Are your shelves as enticing as the literary titles your displaying? Trying to avoid the mundane packed straight row of books? When designing a room, bookcases are sometimes overlooked and many find accessorizing them somewhat intimidating. A bad arrangement can seriously humble a grand bookcase as with just the opposite, a humble bookcase case can become grand with some thoughtful accessorizing.
Bookshelves can be a perfect place to also showcase everything from collectibles, photographs to books and decorative boxes. There is not just one way to dress a bookcase, each needs a custom treatment. Rests assure I won’t just turn you loose with that in mind. I have provided you with a quick road map to decorating and arranging your bookshelves.
1. Spacing – Placement of the shelves is essential. Most books are 8-10″ tall, but larger books can range up to 11-12″. Bookcases usually have adjustable shelves, so when determining how to space the shelves, you need to first take inventory of all your books.
Book collections are usually the same in size, keep these grouped and find similar ones in size. Measure the largest book and place on shelf with at least 2″ allowance for easy removal. Set the shelf at this height. Shelf spacing does not have to be an equal distant apart. Having a row of small books in an oversized space will be a waste of space and feel off.
2. Book Count– Make sure your book case is sufficient to hold all the books you have. Many think their literary collection is extensive yet have very few books. The last thing you want to do is have a stingy thin cluster of books spread around vast shelves. Too many is sometimes just right.
3. Prepping– Before inserting the books try painting or wall papering the back of the bookcases. This adds depth and contrast. Use a deep rich color for paint such as an olive color. When using paper, stick with something that has a small repetitive print, such as paisleys.
4. Lighting– What lighting? Yes, lighting is an impressive way to add drama to any space. Place some downlighting to remove shadows on the back of the shelves and perhaps uplighting from the fronts to illuminate the spines of the books and your impressive accessories. If space allows, alongside the shelves hang some beautiful opaque , sconces with shades on either side to really highlight your shelves.
5. Arranging the Shelves– When deciding how to get started, work from the middle, side to side, and up and down as you go. By doing this, it will ensure you add balance and prevent you from creating a cluster of all your favorite items.
6. Organize by Subject– If you are a true literary giant and you’re particular of how your books positioned for easy finding, assemble all subject matter into their own groupings to be displayed all together along with any related decorative accessories.
7. Placement of Books– When placing the books, place some loosely in some places and snugly in others. Allow some of the larger books to lie horizontally, while arranging the majority in a vertical position. If you ample space, utilize some of those oversized coffee table books. Place them in horizontally with the spine facing outward as to tell a story of the individual artist or a recent travel destination. If a dust jacket has an amazing cover, use it by standing it up, leaning against the back of shelf as a painting.
I like to take a stack of 2-3 smaller books, lie them down horizontally and shift them so the bindings are at an angle facing outward. Once I have done so I place a beautifully frame photo or a small object on top.
The books lying horizontally can be stacked and nestled up against horizontal placed books as a sort of a book end. Then place again the accessory atop it.
8. Vary Books in Heights– Don’t group all book of the same size together. This gives the shelves a stiff law-office feel. Bookcases that are to carefully arrange have a “do touch quality”.
9. Accessorizing– Use items you have gathered throughout your travels.
a. Personalize it with gifts given to you.
b. Use the shelf to display your smaller pieces of art work.
c. Always incorporate artificial foliage this always fills the space with a inviting natural feel.
d. Group items in groups of three’s.
e. Group items that relate to each other.
f. Group items of the same color or subject.
g. Hang a painting on the face of the shelves, letting the books double as a background for your vignette.
10. Framing Your Vignette– If space allows, take two similar in size of paintings, hang one along each side of the outside of your bookcase and place a bench or chairs on either side just beneath the paintings.
When dressing any shelf, be ruthless with your selection. Too much can become cluttered and tacky quickly. Now, take these guidelines, get creative, because now you have every ability needed to showcase your literary designer appeal with these invaluable tips on arranging your bookcases.
“Books are the best decoration” – Billy Baldwin.