“A room without books is like a body without a soul”, Cicero famously said. And we could not agree more. Since the soaring success of BookTok, more people are (re)discovering the pleasure of reading. As a result, books are accumulating in every corner of the home. As pleasing as a curated bookshelf may be, the reality at home is often very different.
So, how can you keep your own library from looking like a dishevelled pile? Here are some of how favourite tips for styling your bookshelves.
Choose A “Less is More” Approach
We have all seen those libraries with wall-to-wall rows of books that would make Belle swoon. However, those are often the exception to the rule. In most cases, it is best to choose a more toned-down approach and leave your books some room to breathe. Packed-up bookshelves can feel clunky, especially if the rest of your space is breezier. Having issues finding room on your current book displays? It may be time to invest in new bookshelves, such as our Muzi display cabinet.
It is best to leave some room on the sides or between piles of books to create space and the impression of a more intentional display whenever possible. You will be surprised by how much more curated your bookshelf will instantly appear. Even if your bookshelf is linear, leaving room will create several niches that make it easier to style. Of course, if you are feeling stumped for inspiration, opting for a bookshelf with niches of various shapes and sizes, such as our Sorrento display cabinet, immediately adds interest to your set-up.
Once you have created some empty areas, start curating your bookshelf by adding bigger elements, such as a pile of your larger coffee books or more imposing decorating components like a vase, a picture frame, etc. It will create an impression of balance and will make it easier to style the rest of the bookshelf.
Larger books typically look best when placed at the bottom rather than on top. Do not forget to play with shapes for added interest and spread your focal points throughout your display.
Another way to add some interest to your bookshelf is to display your books using different orientations: vertically, of course, but also in horizontal stacks or slightly leaning against each other to create more space between stacks.
Stacks of books can be the perfect pedestal for smaller decorative objects, such as cups or small vases. Changing the orientation is a great way to play with shape, especially if your bookshelf has rounded areas, such as the top shelf of our Sorrento small display cabinet.
Add some Accessories
On to the fun part! Express your individuality using your bookshelf by displaying your favourite travel souvenirs, family pictures, or thrifted home décor among your books. You can create little vignettes by grouping some of these decorative accessories in layers if your bookshelf’s depth allows. Live plants, real or fake, can also add some texture and interest to your display, particularly plants with trailing leaves that can make your bookshelf appear taller.
As always, texture and colour play an essential role when creating a unified look. From the colour of your books to those of your accessories, these little details can make or break the curated look you are trying to emulate. There is no “one fits all” approach to creating a display that looks and feels like it is part of your home and your unique decorating style. For example, a boho abode may be the perfect set-up for a bright mix of colours and décor. Meanwhile, a minimalist approach, with the books displayed with their spine in the back and sparse décor in organic colour, may be a better fit for modern or earth-inspired homes.
Take a Step Back
Throughout the decorating process, do not forget to step back regularly to take a look at the big picture. It is easy to get caught up in the details and go overboard, messing with the impression of balance and elegance you are attempting to portray. Leave some negative space throughout your bookshelf, and do not hesitate to remove some elements before it gets cluttered.