If you have ever struggled with styling a bookcase, then struggle no more. Today is your lucky day! With these simple tips, you will learn step by step how to tackle it one shelf at a time. So roll your sleeves up and let’s get to it
The location of the bookcase within the room is important to determine whether you need to keep the arrangement symmetrical or not. In a room where the bookcase is on either side of a central fireplace, or where the bookcase spans an entire wall, it is better to make the arrangement symmetrical. Symmetrical doesn't have to mean that all items on either side are exactly the same. It simply means that the items need to be similar in scale, proportion and likeness. An overall balance on both sides is the goal
Keep a loose theme in mind. Avoid going too themey (like too coastal or too farm house). You can definitely hint at a theme, but not every item has to represent that look. A successfully styled bookcase will have more of a collected feel, showcasing meaningful pieces you have collected over time. Mixing things that are special to you, with more trendy pieces, create a unique look and lots of interest
Bookcases are a great way to showcase a grouping of items you like to collect. It is a great idea to start with things you already own and build from there. Arrange a grouping of jars or pottery together on one shelf to give them bigger impact, even if you have pieces you no longer love or think that they no longer look great. Sometimes combining them with books as an arrangement one one shelf will change the presentation of that piece. Now it acts as a bookend, or an anchor for a stack of books.
Books are essential for breaking up the look of objects in the bookcase. Without them, your bookcase might look like a shelving unit in a gift shop or retail store. Books add warmth and character. Even if you are not an avid reader, you can collect books for reference on subjects that you find interesting, or relate to your line of work. Books serve to bring in color - whether you prefer bold color, a more minimal and neutral look or monochromatic. The trend lately is to cover books in white paper, black paper or butcher paper, or turning the spines toward the back of the bookcase, but be careful with this, as it can look a bit contrived and inauthentic. Most book collectors and avid readers use their books and covering the spines makes them hard to find.
Balance scale and vary textures in a bookcase arrangement. Consider the visual weight of each item to create a balanced look and feel. Balance is achieved by incorporating pieces that are different colors, sizes, shapes, and textures. For example, a large glass jar or a white porcelain jar would have less visual weight than a larger black jar or a large sculpture. Placing these items together on one shelf may create balance. Overlapping items and giving them relationship to each other also creates balance. The same is true for balancing items with visual texture to those that are smooth or shiny
Blue and white ginger jars are always a great addition to a bookcase. They work great with transitional and traditional spaces. They are one of those items that give an authentic collected feel. If blue and white pottery is not your thing but you still want to incorporate pottery, look for solid ceramic versions. They are typically large enough to take up a full shelve in your bookcase arrangement, thereby minimizing the number of items you need.
Varying heights of objects on one shelf makes them look a bit more pleasing to the eye. Objects placed in odd numbers work well in an arrangement. Do not fill each shell up to capacity - unless that is intentional and well executed. The rule of thumb is to use up to two thirds to three quarters of each shelf, unless it is a grouping of books. Vary the width of the overall arrangement from shelf to shelf. For example if the top shelf has a jar that takes up only about a third, make sure the shelf just below has an arrangement that spans wider. Repeat that for most of the bookcase. Step back and make sure it flows from shelf to shelf. For example, you can have a set of books standing vertically with bookend on either side pushed as far back a possible. You can then add another row of objects in front of that arrangement of books for more dimension. This is one example of layering, which is great when styling bookcases.
Framed family photos can be a great addition to a bookcase arrangement. Do not over use them, neither should you have them lined up from shelf to shelf. Leaning them against the back of the shelf and then layering objects around them allows them to flow seamlessly into the arrangement. Choose a mix of frame styles and finishes to play up the texture and color. Layer a taller one with a smooth gold frame behind a shorter frame or a circular frame in a texture or pattern.
Embrace the television. TV's these days have come a long way from the days when designers would cringe at the thought of using one open for the world to see. If the TV is the focus of the room's function, then make sure it blends in with your bookcase arrangement. These days you can even get a TV that can be artwork when not in use.
Add a few plants or some other natural element to a few of the shelves. The best plant to use are succulents or short grasses as they don't require frequent watering. Or high quality faux plants work as well. Greenery is a great way to bring life and energy into a space.
Whatever you do, don't get overwhelmed. Start with one shelf at a time and get it right, and then move on to the next - even if it means sleeping on it overnight. Have fun with styling your bookcase. This is a great way to bring out your own personality in your home, and please don't just run out to Home Goods and get a bunch of random stuff. Try to find things that have some meaning to you as much as possible.
Schedule a virtual session to discuss your bookcase styling challenge. Link to our convenient scheduling app can be found HERE
Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!