Updated 3-2-2-20 This post provides French Style Bookcase Styling.

I have a confession.   I do not have a law degree.  Nope, I’ve not even served on a jury! 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 vintage law books look on my bookshelves.  One of the keys to styling a bookcase you will love, is to use books and items that are pleasing to ‘your’ eye.

French Style Decorating

This spring, I did a complete overhaul of the family room built-ins. I love the casual, spring, French look. My bookcases are a huge canvas for my creativity and get regular updates. You need not worry if this isn’t your specific aesthetic, the elements and principles pictured and discussed will work in any scheme.

You can see other similar projects on these past posts: A Simple DIY Bookcase Update, Marble Shelving Unit DIY, How to Style A Bookcase

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

The Design Elements: French Style Bookcase Styling

  1. Line and Movement
  2. Unity
  3. Space
  4. Color

1. Line and Movement on a Shelf

An example of using line and movement in the styling of this bookcase can be found in how the books are placed. You will notice some of the books are vertical and some are horizontal. This helps to keep the eye moving along the levels of the bookcase.

French Style Bookcase Styling

2. Unity in a Bookcase

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”. Did I mention that quote was said while sporting a moss green leisure suit in the 1970s.

Still, occasionally I am fond of a trend, 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  both bookcases creating unity and rhythm. My antique Bible collection is also seemlessly mingled with the law books I’ve never read.

Styling Bookcase Shelves

3. Space – How to Use Negative Space on a Bookshelf

If you want to avoid a cluttered look, be sure to use negative space. This means making sure there several empty areas on your bookcase. That allows the eye to rest and keeps the design clutter free. (Some of you prefer a lot of negative space. You’d want to edit out at least a third of the objects pictured in these bookcases, and that would work as well.

French Styled Bookcase

4. Color – Help Unify the Bookshelf with Color

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.

French Decor Items Sytled in a Bookcase

Hope you’ve found a helpful hint or two, and you’re ready to clear the shelves and bookcases and give it a go! (Note: As of the edited date on the top line of the blog, none of the items are found in the family room bookcase. )

Enjoy Today!
Love y’all,

Lori Nell

Be sure to follow me on My Pinterest, My Instagram and My Facebook for daily inspiration.

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