Friday, February 5, 2021

How To Style A Bookshelf

 In high school, when I would get stressed, I would bake. As I’ve gotten older, I still see baking as a useful way to relieve stress, but without classmates and family members to give the baked goods to (and knowing better than to leave sweets within easy access in my house), I’ve resorted to a different form of stress relief. It’s honestly making me believe that I am turning into my mother. Cleaning, and more specifically, organizing has become my go-to way to relieve stress and feel a sense of control when I am overwhelmed. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best at turning off work-mode when I come home, which often results in me making sure pillows are fluffed, and everything is arranged nicely in our house due to my job as a stylist. I get nervous that my roommate may think that I’m passive-aggressively rearranging things when they aren’t left a certain way, but instead, she gets it that this is what I do at work, and it causes me to also do this at home. While at times I’m sure it could be annoying, it has its benefits too when we don’t have to straighten up too much when guests are coming over. 

One of my favorite things to style in my own house is books. Whether they are displayed on the dresser in my room, organized in the bookshelf in my hallway, or on my nightstand, I love the color and personality they can add to a space. When we were decorating the living room of our house, we realized there was one wall that could use a tall piece of furniture and ultimately decided a bookshelf is what we would get to fill it. After assembling it, we quickly threw some books on it and called it a day. Well, two years later and it still looked about the same until this past weekend when I had the urge to rearrange a few things to make it look a little bit better and act more functionally for us. 

As I was doing this, I thought about how this could make a fun blog post for any of you who may be hoping to organize a few things in your home that may have previously been neglected. While I’m sure there could be countless different tips, I’ve included what I like to stick to when making the job easy but also attainable. 

Organize Books By Color

If you haven’t watched The Home Edit’s show on Netflix (or perused their Instagram), then you may not know the visual appeal that is organizing everything by color, but once you do, it won’t take long for you to realize why it’s so aesthetically appealing. There’s something about grouping according to color that feels especially organized, and it makes it easy to start to figure out what to put where. You’ll definitely want to start by clearing everything off your bookshelf to start when styling it and making piles on the floor according to ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, violet). While the shades of items you have may vary, this is an excellent spot to start. 

Showcase Books Horizontally And Vertically 

Who says all your books have to be lined up as if they were about to be checked out at the library? I certainly don’t. Instead, to add visual interest, I like to stack books both horizontally and vertically. Two stacks of horizontally arranged books can serve as the perfect bookends for some vertical ones between allowing you to store more books on your shelf without it looking untidy. While I don’t typically put too many books on a single shelf instead, you can alternate between showcasing books horizontally and vertically on each shelf.

Add Interest Using Framed Photos And Various Objects

An overly styled bookshelf won’t do you much good if you’re not incorporating items you may need in the space or that need a home. For us, our living room doesn’t have any overhead lighting, so it’s necessary for us to keep a lamp on a shelf. While this may not look as good as another stack of books, it’s what the space needs in order to work for us. My roommate and I had some knick-knacks and frames that we wanted to display but not necessarily in our own rooms, so placing them on the bookshelf was a natural solution. Incorporating these items adds personality and functionality for us in this space. 

Bring Life To The Space With Greenery And Flowers

I am never one to say no to fresh flowers. Whether they are leftovers from a shoot for work or a pretty bouquet, I couldn’t pass up at Trader Joe’s; it’s hard for a space not to feel more put together when there’s something fresh in it. This is also a fun way to add structurally exciting elements such as vases or pots to your shelf. Just be sure that whatever vessel you’re using for the plants will not leak and ruin the books and keep in mind how much sun different varieties may need. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Display Your Favorite Collections

While I may call my obscene number of candles and nail polish a collection to justify how many I have to myself, the only thing I feel like I actually collect is the little blue and white KLM houses you’ve likely seen on my Instagram feed scattered in different places in my room. My mom started collecting these after seeing them in a friend’s house and finding them at estate sales, and I couldn’t help but think they were especially cute as well. I love the little collection I have, and while some people are more minimalistic in not wanting things of this nature, if you have them, I feel like they are worth displaying. The fun part about this particular collection is that each of the houses are different and actually modeled after houses in Amsterdam. I like seeing how different houses may look next to the items I’m displaying and place them to fill some space using items I already own. Since my room has so much blue and white I've left my collection in there instead of this living room shelf, but whatever you may collect, consider displaying a few of them on open shelving in your home! 

Leave Blank Space To Give The Eyes A Place To Rest

After sharing so many tips about how to stylishly fill your shelf space, I should probably note that it’s nice to give your eyes a blank space to rest. People do this on walls and in different rooms in their homes, so it makes sense that it should also be done in places that can feel cluttered like bookshelves. If you don’t know where to start with this, try taking away a few items you added and step back to see if the overall feel looks more intentional. If it does, then it may be best to find a different location for the things you removed! 

Below are some pretty coffee table books I own and some, I’d love to add to my collection. I organized them by spine color in case you’re looking for something specific.

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