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Better Bookshelves

Photo by Colin Price/Noz Design, nozdesign.co

These tips from an interior designer can help your bookcase go from cluttered to clever

By Jennifer Rhode

 

Well-organized, thoughtfully arranged bookshelves add life, color, warmth and intimacy to a room. Bookshelves can provide amazing insight into your loves, interests, travels, collections and favorite authors, thus personalizing your home and making it unique. Here are tips for turning what is often a functional aspect of a room into something that enhances, informs and brightens the space.

Photo by Heather Knierim, HBK Photography, HBKphotography.com/Jennifer Rhode Design

Photo by Amy Neunsinger/Designer Mark D. Sike


Artful Intention

Display paintings on your bookshelf by hanging them on the front of the shelf frame, leaning them against the books or placing them on the top shelf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Make It Meaningful

Photo by Heather Knierim, HBK Photography, HBKphotography.com/Jennifer Rhode Design


In addition to books, include meaningful objects on your shelves like framed photos, travel mementos, small artworks or interesting collectibles. Perhaps you collect vintage radios or vases. Maybe you’ve acquired driftwood and seashells from beach holidays. Give these special items a place of honor on your bookshelves. Placing different shapes and silhouettes among rectangular blocks of books makes a bookshelf visually intriguing and gives the eye places to pause and consider.

 


 

Stack & Stand

Photo by Heather Knierim, HBK Photography, HBKphotography.com/Jennifer Rhode Design
Photo by Heather Knierim, HBK Photography, HBKphotography.com/Jennifer Rhode Design

 

Vary your arrangement by stacking some books horizontally (place some of your meaningful artifacts on top!) and others vertically to create variety and interest in your bookshelves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Think Outside the Shelf

Photo by NukTD/www.Shutterstock.com

If you have limited space, consider using wall-hung shelves in unexpected configurations. Or repurpose a trolley, a bar cart or a ladder as shelving for compact areas.

Photo by Heather Knierim, HBK Photography, HBKphotography.com/Jennifer Rhode Design
Photo by United Photo Studio/www.Shutterstock.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Color Coordinate

Photo and design by Emily Sweet @sweetbookobsession

Arrange books by color blocks. You may want to do this within categories, such as novels, biographies, nonfiction, etc., for easier book retrieval in the future. Creating color patterns in the bookshelf makes the arrangement look more intentional and compelling.

 


 

Photo by Prostock-Studio/www.Shutterstock.com

Go Green

A little nature adds a fresh, peaceful element to a book collection, so be sure to place a few plants or greenery on your shelves.

Photo by Heather Knierim, HBK Photography, HBKphotography.com
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