Get Organized at Home with These Ideas and Tips
Say goodbye to clutter with hacks that get your house in order.
Remember when medicine cabinet “shelfies” were having a moment?. Well now, there’s a new shelfie in town—it’s all about curating a beautiful bookshelf with, of course, books but also special trinkets, plants, and more.
“Our collective love affair with home decor is sweeping across social media right now—even fashion and food influencers are showcasing their home styling and renovation projects,” says Courtney Schrank, interior designer and founder of Courtney Schrank Design Studio. “The bookshelf “shelfie” is an easy way to switch up your bedroom, living room, or office space. The beauty of it is you can curate different objects, books, plants, anything you like, depending on your mood or the season. It’s a moveable feast of style potential.”
The trick to styling your bookshelf is to focus on making it an aesthetically pleasing feature rather than simply a storage space. And, while the possibilities for styling are endless, there is an art to it.
Whether you’re starting from scratch and looking for the ideal bookshelf for your space, or you want to simply rethink an existing unit, you’ll want to carefully consider the aesthetic you want to achieve.
“If you don’t already have a built-in bookshelf, pick something that blends with the existing pieces in your room,” shares Schrank. Caning and rattan are two materials that are quite trendy for bookshelves, while traditional wood and metal always look good.
If you have a built-in unit that you’re not loving, consider giving it a fresh coat of paint. Schranks suggests pared-down neutral hues to create a fresh base to style. For those who prefer a bolder look, dark greens, blue and even soft black are trending.
If you’re going for a more stylized look, every book you own may not make it onto the shelf—and the ones that do may not be the bestsellers. How you want your shelves to look will dictate how you edit your books down.
“If you’re a fan of color, try a rainbow themed collection of books, grouping shelves by colors,” says Schrank. Prefer tonal neutrals? Feature only books with spines in soft shafts or turn your books inwards so you don’t see the spines. If you don’t have exactly what you need, take the book jackets off hardcover books to reveal a more classic look. Or, head to a used bookshop to fill in any holes.
When it comes to placement, Schrank says you can try varying the stacks so some are vertical, while others are horizontal. And stick to odd numbers as they tend to work best visually.
The key is to keep things feeling intentional and curated, rather than cluttered or thrown together. “Balance colors, materials, sizes, and don’t fill every nook and cranny,” notes Schrank.
Think about the weights of your books too. “Heavier, chunkier, coffee table books look best styled on the lower shelves, while smaller, lighter books work best up top.”
Play around with compositions until you have an edit that you feel happy with.
Once you’ve got your books situated, it’s time to add some knick knacks and other style elements to give your shelves a bit of personality.
Play With Shapes: Books are rectangular, so choose items with shapes that contrast that—like a small globe or triangular bookends. Pick some taller items to display, too. Books are often all the same height, so a tall vase or candlesticks will help keep the eye interested.
Add interest: “Try varying your textures and materials—glass, stone, dried flowers—and stick to white, cream, and other organic tones. You can always add an impact piece such as a gold bookend or green plant to create a pop,” advises Schrank.
Look For Unique Items: If you have a more eclectic vibe, consider browsing your local flea market or antique shop. “I love vintage typewriters, antique vases, photo frames, or even an old clock. These unique items keep your decor from looking cookie cutter,” she adds.
Consider Seasonal Decor: Keep in mind that you can always update your shelves throughout the year, too. “Adding seasonal florals such as tulips in spring and evergreen branches in winter is one way to do this,” says Schrank. “I love styling mine with lemons and limes in pretty bowls for summer and ornaments or vintage holiday items in the winter.”
No matter what route you take, your goal should be to stay true to your personal aesthetic. Schrank’s parting advice: “Your bookshelves should reflect your personal style, so don’t forget to add meaningful pieces, photographs, or family heirlooms to give it that personal touch.”