STYLING BOOKCASES 101




I think one of the hardest things for most people to do is style bookcases.  Believe me.....it is a process....and doesn't happen without a lot of thought.

The other day I got a call to help with this very thing and even though these pictures aren't the best....I thought I could use the opportunity to give you a few elementary basics using only what she had.

Here is a picture of what they looked like in the beginning.


We made a date for me to come back and I told her to empty all the shelves and place things that had meaning in a separate area so I would know to use them....


Here is a shot of the beginning.

The hardest part is where to start....
So I started organizing everything...... Similar  colors with the hardbacks and putting paperbacks and accessories in a separate pile.

Kind of like cleaning your desk before you start working.  

Before

Here is the after...
  OK...let's dissect. 
 
Don't be afraid to change the height of shelves.  I added the 2 black and white pictures and tried to build around them.  As you can see towards the end...I ran out of things....but remember I was using only what she had. 

Put the best things at the top and eye level.  You can always fill in lower shelves later.


I asked her for baskets to add texture and it also helped to use the paperbacks turned backwards.  


Before.
After


When you run out of pictures....use books to create the same look.


I used the largest picture on the tallest bookshelf to help create a focal point.




These were the shortest bookshelves under the oval window.

One more time...the before

And the after...

The thing about bookshelves in a library/office is that they should tell a story.  The books you love, the mementos from travels and special moments in your life.  Not everything has to be styled with all trendy objects you go out and buy.  I think you want to walk in...and see something that brings back a memory.

While I was doing them...I stood back many times....took a few pictures so I could see what areas needed tweaking.  As the client said... she now has a blueprint to add more books and change a few things out if she wants.

 Have I given you something to do this weekend?

.....these took me about 2 1/2 hours although I did not have to empty all the shelves!

I tried to get a better picture of the John Robshaw [Kendra] fabric we used for the roman shades in the laundry room for you...when I took back the shortened curtains :)  I do love this fabric.




Shayray...








32 comments

Kelly@bungalowblueinteriors said...

Looks fabulous, as always! Styling bookshelves and hanging gallery walls are my two favorite things to do for clients!

Kathysue said...

Great job, you are a master at shelves and mantels for sure!! I use to love to do clients shelves and mantels. Coffee tables are my problem area, since I don't like clutter they bother me if they have too many things on them. Bookshelves are a favorite to style. Love your use of textures in all of your styling jobs,
Happy Thursday,
Kathysue

René said...

SO great to hear your thoughts on this! Bookshelves can be tough. Looks great as always!

Ashley @ The Houston House said...

much more cohesive, good job!

Christina Baker said...

Wow!! You are so good at this Sherry!!!! The composition and textures are perfect. I especially love the negative space you created in several areas. Love the asymmetric feel as well.

Simply LKJ said...

Love how they turned out. I hadn't thought about using the front of a coffee table type book like a picture. Great tip! Now I am inspired to redo our library shelves this weekend. While they are organized, I am ready for a change.

Tiffany @ {Living Savvy} said...

Great outline to you process! And of course it looks amazing! I always think this is the area I stink in, but when I am done I love it and so do my clients!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Love it, it looks so pretty and so interesting. I agree, I think it is so important to have something that is fun and memorable on the shelves. Makes it so nice to look at, remember and just smile. It's also a great conversation starter. Hugs, Marty

Mary Ann at classic•casual•home said...

Very pretty. Love art on book shelves. I usually nix the paper backs so the baskets are a great idea!!

Mary said...

Thanks for the idea of corralling paperbacks in a basket.
It's so true...everything looks better in a basket or on a tray.
I'm going to gather up my dirty laundry & put it in a basket. Then I won't mind seeing it.

Patty Day @Pattys Epiphanies said...

They turned out perfect!
I change mine out "a lot". Usually adding and subtracting things that have meaning to our lives..while keeping a common thread. As you know, it's not always easy, but I find it fun!

Catie said...

You are too good!! Master of bookshelf and mantel styling.

An Urban Cottage said...

You get the Vignette Angel seal of approval.

Linda @ DesignInMyView said...

Ditto love the paper backs turned backwards and grouped together, also featuring a coffee table book as a "picture".

Maybe you ran out of materials, but my "eye" wants to fill up those bottom shelves with all books for visual weight. And that's what makes the designer world go round! :-)

Cheers!

LiveLaughDecorate said...

Great job lady. Styling them things aint easy. Great tutorial for sure

Lynda @ Happenstance Home said...

Bookshelves look so calm and organized. Love that fabric. Almost used it for my front room slipcover updates, but it blended a little too much. Such a beautiful fabric though - maybe for somewhere else :)

stephanie said...

Sherry - looks great love all the personal objects used -- makes it so much more special! looks great.

Kerry Steele- Design du Monde said...

Love it! I will use the basket idea for paperbacks when we finish our library. I have been agonizing over what to do about them.

Linda {Calling it Home} said...

Seriously, books backwards in a basket...brilliant. Say that three times, fast.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Great advice that will be very useful for me. Nothing frustrates me more than styling bookcases. Thanks so much for this.
Sam

Interior Design Musings said...

Great Post - total goodness on that styling job! m.

Holly Irwin Fine Art said...

Hi Sherry, What a transformation! Looks so sleek and stylish now, and the baskets added nice texture. Have a great weekend!
xo
Holly

Kirby Dunton Carespodi said...

Looks great! Another trick I learned at "furniture camp" is that if you're going to stand them up, you Put the tallest ones on the outside and do like a 'U' with the shorter in the middle. That's if you have a lot of books that take up the whole shelf, like I do.

Elisa of Fancy Free Me said...

loving the basket of books! The overall is perfect. You did a great job swapping out the shelf heights!

Kris @ Driven by Décor said...

You are the queen of styling! Amazing what a difference it made to the room!

Sarah said...

I popped over from Kathysue's blog. This is a fantastic post! I enjoy styling shelves and have done it for friends. Just finished restyling shelves in our breakfast area, dining room, and ready to start on the living room shelves next. Thanks for the inspiration!

michele said...

the fabric is beeeeeeyond, sher. the shell on the books works like magic, and i esp like the idea of snapping photos to ease the whole process. great tips i can use!

smiles.

michele

Heather Moore Grahling | Vivid Hue Home said...

you did an excellent job! what a fab "after"!!!!!!

Maureen Richmond said...

I am inspired, but need some motivation. I like the idea of putting the paperbacks backwards in baskets. Great job!

Nancy {at} powellbrower at home said...

Great job. I love the art on the shelves. It really makes it look unique!
xo Nancy

Carmel - Our Fifth House said...

Bookshelves are so hard! It took me weeks to do the ones in my hubs office! Wish you lived next door - I would have to loved to just call you over for some wine and bookshelf styling. Can't wait to see you in a couple weeks!

Ramon said...

Fantastic!

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