Designer Tips for Styling a Bookcase: Simplified

 

Have you ever felt  a bit like a fraud, because I have? I’ve been misrepresenting myself for years, and it’s time for true confessions.  Here goes! I do not have a law degree.  Nope, I’ve not even served on a jury! Not really. I mean I’ve been summoned for jury duty a few times, but the parties have always settled before I had the chance to deliberate even once.

Although business law was one of my favorite college courses, it was the sole class I had in the discipline. The unabashed truth is, I simply love how they vintage law books look on my bookshelves.  Superficial? Maybe.

There! I said it! Beautiful law books have lived on the bookcases that flank the fireplace in our family room for  decades, just because I find them pretty. Phew! I feel so much better.

FullSizeRender

While I’m in full disclosure mode,  I might as well tell you I’m not a huge fan of reading, at least not for pleasure! I wish I were a voracious reader! I really do! Truth is, I seldom read for pleasure.  Nope, instead when I read, it’s almost exclusively for knowledge. I own tons of beautiful books and magazines about home: entertaining, decorating, organizing, designing, styling,  (you get the idea); and I have a great number of business books on leadership, customer service, marketing (all from a former life in the business world). I have an extensive collection of Bibles, books on understanding God, religions of the world, living out your faith, and so on.  Finally, to round out my reading arsenal, I follow a handful of bloggers on the same subject matter listed above.  Reading materials expansion is in order for sure!

So, there it is! I’ve been exposed, or at least exposed myself. Wait! That’s not what I meant to disclose. I mean, I haven’t exposed myself, not like that. I intended to convey my limited love for reading.

Could it count a little, perhaps, that I love to use books in décor?  Prowess at styling bookshelves, counts for something. Right? I’m skilled at pleasing the eye with a  display on shelving, producing great “Shelf Esteem” (so as not to get back in to the deep dark hole of misrepresentation , I read that cute quip somewhere on the internet, likely a blog on bookshelves).

Bookcase Decor 2

Today’s blog, along with clearing my conscience, will give you an overview on styling your shelves using various elements and principles of design:  line, space, color, movement and unity.  The process begins by collecting items (books, photographs, sculpture, plants, trays,etc.) that are meaningful and pleasing to you!

This spring, I did a complete overhaul of the family room built-ins. I love the casual, spring, French look. You need not worry if this isn’t your specific aesthetic, the elements and principles pictured and discussed will work in any scheme.

Bookcase - Vintage French Statue

I’m not usually a trend follower in fashion or home design, what with growing up admiring a very dapper daddy and hearing his view on fashion,  “Sweetie, I don’t follow the trends, I set them” said while sporting a moss green leisure suit.

Still, occasionally a trend will suit my fancy, like the current inclination to reverse the spines of books revealing the beautiful patina of the pages (especially vintage books). I’ve done this on on both bookcases creating unity and rhythm. My antique Bible collection is also seemlessly mingled with the law books.

You may notice that some of the books are horizontal and some are vertical. This variation in line creates movement and life and keeps the eye interested and moving along the shelf.

Bookcase Decor - driftwood

Color is a great way to create unity on the shelves. Most of the time, my rooms are alive with vibrant color, or at least splashes of a favorite color or two to move the eye around the room. But, here the color is a mix of muted earth tones, hues of gray, cream and the various shades of tan provided by the vintage pages of the books.

Bookcase Decor - Spring

To further inspire you, here are a couple of my favorite Pinterest photographs featuring beautiful bookcases (credit provided  when I could find it). First up, a bookcase that beautifully represents harmony, using books and artifacts/art with an Asian influence.

 

bookcase inspiration

This was pinned by The Polished Pineapple.

Below, designer Emily A. Clark,  has painted the back of her bookcases to provide contrast for her collection of white pottery.

emilyaclark .com bookcase

And for the color adverse, “keep it simple”,  reader here the blogger Cute and Company uses s a mix of textures to provide great interest! The rough baskets, and smooth glass and pottery provide just enough friction to keep this display, although simple, very much alive.

cute and company bookcase

Finally, designer Sue de Chiara masterfully combines books and objects in a stunning display.

zhush bookcase

Now, you’re turn! Start the dusting!

Enjoy Today!

Love y’all,

Lori Nell

 


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