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Styling Bookshelves for Normal People Part 2


So this is Bookshelves 201.  If you are here and haven’t taken Bookshelves 101 that is fine.  I really think next semester these two courses should be combined.  I’m going to go over some important points to consider that are pertinent to 101 so you should be just fine.  Just in case, here is the syllabus for 101, Styling Bookshelves for Normal People Part 1.

Important Points to Consider when Arranging Bookshelves/Built-Ins:

1.  WHERE is it located?  IMPORTANT.  If it someplace you stare at all the time i.e. next to your TV, do not fill it with everything you own.

Just because you have it does not mean it needs to be displayed.

Just because it cost a lot of money does not mean you need to display it or keep it.

Just because it was a gift does not mean you need to display it and stare and it constantly (especially if you don’t like it.)

Just because you don’t know what to do with it does not mean it needs to be displayed, or kept.

Is it a relaxing room?  Why are we staring a shelves full of work?  Is it an office?  Why are we staring at decorative objects when all of your “work” is piled on the floor and desk?

Is it a cluttered, “chock full of kid” room, busy hub of the house room?  Visual Clutter, click here, for that syllabus.  MINIMIZE THE CHAOS in bookshelves and built-ins in these rooms with books and one other simple category.  Images with ideas following below.

2.  What colors are in the room where the book-case or built-in is located?  Use those colors when deciding how to tweak.  Don’t bring in new colors.  You want it look seamless in the room.

NEXT.  A word or two about ARRANGING.

It’s all about balance.  If something is big and heavy on one side….you need to balance it and have something big and heavy on the other side.  Think of a see-saw.  Balance.  Same with the colors.  Red on one side.  Red on the other side.

Tall stack of books on one side.  Tall something on the other.  AND a good tip is to make sure everything is using about 2/3 of the vertical space of each shelf.

Ok here are some visuals:

Palette of the room is brown, yellow and blue.  These are colors used in bookshelves.  Vertical space of each shelf is almost to the “top”.  Brown and white striped vases balance.  Green, white, blue, and yellow vases offer consistency.  Also, these vases give the eyes something to rest on–which helps it feel “not so busy”.
LOVE this.  Pictures only on bottom shelves and middle.  CONSISTENT.  Easy.  All dark books on top.  Consistent.  Easy.
White objects make up top shelf (main color in room), books 2nd and 3rd shelves, one object roughly the same size on bottom shelf.  Easy.  Consistent plan.
This is basically red, white and black.  Books on bottom shelves…all horizontal.  Picture frames on middle.  They used a stack of books to raise one of the picture frames to fill space better.  Picture frames match the color theme.  And the contents of the bookshelves match the “sophistication” of the actual room.  Baskets and plates for example would have looked wrong in this room.
Simple room.  Simple shelves.  Minimal.  Minimal.  Minimal.  Matches the palette AND the tone of the room.
And there are always books.  Just books.  Pretty straightforward.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  This is what bookshelves are for.
This is fun.  But you must have a lot of books.  I’ve done this with clients and in my own home.  Take off the book jackets.  If you have a lot of books and you don’t care how they are organized this is not as difficult to achieve as it looks.
This one I just had to use.  I think it looks nice but it falls into the category of BOOKSHELVES FOR NOT NORMAL PEOPLE.  The thing that gets me is this is a KIDS room.  Really?  How confusing is this for a child?  BUT it does look good for a magazine picture.  One thing to note—it works because it is a monochromatic theme.
This was 201.  Send me pictures of your class projects.  In 301 we’ll be discussing the disillusionment of decorating pictures in catalogs.

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