Design Tips: Setting up your Bookshelves

12728460_SAs you finish unpacking, do you find yourself staring at those empty bookshelves, unsure of how to tackle filling them so that they are attractive and functional? It may seem a bit overwhelming, but take it in stages and you will find it easier and maybe even fun. Let’s start with a question:

Do you have a lot of books? If the answer is yes, then your goal is to plan your shelves to showcase your nicest hardcovers in your main living area. While you want to keep your books organized, hardcover books will look the nicest on a shelf.

If you have only a few books, then you can still make your shelves attractive. Start by pulling together any larger decorative baskets or boxes that will fit on your shelves. Scatter these and your books in an evenly-balanced way throughout the shelf space.

16564260_SDon’t limit your book directions to vertical. The books in this photo to the right are set slanted and horizontal. Some are even used as a base for smaller vases and pitchers. Look at placing your largest books horizontally on the lowest shelves. This will ground the arrangement while still making them accessible.

This photo also shows an open box. Play with your boxes and baskets to see if different angles or directions make the shelves look more interesting.

Next, add any photos or artwork. You may want to place these around eye level so people don’t have to strain to see them. Experiment with putting a photo or drawing against the back of the shelf with something else in front of it. Take advantage of your shelves’ depth.

17478352_SThis last photo shows a completed bookshelf. While it is a bit busy, you can see lots of good options for making your shelves interesting. Two larger boxes anchor the bottom of the shelves and books alternate with various accessories. The third shelf down demonstrates the power of layering and using different angles.

You may find yourself making changes and additions over time. That’s a good thing. Your shelves announce your interests and tastes to visitors, so have fun and experiment until you’re satisfied – for now!