Styling Your Bookcase

Being the type of person that rarely reads a novel twice, yet never throws a book away, I sometimes find it difficult to keep an orderly, stylish bookcase. Magazines always show beautiful libraries filled with perfectly curated knickknacks — but the reality is that most of us have cluttered shelves, overstuffed with mismatched books.

Seeing as bookshelves are open and visible — as opposed to those messy kitchen cupboards you’d never let your in-laws see — it’s important to treat them as an artful display, rather than storage. Here are four inspiring vignettes that are easy to mimic.

This ultra-casual look is probably the easiest to achieve. Colour coordinate your spines for a neat rainbow effect and add some colourful vases and flowers to mix it up. Keep your CDs to the bottom shelf, as they are less noticeable there. And don’t forget to take a peek under your books’ dustcovers, as you might find some beautiful and vibrant spines that are worth displaying.

This type of open bookshelf is often used to create faux-walls between spaces. You’ll need a good eye and some creativity to keep these shelves looking attractive on both sides. Here, the bookshelf is placed against a wall, so picture frames are a great option to fill space and add personality. Notice how the books are stacked vertically and horizontally, with plenty of space to breathe. Most of the decorative elements are white or wood, keeping the overall look consistent.

For a fully styled look like this one, I suggest a book purge and a coat of paint or wallpaper to draw attention to the displays. Here, the shelves layer art, frames and curios, all in the same neutral tones — while the books bring in all sorts of colours. Playing with height is what keeps the displays from looking flat.

No bookcase? No problem. Books and magazines can be stacked tight under and on top of tables. I love the lazy-artsy feel of this vignette. To achieve this look, pile books high and top it off with a lamp, sculpture or other decorative piece for an artful aesthetic rather than an accidental look.

How do you keep your bookshelves looking stylish?

For more inspiration, check out our Amazing Libraries gallery.

Also, watch Michael Penney and Joel Bray as they share their favourite stylist tricks for Floral Arrangements and Instant Art.

Photo credits:
1. Design*Sponge
2. sfgirlbybay
3. Flickr, by erigutt, as seen on Pinterest
4. Sköna Hem

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