10 Things You’ll Find On A House & Home Shelf
Steal a page from the designers and editors whose work we feature in House & Home and learn the elements of the perfect “shelfie.” No longer just a storage area, bookshelves are an artistic statement. Here’s how to make your shelves magazine-approved and Pinterest-worthy.
Framed art adds personality to a shelfscape and gives the eye a place to rest. It’s easy to swap out pieces that are casually leaning on a shelf, but mounting a framed piece directly over the bookshelf is a trendy solution for small homes where wall space is at a premium. This technique works best if the items stored behind the art are display pieces, like vases or candlesticks, which don’t require everyday access.
There is no topping the beauty of nature when it comes to design, so incorporating items such as geodes, shells, or even resin coral replicas lends a softness to the (manmade) hard lines of shelves and books.
In designer Theresa Casey’s own kitchen, she doesn’t just stick to food-related clichés (although the battered baking tins look pretty cool), but mixes in quirky finds such as a wind-up figurine, vintage clock, mirror and artwork.
No need to settle for a boring backdrop; think of a shelf as a mini stage and amp up the drama with the appropriate setting. Wallpapering the inside of shelves has become particularly popular, but design editor Morgan Michener was inspired to create a more luxe, custom look with silk and some ribbon (get the full DIY here).
The sinuous lines of a sculptural pitcher and a small basket add heft to a grouping on an open shelf. Varying the heights of objects creates interest so the vignette looks more dynamic.
The warm, patinated finish of vintage pieces are quaint and authentic — the perfect counterpoint to cold or clinical spaces. In this home office, a collection of French engravings add a romantic sense of history to a contemporary floating shelf.
It’s easy for odds and ends to creep in on bookshelves without regular editing. Designer Colette van den Thillart illustrates how curating can have major impact in the dining room of her former London home. The peacock blue glazed walls and fresco ceiling already provide plenty of gravitas, which she countered with an airy assortment of all-white bound materials.
Designer Theresa Casey took the opposite approach to a monochromatic color scheme and made use of this family’s collection of books by displaying them in a way that almost reads as art. By separating the book jackets into hues, she created a rainbow effect in her client’s dramatic blue library.
Similar items pack more punch when grouped together. In editor-in-chief Beth Hitchcock’s kitchen, a collection of watercolor-hue bottles that represent her favorite flea market scores add color and life.
Break up the monotony and stack books vertically as well as horizontally. In the 2001 Princess Margaret Showhome designed by Lynda Reeves, the bookshelves aren’t jammed top to bottom with volumes. Instead an artful mix of objets is given space to breathe and stacked books serve as pedestals to give an item more importance.