9 Style Tips You Need to Know for Built-In Bookshelves
Use these creative styling ideas for your bookshelves and say goodbye to boring built-ins for good.
1. Focal Point
Choose an upper shelf of your built-in to be a focal point. Since it’s higher, it will draw the eye up. Line that row exclusively with books and then fill the others with trinkets, photos and other treasured accessories.
2. Palette Perfection
To ensure your built-in styling feels cohesive with the overall room, take stock of all the surrounding elements — including the color palette — before you begin arranging your shelves. For example, if your room features pastels, pull them into your shelf decor for a seamless look.
Another great idea that will streamline the color palette of your bookshelf is to only include books of a certain color. To create interest, include books in darker and lighter shades of the color. Finish the look by incorporating some sculptural accent pieces.
3. Trailing Foliage
A perfect way to fill in any gaps on your bookshelves is to position a trailing plant (like ivy) on the top shelf. That way you can arrange the hanging vines as needed. In addition, adding foliage will bring energy and life to your display.
4. Carefully Curated
Don’t just put anything on your shelves — be selective. After all, just because you have something doesn’t mean it must be included. Instead, take a minimalist approach and give your shelves a fresh, clean design.
5. Artwork Spotlight
Newsflash! Framed artwork doesn’t have to hang on walls. Instead, try hanging a favorite work of art on the front of your bookshelf. This will not only showcase the art, but also break up the box-like grid behind it. Just be sure that the artwork is a piece worthy of being featured.
6. Practical Perfection
If your bookshelf happens to be positioned around a seating area, practicality is key when it comes to styling the shelves within reach of those seats. Choose items that will be of interest or necessity to those seated. For example, if reading is the main activity, be sure to have plenty of reading material within reach.
7. Graphic Impact
Classic built-ins can be a bit boring for those with a bold style. If you tend to walk on the wild side with your style choices, consider choosing a striking, graphic wallpaper to cover your shelves. Although simple, it makes a huge impact.
8. Live Large
While small accent pieces are the typical fodder for bookshelf styling, another approach that works well is the opposite — go big with larger pieces. The key to making it work? Creating balance on each side of the bookshelf by choosing items of similar proportion.
9. Negative Space
Negative space means blank space. Don’t be afraid to leave some empty space when styling your shelves — strategically doing so can actually enhance your design. Just make sure to balance the negative space with weight. And if you’re working with two shelving units that mirror one another on either side of a focal point, it’s important to keep them in balance by giving each shelf the same amount of negative space.