One thing my clients seem to get so frustrated with is how to fill their bookshelves. Everyone has them; built-ins, free standing shelves, or wall shelves. They help bring style and personality into your room. They don’t deserve to be stuffed with books that you read 20 years ago that are now collecting dust. Let’s put your life, your personality, your story, onto those shelves.
If you haven’t already spent weeks shopping to collect items, which you should, start by finding items in your home (or garage) that mean something to you in addition to books. Like that photo of Grandpa at his fishing hole, the pottery that your daughter made you in kindergarten; you get the idea, your home is full of them.
Keep in mind, you will typically only use about 2/3 of what you pull out. So keep a storage or a Goodwill box handy. Now start with one shelf at a time, varying the height of objects keeping the eye moving up down and across the entire vignette. Here are a few tips on how:
1. Start with the books, or large objects. Stagger from left to right. For example, on the top shelf, stack books vertically starting from the left capped with horizontally stacked books. On the shelf below, repeat, but start from the right.
2. Insert larger items, like frames and larger decorations next.
3. Layer and group objects in odd numbers. This keeps the eye moving.
4. As you go, use items that you love first, then fill in. But remember to edit, don’t stuff.
5. Use horizontal books as a pedestal for frames or smaller objects. In some areas in the center of the shelf, you may be able to stack similar sized and colored books horizontally for placement of a single object you want as a focal point.
6. Keep open visual space. Don’t fill each shelf completely.
7. Keep it simple. Depending on the length of the shelf, use either single or pair large item like a boxes or a baskets. Also use boxes or baskets on the bottom shelves to ground the unit. This helps add balance.
8. Keep collections and books in common themes and group like colors together within the collections.
9. Don’t freak out! You will re-arrange and edit multiple times during this process until it feels just right. And that’s ok!
I leave you with:
No bookshelf is perfect. Well, mine are, but that’s because I love what I style them WITH. That is what is important, make it yours