.

    I don’t condone bullying at all, especially cowards behind keyboards. My favourite story I have read about when dealing with online bullies was a girl who went through the troll’s friends list, found his mum and sent all of the messages she had received to her 😆.

    Hope you are ok Lauren and it hasn’t hit you too hard. You should be so proud of the magazine feature. Your home is 😍

    1. Thanks Claire. Yes, I do realise I’ve opened up my home and so I will always get feedback, though hopefully not in this way again!
      The victim of trolling you mention is a genius! x

  26. I saw this today, the Times piece and was horrified- I really feel that we need to be stronger with publications and say that they have a DUTY OF CARE to contributors as if something as innocuous as a bookshelf can spark this offensive threatening bilge then any article anywhere can.

    I’m really glad you have James, your family and the Rock My community at your back.

    And surely, putting your books that way means you love them so much you know them without the cover. Chew on that trolls.

  27. What a horrible experience for you, I’m so sorry. When I read that you were going to be featured, I remember thinking what an amazing achievement, and it really is. Your home is beautiful and thank you for sharing this with the RMS community, I hope the positivity and support from this post helps to diminish the unkindness you have experienced. X

  28. Oh my gosh I had no idea that had caused such a storm. I’m a regular RMS reader but don’t always comment but this has made me so sad.

    I totally agree with what you say Lauren I love the safe space that has been created here. People need to think before they comment as you hope they would do before verbalising the same sentiments. If you wouldn’t like it if someone spoke to a friend, family member or yourself for that matter then you probably shouldn’t be saying/tweeting or commenting to anybody else .

    People aren’t always going to agree but being respectful shouldn’t be too much to ask.

    For what it’s worth I love your home and think it’s gorgeous! Keep on sharing all your beautiful pics on Instagram

  29. Omg. This is shocking. I am literally lost for words. All I can say is that some people out there have some very small, sad lives. And frankly the ‘comedian’ should be ashamed of himself too.

    1. Thanks Laura, I’ve noticed the tweet has been unpinned but sadly still on his feed.
      Love your avatar pic by the way – wherever you are looks gorgeous! x

  30. Lauren, I think you have impeccable taste. And even if you posted something I wasn’t interested in looking at (which is never) I would behave like an adult and scroll on past. Why is that so difficult for some people? Interior design is not the be all and end of all life. But it is something that gives people so much enjoyment and is an expression of self and taste, making, what can quite frankly sometimes be a horrendous world to live in, that little bit more light, enjoyable and inviting. I am so pleased to be able to participate in a community that makes my day that little bit brighter, with inspiring and relatable contributors, who feel like ‘one of us’ (not usually who you would expect to find being trolled I have to say!). You are clearly a very classy lady by responding in this way.

    And I’m so chuffed for you that you got to fulfil a lifelong ambition. Let’s hope we can all say that.

    Lots of love to you and your backward books xxx

    1. It feels a bit daft to say it was a lifelong ambition but when I was younger and looked at my Mum’s interiors mags I really fancied having a home that was worthy of being featured. Seems very silly now all this has happened!
      The backward books send a lot of love to you too 😉 x

  31. I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with this Lauren, as someone whose livelihood is books, it always makes me eye roll slightly when people treat them as sacred objects. The very reason paperbacks were invented was to make reading accessible to all, not to divide people or imply any one reader was better than another. If I love a book I remember it, I don’t treat it like a trophy or display it spine out so that people know I’m literate. Normally I crack the spine, often I fold down pages, and then again sometimes if I particularly like the cover I’ll try not to drop it in the pool on holiday. But ultimately it’s paper and ink and what you do with them is up to you, especially if you’re providing a storage solution! Enjoying reading and being a good stylist should not be seen as mutually exclusive and it’s sad (not to mention unimaginative) that the trolls seem to think they are. I often browse Pinterest for ways to style shelves and might start storing my books this way as my collection is getting unruly! But I know that wasn’t the point of writing this piece, I love that the RM team always address these issues rather than sweeping them under the carpet, it’s a lovely community that the trolls will clearly never be a part of, they’ll always find something else to vilify, but I know which club I’d rather be in! X

    1. Thank you Lydia for such a supportive comment coming from someone in the publishing industry. It’s very much appreciated x

  32. Oh Lauren. I don’t really know what to say except that I am so sad that you have gone through this. I’d been meaning to message you to say I’d rushed out to buy the magazine as soon as I saw you mention that you were in it, and how excited I was to read about your home – particularly as a massive admirer of your style! I am so sorry that this will have tainted that experience for you, and dampened some of your own excitement. Social media is such an incredible thing in so many ways, but it can also bring out the worst in people. You have written such a beautifully balanced response though, which hopefully will make people think twice about what they say when they are hiding behind a screen online. Sending hugs xx

    1. Thank you Emma. I wholeheartedly agree with your comment about social media. I’m hoping to bring out its best side with my response.
      Lots of hugs to you too x

  33. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this. It really is frightening how society has become so desensitised through social media that I bet most of those people commenting didn’t give a second thought as to who Lauren was. And what a ridiculous thing for them to get their knickers in a twist over anyway. I hear what you’re saying about cyber bullying…perhaps this is an opportunity for Rock My to have a voice – start a campaign to raise awareness maybe?
    Love from a fellow book reverser! (seriously, what’s all the fuss?! It looks pretty!)

    1. Yes Becs you are quite right. Hoping this post has started a conversation and started to raise awareness.
      Love that you’re a reverser too 🙂 x

  34. Lauren, I love your back to front books along with your stunning home. You write with such dignity and integrity here and people writing such awful things should be ashamed of themselves. I really despair of what this world is coming to that so much venom can be produced out of something so trivial. Lots of love to you and your books (even the back to front ones) x

  35. Good god I can’t believe this happened, these people are insane or extremely bored and hate their own lives. What normal person would make such horrendous comments about someone they don’t know over how they display their books??!! Madness. Ignore it, don’t read it and pity these pathetic people. Your home is beautiful and I bought the magazine just to see it! ☺️ X

  36. Hi Lauren,
    This made me feel deeply sad for you, it’s such a shame that people have become so full of bitterness that they feel it necessary to write such distasteful comments! Personally I totally loved your display and see it as an art creation, nothing more! Maybe if everyone could think outside the box a little more our world would be a little more peaceful!
    I am sending love and light to you and kindness to the fools that think bullying is acceptable as it’s clear they need it the most!

  37. So sorry to hear this Lauren, no one should be bullied or intimidated for doing something that they love. You should be so proud of your home, the time and love you’ve poured into it should be celebrated not tainted by comments from small minded individuals, just remember it says more about them than you. And shame on the ‘journalists’ for making this into a story – and completely missing the point!
    You and the team are some of the good ones, try not to take it too hard you’re fab! We’re all behind you, up the good work. x

  38. It’s absolutely crazy Lauren. I have somehow managed to miss the whole saga until now and can only imagine how awful it must be. Your response is so well written and I’m stunned the guardian covered it in the shallowest way possible, jumping onto the bandwagon and conveniently brushing over the “little extreme comments” ?!?! Journalism at its best – NOT. Why cover a topic worth talking about when we can just make fun of he way someone arranges a bookshelf?

  39. Hi Lauren, I’ve seen the tweet from said comedian and people’s feedback…  I believe that design and the love of it belongs to the creator and that’s you. People who are judging and being sniffy jumping on a bandwagon of shaming, just isn’t cool… End of. We are all unique, we all see beauty in different things and love to create are own spaces, moments and memories. I get your family and history and how that’s shapes your vision and your interpretation of your beloved bookcase, good for you, keeping it honest and within your vision. This little storm, like all moments in life will pass. You will snuggle on the sofa with the one you love with a little candel glow and a v hot cup of coffee shortly and your trusty book case will be by your side. Sending love, light and extra strength your way and remember Keep it beauty my lovely as you have so far .Your little nook is published and that’s enough to make anyone smile. Px 

  40. It’s so bananas what can go viral.. Such a difficult thing to predict as the outcome of sharing your home with a publication like Ideal Home, but sadly symptomatic of the social media culture currently rife in the world.

    I can’t imagine how it has made you feel..

    Lots of love..

  41. I don’t think I’d have even noticed the backwards books if I hadn’t seen this. How dare people who do not know you feel they can pass comment in such way. People are vile online and forget that at the other end of that profile is a person, with feelings. Your home is beautiful and you are a smart articulate women. Please ignore these pathetic people who have clearly no intellect otherwise they may have thought before hey typed such harmful words.

    1. Thanks Serena, yes it’s such a shame people feel that can pass comment – it seems in the virality of the posts they just join the mob. Sad times x

  42. What the actual fork (thanks to the Good Place on Netflix for the appropriate swear words)!! For one this is no different to arranging books by colour for example (sure this is so far past the in thing by now but I still love it!) but as you say it’s your choice. I dont understand how grown adults cant see past their computer screen. I will say the comments on this do show what an awesome community you’ve all built up. Also…I’m going to go out and buy the mag tomorrow if I can still find it to have a nose (backwards books and all…)

  43. Jeez. Have people got nothing better to do with themselves? Your home is beautiful Lauren, and you should be able to put your books whatever the hell way you want. Ignore the haters.

    Anyone else hate the way the newspapers have started to “report” on stuff that’s gone viral on social media as if it’s real news?! I expect as much from the Daily Fail, but the Guardian? I mean, really.

    1. Yes it is a shocking state of affairs.
      Today’s Daily Mail article just repurposed old content and threw in a few pics from my Facebook profile. I have no idea why they felt the need to show images of my husband. Thank god he had a suit on and looked smart!

  44. Hi Lauren, firstly congratulations on having your home featured in Ideal Home, so exciting and very jealous!! I really enjoy the magazine when I have time to read it! Secondly WT??

    I simply can’t believe that having your books facing the other way round would illicit such a reaction from people, it’s completely ridiculous and I’m so sorry that you have had to be subject to such nonsense! I don’t think i would have even noticed the books backwards and even if I did I certainly would have moved on without a thought. Unfortunately the internet, for all it’s positives, has a dark side which a small minority of people use for something more sinister and I dare say most of them, wouldn’t say a word to a persons face in the real word but just hide behind their keyboards! It’s so sad that it comes to that. I don’t always like what I see or agree with things but I try and be respectful to other people’s feelings. I know it can’t be easy but please try and ignore and in a few weeks this will hopefully be a distant memory for you. Wishing you all the best xx

    1. Thanks Inga, such a shame all this is online rather than chip paper! Yes hoping it will all be forgotten very soon x

  45. Good for you Lauren, you are so strong and intelligent and I have so much respect for you rising above this utterly awful behaviour. It’s frightening to think this is how so many people get their kicks. I’d be keen to know if there are any campaigns or, better still, plans to feature online behaviour in a curriculum for younger people to learn about the power, outreach and impact of faceless opinions/comments. It has to be used for good always, not bad, and that culture needs to be taught, we’re surely just throwing the youth of today in to a lion’s den if not. Remember, good ALWAYS triumphs over evil, and you my friend are a triumph xxx
    Love your old pal

    1. Hello my love! Seeing your comment made me smile so much. Lovely to see me as a triumph when we go back such a long way. Life was much simpler when we were five wasn’t it?! x

  46. Lauren, I am lost for words (looking back on this comment clearly I am not!). Bullying of any form is completely unacceptable and good for you for not being reduced to their level. I was completely unaware of all of this before this post, but I am pretty sure I am not the only one who feels pretty protective of the Rock my community and this made me very sad for you. Surely the worst thing that should have happened is someone THINKING, that’s not for me and moving on. Without sounding like my gran, what is this world coming to? I am sorry what should have been an exciting experience and memory has been tainted. Keep doing what you do, and rocking it as always! Much love xx

    1. Thank you Emma. The response has made me so aware of how protective you lovely lot are of us. I feel very lucky as know so many have to go through this alone. x

  47. Lauren I saw this tweet on buzzfeed then the article on the guardian and my heart just sank for you. I think the internet distances us and people forget there’s a real person at the end of their horrible comments. Your house is absolutely beautiful and one of the reasons I bought this edition of ideal home. I’m really sorry you are going through this. Hopefully it will all die down quickly x

  48. I subscribe to ideal home and loved seeing your home in it (I also felt like a complete stalker because I thought on the first page “ooh that looks like Lauren from RMS’s mirror!” – I promise I just read the blog and I’m not standing in your garden or anything!).

    Assuming you aren’t sneaking in to other people’s houses and rearranging their book collections, you carry on. Your home is lovely. You absolutely didn’t deserve a perfectly nice article blowing up like that and if it wasn’t so incredibly unpleasant it would be really bloody silly that so much came out of the direction some books face on a bookshelf these people will never see in real life.

    I saw some of the comments online (and had a proper rant to my husband about how rude and cruel they were) – quite a lot struck me as people attention seeking by jumping on a bandwagon to try and get a celebrity to like them (if that’s any consolation…). I’ve always enjoyed your writing on here and you seem like a thoroughly good egg – I hope you can see how many people on here feel the same. Please take these comments on board rather than the bad stuff and keep doing what you’re doing x

    1. Ha ha Katie, that didn’t half make me laugh. I would give you a wave if you were in my front garden 😉

  49. Lauren, I have always followed you and your lovely home and it has given me lots of inspiration for my own home. It’s such a shame that a lifelong dream for you has been tainted by this. I know it’s easier said than done but try not to let them get to you. When I had my baby 7 weeks premature, someone (who I didn’t know) commented on a picture of him on instagram to say what a waste of life. This was also on mine and my husband’s first wedding anniversary. So at a time when I’d just had a my first baby (who was in hospital) and on the morning of my first wedding anniversary, instead of being happy, I was in floods of tears thanks to someone being deliberately cruel! I find it impossible to understand people who go around doing this sort of thing. Some people have obviously got nothing better to do that they feel the need to go around bullying and upsetting others.

    1. Hailey this is utterly despicable. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. What a cruel thing to say. Sending lots of love x

  50. I hadn’t heard anything about this and I’ve just been catching up with a sense of growing horror and confusion. I’m a huge book lover and my house is permanently overrun with them. I don’t mind looking at the spines but I do tend to keep things around them neutral to counter the riot of clashing colours. I say all this because, while I’ve given some thought to how I display my own book collection, the idea of responding in this sort of nasty, histrionic and judgemental way about anyone else’s personal choices is so bewildering to me. I hate the way online communities can become like baying wolves about seemingly innocuous things, almost like they’ve forgotten they’re flinging their bile at actual real people. It must be exhausting to be them, if every little detail of someone else’s lives causes them such distress. Lauren – I’m so sorry this happened to you and you’re awesome for staying so calm and level-headed (in public anyway!) about all this. I hope the legacy is that a few more people think twice about what constitutes cyber bullying and perhaps keep their opinions to themselves.

  51. Just a quick show of support Lauren. I did briefly see some of the unpleasant comments that have been posted in relation to your beautiful bookcase but didn’t waste my time any further reading them. There’s just no need and people have too much time on their hands, most of whom probably have no interest in interior design either.
    Your response here is so dignified and balanced, I’m just so sorry you even had to write it.
    Keep doing what you’re doing and massive congratulations on being featured in Ideal Home.

  52. This is totally bonkers. Please try not to let a nasty, cowardly minority take any shine off what is an incredible and exciting achievement (I mean Ideal Home, come on!). You’re ace 🙂

  53. Lauren, you are class and kindness personified. Everything that the trolls are not.
    Thank you for writing such an eloquant post and raising such an important issue – this is about so much more than books (which look lovely by the way), and about such a biggr, scarier thing. I hope this blog post makes people think really hard about their actions.

    I have just read the background links and find it completely laughable what people are saying. Obviously I don’t know you! But I feel like we all do in a little way, from reading your blog posts. You have the nicest way with words, a real warmth of character and a very very clever and creative skill set. How can people (literally) judge you on a book cover?!

    Congratulations for creating such a lovely home and it featuring in the magazine and congratulations for staying so classy and resilient in your response to such absurdity. X

  54. The ‘news’ papers should be ashamed of themselves for jumping on the bullying bandwagon! It must have been a slow news day! But I suppose doom, gloom and negativity is what sells newspapers these days!
    Such a dignified and mature response Lauren! I’m disgusted by those comments and it would have been easy for you to stoop as low as those passing judgement. So well done for standing up for yourself in a respectable manner!
    And I love your bookshelf! The books create a beautiful backdrop. Inspired!

    1. Thanks Samantha, I’m so pleased to hear people refer to the response as dignified. Thanks for the support. x

  55. I once went viral for something for 24 hours and I pretty much left twitter after that. It made me really think about how easy it is to say things without care on the internet, but that didn’t stop the hurt at the time. After reading this, I followed the link and read the tweets of the unnamed comedian and I can tell you that I’ve both never heard of him before, and that his entire brand of humour seems quite nasty. To get such pleasure out of being mean to someone else says a lot.
    It’s doubly unfair that it’s partly how you’ve been edited that people are having a go at. If it had just been the photo, would anyone have picked it up? And then it’s also your home, which is intimate and where you live, and so I can only guess at how invasive this must all feel. I hope you buy your bookshelf some lovely flowers or something to help it feel loved whilst the media storm in a tea cup rains itself out. And well done for turning something so horrendous into an opportunity to raise awareness about the real human impact of cyber bullying and news stories. That’s extremely brave and dignified.

    1. Thank you B, you have summed up exactly why I was shaken when I first came across the Facebook post. It feels so much more personal when it’s comments about the place I live (and my promiscuity and my relationship too).
      I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been through this too. It’s far too common.

  56. You are a beautiful person with a beautiful heart and a beautiful home. Children wouldn’t behave this way and adults should be utterly ashamed of themselves for such despicable behaviour. You are a constant source of inspiration to me and will continue to be so. Your passion and love of your home shines through and no one can take that away from you.

  57. Just a quick note to show support and stand in solidarity against those odious little ***** that feel the need to make absolutely inexcusable comments and threats. It saddens me that the ones that really need to read this, probably won’t, but the message that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated needs to be cascaded far and wide. For the record – I LOVE the bookcase, it’s so darn pretty! x

    1. Thank you Emi. You’re right such a shame that it probably won’t be read by the bullies, but wonderful to have everyone’s support nevertheless. x

  58. Perhaps, as a reclaiming of a lovely picture from all this horribleness, we could see if we can make this image one of the most pinned images on Pinterest? I reckon the rockmy community could make that happen!

  59. The thing which constantly shocks me about things like this is that people actually spend their time being nasty about people they don’t know. Seriously, I don’t even have time to “like” the nice stuff, so truly could not be bothered to be nasty on the stuff I didn’t agree with. It’s just bonkers! I look forward to my RMS fix every day – keep up the good work. X

  60. Featuring in Ideal Home magazine is a fantastic achievement. These people literally have nothing better to do than be cruel and thoughtless. Don’t give them a second thought.

  61. What a wonderfully worded piece of writing. One of my friends tagged me in the Facebook post to show me as being a librarian she thought it would drive me nuts. It would in my house but that is my choice – as is yours to display them like that. I can’t believe that a choice on how to organise your books in a corner or your home has turned out the way it has. Some of the comments on the post were awful and made me feel so sad for the damage that social media is doing to peoples level of acceptance of anything other than what they would do themselves. For what it is worth I thought the shelves looked really stylish and didn’t for one minute thought it meant you weren’t able to read.

  62. Holy cow. Have people nothing better to do?
    Well written reply, well done. I don’t care (in the nicest way) how you or anyone chooses how to keep their books, whether it’s one bookshelf in your house or you keep all your book’s like it. It’s your choice, you’re happy and everyone else can quite frankly be quiet.
    What a shame it’s escalated to this point.
    I applaud you. Respect. X

    1. Thanks for the respect Lucy. It is a shame that these people really don’t seem to have anything better to do. x

  63. Just wanted to show some support Lauren as I had missed all the saga & when I read your article above I was completely gobsmacked! I mean really these people are bothered about how someone displays their books, with all the stuff that goes on in the world!! I think your house is one of the nicest on instagram & I love RMS & RMF for the great community it is.

  64. I think the commentary went too far, but also think it’s clear people weren’t angered by the books but instead what it represents, style over substance and the idea of staging your home to fit a ‘look’ rather than the way you really live.
    British humour generally borders on the offensive and I don’t think what was said was any worse than what you’d hear in a frankie Boyle sketch on prime time tv!
    I agree RMS has a community, but it’s a closed one targeted to people who have the time,and money, to read articles about £80 Pom Pom throws without rolling their eyes! Outside of that niche most people don’t have the time or inclination to spend their Saturday turning books round so they match their cushions.
    Yes the commenters took it too far, but the reason this went viral was because it is bordering on the ridiculous!

    1. I totally disagree with you. Lauren’s article was published in a magazine that was aimed at people who are interested in interior design. To pass personal comment on her intelligence and worthiness as a human being is not acceptable and many of the comments are outright bullying.
      I am not personally a big fan of bodybuilding and the culture surrounding it but each to their own. I don’t feel the need to ridicule and belittle something that lots of people find value in.

    2. Hi Amber, As I touched on in the opening paragraph the twitter debate was largely jovial and witty and yes probably suitable for BBC primetime. The Facebook commentary was however far from hilarious.
      Our stats suggest we have anything but a niche audience and whatever the size I can assure you our readers have more pressing things to do on a Saturday than faff with their bookshelves.

      1. The rock my group have several sponsored Facebook post running as we speak- if you feel so strongly about Facebook lack of ethics why are out paying them for promotion?

        1. Valid point Amber, and I still have my personal account live too.
          I’m keen to get into a dialogue with Facebook and just working out the best way to approach them.

  65. So very sorry to hear this Lauren. For what it’s worth I think you are a talented and sympathetic writer and your house is beautiful. Maybe we will all pause a moment and reflect on how we can make the world a brighter friendlier place and how much impact throw away comments can have. You are certainly leading the way in how to give a gracious, generous and thoughtful response. Well done and keep faith in yourself xx

  66. Seriously?!! Don’t people have better things to do than pick on others who have displayed shelves slightly differently??!! I’m beyond surprised & disappointed that there are sad & very bored people out there picking a fight about the shelves??!! Go & find sone excitement in your lives instead of focussing on shelf designs. Btw Lauren, your response & your book shelf rocks!

  67. It really is incredible the shit people do these days!! I really have no words, but hope this has not had you too upset!!!
    Have you spoken to anybody from the mag since the online reaction?

    1. I haven’t actually Charlotte but I am in contact with the lovely Stylist who worked on the piece. I will bring in to their attention though. It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours!

      1. Bless you, all this in the last 24 hours! Well I really hope the support here has helped make up for all the idiots!!

        I hope this won’t make me sound stupid and ignorant – but what is it with books anyway that cause such a hierarchy type behaviour!? I love reading, I love coffee table books, I appreciate and would treasure the oldest books (there does seem to be something magical about them!! But seriously! It’s too much!! From the way parents boast “my kid loves books (he’s 4 month so old!!)” in some kind of way that their kid is way superior than the next – making other mothers feel awful. To how much you read vs watch TV as an adult, apparently if you don’t live the smell of old books also qualifies you as the village idiot…and now, to the way you display your books!!? I mean, really yours were only the wrong way round, they were safe…not broken, mistreated….I bet decorative paper cuts made from the pages of books don’t get the same reaction (and that’s actually hurting a book!!). Sorry, I’ve gone of fabric on one a little here!! I just can’t stand bullying and I’m totally with you on this!

        I wonder if we could start an Instagram/Twitter hashtag (or maybe two) one where people are invited to post a photo of their book display, and another to do with stopping petty cyber bullying). What do you think?

  68. What utterly disgusting behaviour!! Seriously the mind boggles at what these people think is appropriate. It’s a crazy world we live in. I personally loved your book display and blatantly copied it awhile ago. My books are way too random to display the other way, but they fill the space nicely now, so thanks for the inspiration.

  69. I never usually comment on EMS articles despite being an avid reader, but I’m so shocked by how people can behave! You have the most beautiful home and I always look at pictures you post and think how much I envy your style! Don’t let the bullies drag you down, you do a great job!

  70. Isn’t it a shame that people are so blinkered that they are unable to see the difference between literacy and art! The book is still the book whichever way round we present it. Lauren I applaud you for your creative expression please don’t let it be dulled 😘. x x x

  71. I am at a loss with people sometimes. I don’t understand how people can think their behaviour is justified! This must be so upsetting for you and your family but the truth is I have never met you but from reading rock my style since the start I think it’s safe to say you are a lovely person and none of those horrible things said make any sense. I remember reading the blog when you showed your books like that and thinking it was a genius idea because I hid all my books away in a cupboard because the mix of colours annoyed me so much!
    I’m not sure how we get through to people that their words hurt just as much when typed as spoken. Everyone knows they should be kind and treat people with respect so I don’t know how they can excuse this behaviour.
    Hope you have a brilliant day!!!

    1. Thanks Sarah, it’s got off to a great start. Looking forward to turning something positive out of a negative couple of weeks x

  72. I’m so sorry to hear about this Lauren. Like others have said, I bought a copy of Ideal Home because you were in it and even though I’ve seen many photos of your house on here it was lovely to see them in print too! I’ve only recently gone back on Twitter and I did see tweet – sadly via retweet by several people I thought were above spurring on this type of behaviour. It’s one thing to think something isn’t to your taste but another to voice it so viciously and pass comment on someone’s character at the same time. I really dislike how social media makes people think they can say what they like without repercussions or thinking about how it makes others feel. Your response is wonderfully written but it saddens me that you had to write it in the first place. Here’s hoping that 2018 brings a wave of positivity and the beginning of the end to online (and offline) bullying. x

    1. Thank you for your comments Jo. Yes the assassination of my character has been a hard one to get my head around. Fingers crossed 2018 starts to see a shift in what’s acceptable from these keyboard warriors.

  73. I’m really sorry to hear this. Your home is absolutely beautiful, but that’s irrelevant here. There is never a cause to be so unkind and I cannot get my head around people acting like this. I hope you feel much better seeing so many supportive comments, and hopefully someone will think twice about cyber bullying in the future x

  74. Wow. Just wow. I’ll echo the sentiment of most people above and say I’m shocked and appalled by what’s happened. Your home is absolutely stunning Lauren & you seem like such a warm, classy, dignified lady. Everything these trolls are not! I don’t know you but my other half knows your husband & always speaks very highly of him which makes me think you’re both lovely & about as far away as deserving this as you can get. Congratulations on not responding with anger right away (as I’m sure a lot of us would have done!) & taking the time to collect yourself & your thoughts, it’s a fantastic response.
    I guess I have two thoughts…
    1. I genuinely do believe these trolls who react so violently and with such meanness are jealous. Not jealous of your backwards books, I’m sure they don’t like those & that’s fine, but jealous of you being in Ideal Home & achieving something. It seems the default reaction sometimes is to want to tear people down rather than say well done, & it’s sad.
    2. I feel really sorry for you that this experience has been tarnished, but at least you’re old enough to be able to rise above it & have a fantastic support network around you such as your husband, friends & the RMS community. What really terrifies me is that this happens every day to young girls & boys, not on the same scale to appear in a national newspaper, but the sentiment is the same: it’s ok to bully and abuse someone from behind a keyboard. It’s ok to fat shame or comment on appearances or wish someone dead because of something they innocently post on social media. It hurts my heart & makes me worried for the future, we already know in extreme cases this can escalate & lead to suicides. It feels like something must be done.
    Lots of love to you x
    PS I have backwards books on my shelves, pretty sure I stole the idea from you!

    1. Hi Sian, thank you so much for your support. I echo all the comments you mention here and I’m keen to turn this experience into some good. I just need time to process everything and work out how to tackle it in the right way.
      Can’t believe your husband knows James!

  75. Hi Lauren, this is truly unbelievable! I for one think that your home is outstanding and care not a jot whether I can see the spine of the books. Ironically, it is the spineless folk out there that take pleasure in such pointless nit-picking. If you’re ever in the market for a new designer radiator or any heatring related stuff, feel free to give me a shout. I’d love to have one of our products adorn the wall of your lovely home!

  76. Lauren, I don’t often reply to blogs or even much on Insta and I can see that you have plenty of support without my intervention but I wanted to say that my heart just broke a little for you. I wasn’t aware that this had happened and it only reinforces my rapidly growing opinion that there are way too many unstable and unfit humans in the world. Sigh. Anyway, you are obviously of a much higher caliber than them and, at least outwardly, strong enough to deal with it in the most graceful and adult manner. I just hope you aren’t crumbling inside. Honestly? From so called ‘book loving people’??? I thought, at least, they might be more intelligent. No chance. You arrange your books however the hell you like. It’s art, if you like. It’s certainly creative. But most of all, it’s none of their damn business. Much love. x

    1. Thank you Helen. I can’t lie and say I’ve taken it with a pinch of salt. It’s been a very lonely experience but no more! This support has been incredible x

  77. I just wanted to add my support! So often people don’t write the nice comments……that’s what is different and lovely about RMS and RMF because that is largely what happens here. So refreshing!
    It is so so sad that an exciting, wonderful and fully deserved feature has turned into such a horrible nightmare. You deserve none of it. I hope it all blows over with the gales heading our way tonight xxxx

  78. I’m really sad to hear about this; it’s a shame that people feel the need to be so cruel about these things. We all like a joke, but those comments take it way too far and it becomes abusive and unpleasant.

    Keep doing what you are doing Lauren, I love your shelf and find RMS a great pick me up in the mornings.

  79. I cannot believe this has happened, what the hell is wrong with people?!! You were one of the first people I followed on Instagram after seeing your beautiful home on these pages and I’ve always been massively inspired by your home and how you keep it so lovely without being too “showy”. Have copied many an idea….and might just switch all my books around this weekend…because I can! This post actually brought a tear to my eye as you’ve so gracefully responded to what must have been such an awful output of something you had thought would be so positive. Just keep being you 🙂

  80. I hadn’t heard about this but what an awful few weeks you must have had. All I can say is well done to you for not hiding away but using it to highlight what is so prevalent these days and trying to turn this into a positive by raising awareness. A true testament to you. I have seen so many things like this, especially on facebook, video’s of drunk girls on trains, pictures of people just going about their daily lives and someone thinks their outfit choice is funny. I feel like people just do it for the likes, the views, the comments, to want to go viral and the slew of comments that follow just highlight one of the negative effects of social media. People write nasty, mindless comments often which they would never say to the persons face and it is a horrible reflection of what today’s society can be like. Keep your chin up x

    1. Yes you are so right – the posted of images of people wearing something a bit iffy, or not in their best light are becoming far too common. I really, really hope this will help people think twice. x

  81. I’m speechless (and that doesn’t happen often). What is wrong with people? Who in their right mind even bothers to comment on a photo with a few books – not to mention in such an insulting way? I just took 15 minutes to report about a dozen comments on the FB post, I’m so angry that anyone would think it’s appropriate to make comments like that.

    I’m a massive book lover and whilst personally, I don’t like that look as I love to display books and it’s a bit too neutral for me, it’s not my home (though I wish it was generally half as stunning and organised as yours!) and I can still appreciate the general beauty and style. And don’t even get me started on the newspapers jumping on the bandwagon on this – you’d think they’d have more important things to report on in the world we live in!

    Generally, I do think it’s a sign of the times though that people think they can get away with stuff like that. I hope more countries follow suit of Germany’s recent laws to make social media companies more responsible for postings and act faster.

    1. Maike, thank you for mentioning Germany’s laws – I need to read up on policies in other countries.
      Thanks also for reporting to Facebook too. x

  82. Gosh, Lauren, I had no idea this had happened. I know you are a dignified, classy lady (which I am not), so I’m reining it in, just for you 😄

    Some people are right old shits. Other people lack the emotional intelligence to understand the impact that their words will have on another human being – a real person behind the computer screen. And others are so desperate to be liked that they go along with everyone else. That ‘comedian’ ought to be ashamed of himself. Could you imagine how bad you’d feel if you did something mildly offensive which gained the attention of thousands of people, all spewing bile at somebody over a few books on a shelf? I would be berating myself for it, personally contacting them to apologise and also making a public apology in an attempt to call off the bloody dogs. I imagine that’s how most decent people would react. There’s a lovely hint of misogyny to all of this too. Your sexual promiscuity has even been detected from the way you’ve placed your books on a shelf. All those sad people out there just itching to put you in your place 🙄
    This isn’t even new or shocking – I swear there were many heated debates on apartment therapy on the topic of backwards books at least five years ago. They need to get with the times 😉

    Next year this will all be just a horrible memory, and you’ll be swanning around in your beautiful home, while those people will still be small minded and lacking awareness. I don’t even personally know you and I can tell that you’re great. Just keep rising above it x

  83. I’m honestly flabbergasted by the comments that you have received. Why do people feel so able to hide behind the veil of social media and say such horrible things? I agree wholeheartedly with every other positive comment you have received here. Keep doing what you love, styling your home however you wish and more importantly. DON’T CHANGE THE BOOKS! If you do, they’ve won. And that would be so sad. X

  84. I had totally missed this going viral “thanks” to social media – I am so sorry that you have had to deal with this Lauren full stop – why do people even think it is ok to say these sort of things – I bet they wouldn’t like it if those comments being posed were being directed at them! As for the papers joining in – utterly ridiculous!
    Your response has been utterly gracious and classy and responsible in that you are highlighting a very big problem with society and media today that any of us could fall foul of through no fault of our own (which is terrifying!!)!
    Your home always looks stunning – and you got published in Ideal Home which is HUGE!!!! x

    1. Yes the pitfalls of social media. At my previous company we often used to talk about how to make a product or story go viral. I would never have anticipated it would be this way! x

  85. What a lovely, thoughtful response Lauren. Had no idea this had happened until I saw RMS this week. As one lady above said I also bought the mag specifically to read about your beautiful home and didn’t give the bookshelf another thought. It’s so sad that those people can do nothing better for this world that make vile comments. You’ve definitely shown you’re the bigger person here Lauren. Well done and enjoy your lovely home. Much love.

  86. I had absolutely no idea about all of this. I have nothing further to add to everyone above, honestly people need more going on in their lives if they think they need to vent unnecessarily about books being turned around. I’m so very sorry to hear what you have been through, and really hope that you won’t be daunted from posting things again. Sending lots of love and hugs (and really hoping that more can be done to combat cyber bullying as it should not exist in my humble opinion, however unsurprising it is in reality). xxx

    1. Yes Annie, very keen to raise awareness of the bullying. I really don’t believe a lot of people understand they’re committing the act.

  87. This is honestly the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of – what is going on in these people’s lives that they have nothing better to do than make nasty, childish comments on someone’s home (not even their whole home, just the fact that in one small corner of their home they have decided to turn the books round)?! I am struggling to even fathom why this would even crop up in anyone’s mind as a topic of conversation – it’s utterly insane.

    I am so sorry that you have had to deal with this – I am at loss for words for what this shows as an example of humanity. But I have also seen the outpouring of support you have received, and that is so much more important (and comes from much saner individuals). Your home is lovely, and you style it in any which way you want because it is your home! Thank you for responding to this bizarre so-called ‘adults’ in such a dignified way, and don’t let the haters get you down.

  88. I’m so sorry, Lauren. There are some truly horrible people on the internet. Clearly way too much time on their hands! I’ve never understood the level of vitriol some people come out with online. What sad sorry lives they must lead.

  89. Being kind is so much easier than being nasty. I honestly don’t understand why people feel the need to spread hate and fear instead of joy and love.Whilst your style might not be to everyone’s liking, it’s your house and how you style things will have no effect on those d*cks lives. How sad and insecure they must be to feel the need to be so vocal about their displeasure.
    Sometimes we do judge a book by it’s cover and even though I don’t know you in ‘real life’ you have always come across as the loveliest of the lovely with a presence that would be good for the soul.I hope the messages here have brought you comfort and the devil in me hopes you have turned all your books around in an act of defiance. Go forth and conquer!xxx

  90. Shocking that people would react in such a foul way. Having had the pleasure of spending a bit of time with you at an event and seeing what a nice person you are – it saddened me greatly to read such awful comments.
    You’ve handled it very well and I’m off now to read some more of your great posts xx

    1. Oh Lucy, I can’t believe that F&B event was two years ago! Hopefully we’ll catch up again in the not too distant future x

  91. Hi Lauren

    It’s interesting isn’t it – I like to believe that contrary to media reports, most people out there are good – but put some of them behind a computer they write things they would never say to someone’s face. It’s similar to road rage, put someone behind a wheel and their personality changes. I’ve often screamed and said terrible things about people driving their cars that I would never dream of doing if we were both pushing supermarket trollies. Cars, computer screens; they dehumanise us.

    I’ve written the odd critical thing (never outright nasty I hasten to add) in the distant past on a newspaper showbiz site about some dodgy celeb’s outfit and thought it harmless. Then recently a non-personal but critical comment about what I was doing in my job popped up on social media from someone who didn’t know me and I was totally floored. It wasn’t even that bad, but I reaslised how even the slightest criticism from a stranger can inflict deep hurt. I will never, ever comment on anyone ever again on the internet.

    Did you see Sarah Silverman’s recent response to her being trolled? It was pretty amazing and exposed the deep pain behind many vile comments out there.

    1. Victoria, I thought just the same about road rage when someone cut me up this morning!
      Sorry you had a critical comment – they’re not nice to have to deal with.
      Off to read the article now x

  92. I wanted to comment last night but I couldn’t, I was too angry on your behalf. I am utterly stunned at this, I’m an avid reader and I saw the picture but it would never have crossed my mind to think about how you displayed your books, I just thought it was fun and creative. It really worries me that people feel justified in making such horrendous comments or judgments on a person because of a few books, seriously?! People need to be accountable for how they behave, both online and offline and this is completely unacceptable. It’s absolutely beggars belief. I’m really at a loss but felt it was important to add my support and hope this positivity will help you deal with this quite frankly appalling situation. Sending lots of love xx

  93. Hasn’t anyone told these people not to judge a book by it’s cover -surely that extends to how it is positioned on shelf?! I read the Ideal Home magazine and I see plenty of things I wouldn’t necessarily do in my house (your house however is flawless!!) and not once would it cross my mind to mention it online. Not to mention see it as national news!

    It’s awful this has happened to you and tainted should have been an entirely amazing experience for you. The internet gives the anonymity for people to say something they firstly would never say to your face and also secondly they would be distraught by if someone said the same about them.

    Awareness needs to be raised of just how vile people are on the internet and that their words are directed at a human being with real feelings, not just a picture!

    This is such a gracious article discussing the topic when these people have been anything but to you. You’ve shown so much class and dignity and I’m glad you’ve been shown so much support on here. You really deserve it.


  94. Just seen this on the Guardian and had to comment here. Am disappointed that they have lowered themselves. And you’ve been treated appallingly. For how you display your books. Wow. People really need more perspective.

    Ignore them all they clearly have got their priorities wrong!

  95. I can’t believe how horrendous some people are. Keyboard warriors. The irony is, I would bet my favourite eyeshadow palette that most of the awful comments have been poorly written and full of spelling errors – maybe they could do with a few more books in their lives, backwards or otherwise. They can start with one on basic manners, because clearly they didn’t learn those in nursery.

    PS – my husband loves the backwards books, he wants me to do it (he hates clutter and I’m a book magpie). It looks beautiful, and most importantly it’s YOUR HOME so everyone with something rude to say can do one.

    1. My friend just called me and said ‘when did feeding to the pigs become a thing?!’
      I have to admit the insults are unbelievable. You couldn’t write it!

  96. Your styling of that bookcase is lovely, and I’ve used the same strategy of turning books around in my house! It’s funny that people are reacting so strongly to this. It’s something that I’ve seen done quite a lot in homes and shops in the states (Joanna Gaines anyone?). If you just need to store some extra books without the visual weight of mismatched spines, then this is a genius way to do it.

    1. Hi Clarissa, I’ve seen Joanna Gaines referenced a lot in relation to this. I first did it in my old cottage and it was a controversial move back then. Thank you for the support x

  97. Sorry to hear you have been subjected to this. I really like how you have used the books as a back drop, it’s really clever. Ignore the negativity, you should be really proud of the home you have created.x

  98. Firstly, congratulations on having your home featured in a magazine – what an achievement! However, I’m so saddened by what has happened and hope you can take comfort from the outpouring of love and support you’ve had from these comments. I don’t normally comment on social media, and have only ever done so once before on RMS. I’m quite a sensitive person and don’t think I could handle such negativity. Such a shame you’ve had to go through this, and to have your ambition fulfilled and then coloured in this way is very sad. Just keep up the fantastic work you do, knowing that so many people love reading your articles and seeing your beautiful home.

    1. It makes me sad that you feel you can’t usually comment. It is such a sad state of affairs but a reflection unfortunately of the online space as a whole. Your comments are always welcome here.

  99. Just wanted to add my voice to the support you’re receiving from many others!

    Wouldn’t life be boring if all of our houses looked identical?! There would be no reason for blogs or magazines on the subject if we all had the same taste!

    Regardless of opinion, I think it’s really sad that people hide behind a screen and forget the impact of their negativity on someone else’s feelings – can you imagine people saying that to your face if you showed them round your home?!

    Thank you for being brave and honest about how you felt, talking about it and learning from the experience is a lesson we can all take something from. Sending love and kindness xxx

    1. Stephie, this reminds me of a friend who showed someone round her house while selling and the prospective owner told her everything she would change. So rude!
      Thanks very much for the love and kindness x

      1. That’s shocking…some people really have no grace or manners!

        By the way, thank you for taking the time to read and reply to every comment – I hope the support from everyone here has brought you some comfort x

  100. This made me really sad to hear about this Lauren. I’m so glad you have a strong network around you to help you cope with this. I know it will be hard to un-see the awful comments but just reading a few of the wonderful comments here on rock my style will hopefully make you feel better!
    *I have reported each & every nasty/threatening comment on that Facebook post & I think it would be brilliant if as many people on here could do the same, as I strongly believe Facebook do not handle these cases appropriately & hopefully if we flood them with reports they will take it more seriously*
    Take care & hold your head up high! x

    1. Thank you Carys for reporting the comments. It would be wonderful to think we can make them sit up and listen, or at least take the post down! x

  101. What a cruel society we have become. You keep your books however which way you like. The haters should broaden their own reading genre to ‘how to be a good person and not as a**hole’. Love and more love.

  102. Lauren look how incredible the RMS community is ⬆️
    I hope some of these genuinely lovely comments will help you to forget the awful ones. There’s so much love and respect for you and you should be v proud! Xx

    1. They are absolute diamonds Lisa. We’re very lucky to have them and it does make me proud.
      Lots of love xxx

  103. SERIOUSLY WTF!!! I’m an avid reader of your posts and totally love your style. I too read this article and thought ‘hmmmm, that’s different’ and read on further, my mind now focused on the next lovely image of your home.The I read this post at work this morning and the more I read on the more utter disbelief I felt. So much so I had a discussion with my sixth form art class who were working in the same room at the time (I wasn’t teaching them at the time btw before I’m hated on for reading style blogs whilst teaching!) about the huge over reaction that has happened. Do people not have more important things in their lives???? How is it deemed so important as to be all over other media (I mean yes the issue of cyber bullying is extremely important- working with teenagers I am acutely aware of this).

    I feel really sorry for you Lauren. Take solice in the fact that for every negative comment made there will be a hundred people who either love that idea or genuinely breathed it in and out in a moment and moved on through the article and with their lives. You should be proud of what you have achieved… I personally would love to have a house beautiful enough for a magazine to wanna photograph and publish x

  104. Lauren
    We had our own business a couple of years ago and one person put a comment on an independent website criticising our products and how we choose to run our business. I felt completely on my own and did not know what to do as the website in question never answered any of my emails. Me and my husband had started our business from nothing and worked so hard to gain a good reputation and be a trusted local business. With one swipe of the pen (or text comment!) we like you, experienced many people were quick to jump on the bandwagon and pass very hurtful, unnecessary and spiteful comments. If like most of us, you have feelings, it does make you stop and think but as you say would they have the courage of their convictions face to face – I very much doubt it.
    I can completely empathise with you and think this is a very interesting point raised how media choose to overlook the actual root of the matter.
    Bravo for this piece and let’s hope they sit up and take stock and the so called ‘comedian’ is swift to apologise.

    1. So sorry you had a such a negative experience too.
      There was a documentary about Tripadvisor several years ago about the amount of people who when questioned by the hotelier if they’d enjoyed their stay, always remarked positively. Then minutes later they’d hit Tripadvisor to slate the experience for the world to see with no option for the hotelier to rectify it. It just doesn’t make sense. People are hiding behind keyboards in all sorts of ways. x

  105. Sorry but I hope you don’t mind me commenting, I read your story in today’s Daily mail newspaper. I was horrified to read about the awful sick comments and abuse you have received just for displaying your books in a certain way. It made me feel afraid. I think I feel this way because it shows how awful and aggressive people are becoming in today’s society. thank goodness that there are still some wonderful kind and generous people left in our world today. I hope that it didn’t upset you too much after the initial shock of viewing those comments. I wish you well and hope you carry on posting those inspirational photos on your blog of which now that I have found your blog, will continue to follow. Alana x

    1. Alana, I am more than happy for you to comment. Thank you for all your support, we’re very glad you’re here x

  106. I’m so sorry you’ve been subjected to this. I’m sure a lots of this unacceptable behaviour stems from jealousy of your beautiful home and your obvious talent. Sending love and good vibes your way x

  107. Crikey! I had no idea you had gone through this. I’m so sorry you have had to. I just find it weird, that people seem to think that because they hide behind the anonymity of a screen, they can be vile. In real life, face to face, these cowards would remain silent. It saddens me that there are people like that. Like you say, everyone has their own thoughts and opinions on things. If I see something that doesn’t float my boat then I just scroll on. I think it all comes down to respect. It seems people seem to have less respect for others these days. Social media ‘feeds’ this lack of respect, and there seems to become a ‘pack’ mentality a lot of the time, and that truly frightens me that this happens. Display your books however you want. I think they look super! I find it funny that some people only see a book as a story on paper. To me (and other creative souls), it’s a coaster, a wonky table prop, a table lamp holder, and a lovely backdrop display for a shelf! So I laugh at those that have no imagination of what million uses a book has! tee hee!

  108. Lauren, I’m so so shocked to read about this, I have followed you on Instagram for about a year now and your house and your decor is one of my absolute faves! (Along with your sis!) I was so excited to come across your house in Ideal Home too.
    I have always thought the way you had your books was a fab idea! Nothing gives anyone the right to pass their ugly comments on social media like they have about you, they should all be ashamed of themselves.
    Sadly social media seems to bring out the worst in some people and I think they forget that the person they are trolling is an actual real life peraon with feelings! How would they feel if this happened to a friend or family member of theirs? I’m pretty sure they’d be horrified.
    So anyway ignore the haters, let their ugly comments fly right over your head,what you do is amazing, don’t ever change. xxx

    1. Thanks for this Lizzy. I very much agree with you that the human element is removed (well I like to think so!)
      Thank you for the support x

  109. I think what made people behave in such a horrid way is that they saw someone they’d quite like to be themselves on the other end of the books and that was just too much. If you’d been a faceless shop, or someone without an online presence etc. people probably wouldn’t have been such twazzocks. I don’t think anyone is really annoyed about the book spines are they? Not really. If anyone was that anguished they’d have tracked down all the many Pintrest, Apartment Therapy etc photos and given those a good going over too. I do think this is one of the things The Web is a bit shitty at actually, I think it gives a false sense of connectivity at some points while providing almost a diminished sense of responsibility at others. They can see your face, they have your name but it’s on a screen and they have a keyboard. Just too confusing for some people, clearly. You’ve been totally gracious about the whole thing but I muttered a few things about natural selection when I read this.
    I have some books somewhere. Definitely not within access to read them. Maybe I’ll send them a photo of that…

    1. Thanks Rebecca. Agree with your comment son the diminished sense of connectivity, especially when something goes viral.
      Good luck with the photo 😉 x

  110. How amazing to have your home fautured in Ideal Home magazine! You should feel really proud. A home is as individual and unique as the people / person who lives in it. I think negativity on the internet a lot of the time isn’t actually personal- whoever is making the comments doesn’t know you it just seems to be something that certain individuals/ groups do. I’m sorry you were the random target on this occasion and the media picked up on it. There are so many lovely messages of support for you and it’s great that the RM family is standing firm on this issue. I thoroughly enjoy reading about and having an insight into your home so thank you for sharing it with us. xx

  111. So sorry to hear about your horrible experience Lauren. As a librarian I have been on the receiving end of people’s snobbery about books many times. I’ve been called all sorts for chucking away books (if it’s stained, ripped, and smells weird it has to go! We can buy a new one!), people have looked down on me for reading or recommending anything other than the latest Man Booker, and I’ve sat in endless meetings where people bemoan the loss of hard copy texts in favour of e-books. However these people always seem to be the ones who have lots of books (displayed proudly in their homes of course) but don’t actually seem to read all that much. People who love reading, the real experience of reading, know that the book is just the vehicle for the story and isn’t that important at all. So yes, books can be pretty (the spines and the pages!) but making them out to be some kind of sacred object is missing the point of reading. So many ‘book lovers’ are also really snobby about people who don’t read, and as a librarian I’ve often been under pressure to ‘convert’ people to reading. But some people just don’t like it that much, or perhaps they’re not so good at it. Like I don’t like/am terrible at sport! Let’s just let people get on with whatever they like to do. So you display your books however you like Lauren, I think they look lovely pages out.

    1. Thank you Charlotte. Your words are very comforting and I love that you suggest a book is just a vehicle for a story. Beautifully put x

  112. I like the spine of a book showing, I like when people I visit have their books showing, because I like to be nosy. I also like to nose at other people’s house’s online and yours is beautiful, whether the spine of your books are on display or not…

    I’m truly baffled as to why thousands of people could feel enraged enough to have an opinion on how someone they don’t know (and are never likely to) chooses to display their own book collection. Let alone those who feel almost ‘confident’ in the outpouring of rage and decide to reveal a dark, disturbing side to their nature – all from the comfort of behind their electronic device. It truly baffles me!

    I’m sorry you’ve been on the receipt of such horrific behaviour for something, frankly, that ridiculous! Social media can be a frightening place, you don’t like something – that’s fine – scroll on, unfollow, roll your eyes up and sigh. When did it become necessary for so many to feel that they have to express their dislike or opinionate on what someone else chooses to post? Leaving comments on a public forum is not obligatory.

    You have a beautiful feed, post a hundred more pictures of your bookcase!

  113. So sorry to hear this lauren. I love reading the blog and always admire your amazing interior design ideas. Its very sad that some people get a kick out of being mean to others. Onwards and upwards xx

  114. Not shallow. Not pretentious. I’d say innovative and experimental (with a huge helping of fun). I kind of like the idea – the literary equivalent of putting your iPod into shuffle mode and being pleasantly surprised when something not heard (or read) for a while rekindles an emotion that faded with time.

  115. As it’s now past midnight and I’ve not quite finished responding to comments through social media, there hasn’t been time for me to finalise Thursday’s post for publication.
    Normal service resumes on Friday though with brand new content. Thank you very much for all your support. x

  116. Beautiful, eloquent, classy & strong! You, your home & your writing. Thank you for sharing all that you do. This is a beautiful response. Always go high when others go low. Thank you.

  117. A little late to the party here, but I just wanted to add my voice of support to all the others here. I feel very sad that your lovely home has been spoken of in such a way, that one of your childhood dreams has been a little spoiled, and most of all, that you’ve been made to feel this way. These keyboard warriors should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves – I bet these are the same people who are all “poor me, my life is over” when they run out of milk, and rant all over social media expecting sympathy. As the others have said, keep your head high and don’t let them win. We all love you on here, and yes, take some time out today. We’ll still be waiting with lovely comments for tomorrow’s content! Xx

  118. Despite being an avid reader this had really blown me by. Its been that sort of week. I’d kind of assumed it was a “decorate your bookshelves” post so I’d just not bothered reading it. Because that’s what you do if you aren’t interested. Not take to facebook like some anarchic troll. Idiots.

    By way of more pressing question (because lets all move on), DOES THIS MEAN WE AREN’T DOING BOOKS BY COLOUR ANYMORE **looks at newly installed shelves with dismay**

    1. This must mean you’re whizzing through the decorating Rebecca if you’re at shelf hanging stage. Good god, don’t tell me colour coding is over either 😉

  119. People can be awful. I’m sorry you’ve been on the receiving end and that it’s tainted some of the joy of being in the magazine. That’s such a huge achievement and you deserve to be proud of your beautiful house, bookshelves and all. I hope this doesn’t overshadow it and that in time you’ll be able to look back with only an eye roll at the reaction it provoked.

    These petty and cruel comments are a grossly disproportionate reaction to a styling choice in a house they don’t have to live in. I wonder how some people have to get through their everyday lives when they get so worked up about things that are really of no consequence.

    Personally I like to see individuality in a house, it’s a way of showing personality and character. How boring it would be if we all did everything the same. I like the idea of your bookshelves and like the styling – thank you for opening my mind to it as an option! X

  120. Lauren I read about your beautiful home in Ideal Home earlier today, before I’d seen your blog on the fall out. I can honestly say that other than thinking how great the book case looked I didn’t even notice the books where backwards. I’m so sorry you had this experience, people can be so cruel when hiding behind there computer screens. But please don’t stop sharing, your house is gorgeous and I love that that I’ve been able to get a peek inside xxx

  121. So sad to hear this Lauren, I loved seeing your home in my latest Ideal Home – was so excited for you! Such a shame people feel they have the right to be so unkind just because they will never see the victim of their bullying face to face. Stay strong, you have a stunning home, and so much support here. Thanks for such a thought-provoking post, cyber bullying is not something that was really on my radar, and you’ve made me realise how big a deal it is x

    1. Thanks Lucy, I’m glad it’s now on your radar. I think people think it’s something reserved for our children and young people and haven’t realised the definition extends to every age. x

  122. I love this website and always have a weekly browse for inspiration and just general love of interiors. I have always been a reader/browser but never commented on this site or any other actually, but this article has really upset me that people can be so awful and channel their time and energy into making you feel sad about something that you should rightly be extremely proud of. Sharing ideas and photos is very personal in the first instance and you should in no way receive a negative response. Its hard enough when you spend a long time planning your perfect home space to have someone sneer because it is not to their taste. That’s what makes interiors so beautiful and personal, that we all have a different idea of what is perfect to us.
    I love your home pictures and the content of this site and really respect your decision not to comment in the media but instead by writing such an honest post.
    I’ll now go back to looking at all the beautiful pictures!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to add your thoughts Katie. It’s always lovely to be able to respond to a first-time commenter. Have a wonderful weekend x

  123. Hi Lauren,
    Fairly new to your blog but just wanted to offer support. You have books in your house so you’re a bibliophile. The spines are turned away from the viewer so you’re a woman of mystery & intrigue. Clearly someone with imagination and taste, then. All good so far (and the pics are fab). Or am I missing something that the cyber-bullying saddos haven’t?

  124. Sorry my english, but when I read this story in a brazilian magazine, I made a question to myself: is it serious? People are becoming angry with the position of books in a bookcase? And what about their books? I think they could read then (if they have it, of course) instead of judge people with good ideas. By the way, what a cool bookcase!

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