Bookshelves add so much to a room and are a really great way to display and show off your personality. I remember in one home I decorated, the client was really, really concerned about her shelves. They were one of the first thing that guests saw when they entered the house and she mentioned that she felt insecure about the shelves — like guests often spent a long time studying them, looking at what books she read, checking out interesting objects and looking at her family photos. This made her feel nervous. She didn’t feel like her shelves told her true story — they didn’t accurately represent her style and personality. I get that. So when Target asked me to share some bookshelf styling tips I was all about it. When faced with a totally blank shelf, it can be super intimidating, and tough to know where to start. I thought about this client and how I helped her arrange her shelves in a way that was fun, not fussy and collected, not cluttered. Here’s what I did:
I start with the lower shelves. I fill them to the brim with items that need to be stored, but that are also visually pleasing. I always have way too many pillows and blankets, so I fold blankets neatly on the lowers shelves with the pillows. Done and done.
Next I add books. I organize books by size and color, starting with the biggest books on bottom. I place some piles of books horizontally and others vertically using bookends to keep them in place.
Use the horizontal stacks of books as a platform for your favorite objet d’art or framed photos. How sweet is this little gold whale box?! Create visual balance by using objects with contrasting shapes and sizes. If you have a stack of square objects, for example, try placing an object that’s round or amorphous on top. This will help to make your shelves look collected, not cluttered and add visual interest to the shelves.
Remember the power of threes. Placing objects in groups of three tends to be visually pleasing.
I use bowls or baskets to hold smaller, uglier items. I’m using the above basket to hold catalogs and papers that I will sort through eventually.
Use repetition, like identical vases standing in a row, to give the eye a break.
Add art. Use paintings and outward facing books to fill in negative space.
Botanicals and Bling!
Breath life and a little bit of glam into your home by pairing botanical elements — like plants or flowers, with bling – anything that sparkles — like this insanely cute ceramic gold turtle that I’ve so cleverly transformed into a planter. Hehe. Placing botanicals together with bling immediately elevates the shelves into something fun and fresh with a touch of glam.
So, are you ready to have guests stare at your shelves now? You should be. They’re probably just taking notes.
Photography Danae Horst
Creative Direction and Styling by Justina Blakeney
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