Organizing your Bookshelf

Recently, I came across the set of images above in the Ballard Design catalogue and was excited to see that they did an exercise illustrating the many ways you can stage a bookcase.  For many of us, the thought of having a decorative as well as functional bookcase is a little wacky.  If you are like me, my bookshelf actually has books on it.  In fact, it's packed.  Creating a visually inviting bookcase is quite the task, but with some editing, and some curating, it is completely possible to get the look you see in catalogues.

Here are a few quick tips to get you started:

1. Empty your bookshelf and start with a clean slate.  While you are pulling off books try to evaluate if they are worth keeping or donating.  As long as you are moving things around this is a perfect time to do some spring cleaning.

2. Add books to the shelves editing as you go.  Try to organize them by size and subject.  Also, try to place some vertically and horizontally to add visual interest.  Don't be too symmetrical.  It looks more spontaneous when a stack of books is uneven.

3. Do not fill all of the space with books.  A third of the shelf should be a decorative accent of some kind.  Try mixing in framed photos, art, collectibles, and small decorative boxes to add some variety.  Be mindful of colors you are using, textures, and shapes as they can add or detract from the overall look.  

4. Use a discerning eye.  Step back frequently to assess what you have done, double checking that it feels balanced yet unpredictable, full but uncluttered.

Here are other great examples of successful styling to give you some ideas and get you motivated.

 Lili Diallo

Lonny Magazine

Phoebe Howard

Carrier and Company Interiors Ltd

Annsley McAllee

Suzanne Kasler

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