Can I really put books on my bookcase?

Almost every home has a bookcase – whether it is built-in or free-standing. Almost every homeowner is afraid to decorate it – whether it is built-in or free-standing.

I know accessorizing is tough, and that is especially true of bookcases with all that empty space on those shelves just needing to be filled! Here are some tips to help ease your pain.

Add Some Books

Books are appropriate, and dare I say, even required for a bookcase. Books are a wonderful backdrop to other items on the shelves. The key is to display them correctly. The books should be hardback with the jackets removed.

Robin Cole Louisville KY Interior Designer and Decorator Robin's Nest Interiors Louisville KY Home Decor Accessories

You want to group books with similar colored spines together.

Books should be displayed both horizontally and vertically. Books of varying sizes are preferable for horizontal displays; however, the size should be similar for vertical displays.

Recently, I was able to use a client’s wonderful collection of Childcraft books with the most vibrant colored spines. She loved that we were able to incorporate her childhood books, and I loved how terrific they looked on the shelves. If you aren’t a reader or your Encyclopedia Britannicas have ugly spines, a popular trend is to wrap the books in craft paper or even a fabulous wrapping paper to achieve uniformity while still providing interest.

Add A Collection

If you have a collection, a bookcase is a wonderful place to display it.

Robin Cole Louisville KY Interior Designer & Decorator Robin's Nest Interiors Louisville KY Home Decor AccessoriesLet’s say you have a collection of  porcelan monkeys playing musical instruments (yes, I have a collection of porcelan monkeys playing musical instruments – what of it?), and you want your collection to be noticed, you need to have said collection grouped together for maximum impact.

Family Photos

A bookcase is a wonderful place to display family photos; however – and this is a big however – they need to be displayed in similar, interesting frames. I like big, chunky, multi-colored frames. This will be a great opportunity to add pops of the colors you are using in your room.

Make The Top Shelf Unified

Below you will see that we used the same vases across the top. Your eye can move across the entire shelf and still creates a unified feeling with so many interesting accessories.

This trick also is a great addition to any glass cabinets in the kitchen.

Paint The Back

A word on the bookcases themselves…if you have built-in bookcases, consider painting the backs a darker or lighter shade of your wall color. You could even pull an accent color from your room fabrics for a punch of color. This will go a long way in making the items you display standout.

Below is a set of built-ins I did for a client who is a golf enthusiast as well as a real family man so I incorporated golf-themed items including artwork and family photos in big, chunky, multi-colored frames. Of course, there are books – wonderful old books that I found at a thrift store. All of these together are what makes House2Home!

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