Despite their moniker, bookshelves aren’t just for books anymore. Quite the contrary, these versatile units are a great place to display collections of art, accessories and other unusual items that can add visual interest to any room. And with the recent rise in virtual meetings, that all-important “Zoom background” in your home office, living area or bedroom needs to be absolutely on point. Here are three go-to tips for styling a bookcase that’s worthy of a “shelfie selfie.”
Go from big to small. When planning where to place accessories on your shelves, start with the larger items and work your way down to the smaller ones. This is how I generally approach furnishing a room, and it applies to accessories too. Create “vignettes” by grouping your accessories, with the larger items positioned further back and the smaller ones layered in front. Make sure to stand back after you have placed your pieces, to consider the overall balance of your display from across the room. Edit your arrangements until you’re happy with the overall proportions.
Add decorative elements. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: bookcases aren’t just for books anymore. Incorporate decorative elements onto your shelves to add pops of colour and visual interest. Framed art, sculptures and other decorative items create visual variety by way of colour, materials, textures and finishes. Think wood, metal, glass and manufactured materials. Of course, books still have a rightful place on your shelves, so switch it up by creating some horizontally stacked piles.
Tip: Plants can bring dimension to your display, adding freshness and vibrancy among your other items, and there’s lots of beautiful pottery to choose from. If your space lacks natural light (or if your green thumb is brown) consider adding some high-quality artificial plants. From a distance, you won’t even be able to tell the difference.
Work in odd numbers. As a general rule, accessorizing in odd-numbered groupings is pleasing to the eye, providing a visual centre for the eye to land on, and symmetry around it. Position your books, accessories and art in groups of one, three, five, or even seven if you’re working with small items. However, always be mindful of clutter and be sure to leave some empty spaces as well. The goal is to create a display that is thoughtful and curated in terms of its content and the overall aesthetic.
One of the beautiful things of a bookshelf display is that they can be changed at any given time, relatively easily and for a minimal cost. Swap out items seasonally, or simply to freshen up the room from time to time. Don’t overcomplicate it. Choose the things you love, and you can’t go wrong.
Toronto-based stager Red Barrinuevo is the property stylist on HGTV Canada’s Hot Market Series and the Principal Designer at Redesign4more. He is an award-winning interior stylist who was also named one of the most influential people in real estate staging this year by RESA Global. His firm is known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through their creative home staging, interior styling services, and design services. www.redesign4more.com