Shelf Styling

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Faithful, loyal, and (not so) numerous readers:  I am sorry for my radio silence as of late.  I got hit hard with a gross cold last week and have been having a tough time recovering.  Last night I could look at my bookshelf no more, and decided something had to be done.  Here are some of the images that really inspired me to redesign my bookshelf, each with different elements that I incorporated into my own shelf styling. 

Alternating stacking books horizontally and vertically.  Artwork layered in.
via Peacock Feathers

Great example of a very well styled bookshelf.  The books are organized by color, and collections are paired together.  These shelves aren't over styled or too cluttered which I really like.  The ability to not over accessorize is something I need to work on with my own shelving.  Artwork is dispersed throughout and even hung on the actual shelving; with varying sizes is really important.  Stacked books create a pedestal for the antlers pictured up top, a great technique to showcase an object.  I also really really love that brass peacock in the foreground...
via Peacock Feathers

I love the rhino up top, it's the first thing my eye is drawn to.  I need one.  I also like how it's the only thing on the shelf here.  I wish I could do something like that and just let it be, but my tendency is to fill the space and layer objects rather than let them stand alone.  Maybe it's just that I don't have anything making that big of a statement.  Also pictured here is the idea of displaying books cover first.  In the middle both on the left and right you can see books with interesting covers standing upright and face forward rather than stacked. 
via Peacock Feathers

Different type of shelving here, long and low, but still some take away concepts.  Arranging books by color, stacking any which way they will fit.  I like the contrast of the haphazardly arranged books below and the clean simple artwork above.
via Design Sponge

One of my favorite images of a styled shelf.  Objects are layered with the "rule of three"--the idea that things grouped together in a set of three are more pleasing to the eye.  I have to say, I've found it to be true in more cases than not.  Fairly neutral color palate here, whites with gold accents, and various hues of blues.  My colors are kind of all over the place.  I don't have enough things to edit down to a simple color palate--my shelving is huge.  Again, not over styled.
via Style by Emily Henderson

The height of all the objects in this arrangement is the most striking to me.  Books, bowls and boxes, pottery pieces, vessels, and vintage finds are what make this shelf unique.
via Style by Emily Henderson

A huge art piece is the major focal point here, which is actually covering the TV.  A great solution to hide a not so pretty electronic piece.
via Style by Emily Henderson

These shelves are pretty packed to the brim, but the clean white boxes tone down the clutter.  I love hanging that piece of artwork on the actual shelf, it focuses the eye.
via Simply Grove

Close up of minimalist shelving.  Vintage objects create a simple vignette.
via Apartment Therapy

I often don't like to mix pictures with artwork, but here I think it's a nice personal touch.  The papier mâché bird is the statement piece here, with stacked books below adding much needed height.
via Pinterest

Majority of this shelving unit is occupied by books, with a few objects thrown in here and there.  Even a simple display with your home library can look great.
via Pinterest

Okay.  So all these images had me itching to redo my bookshelf.  Last night I got in the zone and took a good hard look at my shelving to decide what areas I wasn't crazy about.  My before shots:

A bit of a closer look here:

The bottom right shelving was what was bothering me the most.  I have that big white pillar and had ordered a smaller one to pair with it that unfortunately was out of stock before they could ship my order.  Standing alone it just wasn't doing anything for me.  I also wasn't crazy about the top right display where the collection of red books sits, and that shelf below it with the mirror and pink record backdrop.

I also have this shelving over the TV, which I WAS happy with, but wound up pulling some pieces from there to redo the big bookshelf.

So here is what I did.  I took down practically everything on my shelf except for the gas cans up top and the magazine holders on the bottom.  I gathered up all my books and objects, bowls, artwork, etc.  The first thing I did was to stack all my books on the floor according to color.  Any collections I had stayed together--I have a set of red books that are kind of falling apart, and a bunch of Reader's Digest books with really pretty patterns.  I have a ton more of these sitting in my grandmother's basement that I need to get her to send to me. 

I wish I had taken some "during" pictures, but unfortunately it will be mostly narrative.  I started with the bigger ticket items.  I stacked all my big red books up top, as well as my Reader's Digest books.  I didn't have quite enough to fill the entire shelf so I took two pretty ones and displayed them like book ends.  Next I took an old crate that I had and put it in the larger shelf space, setting the white pillar aside.  You can't be married to any arrangement and have to be willing to switch things up.  The crate fit the space well and my green books were a good fit.  It's all about space planning.  I can't say that enough.  Two decorative binders line the side of the crate which hold my numerous tears from magazines.  I gathered up some green objects and layered them inside the crate--a vintage green juice jug, vessel from Z Gallerie, and old greensish blue insulator.

I switched a lot of things around and some items just wound up back where they started.  This shelving unit is from Ikea but is actually 3 different shelves, and the middle smaller one is meant for CD's (you know how I love to re-purpose!)  What I liked about this shelving was 1) it fit the space well, and 2) the shelves are moveable.  I like the look of asymmetrical shelving so I changed the height of the shelving to accommodate for larger objects and added in some extra shelves on the middle unit.

Next I just started filling space with my books, alternating stacking them horizontally and vertically.  On the bottom left is a blue shelf with a framed album backdrop, stacked books, and a little blue tin.  Those off white vessels on the middle left are from Anthropologie and are actually a great deal--I think the biggest one was $15.  Those floated around and finally came back to their original home.  A scale I had in the kitchen found a new life in the living room, and a stack of pink and orange books plays off the pink record behind it.  A bowl houses a bunch of old pink ornaments I found at the flea market this weekend.  The big clear apothecary jars I found at TJ Maxx for cheap.  The taller skinny one has a bunch of children's building blocks and game pieces found at a flea market, and the shorter wider one has a growing collection of matchbooks (my boyfriend's idea!).  I switched up some of the artwork on the shelf and displayed a few books cover first.  Then I filled in all the little pieces, like the gold skull, seltzer bottles and bud vases, etc.  I tried to put my favorite pieces at eye level, like the vintage fan, kitchen scale, ornaments, skull, and so on, playing with the arrangements until I was happy with it.  Here are the after pics:

 From another angle--sorry the quality isn't the greatest.

 In doing all of this, I wound up pulling some stuff from the shelving above the TV.  At the moment I'm not happy with it and liked it better before, but at some point you just have to take a step back and let it marinate.  Sometimes you see things differently another day. 

Closer-up of the big shelving:

It's not exactly where I want it to be, but it is much better than before in my opinion.  Areas to work on are the bottom left stack of white books, the bottom three shelves of the middle unit, the right side of the shelf with the fan.  I think I need a piece of framed modern artwork on that shelf, and to maybe disperse the magazine holders throughout the shelving so it's not so beige and boxy down there.  I'd like some more vessels/pottery pieces, some decorative boxes, etc.  I have a ton of vintage stuff so I want to integrate some more modern pieces.  Here are some of the more modern things I'm lusting after right now:

West Elm


Z Gallerie

Kate Spade

How do you style your shelving?

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