Decorating & Entertaining Ideas

Restyle Your Bookshelves

Restyle Your Bookshelves
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Easy tricks for creating balanced and beautiful shelving.

Shelves don’t always have to be crammed full of stuff—letting items “breathe” can help make your room feel airy and spacious.

Shelves don’t always have to be crammed full of stuff—letting items “breathe” can help make your room feel airy and spacious.

1. It’s best to start with a clean slate, so first things first, pull everything off your shelves and give the shelves and your items a thorough dusting. When wiping down the shelves, work from top to bottom to prevent falling dust from landing on already-cleaned surfaces.

2. Sort through the goods, keeping only the books you’ll definitely reread and the objects that truly inspire you or hold a special significance. (A tried-and-true trick is to “hide” a piece in a drawer for a couple of weeks and gauge how much you miss it.)

Framed art and photographs leaned against the wall make for a casually stylish shelfscape.

Framed art and photographs leaned against the wall make for a casually stylish shelfscape.

3. When you start repopulating your shelves, place your favorite objects first, spacing them out so each shelf gets a bit of love.

A few unexpected pieces, tucked away here and there, will make guests feel like they’ve stumbled onto a secret if they start scoping out your shelves.

A few unexpected pieces, tucked away here and there, will make guests feel like they’ve stumbled onto a secret if they start scoping out your shelves.

4. Add in books stacked horizontally and leaned vertically, arranging them by topic or by color. For the horizontal stacks, place the largest books at the bottom of the pile. But when it comes to the vertical groupings, keep the heights per bunch fairly similar (within an inch or two of each other) and alternate them, creating a slight peak and valley effect.

5. Don’t forget to save some space for stylish storage—boxes, mini trays, and bowls—as you’ll want a handful of spots to stash your bits and bobs.

Remember that some items, like bookends, are great on their own but even better in pairs.

Remember that some items, like bookends, are great on their own but even better in pairs.

6. Mix in your remaining pieces, building balanced compositions by juxtaposing horizontal with vertical elements and solid, geometric items with softer, curvier ones.

Grouping items by color will never go out of style.

Grouping items by color will never go out of style.

7. Heighten visual interest by combining a wide array of textures and materials: a little glass here, a bit of ceramic or mirror or wood there.

8. Once you’ve placed everything, step back and give it a good once-over to make sure everything is balanced—that there are books on every shelf, that the left side isn’t busier than the right, that there aren’t two bright-yellow pieces on one shelf and none on the others.

Check out these great prices on boxes & trays!

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