I'm pulling some of this post from a blog post I wrote two years ago for the Plaza Lecea Event Center titled Creating a Wedding Vignette. Many of the same rules I wrote about there, such as The Rule of 3 and Asymmetry vs Symmetry apply to bookshelves too.
It's important to have shelves that you like the look of even when they're empty. For instance, the shelf in these photos is one of two that I repainted two years ago that lived in our dining room in our first apartment. They used to be a plain orange-y wood color that just looked dated & boring. So I did a two-tone makeover with light grey on the inside and white on the shelves & outside.
The first thing B likes to do is sort all of the books into their genres: history, reference, and fiction are his most popular and he likes each to have their own shelf. My books are a little more colorful and more space is devoted to well-read childhood favorites like a Wrinkle in Time and my Anne of Green Gables collection. But I do also like to sort mine and make sure that series stay together. In this apartment, we decided to do his and hers shelves, so I got to arrange mine exactly how I wanted to.
Now, when you have an array of colorful books that are all different shapes and sizes, it can be difficult to keep them looking neat and organized. That's why my second step is to try to sort my books by size, either ascending or descending across the shelf. This makes it easy for the eye to "flow" over the shelf and find exactly what I'm looking for.
I also try to take a step back and look at the bookshelf as a whole. I don't have all of my books upright, some I stack and stagger. And I don't only have books on the shelf but include framed photos and vases of flowers. It's important when styling things other than books that you keep it from looking too crowded with knick-knacks. In a recent blog post on the Nester, she states that "Tidy People Don't Overdecorate." Since we're trying to keep this apartment as tidy and uncluttered as possible, it's necessary that even our storage areas - like the bookshelves - don't look get cluttered.
How do you style your shelves? Any tips that I missed? Let me know in the comments!
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