Let's Tackle that Bookcase (in 6 Easy Steps)

I'm a huge fan of bookcases.  For one, they hold books - and I LOVE books and lots of them.  To me, the absence of a good supply of books leaves a large void in the overall feel and warmth of a home.  My bookcase harbors books from my early childhood (Go Dog Go, boy did I like that book when I first learned to read), on through elementary (Nancy Drew, the first series that I got lost in), through college (F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton works), and of course my recent finds.  Most people like bookcases for their functionality and storage, and that is true - they hold lots of stuff and allow items to be organized neatly.  But in my eyes, the best part of a bookcase is the ability to display many pieces in one area, that can stir up nostalgia that spans your lifetime.  That being said, let's make sure that bookcase is styled correctly.  Because all that great stuff can quickly turn into a junk pile if you don't follow these 6 simple steps.         


Step 1: Take everything off of the shelves. Go through all your items and books and make 3 piles. Pile #1 is for the items you love, want to keep in the bookcase and display. Pile #2 is for the things you want/need to keep but don’t really want on display (like DVDs, charging cords, etc.) Pile #3 is for the misfit items that need to be tossed, donated or relocated to a more efficient spot. Dust those shelves off and start fresh.

Step 2: Now stand back and look. Take your larger items and put those on the bottom shelves (extra large books, heavy pottery/ceramics or big baskets that house your items from pile #2). Now stand back and look - make sure you’re not placing items in a row, all perfectly lined up. Focus on random placement and be sure to leave some space. This isn’t about packing things in.

Step 3: This is the fun part. Go to pile #1 and start stacking books in groups (I like to group them by size and color). Lay some flat, others upright, and some on an angle. Each time you do a group - stand back and look. Do you like what you see? If not, rearrange and play with it. Take your time and be creative. It’s like a big jigsaw puzzle!

Step 4: We’re still looking at pile #1 but at the objects now. Start placing them randomly throughout the entire bookcase - on top of the books that are on their side, up against those that are upright as if they are bookends, and some just by themselves. Each time you place an item on the shelf, step back and ask yourself, “do I love how this looks?


Step 5: Add some greenery. Do you have some plants in the house you can move to the bookcase? It’s amazing what adding a few little plants you can do for the overall look. Word of warning though - be mindful of the kind of lighting the plants will have in their new home on the bookcase. You may have to purchase some faux greenery if there isn't sufficient sunlight. 


Step 6: Stand back and look. Are there some holes? Do you need some more books, objects or greenery? Make a shopping list. Walk around Homegoods, they have SO much good stuff. Follow your eye and go to the things you’re drawn to. Remember to mix textures as well (it’s all about balance) - look for wood, glass, gold, ceramic and woven items. Bring them home and try them out! And simply return the things that don’t work. 


Continue to play around with moving things in and out of the bookcase...it’s a living, breathing project. I’m still styling my bookcase and I’ve been in my home for three years. Play around. Remember to have fun with it.

To quote Mary Poppins, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and SNAP, the job’s a game!”

But don’t fret if you can’t find the fun...that’s what we’re here for. Give us a shout, we would love to help.

Happy styling!