Let me start this post by saying I am not an expert at styling a bookcase. It has definitely been a trial and error situation for me every time I have completed the project. But, I wanted to share some of the tips I have learned.
It can definitely be overwhelming at first, especially if you haven’t attempted such a project before.
Tip #1: Start with a Clean Slate
If you currently have a bookcase that you are interested in styling or restyling, I suggest taking everything off of the shelves. This will allow you to start fresh and with a clear mind. You do not want to have to sort through the chaos that might currently be taking place on your bookcase.
Tip #2: Adjust and Readjust
I can’t tell you how many times I have placed something on one of the shelves, stared at it, walked away, came back and rearranged it again. It is like a puzzle to me. When the pieces start fitting together, it feels right.
Tip #3: Don’t Rush the Process
I have been adjusting and readjusting the two bookcases (his and hers) that I have in my office for almost a week now. So, this type of project takes time. Don’t feel like you have to get it right the first time around. If you do, that is great. But, don’t get upset if something just doesn’t feel right after a week of working on it.
Tip #4: Make Sure it is Balanced
After you finish styling your bookcase, you want it to look balanced. You don’t want all of the tall items on one side and all of the short ones on the other. Visually, it may not look so great, unless that is the look you are going for.
I try to make sure each shelf is balanced and the bookcase as a whole is balanced.
Here is an example:
This is a photo of the bottom half of the bookcases that sat in my office at my old home. Since they sat side-by-side, I treated them like a single bookcase. You will see that on the top shelf, I placed the two desktop files on the outside. So, that shelf looks balanced. I took the same approach for the other two shelves. And, you will notice that if I placed a tall item on the left of one shelf, then the tall item on the next shelf went on the right. This balances out the bookcase and doesn’t make it look like it is heavy on one side.
Tip #5: Make it Personal
The bookcases that you are styling are in your home, so add personal touches to them. You want to love them, so making them personal will achieve that goal.
I am trying to get the mindset that if I don’t love something, why do I have it?
Tip #6: Make it Useful
Honesty time! This is something that I have just learned. When styling the bookcases in my office, I tried to put pretty things on them that we would never use. Then, I stopped and thought about it. Why would I place items on a bookcase that aren’t being used? To fill space? A few pretty items are ok, but not an entire bookcase without any functional elements.
The bookcases are in the office, so they should mainly be used for work, not just to look pretty. So, I took everything off of them and started over again.
The second time around, I was looking for appeal and function.
Tip #7: Don’t be Afraid to Stack Items
Believe me, stacking items never really crossed my mind until I saw bookcases in magazines and online. I guess you just have to make sure you choose the right items to stack. It is a good way to add height to something too.
You can stack a variety of items: books, boxes, magazines, etc. But, I do have a tiny pet peeve when it comes to stacking books and magazines. I like the spines to be the same color or in the same color family. It doesn’t sit well with me when I have a stack of books with white spines and one with purple, for instance. That is my personal opinion, though. So, don’t let that affect your styling strategy and appeal.
I like the way the books and magazines are stacked in the photo below:
Tip #8: Add Texture
When I think of adding texture, I think of adding items made of different fabrics, materials, or prints. My favorite way to add texture anywhere in my home involves woven baskets. I just love them and can’t get enough of them. Every chance I get, I add one or two somewhere in my home.
But, woven baskets aren’t the only way to add texture.
Jennifer from Dimples and Tangles did an amazing job adding texture to her bookcase in her home.
The feathers on the lamp, deep bronze colors, the plant, and accents of gold make these shelves rich and inviting.
Tip #9: Make sure you LOVE it
Just like the quote above says. Don’t have anything in your home that you don’t find useful or beautiful. If you style your bookcase and you don’t love it, then start over. Even if that requires starting with a clean slate again. When it is right, you will know it!
*Stay tuned for my next bookcase post. I plan to share my office bookcases in the near future!