When we moved into our house five years ago, we basically dumped all our books and knick-knacks onto the two gorgeous built-in bookshelves in our living room. Recently I’ve become obsessed with the idea of styling them properly. The thing about bookshelves is that they’re basically a blank slate, and sometimes it’s hard to get started because you can go in so many different directions. Here are some ideas that I found useful.
Organize your book collection. We have a ton of books, and the first step was weeding out the ones that were just cluttering up the place. After donating about half our collection, I reorganized the remaining ones into vertical and horizontal stacks. Remember that some books can serve as platforms for other objects that you want to put on the shelf. I also found that mixing up the colors of the book jackets added interest.
Don’t be afraid of fake plants. I love live plants, but they can be difficult to take care of on a bookshelf. If you’re able to find some decent-looking fake plants (mine came from Ikea, Target, and Amazon), they can add a nice splash of color. And the good thing about bookshelves is that you can stick fake plants on the higher ledges so that no one examines them too closely!
Wallpaper your bookshelf. I briefly toyed with this idea, as it adds great color and design to the room, but ultimately decided it would be too much trouble! Maybe you’ll be up to the task, though…
Add meaningful finishing touches. It was hard for me to figure out what objects I wanted to include on the bookshelf to add interest, but Pinterest yielded some great ideas. Things to consider: picture frames (of both photos and artwork), vases, bowls, candles, lanterns, globes, letters, signs, and decorative boxes and bins. It can be easy to get carried away, but the key is to make sure that the objects you choose are conversation starters or have special significance to you. Otherwise it’s just stuff. Make sure you love what you’re putting on your shelf!