One of the bookworms’ never-ending problems is how to style your bookcase. As a true bookworm, I suffer from this dilemma. Those of you who follow me on Instagram are familiar with my bookish chaos. I literally have piles of books everywhere, because I don’t have much room for extra bookshelves.
Besides buying books, reading books, browsing books, and basically surrounding myself with books, I do change up the bookshelves I have on a regular basis. From a designer standpoint, I’m probably doing things wrong, but I’m happy with my mess, thank you very much.
And that’s not for lack of ideas, nonetheless.
One rule of thumb I follow: there are no rules!
But for those of you who are a bit fussier with arranging their bookcases, I thought I would make up this small guide. Follow me along through some steps to take for a nice, eye-pleasing look. Remember, as long as you’re happy, you can totally disregard any ideas you might get, totally up to you. As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters.
Without further ado, here go my ideas of how to style your bookcase.
Plan Your Room
You don’t need to be an interior decorator in order to have a well-thought-out room. Just make sure that whichever room you place your bookcase in, it doesn’t hinder the whole aspect of the room.
For example, if you’re planning to put it in your bedroom because you live with roommates, make sure you have enough space to get around. Most living rooms have enough space for at least one bookcase, but try and place it strategically. Work with the space you have, and you’re the judge of that, therefore your opinion reigns. Just don’t overdo it.
Ground Your Bookcase
By grounding your bookcase, I mean two things. First, it’s always a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the hooks they sent to secure it to the wall. But I also mean that you should put any larger objects or heavier books at the bottom of the bookshelf. That way, it will remain solid on the ground, and not risk falling over. Unless it’s very secure to the wall, I wouldn’t place any fragile objects on the very top.
Decorate in Odd Numbers
Another cool way to add some visual appeal to your bookcase is by using objects in odd numbers. Pair books in threes, fives, or even seven at a time. This works great with series, art books, cookbooks, and so on. Surprisingly, that actually adds some balance to your bookcase. Try it out and see if that works for you. Another thing I love doing is placing a small decorative object on top of a few layered books. It just adds a nice touch.
Don’t Overstuff It
In the same breath, don’t overstuff it with so many books and knick-knacks that it’s literally overflowing. It will not only look unappealing, but it might actually be a safety hazard. If all your books don’t fit on a single bookshelf, do like the rest of us, pile them up elsewhere! Or buy more bookcases! That is always a better idea if space permits, of course. Basically, less is more. You can leave some room for your favorite objects or a plant, for example.
Use Some Meaningful Objects
When styling bookcases, the possibilities are endless. No two people own the exact same books and favorite mementos, therefore you’ll be sure that your bookcase will represent your personal style. Be it a beloved object from your travels, a vase, a favorite candle, or picture frames, use them sparingly throughout for a nice visual effect. Don’t clutter them on a single shelf, rather mix them amongst the books. Or, if they’re small enough, you can place them in front of the books.
Cohesive Color Theme
This should go without saying, but try to get colors that work well together. If you opt for a white bookcase but the overall style of the room is traditional with many wood elements, it might not work. If you have multiple bookcases that are not on the same wall, for instance, they should at least be in the same color palette. Even if they’re not the exact color, it could work. But let’s say the bookcases are on the same side of the room and are the focal point, they should definitely be identical.
Vary Heights and Depths
When displaying your books, they don’t all have to have the same proportions. We all own hardbacks, paperbacks, even some older classics that do not have the same measurements. But one thing I think you should stick to is putting the larger volumes at the bottom. You can lay them down on top of each other while placing others vertically. That creates a bit of an optical illusion, so it’s not too clinical.
Depending on your mood, feel free to change your layout. I personally do this regularly. For example, in November, my Nordic Noir thrillers will become the focus of my bookcase. At Christmas time, I add a Christmas candle or decoration to get into the spirit. Whatever your jam is, feel free to showcase that. It will make it a lot more joyful and seem less of a chore. After all, decorating should be fun, and no one is judging you.
The best way to find out if you’re happy with how your bookcase looks are to take a picture. Take it from me, I’m talking from personal experience here. You know the saying, “a picture speaks a thousand words ‘? If something seems off, the picture will give you a better view. It’s almost as if you’re looking through a different lens. Look at it, analyze it, and if need be, move some things around until you’re completely satisfied.
And adding a plant or some live greenery is always a nice way to bring some life to your shelf. I usually have either a vase on top of the bookcase or a plant, depending on the season.
Well, friends, I hope this little guided tour gave you some ideas for styling your bookcase. Let me know what you think. Until next time, keep reading fellow bookworms!