I also completely emptied and reorganized our living room bookcases so today’s topic is perfect timing! I’m back with Pam of Simple Details and Jennifer of Dimples & Tangles for our monthly series My Five Favorites – Kris of Driven By Decor is taking this round off but we are so happy to have Bethany from Dwellings By DeVore here to guest host with us!
So glad to have you here today Bethany!
Okay let’s talk bookcase styling!
Love it or hate this task? Whether it’s your jam or you can’t think of a worse torture, a few quick tips can help your bookcase to feel pulled together and pleasing to the eye in addition to housing some of your favorite possessions (and for the haters, maybe even allow you to enjoy the process!)
Five ideas to consider when styling your bookcase
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PAINT OR PATTERN
Before you even fill your bookcase, how about painting the back, the complete interior, or inside AND out of your bookcase a captivating color! I used Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray (lightened up just a bit) inside our family room bookcases. It ties into the rest of our house and automatically makes the shelves feel like a focal point.
Grasscloth, a patterned wallpaper or even planking are great for the back of a plain bookcase too. Our living room bookcases are Ikea Billys that I customized with shiplap-style paneling on the backs for subtle texture.
LARGE BASKETS & BOXES
Place your most visually heavy objects on the lowest shelves, whether that is at the floor level or above a base cabinet. Large lidded baskets are great if you don’t have any closed shelving to hide the not-so-pretty stuff in and they also anchor your bookcase.
Left and right baskets: Ikea • Middle basket
I had a lot of black albums and books that I also used on the bottoms shelves; chunky coffee table books are great here too.
COLOR – OR LACK THEREOF!
In addition to being functional, bookcases can give a room a big dose of character and interest! Make a bold statement with a lot of color, create a calm and serene vibe in your space with a neutral look, or bring in a small pop to your room with the contents of your bookcase.
The wall of bookcases in our living room are intentionally packed with mostly books because I really wanted this tv-less space to have a library feel and subliminally encourage my kids to pick up a book when they’re bored (vs. look at their phones!), but it’s also by design – all the color contrasts the white walls and cream sectional and gives the room a major bang.
Our family room bookcases are a little more decorative but I kept the books and objects in a color palette of blues, greens and white. PS Take the covers off your books – often the actual book has a really pretty spine.
Remember that repetition is pleasing to our brains so repeating the same accent color or and balancing shelves are both good guidelines to use.
FRAMED ART OR PHOTOS
Framed, matted prints or photos give the eye a place to rest and reflect the light.
Abstract print: Amira Rahim
In addition to being special to you, old photos add a little worn patina that gives a room personality and tells your story, like the black and whites I shared in last month’s Ways to Mix Old and New.
I especially love matted black and whites photos as contrast in a bookcase filled with colorful books!
GREENERY OR FLOWERS
One last tip – give your shelves a little life with a small plant or flowers from your yard!
The Rose of Sharon above has been blooming in our garden for at least a month, and the flowers just keep on coming!
Succulents don’t need a ton of direct light and are good choices for a bookcase. A small terrarium would be great for a bookcase near a window! You can find the tutorial for this easy project here.
I hope you enjoyed these five easy ideas to jumpstart your bookcase styling! Let’s check out what these fabulous friends recommend to make the process as pain free as possible!
Keep your eye out for the half wall before and after in the very near future,
a super exciting DIY that is in the works – I am more fired up about this project than any other, ever!!!!! Can’t wait to tell you all about it – it’s a game changer for this house and it’s under $100!! 🙂
Have a wonderful day and happy bookcase styling!
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