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How to Style Your Shelves and Bookcases

Posted by Valerie Tyler on

If you've come looking for the perfect formula to style your shelves and bookcases, I've got a surprise for you! I'm not going to give you one. What I am going to do though is encourage you to get creative, think outside of the box and decorate in a way that best represents your taste and style. 

The only rule I have is that you should always put things on your shelves that represent you and make you happy whether that is sculpture, art objects, plants, books or functional storage.

If you are struggling for inspiration though, here's a few ideas that can serve as suggestions and ides of how to start (versus hardcore styling rules)

If originally stumped how to begin, take a look at your favorite objects and see if you can find a color scheme or pattern.  In the case of these shelves, I had a lot of brass I wanted to display.  Paired with neutral black and white, I added green accents for a pop of color.

Vintage Brass Art Deco Bird, Valerie Tyler Collection

 

Can you find the speaker hidden on these shelves? Instead of mounting the speaker to the wall where it would really stand out, this speaker was hidden behind objects and also placed where it would blend into the color of the shelf so it wouldn't stick out too much.

You may have heard of rules like grouping objects by odd numbers,but you don't always have to do that! If you look at some of these shelves you will notice they sometimes have an even number of objects.  Varying the heights or materials is what gives the sense of contrast instead. 

Another example of differing heights are used to good effect.  Note the mirror on the wall also becomes part of the shelf display.

Never underestimate the power of unique shelving itself.  This eclectic collection when combined with the wicker rack has a unique bohemian style.

Decorative Metallic Mountain, Valerie Tyler Collection

There's an ongoing debate whether it's ok to turn your books bindings inside your shelves to get a more uniform look or whether you should have all the jackets facing outwards.  We're not picking sides!   Even though we're total book lovers around here, if you like the clean look of white pages facing outwards by all means do whatever you like!  Here's the same shelves with the books styled two different ways.

Books can also be grouped by color and also laid sideways and integrated into a color scheme.  In this case I've gone with a combination of black, white gold and greenery .

The perfect shelf situation isn't always a bookcase.  Floating shelves can dress up an otherwise plain wall  by adding extra dimension and visual interest.

 

Once in awhile think simple too!  A solitary bench turned into a plant shelf and placed below artwork makes a stunning visual. 

 

The following was styled by Lea, the interior stylist behind Creekwoodhill

Note the use of positive and negative space. While there are lots of interesting things to catch the eye, objects are grouped so as to not be cluttered in order for every element to shine!  There's a little bit of everything including, art, sculpture, books and plants. The shelves show tons of character and personality.

Photo Credit: Lea, Creekwoodhill

Shelves aren't just confined to library and office spaces though!  This is a lovely example of how beautifully you can style shelves elsewhere in the home such as a kitchen or laundry room.  Functional goods look like art when displayed both flat and stood vertical as if artwork.  The addition of plants keeps things looking soft and natural instead of stark and clinical.

Photo Credit: Fallon Burch of East and Poppy

Above all else, be true to yourself.  I'm a fan of eclectic global art, so you can find things like Egyptian sculptures, animal figurines, and geodes in our home.

 

More inspiration:

Happy shelf styling!  Hope you have fun displaying your treasures.


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  • I love all of the different ways to edit it and make it your own! I need all the shelfie tips!

    Christina on

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