Bookshelves are, by far, the area I am asked about most frequently. It is so hard to find that right balance! I actually find styling them therapeutic in a way though. Some of you are probably yawning/gagging at that statement but I really do feel that way. It’s like when I hear someone say they love working with numbers. Barf. I don’t and can’t understand it but I do understand arranging knick knacks. To help shed a little light on the subject I thought I would break it down into:
3 Ways to Style Bookshelves.
This method works in almost any room because the style is meant to blend more than stand out. I love using tone-on-tone when mixing accessories if my goal is to make the shelves feel understated, architectural, and soothing.
There’s not really a place in my mind that greenery does not belong but, I especially love it paired with neutrals. One quick way to ensure your neutral styling is not boring is to infuse leafy greens and lots of texture.
found via Beneath My Heart
Sometimes simple is nice. These shelves feel like they breathe and this styling would be great if you have a lot going on in the other areas of the room.
These shelves prove that neutral does not have to mean tailored and minimalist. I love the “cluttered” look of these shelves and it works so well because, although there is a lot of stuff, the color scheme is not distracting.
Pops of Color
Say you are bored by sticking with neutrals but are afraid to let things get too wacky. That’s when you need just a few splashes of color. In this method I think of the shelves as the outfit and a few select (colorful) accessories as the jewelry.
These shelves are the perfect example of choosing one accent color. The key is to use shades of one color so that it doesn’t look too matchy-matchy. You also want to pick a color that works with the other things in the room. For instance this same aqua wouldn’t look as good to me if most of the other stuff were another bright color. It really pops against the greys.
Although there is not just one accent color in these shelves, it still works for this category because there seems to be a color scheme. The burnt orange accents are obviously intentional and create cohesion in the overall look.
And again, the pops of color don’t have to be loud. Soothing pops of muted colors work just as well!
Although the name would have you believe that this is a “stick-anything-anywhere” approach it actually may be the hardest method of all to pull off. Creating “clutter” that actually is pleasing to look at takes a knack.
These shelves are pretty orderly but they have that just off symmetry that I love. Objects balance each other out but the sides are not mirror images.
These shelves are a great example of using a mix of accessories but in an orderly way. Even for someone who hates “clutter” these shelves would feel under control.
One way to do clutter right is to have an overall theme. Even if the items themselves are placed in a scattered way, the theme shared between them can be cohesive. In this example there is a variety of stuff but it all falls in the vintage/industrial category.
I hope this helps a little for the next time you want to play with the accessories on your shelves. My tried-and-true method is to start with just one small area or shelf and get it exactly right then build from there. Use your one “template shelf” to guide the rest. This ensures a good balance as you go. I also always recommend walking out of the room about halfway through and coming back in with fresh eyes. I always notice something I didn’t before or get a little surge of motivation to finish the job! Good luck!