How to Update a Bookcase – Picture Examples

by on Monday, June 13th, 2011

A bookcase with just books? Boring! Let’s talk about how to update a bookcase with unusually shaped items that also have textures! There’s vases, picture frames, flowers, baskets, sculptures…

Harper’s Bazaar once featured Top Chef host, Padma Lakshmi’s home in NYC. The swing she had installed in her living room was interesting of course (and no it wasn’t a sex swing, you dirty-minded minions!), but I was most drawn to the built-in shelves she had in her living room. What I took note of was how it wasn’t just books/books/books and oh – even more books! No, instead she had things arranged very specifically. And this jogged my memory about what I’ve absorbed about arranging shelves, things I’ve started to neglect as I get more books and things that I put on my bookshelves.

Well, it’s time to refocus so that my, and your, bookshelves look pleasing to the eye. How can you style your bookcases better? First, dust it! Okay, that has nothing to do with styling but a dusty bookcase is just no good. You want to break up the shelves with unusually shaped objects, you want to arrange things so that they have a balance, and you want to always have some free, negative space on each shelf for the items to breathe.

It really isn’t that difficult. Sometimes you have everything you need, you just need to get more creative in putting it together. If all of your books are vertical in your shelf, try taking some and putting them in horizontally (smallest on the top of the pile). Take that cool triangular picture frame from your best friend and put that in the space to see how it looks. Maybe you have a large shell that you like and never know what to do with – well, now you do. One of my bookshelves has the requisite books, a glass jar of shells, a vintage teddy bear, and a small painting. I mixed it all up, and I love it.

Tips: The home sections for Marshalls and TJ Maxx always have great items like I’m about to suggest – but for greatly reduced prices. Also, don’t forget to lay books horizontally as well as stacking them vertically.

Here are some suggestions of items you could buy to mix into your bookshelf:

White Coral Sculpture Set of Two – $103.89, from Amazon HERE

Pepe Vase – $78.00, from Anthropologie HERE

Potted Artificial Phalaenopsis $18 , from Pier 1 Imports HERE

Voluminous Canisters $54.00 – $69.00, from Pottery Barn HERE

Canvas Home Office Storage Pieces $18.00 – $52.00, from West Elm HERE

White Rose Shell Frame $24.95, from Pier 1 Imports HERE

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