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Decor

How to Style a Bookcase

Bookshelves are so much more than bookshelves. They're small homes for stories spanning generations, ideas, and movements–taking us back or forward, in vivid color, leaving little or lots to the imagination. In essence, they're anything and everything we want them to be, often in less than four feet by six feet. Bookshelves are also ideal spots for creating a personalized, perhaps creative aesthetic within the home. In case you don't know where to start, we've taken the liberty of offering a few simple suggestions on how to style your bookcase:

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Create color blocks of books.

Similar to organizing your closet, coordinate your bookshelf to bring together prominent patches of color. Up close, the appeal is barely noticeable. However, once you step back, like an impressionist painting, you'll see the artistic effect come alive.

Form a vertical horizon.

Arranging your book collection in both flat and upright patterns actually serves two purposes: It creates interesting sight lines and breaks up the monotony, while also opening up enough space to squeeze in more of your beloved titles.

Shelve your art.

Don’t forget you can often adjust the height of your bookcase shelves. If you’re able to create a large open space in the center, it’s a unique and beautiful way to showcase a great piece of artwork, even bigger than the standard 8x10. Placing a painting on an easel, for instance, acts as a stunning anchor for the eye.

Shine some light on your literature.

Book lights aren’t just for reading in bed at night. Adding gallery lighting to your bookcase creates more of a sophisticated ambience not only among the shelves, but also within the room housing the bookcase. Adjustable wall sconces can have the same effect or, instead, place a small decorative lamp with a stained glass shade among the stacks of books to create a craftier look with a warm, colorful glow.

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Think outside the book box.

Bookshelves, despite the name, are ideal spots for other meaningful or ornamental items: International travel keepsakes, blown glass sculptures, wooden carvings, bonsai trees, or miniature clocks, to name a few. Including objects with rounded edges breaks up the rectangular monotony and complements the design nicely.

Make a case for encasement.

Too much open space, if not designed just right, can appear awkward and make small objects seem out of place. To break apart some of the space and create book nooks among the shelves themselves, consider adding in some storage with design appeal such as wicker baskets or canvas drawers. This is also a great way to add texture and house small items taking up space around your home.

Wallpaper-back the bookcase.

A simple interior designer trick is to add wallpaper to the inside of your bookshelf. Much like the paint colors on your walls, this makes the entire space seem whimsical, inventive, elegant–whatever fits your personal style.

If you keep these simple styling suggestions in your back pocket, your bookcase re-design should be a project that’s both visually appealing and, above all, fun.

For more advice on how to style a bookcase, check out our blog.

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