Article: Homes to love
Get your books and special belongings in order – and create the perfect #shelfie – with these simple bookshelf styling ideas.
Styling a bookshelf may sound simple, but there’s a fine art to displaying your treasured possessions if you want them work cohesively and tell a story. Any stylish shelf or bookcase display needs a balance of objects in different shapes, textures, sizes and colours – but not so different that you create a scene of chaos (see, we told you there is an art to it).
If you’re looking for some inspiration and expert advice for styling up a shelfie-worthy bookcase, shelving unit or desk display, here are six must-read tips to get you on your way.
1. FILL FROM THE BOTTOM UP
Place your larger tomes at the base and smaller books up top. This will give your bookcase structure without having to arrange your books in order of height, which can feel forced. Placing heavy hardbacks on the sturdy base also stabilises your shelves.
2. DISPLAY BOOKS VERTICALLY AND HORIZONTALLY
Alternate between stacked and standing groups so your bookcase looks inviting and less like the shelves of a local library. Rather than trying to achieve symmetry, think of each shelf as a set of scales. Keep each end balanced and arrange groups with varying heights towards the middle.
3. USE OBJECTS AND ART AS BOOKENDS
All those heavy decorative items you love that are hidden away in a cupboard make great bookends. This includes vases, crystal glassware, figurines, old globes and clocks. Plus, breaking up bulky rows of books with objects will create much-needed empty space. No crammed bookcases here!
4. CREATE CUTE VIGNETTES
Apply the concept of an art wall to your bookcase. Use the shelf borders as a frame and make space for small curated groups of items. Layer them from back to front to create dimension, starting with tall prints and photos, then candles, single stem vessels and mementos for a personal touch.
5. GROUP BY TONE, NOT COLOUR
Arranging your belongings by colour can start to resemble a rainbow. If you have more than one bookcase, decorate some with warm hues and others with cool shades. Balance bright pieces by inserting a neutral sculpture, cascading plant or book spine in between.
6. REPURPOSE A LADDER
If you don’t have much built-in room, second-hand timber ladders make low-cost bookshelves when propped up against a wall and look great with a fresh coat of paint. And if you have a wide window ledge or mantel that’s gathering dust, decorate it with a row of books and pot plants that needs some sun.