Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Interior Inspiration: How To Style Your Bookshelves
With a book publishing career spanning nearly a decade, I've amassed quite the collection of books - not to mention the books I brought over from my teen and college years (think Sylvia Plath, J.D. Salinger, Ayn Rand, and other angst-y, teenage lit) and my extensive interiors magazine collection (thanks to a friend who donates a stack of World of Interiors every time she sees me).
When we moved into this house a year ago, built-in shelves and cupboards were my dream. After making do with an IKEA Expedit shelf for years in rented accommodation (seriously, we dismantled and put that thing back together a record number of times), I wanted a place to display my books, photos and objets (I really don't know how else to describe my gold pineapple, brass starfish or geode bookends) that felt permanent.
I wanted my bookshelves to say: I live here.
But frankly, we received laughable quotes from several builders last year (as in, £3,000+ HAHAHA) and I abandoned the idea of having bespoke shelves altogether, especially when we started work on the gardens this summer. But after a tip from a local Facebook group, we found a builder who could make shelves, cupboards and built-in wardrobes upstairs for a much more reasonable price. Within a week, I was the proud, new owner of these beautiful shelves.
Over the weekend, I experimented with different arrangements and came up with the displays below. I'd love to share a few things I learned along the way, if you're interested!
1. Consider the depth of the shelves you have/want.
The depth of the shelves was important to me. I wanted to display objects and framed photos in front of the books. Depth, I learned, would give us more options (and options are always good to have!).
2. Layer in "objects".
Along with my books, I've got a good little vase collection going on (mostly stuff I've picked up in Habitat sales). They're too pretty to hide away in cupboards, so I sandwiched them in-between books and used them as bookends. Objects like candles, figurines, and even plants can be placed on top of, beside, and in front of books.
3. Decide how to organize your books.
I organized my books by color, rather than alphabetical order (which seemed to bother a lot of people, judging from the comments I received on social media!). Even books with similar colors (like my Penguin Modern Classics) were haphazardly placed on the shelves, with no regard to the order of titles or the authors' names. I've always loved having randomly arranged bookshelves - from childhood to college - so my shelves at home also embrace this randomness.
4. Take advantage of beautiful book covers.
Have you ever noticed how books on bookstore shelves are often turned so that the cover, rather than the spine, faces the customer? It's so effective (and trust me, a lot of thought goes into designing book covers and jackets for this very reason). So, it's a shame that book spines are often the only part of the book that shows on the shelf. Along with stacking books on their side, I also occasionally flipped a book so that it's displayed like a piece of framed art, which adds a bit of interest to the shelf.
5. Save the top shelves for artwork and the bottom shelf for framed photos.
I love the look of leaning, framed artwork, and placing mismatched pieces on our highest shelf gives the illusion of higher ceilings, I've found. I also invested in some silver frames for black and white photos of our wedding, so I've put these on the bottom shelves, on top of the cabinets, to add a personal touch.
I'm looking forward to cozy nights in and reading books on the couch! How do you like to organize your books at home? Are you a fan of organizing by color, author, subject, or a combination of everything? I'd love to know!