I love to style shelves, who’s with me? Anyone? Maybe not, but that’s ok. With some ideas about things to try, it may be fun. And of course I have some thoughts about styling shelves. First off, let’s talk about bookshelves. The term itself is a misnomer because it’s taken so literally. Bookshelves shouldn’t just hold books (unless it’s a library). Rows of shelves filled only with books tend to be too busy, feel cluttered, and not be terribly interesting to look at. So, let’s check out some rules of thumb to switch things up.
1. Break up the bunches of books with two things: meaningful & interesting objects, and empty space. Yep, don’t underestimate having empty space. It gives the eye a chance to rest and space to breathe. Not filling every bit with ‘stuff’ is very important, and when other good things come into your life you’ll be able to more easily make space for them.
2. See if it makes sense to paint or line the back of your shelves with a bold color or pattern, whether fabric, contact paper or wallpaper. This adds interest and also helps provide a beautiful backdrop for your books & objects. Plus, it helps you keep items on the more minimal side, since you won’t want to cover up all of the wall or back of the bookshelf. You might check out Devine removable wallpaper at Target.
3. Play with your book and object placement. You’re not limited to the standard upright placement – try placing some the standard way, and also in a horizontal stack (which is great to display smaller objects on top), or even place some backwards with the spines facing the wall for a different look. Try layering objects, like placing a larger piece of artwork propped up in back with a plant in front.
4. Try the Rule of Thirds – 1/3 books, 1/3 decorative objects, and 1/3 empty space. Try it! And PS – if you try this and like your pared down shelves, shoot me a photo. I’d love to see!