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How to style a bookshelf

When is a bookcase not a bookcase? When it becomes an integral part of the interior design of your home.

No longer are bookcases simply shelves for storing musty tomes that never get moved, let alone re-read. With a little forethought and re-arranging, they can be a space for displaying artwork or even highlighting some of those long-forgotten favourites.

If you already have a bookcase in situ and it is stacked full, start freeing up space by removing at least a third of the books. Keep only the ones you really want here; the others can go onto a shelf in another room, or be re-sold or donated. Once the shelving is clear, think about whether it needs to be re-varnished or have a new coat of paint, as it will no longer be hidden from view, and should now be considered as part of the overall effect.

If you are looking to install a new bookcase, you might consider using it as a room divider, or even having shelving built around the television set so that the appliance intrudes less on the room.

Once the shelves are in place, it is time to decorate them.

Think about how the books might be displayed to lure the eye. A recent design trend has been to create a patchwork of colour by grouping spines by hue; that, however, might horrify the traditionalist who prefers to group the books by theme, subject or author.

If you really want to have them all lined up like they’re in a library, try to restrict that to just a few shelves and make sure the surrounding shelves are varied. Another way would be to group one author’s books together in a section, then add ‘spacers’ such as a plant or vase before displaying another grouping.

Invest in some bookstands and feature a favourite book or two, swapping them out for another each month. It will not only ‘change the landscape’, but you might find yourself re-visiting ideas, people or places that sparked your interest at another time.

Use a heavier piece of pottery or sculpture as a bookend for a few of your favourite books; just make sure that the space is balanced so that it doesn’t appear cramped.

Plants add colour and life. Choose decorative pots of abundant, hanging foliage plants such as Pothos (Devil’s Ivy), Pilea (Chinese Money Plant) or Spider Plant and position them where they will get plenty of light and be able to drape down over the shelves or sides.

Books are not just for entertaining us or enriching our minds – there are so many reasons why we have bought, or been given, a particular book. And there are, likewise, so many reasons why we should show them off and display them in a way that enriches our homes and reflects who we are.

About Adam Nobel

CEO | Principal
M. Bus, Grad Dip Adv, B.Int Bus, LREA


0417 007 001

Adam is the founder and Principal of Hugo Alexander Property Group. With a previous career in advertising, 22 years experience in property investment, and 16 years in Brisbane real estate, he knows the market inside out to ensure his clients grow their wealth faster.

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