8 Shelfie Mistakes You Might Be Making
In my experience, there are two main categories of shelves in this world: the ones that are used to actually store things and the ones that are purely aesthetic. Regardless of where your own shelves fall on this spectrum, there are a few tips you can follow to help elevate your shelfie situation. Keep scrolling to find out what mistakes you might be making when styling your shelves, and how to fix them.
If you’re an aesthete like me, you’re probably drawn to books organized by color or size (or even better, both)! If you have more of a Cartesian mind, organizing by topics and author name might be more your speed. Whatever your system is, make sure there is one.
If you are actually the local librarian, ignore everything I’ve said so far and go about your business. If not, consider this: It’s easy to cram thousands of books on a tiny shelf and pray it will not collapse, but the visual clutter is unappealing. Besides, you know what they say: clear space, clear mind. Start with your book categories above, and space out each one throughout your bookcase. Separate them with art, vases, and other interesting objects.
You know those dolphin glass figurines you’ve had since you were five? How about your collection of Pez dispensers/DVDs/college textbooks? Do yourself a favor and edit your shelves down to a minimum. You probably don’t need most of that stuff anyway. Throw away what you don’t need and place what you want to keep in storage bins. It will make cleaning easier, and you’ll thank me when you move.
Large items in a bookcase help anchor the space and create visual landmarks so that your eyes don’t get too overwhelmed. When styling your shelves, start with the big stuff: books and larger vases, objects and artwork. Then, fill in the blanks with smaller accessories.
When styling a bookcase, it helps to create an imaginary grid in your bookcase and fill in each section separately. Alternate sections between books and objects. For books, you can line them up vertically or stack them horizontally (with a pretty object on top). For objects, alternate between a large standalone object like a vase or bowl, and clusters of smaller objects varying in height, or arranged on a tray.
Just like in photography, white space is important to let your eye rest between visual stimuli. Alternate between dense sections and more sparses one to create a more soothing shelfie.
This rule is not specific to bookcases alone: Everything looks better and more organized in a tray, cup, or box. Have a mini bar section in your shelf? Use a tray to display your bottles. Pens can be arranged in cups and placed with other stationery in a tray. Basically, any small object that isn’t sculptural should be organized in some container or another.
You know the rules of shelf styling, now it’s time to experiment and break the rules where necessary. You know what they say: Rules are meant to be broken.
Have any great bookshelf styling tips for us? Share them in the comments below!