Use Bookshelves to Organize & Beautify
April 21, 2018
Bookshelves often become dumping grounds for the college textbooks we never returned, the trinkets or souvenirs we can’t throw away and every vintage book we HAD to have while browsing at second-hand bookshops.
The best way to begin any home project is to start with an overall vision of what you want to achieve. For bookshelves, this means giving yourself a good model of organization to follow, so that you have an outline to keep in mind as you add and remove contents.
Creative minds may enjoy approaching a bookcase as the shell for an art installation – every object has its place and meaning. The overall look is a conglomeration of color, shape and style that reflects your interior. The living room and the office are most often the best places for bookcases.
Bookcase contents are conversation starters; they are reference points for your stories on travel, study and taste. Once you’ve decided on your shelving, it’s time to establish some order to your current chaos. Find a clean space in your home and start laying out your books, noteworthy tchotchkes, artwork… essentially, everything you would like to use to style your bookcase. Be picky about your objects. Try to choose pieces that tell a story, evoke a strong memory or make great solo statements through color or shape. This will help reduce clutter and add more meaning to your overall design.
Books are the easiest things to organize first. Are you a lover of reference? Organize your books by subject or area of interest – fiction, nonfiction, design, art movements, etc. Are you an aesthetic enthusiast? Organize your books by color.
Re-stack your books on the shelves, largest to smallest book. We like to alternate the look by going right to left on one shelf, then left to right on the next shelf. Some shelves could be completely full, but be sure to leave ¼ to ½ of the shelf space clear for adding in objects. Also, occasionally place a stack of three or four books horizontally at the end of the row. These types of stacks can serve as mini platforms for placing objects.
Objects are next. Choose sculptural items with enough weight to remain stable on a shelf even as books are being used and replaced. These can be bowls, vases, decorative boxes, clocks - really anything you treasure and find worthy of displaying.
For a contemporary look, add key decorative objects in unexpected materials, such as pottery and textured glass. For a bit of a splurge, this Talavera teapot is an excellent conversation piece in any library or office.
A well-styled bookcase is a great way to display vignettes of your life and interests. If you establish a sense of order early on, it will be easier to maintain as you choose to add or subtract items. Happy decorating!