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"Bookshelves are just for books"...Not anymore!

One small task in the design process that overwhelms a lot of folks are the bookshelves. How full should they be? Where do I put everything? How do I create a balanced look? So many questions, and I'm here to help you out. I've compiled a few tips of my own along with a couple photos of finished products.


First, I always start with emptying most of the bookshelf. I leave the books because those are easier to move around. Sometimes, we load up on accessories for our shelves and it looks cluttered and chaotic. It's hard to see past that unless it's almost naked.



  • Create depth with paint or wallpaper in the back of the shelves behind the books. This can create more color for your space or, if you want to keep it neutral, it can brighten up a dark bookcase.

  • Use natural elements. Use raw wood pieces of greenery to ground your display.

  • Group your collections. Put similar items together on one shelf to showcase a small collection: Vintage cameras, bottles of marbles, Tokens from travels, etc.

  • Books. Taking off the shiny sleeves can help your books to look more valuable and helps to blend them with older books for a more cohesive look. Also alternate your stacks of books: horizontally and vertically.

  • Stagger your heights of items in your shelves. This creates a layered look. It's not about symmetry, it's about balance. If you put a large item on one side, put another large item on the other side but on a different shelf.

  • Mix your textures. Use different materials throughout your whole storage piece to give it a curated and layered look: Books, glass, greenery, wood, metal, photos, etc.

After reading these tips, if you're still unsure or unhappy with your shelves, give me a call. We can chat over photos of your shelves or go shopping for new accessories to fill your home with joy! Thanks for reading... follow along for our next blog post!


Kelley Kolettis


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