For me, styling a bookcase is like curating a collection of pieces that mean something to me - things I like to look at or to put on display. It’s the perfect way of showcasing all of those little treasures that I have collected on my travels so that each time I walk past them I am reminded of a time or place and a story of how the piece was chosen. You don’t have to have traveled to have a collection of interesting pieces. These items can be anything that you have collected throughout your life - knick knacks, family heirlooms, photos and keepsakes - anything that is a good conversation piece! But try to avoid anything too small, as these will just clutter and crowd your display.
There are a lot of different ways of styling a bookshelf. You can keep it simple and minimal, or layer it up. But the first thing you need to do, is go through all of your items and decide what you think is display worthy and what isn’t - this includes books!!! Books add a huge amount of interest and warmth to a room, you can never have too many books! Pay special attention to the spine, as this is what is on display. If you like you can also divide your books by subject or colour. Lean or stack your books, and fee free to alternate positions on each shelf. Don’t forget to step back every once in a while to check that your shelves are feeling balanced! You can also stand some books vertically to act as bookends.
After you are happy with this arrangement, it’s time to add your ‘collected items’. Also consider adding plants, as these bring life and colour to a room. Artworks can be propped as background pieces behind smaller items to fill spaces or to create height. Remember to keep stepping back and checking your progress, as you don’t want to start overcrowding. If you are incorporating photos into your display, try to use one here or there or propped on top of a stack of books - try not to line them all up in the one spot… this will end up looking messy and overcrowd your display.
Believe me, styling a bookshelf isn’t the easiest thing in the world, it really is a difficult task and sometimes getting it right will take some time. You may even want to keep checking back every couple of days to make sure you are happy with the balance and layout, and if not, just keep editing until you are! The beauty of these kinds of displays are that they can be forever changing. You may add and subtract as often as you like. Just remember to keep it simple for maximum impact.
Alternatively, if you aren’t into the whole ‘formal’ arrangement style, and prefer a more cluttered, collected look, try displaying your items in cabinets with shelving and glass doors - almost like cabinets of curiosity. Stack, layer and cluster your items for an eccentric, more exotic style.
Or just stack them neatly to reflect order and organisation…
also love the minimal look - filling your bookshelf with multiples of the same item. This method can be really effective and beautiful, especially when the pieces on display are filled with character and imperfections… Even if you only have a few items, don't be afraid to leave gaps... sometimes space can really give definition to some of your pieces.
So there you have it! A few examples of how to display those pieces you may have had stashed away in the cupboard all those years with no idea of where to put them! Have fun with it, and don't stress out too much if it's not working for you. Remember, it will be an ongoing process!
Images via Amber Interiors and our Few and Far Pinterest page