If there’s one thing about decorating that most homes have in common, it’s a bookshelf. I’m going out on a limb and saying most homes, let’s say 98% of homes, have a bookshelf or two somewhere. We just added a literal wall of bookshelves to our home (read about the build process here), and you know what part of the project took the longest? Yep, it was styling the bookshelves around our fireplace.
You would think the 70 plus hours of labor took the longest. Nope. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that we spent MORE time tinkering and styling the bookshelves for a cohesive look.
What took so long? Well, for starters I’m a total tinkerer. I also believe in living with something for a while before making a “final” decision. This especially applies to home decor. But I also follow this rule about most life decisions, too. I like to keep an open mind. Except about cupcakes. And ice cream. No pondering involved. Eat it!
Maybe you’re a design expert, and maybe you aren’t. Maybe you are someone who loves books, or things, or books and things! Or you love the lack of things! No matter where you fall on the design spectrum, there are a few simple ways you can style bookshelves for a cohesive look.
Tip 1: Pick your books
Start with your book collection. Whether you have a full library of books or just a few, gather them up and sort them by height and color. Then, sprinkle them throughout the shelving evenly. You can group like colored books together or spread color throughout your shelves.
Tip 2: Pick your collections
Do you have three or more of similar objects? Well then, you have a collection! Play with different heights and textures. Use similar toned items for pulled together look. You can even repeat the exact same object throughout your shelving to bring a cohesive feel to your bookshelves. We have five or six collections on our bookshelves, like our terrariums, glassware, picture frames, and stacking houses.
Tip 3: Group colors symmetrically
For a feature wall of bookshelves like ours, be sure to group objects symmetrically within the same unit AND across the entire unit. Have a frame on the left side? Add one to the right! Stagger objects and repeat patterns when you can. For example, if you put a stack of books and a frame on one shelf reverse the order on a nearby shelf.
Tip 4: White space adds dimension
Sometimes, less is more. The lack of things, when done right, can make any space feel bigger. Leave white space on your shelving for added dimension.
Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to layer
Layering objects gives a cozy, natural look. One easy layering trick is to put frames in the back of a bookshelf, then add an object in front of it. Make sure the object is sized appropriately, so the frame is not completely blocked.
Now get on to styling! And tell me in the comments: what is the one thing you MUST have on your shelves? I’m dying to know!
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