(with an owl Halloween decoration if you're wondering what the fuzzy black thing is!)
This was the sad state of my family room bookshelves. It's embarrassing given my profession. I didn't have anything all that great to display on my bookshelves so I used them mostly to store my magazine subscriptions. Slowly these shelves became a catch-all for any magazine or book that came into my home. And the DVD player on the top?! Who even watches DVDs anymore? And that unsightly receiver - the necessary evil of any family room that has a TV. I needed to find a way to make it not so obvious.
My sweet Grandma, who had amazing taste and a vast collection of antiques recently passed away at 96 years-old. I was lucky enough to inherit some of her antiques, including some really great old leather-bound books and figurines/jars. I wanted to display these new objects, so I felt like it was time to redo these shelves and give them a little love.
Where to start?!
1. Take EVERYTHING off your shelves. A clean slate is necessary to get the old set-up out of your mind. In fact, after you empty your shelves, walk away and do something else for a minute so you can come back and see the empty bookshelves in a new light. I know this sounds funny - but this is what I had to do to clear my mind of the old set-up and think of something new!
2. Lay out everything you are thinking about displaying on your shelves. You can do this in a variety of ways. I recommend putting the must-haves in a section so you know what you need for your base. Then lay out all of the other objects/books/etc. and look for coordinating colors, textures and sizes.
3. Put the must-haves on the shelves in no particular order. I knew I wanted my Grandma's Emily Post Etiquette book on the shelf (it's a family tradition to read from it every now and then and teach us some manners). And the porcelain horse reminds me of my Grandfather who raced horses, so I definitely wanted that on the shelf. The leather-bound books are not really meaningful besides the fact they came from my Grandma, but pretty and cool, and books (for a bookshelf, ha) so these were going on the shelves for sure. And the planter and preserved boxwood seemed like good accessories to go with my must-haves.
4. Look for similar colors, heights, and sizes and keep them either grouped or dispersed throughout the shelves.
I randomly started setting things on the shelves around my must-haves. Looking at the shelves I saw 4 groups of objects - by color. 1) Red tones 2) Blue/Green Tones 3) Whites 4) Golds. Grouping by color is the easiest way to make sense of what you have on your shelves. I like to balance the groups by keeping them scattered amongst the shelves, rather than grouped all together.
|Mark D. Sikes|
Group them all together like this photo...
5. Spacing. Make sure to allow blank space to show by mixing heights of objects and setting books/objects apart from each other.
I decided to "frame" the horse by splitting up the book collection. It made a more dramatic effect by having that space between them. On the top shelf, however, I felt like there was too much space between the horizontal and vertical books. Too much space just looks incomplete or like something is missing, right?
6. Take a picture, rearrange, take another picture, rearrange... This is the process I went through for about 30 minutes! Just snapping photos, looking at the picture and seeing what seemed out of place, or out of balance. For some reason, when you photograph something you see it in another light and it is really helpful for seeing color and balance.
It's a lot better than then before...
Below are close-ups of what I used on my shelves. Can I add that 80% of the items on these shelves have meaning and/or purpose. That is really important to me. My motto - THOUGHTFUL DESIGN. I can't stand decorating with "props". I feel like I'm living in a magazine or furniture store. Not good.
There are lot's of great posts on how to style a bookshelf. Here are some of my favorites.
Lessons in Design: Bookshelf Styling
Chic & Glamorous: 6 Chic Styling Tips for Bookshelves
Little Green Notebook: Book Shelf Styling
Coco + Kelley: Pastel Styling: A Bookshelf Makeover
Have a great weekend!