Practical Bookshelf Style

The Internet is filled with images of amazing bookshelves, which are designed with beautiful little knickknacks, pieces of art, and antique books that all come together to create an eye-catching display. If you are like many book owners, you’ve probably wondered how you can upgrade your boring bookshelves to something that looks like these show stoppers. Unfortunately, many use bookshelves to hold favorite paperback novels and old textbooks, rather than beautiful first editions. And while filling your shelves with decorative items looks pretty, it also means you have less space for your books, and makes it harder to grab a book off the shelf. Here’s our practical bookshelf style

There is a way to marry the beautiful designs you’ve seen with the practical use of a bookshelf, however. You don’t have to abandon your love of paperbacks and start buying only collector’s edition Charles Dickens novels. Here are a few tips to consider for your next bookshelf makeover:

The Classic Color Trick

Maybe your books aren’t exactly coffee table material, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them to spruce up your shelves. Try arranging your books by color; while you may stand back now and think that won’t make much difference, you’d be surprised how well the human eye responds to color coordination. This has become a traditional styling trick because it’s easy to do and looks great.

If you simply can’t stand the idea of not having your books organized alphabetically, by genre, or with some other system, consider breaking the system down into groups (say, books A-B, C-D, and so on), and arranging by color within each cluster. You’ll still be able to pinpoint where all your Stephen King books are, but they’ll look a little prettier.

Rethink Your Space

Sometimes making room for those decorative figurines or collectibles on your shelves can be achieved simply by rethinking how your books are stored within the space. Stacking a few books horizontally can free up a corner for a decorative item, and it’s still easy to access the books on the shelf. Just be sure not to stack too many; too much weight can break the spine of a book on the bottom.

Alternatively, you may be able to free up a shelf or two entirely and dedicate them to stylish additions by donating or selling old textbooks, or by picking out the most attractive books you own, or your favorites, and using those to decorate side tables or coffee tables in small stacks.

Make the Bookshelf the Focus

Instead of trying to work decorative items in among your books, why not turn your entire bookshelf into the focal point? Paint your bookshelves a beautiful color, or paint the back of the shelf a bright color to pop against a white shelf. Be sure that you are utilizing unused spaces, like the solid side of a shelf, to hang pictures or other decorative items.

If you have a shelf of precious books that you can’t let go, but don’t often read, you could even hang a picture, mirror, or piece of art over the shelf to create a unique look. Consider adding decorative scones or even quirky knobs or coat hooks, between the shelves.

While some home designers do go the extra mile to choose books according to how they’ll look in your home, a true book lover doesn’t always have that option. Beloved books get creased, discolored, or faded from heavy use; this doesn’t mean your shelves can’t still be beautiful. Next time you want to spruce up your space, give your bookshelf a little love.


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