Whew, the library shelves have been filled. And let me tell you, styling these babies was almost as much work as building them. (Though it was much more fun.) It was completely overwhelming facing 34 empty shelves surrounded by stacks and stacks of books and pretties.
After spending several minutes paralyzed with indecision, I decided to just dive in and get started. And I managed to come away with some great tips for anyone else looking to style bookshelves and built-ins so you will hopefully not be quite so overwhelmed.
Choose a Focal Point
When dealing with a wall of bookcases like ours, I think it is important to create some type of focal point. This gives your eyes somewhere to rest. In my case, I created four larger shelves in the center and then styled them with larger eye-catching items rather than books.
While I wanted my bookshelves to be pretty, I mostly wanted them to be a useful place that would hold all of my books. So that was the logical place to start. First I organized our books by genre – my fiction, my husband’s fiction, Christian nonfiction, etc. Then I started arranging the books on the shelves, spreading them out throughout the entire bookcase. I did all the usual things to prettify the books as I went – removed dust jackets, grouped by color, arranged by height.
Add items with interesting shapes
Books and bookcases are naturally rectangular and full of hard lines. Adding lots of round or flowing lines helps balance all that harshness. I used lots of circles when styling my own bookcases. Other great curvy items include vases, plants, shells, and baskets.
Mix up your book displays
Bookshelves always look more interesting with some books shelved vertically and others stacked horizontally. But there are also other ways to add a little pizazz to your books. I displayed a few books with their covers facing out, bookstore-style. I also grouped together sets of books in trays, baskets, a tool caddy, and a repurposed clarinet case.
Hide the ugly stuff
I had a bunch of big fat mass market paperbacks from many years ago. I wasn’t ready to let those books go but they were definitely not looking so hot. So I hid them away in some cute vintage luggage. Now they are still in the library with the other books but are out of sight.
This is my favorite part. I love unique, vintage, and handmade items so that is what I focused on.
And I can proudly say that the only thing that was bought new during this styling process was a command hook to hang my book page wreath.
The library is really coming together now – the only problem is each time I complete a project I feel like everything else that was going to be in the room looks bad in comparison. Which leads to a whole slew of new projects. Luckily I am okay with that.
As always, I would love to hear what you think. Just so you know, I read each comment (usually with a big dopey grin on my face) and try to respond to each one. You guys totally make my day. Hope you have a great weekend!