If you’ve ever wondered why your room is not working, perhaps it’s lacking a focal point. A focal point can be a fireplace, a grand piano, a dramatic view, an impressive piece of art, a textured wall, or anything else that captures your attention when you enter the room. If you don’t have any of those eye-catchers, a wonderful way to create a focal point is with bookshelves or other types of shelving.
While built-in bookshelves are attractive, there are many other options: modular, shelves with brackets, corner shelves, open cabinets, hutches, cubes, leaning, adjustable track shelving, and more.
Where to Find Bookshelves and Shelves
Find them at antique shops, yard sales, unpainted furniture stores, Pier 1, Crate & Barrel, Home Goods, and others. Get DIY (do-it-yourself) bookshelves at stores such as IKEA, Target, Wal-Mart, and the like. Or go online and type in “bookshelves.” You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges.
Create Eye-catching Bookshelves or Shelves
Bookshelves don’t have to be boring. Whether your style is traditional, coastal, antique, early America, Asian, modern, or whatever, here are a few ways to turn ordinary bookshelves into an eye-catching display:
– Show off your collections and passions
– Forget symmetry and be bold
– Vary accessory height
– Place an interesting object on a horizontal stack of books
– Group like items (books, art, seashells, etc.)
– Add art
– Use baskets or glass containers
– Contrast dark shelves with light objects (and vice versa)
– Organize books and objects by color
– Layer picture frames, art, mirrors, and trays behind other items.
– Put a mirror behind objects you want to highlight.
Tip: Choose 2-3 accent colors you will use repeatedly throughout your shelves. Pull these colors from the room the shelves are in, so your shelf styling fits in.
Decorate Your Shelves Artfully
Gone are the days when encyclopedias lined bookshelves. Today, bookshelves are not just for books. They can be used to display art, vacation finds, family photos, music boxes, collections, and anything else you like looking at when you’re in the room. Here are some ideas for bringing out the beauty of your shelves, before you even populate them.
– Paint your bookshelves or shelves the same color as the walls to create a unified look.
– Flank identical bookshelves on either side of a doorway, window, or fireplace.
– Use open shelving with decorative brackets.
– Wallpaper the back of the bookshelves so they pop.
– Paint the back of the bookshelves by pulling a color from an item in the room (such as a couch, chair, or piece of art.)
Create An Artful Arrangement
Treat your bookshelves or shelves as a blank canvas and let your personality shine.
1. Start with a clean slate by removing all items from the shelves.
2. Gather the items to display and group them by color, theme, or size.
3. Take three of the largest items you gathered and place them on different shelves. Then stand back and see how they look.
4. Fill in with medium and smaller pieces and begin grouping.
5. Cluster odd numbers of pieces. Odd-numbered groupings are more appealing, memorable, and effective than even-numbered groupings.
5. Arrange your books by color, size, or topic.
6. Use lighting to add impact to a specific piece or pieces.
7. Now stand back and see what you’ve done.
– Have you achieved balance of color?
– Have you incorporated a variety of shapes?
– Do you have the right dimension and scale?
Remember that shelves are always work in progress because it’s easy to re-arrange, change, add, and remove anything, anytime.