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How to Style a Bookshelf

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

Styling shelves is probably the number one thing our clients ask for help on. Shelves may look daunting, when there are so many items, but really they are not if you follow these 5 easy steps.

Step 1: Clear everything out of your shelves, so that you can start with a blank canvas and start fresh.

Step 2: Start with the tallest items, this could be anything from a tall vase, hurricane, sculpture, candle stick, jar, artwork or mirrors. Starting with the tallest items allows you to see if you need to raise, lower or remove shelves. These items fill up your shelves nicely to feel full without having a lot.

*Artwork and mirrors don't just have to go on the wall, leaning them at the back of the shelf gives either reflection or visual interest. We a lot of the time like to use framed stones.

Step 3: Add books. You don't always have to do this step, some people just like their shelves to showcase objects and that it perfectly fine. If you do want to add books do not use your old textbooks or worn paperbacks. Use books with decorative spines, or group colors together. Stack them horizontally and vertically.

Step 4: Structure and create vignettes for each shelf. Start by using large impact-full items. This could be anything from decorative boxes, bottles, bowls- really anything as long as it creates a focal point and adds visual weight to the shelf.

Step 5: Fill in. This is where the smaller items come in that serve as mementos to you. Make sure that they are only items that you love, you don't want to over crowd your shelves. This could be picture frames, smaller ceramics, stones. Remember that balance is key, one spot may need color where another may need a different shape. There really is no wrong or right way just whatever is pleasing to you.

*Stacks of books or boxes are great for displaying the small objects to help give them some height.

Hope this helps! If you have any questions leave them in the comments section.

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