Yes, bookcases are utilitarian by providing much-needed storage, but they also add a major style statement to any room. They’re the perfect solution to a blank wall, lending a sense of height and space. And with your own artful arrangement, you get to add your stamp of personality. Check out our images and tips below to achieve a well-styled bookcase at home.
If you’re a voracious reader or fanatical collector of coffee table books, chances are you have stacks and stacks of books. This is perfect, because you should start with books — the basic building block — when styling a bookcase. The most important thing is to create visual interest by mixing up the composition of the books on every shelf. Arrange them both vertically in rows and horizontally in stacks. And if there is a particular cover you especially love, display it outward as you would a special print, as we did here.
Don’t have a lot of books? Display a magazine collection or scour used book stores and flea markets for interesting looking hardcover books.
Once you’ve got your books how you want them, fill in the gaps with trinkets and decorative accessories. Top a stack of books with a small cherished object, layer in a favorite framed photo and use a tall sculptural object to fill in any major spaces. Anything is fair game: trays, natural objects, dishes, framed art, vases, clocks and more. For a more edited look, don’t put too many small objects together on any given shelf and group like objects together.
Books can create a lot of visual busyness. If you don’t like a lot of color, go neutral, like the office space above. There are several ways you can go about achieving this decidedly more quiet look: limit books to only those with neutral-color spines; display books with their spines turned in so you only see the whites of the pages; or wrap book covers in brown kraft paper. Of course, you could use a combination of any of these tactics, but the latter two only work if you don’t actually need to locate a book anytime soon.
Next, choose decorative accessories that fall in line with your neutral color scheme. We especially love to use natural woven baskets and bins for creative storage that also cuts down on visual clutter.
You also can use your bookshelf to reinforce your room’s color scheme and highlight a beautiful collection like we did here with our Blue and White Porcelain Vases. Just imagine one vase on the shelf. It wouldn’t make much of a statement, would it? But remember, if you’re grouping several objects together on a single shelf, use odd numbers for the best impact.
If you have a small space, then transform your shelves into multi-taskers. We created a mini-bar on a tray and paired it with a lamp for mood lighting. Attractive and practical additions, both will come in handy when you’re entertaining guests.
Nothing says you have to use a bookcase for storing books. Here, we used the grid design of the shelves and glass doors to frame nine individual vignettes. The trick is in using various objects, colors and textures to make a statement. We love this look in a library or dining room.