Styling a bookcase is a little like getting dressed in the mornings. It always needs the basics, and then a little jewelry. You wouldn’t wear two pairs of jeans, so why would you have too many of one thing on your bookshelf. I hope that today’s post, using that wonderful Goodwill bookcase I beefed up, will help when styling your bookcases! Have I told Y’all I love Goodwill? lol
Some things to keep in mind when styling your bookcase:
- Start with your books. Spread them out, placing them in various ways. Some vertical, some horizontal. A really prized book could be stood facing outward to display it’s front.
- Mix in accessories. Adding accessories gives the eye a place to stop and focus on. Use horizontal stacks to elevate pretty pieces. Arrange your accessories where the eye drifts around the bookcase.
- Add photographs and conversations pieces. Introducing a variety of textures. A lamp with an interesting shade is a smart addition to bookshelves.
- Don’t let tiny stuff get lost. If you MUST add tiny items that might get lost in a vast sea…group them where they seem visually larger.
- Add a pop of color or pattern to the back of the bookcase
- Don’t forget the resting spots. A bookcase filled to the bursting point is overwhelming to look at. It can even cause anxiety. Try leaving some blank spaces or negative spaces to give the eye a place to rest.
When putting a bookcase together, keep in mind that the eye needs to move. Keep it interesting, and keep the eye moving by placing books in a zig zag pattern. They’re more interesting visually if the eye moves back and forth, and up and down. By placing like shapes and patterns at opposing ends and varying heights the eye moves completely across the bookcase.
Let’s look at some examples…shall we?
Here’s mine. We’ll pick it apart.
If you’ll notice, my books vary in height, color, and how their placement. They zig zag across and down the shelves. I broke a rule here. I put paperbacks with hardbacks…and most designers say not to do this. Personally, that doesn’t bother me.
Below, I added an old wooden toolbox. I just love the worn wood. It adds a new texture for interest. Plus, it’s a good way to coral junk! lol
In these shelves from Real Simple Magazine the simple placement of empty frames works because of several things. Added texture, interesting shapes, and varying heights. Another added bonus is the fact that the open backs of the frames, keep this display from feeling too cluttered and overwhelming, leaving lots of negative space.
In the shelves below house beautiful has hung a picture on the front of the bookcase. I love this. It gives an added layer that gives the eye a place to start. It also makes the bookshelves seem larger somehow.
I absolutely adore wallpaper lined bookshelves, like the shelves below from simplified bee.
Another cool way to keep your bookcase calm, and cohesive is by covering your books to match and look like a set. The Centsational Girl did an AMAZING job in the vignette below.
I hope this helps you have gorgeous bookshelves. This is definitely a subject that could be taken further!
Do you have tons of books? Do you like your bookshelves as display, or strictly utilitarian?