Open shelving is a matter of preference in the kitchen, but elsewhere around the house — like, say, your living room — it can be nearly impossible to avoid. (Everyone still owns books, right?) The catch is that if it isn’t done right, your display of beloved tomes can make the entire room look like a mess.
First things first: clear the clutter, getting rid of any items that aren’t beautiful enough to put on display. (Yes, even those “classics” from college.) Then, stick to an even mix of the six items Dolley Frearson of High Fashion Home laid out for us here. These, she says, are the things every well-styled bookcase has in common:
1. YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS, OF COURSE.
Buying a book for its cover isn’t a sin, Frearson says. “Some coffee table books (design and fashion books are a favorite) are so beautiful, they deserve to stand out like an accessory.”
2. TALL ACCENT PIECES.
“Make sure to layer the heights on each shelf,” Frearson suggests. “Shelves that are really tall need a taller item in them. Otherwise, it will look like something is missing.” In this case, she used a trio of crystal sprites with acrylic bases in different heights on one side. On the other, a tall faux terrarium in a cylinder vase adds more visual interest. You can even place objects on a stack of books for added height, if need be.
3. PICTURE FRAMES.
You don’t want overdo it, but a few beautiful, simplistic picture frames to tell your “story” is essential, Frearson says.
4. SOMETHING GREEN.
According to Frearson, you don’t need a full-on garden. Even a few faux plants go a long way in bringing some life to your shelves.
5. SCULPTURES/OBJECTS OF INTEREST.
“It’s nice to break up books with beautiful objects like unique sculptures, vases, or geode crystals,” Frearson adds. It breaks up the straight, repetitive lines on the shelves. And geode rocks and crystal objects bring another texture to the space, and an earthy element that looks historic next to books, she adds. “I’m also a big fan of three-dimensional, geometric-inspired objects like polyhedrons or intersecting spikes. They seem like curious and intellectual objects that belong with books, too.”
6. BEAUTIFUL BOXES.
Nowadays you can find some gorgeous, interesting boxes. Not only are they functional for storing little treasures and important keepsakes, but they also allow you to bring in another texture or pattern to give your shelves more depth and interest.