Sometimes home decor can be a big challenge. Like styling a bookshelf: I can look at a shelf and know that I got it “wrong” in terms of decor, but how do you know when you get it “right?” It can be quite a challenge to find that piece like that fits just perfectly in your vignette. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the long road that has been the process of decorating our home!
Recently I wrote a post about how to style a dining room buffet. That article has a few tips for how to style a buffet, and these can be applied to other areas of your home as well. Here are a few more pieces of advice for styling bookshelves:
1. Group similar objects together. This helps to create a cohesive look on the shelf, which is pleasing to the eye. For example, grouping books together creates spaces to display memorable items, such as in the above photo. Grouping bottles together allows you to store several collections of objects together, connecting them within one vignette.
2. Use similar color schemes. This goes hand-in-hand with tip #1. Using objects that are in the same color family allows your shelf to have an overall cohesive look, while allowing individual items to pop on a neutral background. For example, on these shelves I kept all of the books within the same cool blue and neutral beige/gray/white tones for the most part. This allows items like my black alarm clock and nautical rope ball to stand out.
3. Look for functionality in some of your pieces. At the end of the day, you will love your shelving unit even more if it not only looks beautiful but functions well for your lifestyle. Think about the things that you do in this room: what can you store here that would be useful? For example, we have wooden boxes that I hand-painted in which we store photos from our travels. I love having them within arms reach whenever we want to reminisce about our first ever vacation together (Playa del Carmen, Mexico!).
4. Create a theme that is meaningful to you. Throughout this shelving unit I have items that are not only beautiful but thoughtful. A large oversized bowl holds drift wood we have found together and a set of beautiful nautical glass buoy balls that we purchased at a small local shop near my fiancé’s family cottage. A small glass jar holds sand from a vacation we took to Anna Maria Island several years ago. A piece of white coral reminds me of my love for the water and my fiancé’s love for all things saltwater-fish-tank. This nautical/water theme is not only cohesive throughout the shelving unit, but something that is meaningful to both myself and my fiancé. Having such a connection to your decor can make it more beautiful than anything!
Items to Look For
1. Coffee table books. Check under the book jacket so you can see 1) what the condition of the actual cover is, and 2) what color the actual cover of the book is. I prefer to style my books without the dust jacket, but that is just my style preference, it is totally up to you! If you aren’t sure, you can always give it a try. Take all the dust jackets off your books and style your shelf. Keep it that way for a week or so to see how you like it. One tip: I have a bag up in my office closet filled with all my book dust jackets in case I ever change my mind or ever want to sell a coffee table book in my Etsy store. My favorite place to go for great coffee table books is estate sales and antique stores. Etsy also has some great options!
2. Regular sized reading books. This can be a challenge, because for me I like to have books that are both interesting to me and the fiancé in terms of their content, and also that fit into the color scheme I am working with. I always check under the dust jacket of these books also to see their colors, and tend to stay towards the neutral tones because they will go in any room. The exception is if I find a book I absolutely love in terms of the content or author, I will usually buy it and try to fit it in somewhere. After all, design isn’t about perfection, it’s about loving your home and all of the things you have collected within it!
3. “Bookends.” This category is in quotations because it can mean actual bookends, or it can mean other objects that you love that can serve the dual purpose of acting as a bookend. For example, I purchased a set of brass hunting dog bookends because my fiancé and I both love dogs and both had family dogs in the past who were in the hunting family. However, our boxes filled with photos also can serve as bookends. This is a great area in which to get creative!
4. Jars and bottles. I love to find pretty mason jars or bottles at thrift stores and estate sales. This is a great way to showcase your collections of smaller items. For example, on our office bookshelves I have a collection of corked jars that hold office-y items: paperclips, pushpins, etc. Buy bottles or jars with a similar style in order to give your collection a cohesive look!
Now it’s your turn: what are your favorite bookshelf styling tips? Share with me by commenting below!