Styling bookshelves may seem like a mysterious art, but we’re here to teach you the basics for a well-curated display that gathers your favorite books and items without looking cluttered.
1. Stacked and standing
When displaying books, you’ll want to mix up the placement. Some should be stacked in a neat pile, while others can be standing. This is a great way to utilize fun bookends and give height to favorite small trinkets.
On a side note, if you plan on pulling books out and reading them, standing is the easiest and most accessible. You probably won’t want to move an entire pile to find the book you’re trying to read.
2. Balance, balance, balance
Balance might seem like a vague concept, but the best way to think about this is to actually consider balancing a scale. If you have a large object on one side of the bookshelf, you should have a similar-sized stack of books on the opposite side. Also consider how you want the eye to travel down the shelf: a planter on the top left might should have a corresponding object (similar sizes but not necessarily an actual match) on the bottom right.
3. Watch the color
One major challenge with bookshelves can be the many colors of books and covers. First of all, remove the book jacket, and your problem might be solved. If not, try grouping the books by color and consider them a single object for balance purposes.
If this still isn’t working for you, you might want to visit a thrift shop and pick up some books with the right color. Or turn the books around so the spines are hidden. Another option could be only displaying certain books at a time to keep a certain color scheme.
4. Mix textures
Mixing old and new books will always give a fun texture, but don’t forget about metallic, wood, and glass! Add in some greenery for a touch of life (probably will need to go with fake plants here, since shelves don’t get the best sunlight).
5. Add a personal touch
This shelf is the perfect place to display trinkets from trips, favorite photos, and even artwork and prints. Start by walking around your home picking up meaningful items and then give them the attention they deserve!
Leaning frames are a fun trend that make this so easy: just switch them out when you have a new favorite or the season changes. Case in point, check out the Eat Well, Travel Often art that we found on Kate La Vie.
6. Don’t fill the whole shelf
It’s ok if you don’t have enough books to fill the shelf – actually, you shouldn’t put all your books on the shelf. Since shelves can look cluttered quickly, you’ll want to leave some space.
7. Take a step back
While you’re pulling the shelf together, step back and trust your eye to show you things that don’t feel right. Maybe you need to add a stack of books in one corner or find a hint of gold to keep interest. While shelf styling can seem a little challenging, you can always change and experiment throughout the year.