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style those shelves!

I received a question about how to arrange bookshelves in a way that was pleasing to the eye and thought it would be a great topic for a little design tip! I am currently doing this in my own home as well, so I thought I would give you a few pointers to make those big ‘ol bookshelves look a lot nicer!

I have a bunch of books that have bright colored covers and I want to use them as decor in my home, which means something needs to be done to make them fit within my own color palette. Since they are books I don’t want to get rid of, but really have no daily use for I decided that covering them with coordinating paper or fabric would be the best way to go. I checked a bunch of places for paper (Paper Source is one of my absolute favorite companies!) but wasn’t raving over anything, so fabric it was! The hunt began! I was at the crate & barrel outlet over the weekend and knew I saw a wall of fabric last time I was in, but oh my, what a deal they offer!!! crate & barrel carries fabric from Marimekko, a Finnish textile & design company. They have some of the most modern & sleek designs! One piece of fabric could inspire a whole room! In the back of the outlet, there is a cutting station and a big barrel of remnants. I saw the price tag on the remnant barrel and at first glance, saw $0.95. Bargain! Each pattern normally sells for over $30/yd. The outlet offers the fabric for about $9/yd. So I thought a buck a piece for about an eighth of a yard wasn’t bad. IT GOT BETTER! Turns out it was ninety-five cents PER POUND! I loaded up!!! It was awesome. To the right are just a few scraps from my $3 pile of fabric. I will have to cover the books in craft paper first, so the fabric has a nice solid background behind it. If I encounter any tricks & tips from the covering process I will fill you in. But, these books wrapped in patterns can act as a large part of your styled shelves!


Some tips for styling shelves:
• Keep the colors generally in the same family. It starts to look cluttered when you begin to add too many colors, or varying tones without order.
• Keep your heavy items on the bottom of the shelf, working your way up so the “lightest” items are on the top.
• Add baskets or decorative boxes to hide clutter.
• Vary your patterns, shapes and sizes.
• use both horizontally & vertically stacked books.
• Introduce other decor such as votives, picture frames, plants etc.
• Leave space on the shelves.
• Use the zig zag technique. (this one’s a BIGGIE!)
• To add interest, you might consider painting the inside of the bookshelves a color that coordinates with the room.
• Consider removing the paper sleeves on books to make them less commercial looking.
• If you live in a brightly colored space & want to use the color of your bare books, arrange your books by color. See the flickr group Rainbow of Books to see examples.
• Make your most attractive shelf at eye level.
• Place books near the edge of the bookshelf to make it look filled out.
• Sometimes bookshelves that don’t look right actually need MORE stuff! So play around. They will always be changing, which is half the fun!

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