Bookshelf Styling Secrets From the Experts

Bookshelves not only provide library space and additional storage, they’re also an ideal place to display your favorite decorative treasures and heirlooms. A perfectly styled bookshelf is a thing of beauty. Nothing gives a room more character than a bookcase, wall shelves or a built-in unit artfully accessorized with books and collectibles.

In addition, bookshelves give others a peek into your psyche and are a reflection of your personality and interests, so you don’t want things looking cluttered and chaotic. Here are a few expert tips to create magazine-worthy bookshelf arrangements you’ll be proud to share with the world.

Styling a bookshelf is not unlike putting together a stylish outfit. You want to carefully “dress” the shelf in layers instead of throwing on everything at one time.

Dramatic Background
If you’re so inclined, create a dramatic setting by covering the back wall of your bookshelves with a coat of paint, wallpaper or fabric. If you are a serial decorator who likes to constantly change things up, consider using temporary wallpaper or apply fabric dipped in liquid starch for easy removal. Buy a sample size of your new favorite paint color and coat the surface of a sheet of foam core, cut it to size and install it with double-sided tape.

If you're a voracious a reader, you could completely fill your shelves with books -- but resist the urge. Choose your favorites, remove the dust jackets and spread them out over several shelves stacking the books both horizontally and vertically to create visual interest. Don’t forget to leave room for other objects.

If you are OCD or just appreciate a sense of order, you can arrange your books by color or make dust jackets of a single color with wrapping paper or even butcher paper. If you are more of a maverick, lump all the colors together and start arranging!

As you move into decorative objects, remember this tip from interior designers. Groups of objects look best when placed in groups of three or odd numbers. It’s a bona fide design principle! Stick with three or five items – any more will make your bookshelves look more like store shelves. If you have a few small cubes, it’s quite fine to display a single object rather than trying to create a grouping in a tight space.

In any arrangement, you need to allow the eye to move smoothly and freely about the shelves by maintaining a sense of space around decorative objects. This will also keep your collections from looking messy.

Mixed Objects
Use a mix of objects to add visual interest, texture and contrast. Mixing colors and textures make your styling appear effortless. Decorative objects like vases, bowls or boxes create flow. Next mix in objects with personal meaning such items from exotic travels or family keepsakes. Plants and natural shapes like seashells, geodes or rattan orbs give your curated collections an organic feel.

Artwork is one thing most people forget when it comes to styling bookshelves. Insert small framed images and photos among the shelves or you can hang large pieces of art from the edges of the shelves giving your room the look of a cozy den. If you have a lot of shelves, art takes up a great deal of space, which makes your job of accessorizing a lot easier.

Homeagination | House Beautiful | Chic + Glamorous |  
The Decor Fix |  Little Green Notebook | Emily A. Clark 
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