Tips on Decorating a Bookshelf

by Kellee Hieb

Whether it's a simple two-shelf bookcase or a floor-to-ceiling unit, a bookshelf can provide a very strong accent to home decoration. Unlike a complete room makeover or furniture rearrangement, changing and redecorating a bookshelf can be done quickly, and it can be done using your existing home decor. With a few simple changes, your bookcase can become the focal point of your room. Here are some tips on styling a bookshelf.

Decorating Bookshelves:

  1. Think about what to display. Hobbies and collectibles are a great thing to display on bookshelves. Anything looks better as a collection, so bring out your vintage tea sets or soccer trophies and give them a place of honor in your home. Think about the style of the whole room as you choose which collection to display. Those tea seats would be perfect in a formal living room, while the old soccer trophies would be fun in a casual family room where everyone gathers to watch sports on TV.

  2. Group "like" items together. Arrange objects with similar shapes, textures, or colors together to unify your display. Grouping together family photos or arranging books by color will have a bigger impact visually than having the same items spread out.

  3. Try to create balance, not symmetry. Try laying some books down flat and using them as a book end to hold your other books straight up. Or try arranging things in odd numbers. If you have five vases you want to display, try three on one shelf and two on another. If you have floating shelves you would like to mount to your wall, try staggering them at different heights. Mix up the objects you are putting on your shelves, so not everything is the same height. Put a tall vase next to a short one or use a stack of books as a riser for a small object.

  4. Think about adding sparkle. Glass and silver pieces will make your shelves shine. Shiny candlesticks are a classic way to add sparkle to a shelf, while contemporary sculptures would be a modern take on the look. Think about adding a mirror to the back of a shelf to create depth.

  5. Don't lose storage space. You can keep aesthetic appeal without losing functionality. Try adding large wicker baskets or decorative bins for storage. This is especially helpful in children's rooms, where you want to hide the clutter of small toys while still allowing easy access. You can also use this trick to store smaller paperback books, DVDs, or loose photos.

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