“A home without books is a body without a soul,” said the Roman philosopher Cicero. He may have written this sentence more than two thousand years ago, but when it comes to making a home feel personal, we can’t agree anymore. We love adding books to our design scheme, but if you’re looking to turn bookshelves from simple storage into a design statement, our designers advise, “Look beyond books to create a bookshelf that reflects the personality of your home and yours (And psssst – when you have bookshelves and nothing to fill them with. We can help with that too! See 10 Books Every Design Library Should Have).
In the picture: The bookshelves in our New Jersey Home Staging Project.
Quick Tips for Success in Styling Bookcases
1. Stack books both vertically and horizontally for additional visual interest.
2. Mix in objects. Consider including a collection of objects organized around a specific theme.
3. Install lighting. Wall lamps and gallery lights can turn your bookshelf into a design feature. Layer your objects.
4. Use artwork as a background for your objects and place the smaller objects in front of books so they don’t get lost.
5. Integrate works of art. Use works of art as an installation element or hang works of art directly on the shelves for adventurous designs.
Vary the book orientation
Stack the books vertically and horizontally for additional visual interest. Image: Styled by Emily Henderson via HGTV
Think about collections
Think thematically when it comes to choosing objects for your shelves. Here a collection of clubs and trophies is casually displayed on the top shelf. Image via Lonny Magazine
Think about the lighting
As soon as the sun goes down, the table lamp in these bookcases adds ambient light to the room and makes the shelves stand out. Pictured: Styling by Emily Henderson / Photo by Ryan Love via Cup of Jo
Layer your objects
Stack the objects on top of and in front of the books for a more layered, versatile feel. Image via Lili Diallo
Use the shelves to hang art
You don’t have to simply prop your items on the shelves, you can hang them on the shelves as well. Note that the large white space on these shelves keeps things from feeling cluttered. Image via Emily Henderson