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Decorating a bookshelf seems pretty easy. You just fill it up with books...right? Not so fast! There's a lot more to a well-styled bookshelf than meets the eye. But don't be intimidated - decorating a bookshelf is a great way to express some creativity and flex your styling muscles. Here are some tips for decorating a bookshelf - inside and out!
What to Put on a Bookshelf
The number one item is, obviously, books.
Old, new, large, small, hardcover, paperback - no matter what they look like books are always great. Remember if you're using a large number of books to vary the way you display them. Have some displayed vertically and some displayed horizontally to create a bit of visual interest.
Bookshelves are great places to display small pieces of art, such as paintings. Depending on their size you can layer them in front of books, or lean them against the back of the shelf and layer smaller items in front.
Small photo frames can be easily layered in front of books to create depth and add a personal touch. Keep in mind that they look best when placed between waist-height and eye-level. Never put them too high or too low. And try to avoid using too many, as small frames tend to look cluttered when several are grouped together. No more than three per shelf (unless your shelf spans the length of the room, in which case you can use more).
Baskets are fantastic for bookshelves because they fill a lot of space, and they can hold a lot of stuff. As a general rule they look best near the bottom of shelving units, plus it makes them easier to access.
Decorative boxes are the go-to accessory for designers and stylists looking to fill empty -spaces.
They come in a huge variety of colors and materials, so no matter what your style you can find something to suit your shelves. Don't be afraid to stack them or layer items on top.
Bookshelf Styling Tips
Composition is something that a lot people have trouble with. No matter what you put on your shelves the key is to make sure that items relate to each other in some way, be it through color, style, theme, or some combination of all three. Remember, making multiple items work together is about thinking of them as a single unit.
Displays should never be one-dimensional, so be sure to layer a few items in front of each other. Put the tallest items in the back and the smallest ones in front. This could mean layering some little decorative objects in front of books, or placing books in front of a piece of art. Don't be afraid to partially hide some things, because what you can't see from one angle you'll be able to see from another.
-Size and Scale
No matter whether you're styling a bookshelf, coffee table, or mantle, it's important to find balance. You don't want anything really big that will overwhelm the space, nor do you want anything teeny tiny that will get lost.
Vary the shapes, sizes and heights of all the items, but try to keep them in relation to each other.
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