“A home without books is a body without a soul,” said Roman philosopher Cicero. He may have written that sentence more than two thousand years ago, but when it comes to making a home feel personal, we couldn’t agree more. We love incorporating books into our design scheme, but when you want to turn bookshelves from simple storage into a design statement, our designers advise, “looking beyond books for creating a bookshelf that reflects the personality of your home and your life.” (And psssst – if you have bookshelves, and nothing to fill them with. We can help with that too! See 10 Books Every Design Library Should Have).
Pictured: The bookshelves in our New Jersey home staging project.
Quick Tips for Bookshelf Styling Success
1. Stack books both vertically and horizontally for some additional visual interest.
2. Mix in objects. Consider including a collection of objects organized around a specific theme.
3. Incorporate lighting. Sconces and gallery lights can turn your bookshelf into a design feature. Layer your objects.
4. Consider using artwork as backdrops for your objects and place the smaller objects in front of books so that they don’t get lost.
5. Incorporate artwork. Use artwork as a laying element or, for the design adventurous, consider hanging artwork directly on the shelves.
Vary the Book Orientation
Stack the books both vertically and horizontally for additional visual interest. Image: Styling by Emily Henderson via HGTV
When it comes time to choose objects for your shelves, think thematically. Here a collection of rackets and trophies are casually displayed on the top shelf. Image via Lonny Magazine
Think About Lighting
Once the sun sets, the table lamp on these bookshelves will add some ambient lighting to the space and make the shelves stand out. Image: Styling by Emily Henderson/photo by Ryan Liebe via Cup of Jo
Layer Your Objects
Stack the objects on top of and in front of the books for a more layered, eclectic feeling. Image via Lili Diallo
Use The Shelves To Hang Art
Your objects don’t have to simply be propped on the shelves, you can also hang them off the shelves. Note how the ample white space on these shelves keeps things from feeling too clutters. Image via Emily Henderson