Probably one of the most notable features in our home are the bookshelves along the back wall of the living room. It was the first big project we tackled after moving in – and it’s one of my favorite things about the house now too.
Whether you have a whole wall of shelves like me, or just a small bookshelf tucked into a corner, the right styling can make all the difference. While I’ve seen shelves so full with books they’re practically spilling out, and loved the look, I prefer to use my shelves to house not just my favorite titles, but pictures, and boxes, and other random treasures too. It’s a great way to display some of your favorite things and make them feel relevant in the space.
I always hesitate to do “How to Decorate” type posts, because 1) I’m no expert, and 2) I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to decorate – it’s all about what feels right and true to you. That said, sometimes it’s helpful to hear what works for someone else – and then you can take and put your own personal spin on it. So today I thought I’d talk a little bit about how I like to style shelves. Here goes…
A few months ago, I decided to turn all the books around so that the pages would face out – and I’m still loving the look. Visually, it’s less distracting than all of the colorful book spines, and provides a lovely dose of texture to the whole wall. If this look doesn’t appeal to you, consider organizing your books by color, or for those with lots of patience – cover each one in brown craft paper. Or just leave them in all their beautiful, colorful glory – I love that look too.
Stand some books up, allow a few to lean, and lay others flat – varying how they sit on the shelves adds interest. And don’t be afraid to leave empty space here and there – it gives the eye a chance to rest.
We were fortunate to be able to design our shelves to our liking, so we left space to hang artwork in the center. If your shelves allow, consider adjusting them to hang favorite family photos or artwork. Or simply scatter pictures among the shelves – not every shelf requires books.
Use baskets, boxes and crates to hold books, supply storage, and provide visual texture. I love how the warm wood tones of old crates and woven baskets play together with the exposed book pages on our shelves.
Add character with favorite family mementos, vases, or other little treasures. So often, I come home from the flea market with something random and it inevitably finds a home on the shelves. It’s also the first place I “shop” when I’m looking to rearrange things around the house.
Don’t over think it! The great thing about bookshelves is that they’re completely customizable to you and your style, and you can change them up as little or often as you like. I prefer mine to have a more casual, carefree look and feel. It makes the room feel more comfortable and gives me the freedom to add and take from the shelves as I please without upsetting the symmetry or balance too much.
Do you have bookshelves in your home? How do you like them to look? I think I fall somewhere in the middle of “balanced and organized” and “casual and carefree”. What about you?