Throughout a lot of our interior decorating projects, we receive a lot of questions on how to setup and organize bookshelves. Everything from classification styles, how to space books with decor pieces and more.

Our President, Courtney Turk, has outlined 3 tips to help you achieve interest, balance, and increase the visual appeal of your bookshelves. Keep in mind it isn’t all about how many books you can cram into your shelves.

1. Multi-purpose

When it comes to bookshelves, oftentimes homeowners see it serving one purpose only, books. While that is one purpose of a bookshelf, it is not the only. The key to an appealing bookshelf is to add visual interest. Creating depth, height and focal points will help to accomplish the look of a completed unit. 

2. Create a theme

When you incorporate various decor pieces outside of the traditional use for the shelf it creates a more desirable approach. The key to successfully incorporating these pieces isn’t to go awol with everything you own but instead to create a theme and curate the shelf to that desired theme. If you are a lover of travel you may want to work off that theme by incorporating framed maps of your travels, collected memorabilia from your trips and books that embody the culture of the places you have visited. Each piece doesn’t have to “match” but because they all encompass the same theme it will naturally take shape and create that visual interest it initially was lacking. When working directly with my clients, I often ask if they have inherited pieces or things they can’t seem to part with but have no place for. These pieces often become some of their favourite items incorporated into their shelves, serving a purpose they might not have traditionally envisioned. 

3. Work in odd numbers

Work in groups of odd numbers. For a smaller section of a shelf, 3 is a good number – placing 3 books on top of one another horizontally with a favourite artifact stacked on top. Repeat the rule of 3 by adding a complimentary bookend and framed photo beside your book stack. Offset the other end of the shelf with a singular sculpture or a vertical row of books with various height dimensions playing with the odd number rule on how many books to place. Bookshelves are not an ideal place for symmetry, so the odd number rule is helpful to keep symmetry at bay. 

Final Thoughts

Never underestimate the value of a well put together and organized bookshelf. A lot of people are using bookshelves in video conference backgrounds nowadays – increase the appeal of your backdrops with well organized shelves and decor.