how to style a bookcase

in , , by Julie Nichols, April 26, 2019
Are you having trouble styling a bookcase like you see in all those beautiful home decor magazines?  Styling a bookcase is an art, but a job easily tackled if you know how it's done right. With focus and time, it's possible to style a bookcase like a pro.

Wheater your style leans towards minimalism, rustic, or traditional here are a few simple steps to help your shelves appear interesting and uncluttered just like you see in your favorite magazine.

Items On Bookcase:

The Perfect Line Books / Natural Vase / Natural Vase / Plant On Mantel / Ocean Print Above Mantel


1.  Style from scratch - Clear everything off your shelves.  I know this takes extra time but you will get a much better result with the start of a blank canvas.

2.  Gather your items - This means frames, books, baskets, and items that have special meaning to you such as things that you have collected over time.  Be sure to add a few pieces that are on-trend!  This will help to give the bookcase a more up-to-date feel. Use baskets or decorative boxes on the bottom shelves where you can place everyday items that will allow for easy access, and keep things organized and uncluttered.

3. Start with the largest pieces first - I usually start from the center and move from side to side.  Large pieces can consist of vases and books. Line reading books up vertically or stack oversized books with pretty spines in groups of three. Tip... if you don't like the look of the spines turn the books around.  When I stack books I like to add an item on top.  This creates some interest and a bit more dimension.

4. Layer artwork and personal pictures - Mix a few personal framed photos. Refrain from adding too many since they can look more like clutter than items like woven baskets, plants, and vases. Incorporate paintings and prints in frames and lean them against the back of the bookcase and layer items in front of them slightly to the side.

5.  Create groupings - Think about height and put two to three different items together.  Group similar items as much as possible to showcase them as a collection. Add visual texture with accessories and vary the textures from shiny to matte, rough to spiky.  I like to do this with glass, plants, and driftwood.

6.  Create balance - You don't want anything too similar above or below each shelf.  Spread out similar items, and shift them around to create a little bit of white space.  For example, if you have a stack of books with a seashell on top, the next time that occurs on the bookcase shouldn't be above or below it in the same vertical line.  You can use one shelf for a feature item that you want to draw attention to. You will also want to note the color of the objects that you are displaying. If you decorate with color make sure to evenly spread the color throughout the bookcase for balance.

7.  Step back and look- You want to see everything, it's ok if you're not there yet.  You might have to do a little fine-tuning with things like color, balance, and scale. Shift things around and reevaluate you will get there. Keep your eyes on the overall composition and play around with things. If you have too many small items that look cluttered, try switching them out for a few larger pieces. If you step back and there's one item that sticks out like a sore thumb, remove it.

If you work hard, take your time and stay on task you will achieve a bookcase that looks interesting, uncluttered, and oh so effortlessly stylish like you just put it together in a matter of minutes.

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