I always want bookshelves like this.
By Steve Rose, Werner Lowe-Betty Thomas Interiors/
Thursday, July 14th, 2011 9:00 AM CST
Achieving a designer-like bookcase display is a three step process: weeding out, varying stacking techniques, while creating and adding a wonderful space for your accessories.
This first step is the most painful. Look at how many books and accessories
you have acquired in your bookcase display and then look at your available shelf
space. If your bookcase is full, you may need to let a third of your books and
items go to achieve an orderly and pleasing arrangement on your shelves. If the
thought of letting go of a single volume or item is unacceptable, you’ll need to
scrounge up or buy a new bookcase to house the leftover books and accessories
generated by this process.
Once you’ve weeded out the unnecessary, you’re ready to replace your
choicest books and most unique accessories back on the shelves. Look at the
shelves as a whole—ultimately you’ll want a balance arrangement. To achieve
the overall effect you must vary your stacking technique and leave “air holes”
between groupings of books. Select three to four methods and repeat them,
rather than using completely different one on each shelf:
Fill a complete row with books.
Fill the shelf two thirds across, leaving an “air hole” to the right or left.
Place a graduated stack (6 to 10 books) in the center, or off-center, with space to
Fill the shelf one third across and use a stack of books (resting on their back
covers) as a bookend.
Fill the right third and the left third with books, leaving an opening in the middle
of the shelf.
Leave one shelf vacant to display a collection.
There are many variations to these arrangements—experiment until you’ve
created an overall look that satisfies you. Make sure the spines of the books are
lined; this may mean pulling a few smaller books away from the back of the shelf,
but will give your books a more orderly and less-cluttered appearance. If you
do not want to place any knick-knacks on the shelves, keep the spaces between
groups of books fairly narrow. If you do plan on housing some of your treasures
here, make sure you allow for enough space to display them.
Now it’s time to place appropriate accessories in the spaces you have created.
Look at the room’s style and its color scheme. With this in mind, go on a treasure
hunt through your house looking for objects to display: vases, small pictures,
colorful antiques of the right size, plants, figurines, pottery, miniature boxes, etc.
Begin placing objects in the “air holes” you created.
Display only objects you care about or that make you feel good to look at.
Keep your collections together.
Group like objects together in odd-numbered configurations.
A single picture or plate works well hung or leaned on the back of the bookcases.
Avoid the tendency to clutter up the space—having fewer truly beautiful objects
has more impact than a dozen meaningless trinkets.
As I always like to say “When you over accessorize, it can be hard on one’s eyes”.