Display some of your books vertical, and some in a horizontal stack. This simple trick can add a professional and interesting touch to your display.
Shopping for Bookshelves
When shopping for a bookshelf, make sure you look for stability, in the individual shelves, joints, back and the overall balance and construction. Many quality bookshelves are sold with anti-tip kits, which are especially handy for homes with children—the kits secure the furniture to a supporting wall so that little climbers don’t pull furniture down on top of them. Another helpful option is adjustable shelves, as they will allow you to tweak for especially large books or design items.
Stunningly Stylish Bookshelves
6 ways to boost your organization and design panache.
- by Trisha Kemerly
Bookshelves are a great way to add functionality and personality into a small amount of square footage in your home.
“In addition to displaying your book collection, bookshelves can be a great place to display your favorite collectibles or to store other items you want to keep handy,” says Edward Nader, owner of Naders Gallery in Shreveport, La.
Here are six easy ideas to help your bookshelves reach their full potential:
1. Mix things up. Display some of your books vertical, and some in a horizontal stack. This simple trick can add a professional and interesting touch to your display. It also allows stacks of books to act as bookends for one another and gives a few flat spots for a few special accessories. Another designer trick is to arrange books by their jacket color, grouping blues together, reds together, etc.
2. Show more than books. Try setting off a stack of books with a decorative box, a porcelain figurine or attractive plate. Any of these things, as well as candles, collectibles, woven baskets, framed photos—or even a plant or two—will give your shelves some nice contrasts in shape and texture. Plus, it will create both balance and visual interest at once.
“A neat and beautiful way to store items such as CDs, DVDs, or toys is to fill the bottom shelves with identical square baskets,” Nader suggests. “The baskets will keep your shelves looking clean and organized, but your things are still very easy to access.”
3. Leave some room. At least 10 percent of free space per shelf is recommended. Small amounts of space give the eye room to breathe, and allow the beauty of your books and collectibles to shine. If you have too many books or display objects, rotate them out every season to get a fresh look, or buy another bookcase!
4. Create a pattern. Allow your display items to form a sort of zigzag down the shelves. In other words, don’t allow the items to line up from shelf to shelf.
Here’s how it works: Tracing the letter “Z,” place a large accessory at the upper far left position of the top shelf. Then place another large object on the opposite, or far right position on the next lower shelf. Beneath that shelf, place a dense object or stack of horizontal books in the far left position, until you have zigzagged your way down the shelves with large items. Reverse the zigzag pattern on any adjoining sets of shelves. Then fill in the spaces with your stacks of vertical and horizontal books.
5. Add some lighting. “Whenever possible, add some lighting to illuminate and add drama to your bookshelves,” adds Nader. “If you have the space, a small lamp might be the perfect combination of function and beauty for your shelves. If not, try some cordless, battery-operated lighting fixtures that you can attach to the shelves.”
6. Mix it up. Don’t be afraid to move things. You don’t have to keep the arrangement the same way forever—so have fun. Add new objects, take away some old ones, use some seasonal pieces and so on. Keep your bookshelves (and your home) looking fresh and different just by changing a few items at a time.