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How to Style a Bookshelf


Bookshelves in your home are useful both for storage and for displaying the things that make you happy. Creating a pleasing arrangement is not difficult but it takes a bit of time and effort. Whether you have one shelf or a wall of built-ins, here are some tips to get you stylin' like a pro!

1. Start with a clean slate. Remove all items and give the shelves a good dusting.

2. Collect the items for display. The easiest grouping will be objects varying in height and scale, but with some common elements such as color, material, or theme. Not every object needs to fit these criteria, but having several that do will give your shelves a cohesive look. I selected the grouping below to include deep saturated colors, natural materials, glass, and metallics.

3. Create balance with the largest items first. Distribute your biggest items evenly on the shelves, with some to the left and some to the right.

4. Vary the orientation of your books. Place some in stacks laid flat and others upright. Get creative with the objects you use as bookends.

5. Stack and layer smaller elements. Place some on top of the flat items and others in front of the larger pieces on the shelves.

6. Step back and consider the negative space. This is the area around the objects: the back of your shelf or the wall behind if your shelves are open. Try to create a roughly equal amount of negative space on each shelf, or let it decrease as you move down. Having packed shelves at the top and sparse ones at the bottom will look unbalanced.

If you found these tips helpful be sure to subscribe to the Pretty Neat weekly email! You'll get a short and sweet message each week with my best advice for a more beautiful and functional home. Click here to sign up, and you'll also receive my FREE guide: How to Get Rid of Stuff! Make it fab! Carrie

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