Bookshelves are a great way to add storage, display your favorite things, warm up a nook, or cozy up a large space. Large or small, this piece of furniture can be used in any room of your house. No matter what type of shelving you have in your house, they need to have some style and personality. Being such a universal piece can easily attract clutter. They can also seem too stiff, formal or overdone if not styled right. Here are three easy steps to give your bookshelves some serious style!
To get started, I like to start with stacks of books. There are two basic ways to display a group of books: vertical or horizontal. I like to mix it up and have a shelf with vertical books pushed to one side, another shelf with vertical books pushed to the other side, a few shelves with horizontal books stacked in the middle of a shelf, and if you have enough shelf space, you can mix the two and have a shelf or two with vertical books stacked next to a group of horizontal books. This picture is a great example how to stack books, and I love how they used similarly colored books (warm and cool) to make it even more eye catching.
Photo by Honey We’re Home
The next step is to incorporate larger display items like frames and boxes. By scattering frames throughout the shelves rather than clumping them all together, you will be able to focus in on each picture more easily. It highlights the picture as well as makes the shelf look great. I love to play with scale here. On one shelf, you a larger frame paired with a smaller frame, and on another shelf, try putting just a single mid-sized frame. For boxes, my favorite way to display boxes is to put smaller ones on top of a stack of books. It’s a great way to get height on the shelf without needing one large item or a giant stack of books.
Photo by Ideas for Decoration
Finally, you are left with smaller items that could be little keepsakes from family vacations, a small clock, a bud vase, or a little statue. I always save these for the end because they can be used anywhere that needs a little more love. Some shelves may feel a little empty or not have enough personality. These trinkets will fill those voids and by adding them in last, you will have a sense as to how many to display and when to stop. This will prevent you from creating a cluttered look. Less is more here. Try not to put a small item on every shelf, and don’t use more than 2 or 3 on any one shelf.
Image by Centsational Girl
One thing to keep in mind through all of this is that balance is key. Make sure that each shelf has a visual weight equally dispersed. A big stack of books needs to be balance with 1 large frame, and possibly a smaller display piece. A collection a frames should be balanced with a small stack of books topped with a box. Also, lower shelves should visually feel heavier than higher shelves. Stacks of larger books will feel well placed lower, while delicate frames and thinner books want to be displayed up high. As long as each shelf is balanced, your overall look will feel cohesive and organized.
And finally, personalize these shelves. Think about how you and your family will be using them and make them work for you. If it is by the front door, you will probably want to create a little spot for mail and keys. If they are in the living room, you may want to include DVD’s or a place for remotes. The items that you use should reflect you and how you live. And don’t forget to add in bright pops your favorite colors!
Everyone has books and frames laying around the house, but the smaller display pieces are sometimes harder to come by. Click here to see some of my favorite little trinkets to help dress up your bookshelves and sign up for my newsletter for access to great discounts on all of these items!