DANA . 17 April 2018

Bookshelves: An Ongoing Love Story

Working as a design consultant, one of my favorite (and least favorite) tasks is to fill bookshelves in beautiful and meaningful ways.

Working as a design consultant, one of my favorite (and least favorite) tasks is to fill bookshelves in beautiful and meaningful ways. What and where to place things on shelving, especially when you have many to fill, can be a daunting task. Here are a few bullet points and inspiration photos to help you get started.

1. Start with empty shelves: When beginning a project, if there are already items in place, I suggest removing everything from the shelves and assessing them. I recently did this in my own home and used the opportunity to “tidy” in Marie Kondo style.

2. Organize books and collections of items that may group well together and develop a “staging area” close to the shelves but not competing with them. This allows you to see the items and know what you have to work with as you build your design. One option here is to group books by general color. You can do this within book types to keep things organized (cookbooks, fiction, design, non-fiction can be in separate areas but arranged by color).

3. Basic Rule #1: Start with more substantial, “solid” items on the bottom shelves and get more open and airy in your design as you move upward. In many cases the bottom of shelving has closed cabinetry which provides this right away. In others, when shelving is open on the bottom, I like to fill shelves with books and baskets.

4. Basic Rule #2: Shelves don’t need to be “full”. Sometimes giving items room to breath is needed for the design. Don’t worry if you can’t fill a shelf and find an item or grouping of items that can hold their own. Conversely, if you have too much and need to fill the shelves, remember Rule #1 and build from the bottom up getting lighter as you go.

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