Sure, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean your bookcases shouldn’t reflect your tastes and personality. If yours have been feeling cluttered lately, read these easy update ideas.
Clear out. First, it’s time to purge. All those paperbacks you’ve amassed over the years? Box them up to donate. Now, take stock of what’s left. Is it a first edition, a signed copy or something that is especially meaningful to you? If not, toss it in the box. This goes for novels as well as reference and coffee table books.
A mini-facelift. Even if you’re not installing new bookshelves, it’s easy to instill a new vibe in your current cases. Line the backs with beautiful wallpaper to create additional visual interest, or paint the back a couple of shades darker than the rest of the room to give the illusion of depth.
Color codes. For a cheerful, whimsical display, arrange books in prismatic order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. For a more monochromatic look, you can craft dust covers from beautiful paper (check stationery stores such as Papyrus for supplies) so that they match or fall within the same color family. Use accessories—vases, picture frames, small sculptures—for additional color.
Load ‘em up. If you have built-in shelves, fill the top shelves so that the books are standing up straight. Once you get to about eye level, you can start shelving the books so that they stand at a slant. To break things up, fill nooks with favorite decorative objects. Check antique shops or retailers such as Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn for trinkets.
Stack ‘em up. If slanted spines are too haphazard for your tastes, you can alternate between vertical groupings and horizontal stacks. To add dimension, layer artwork behind shorter books and use the stacks as a platform to showcase special accessories.
A quick concession. You know they’re not pretty, but sometimes you can’t bear to part with some of your favorite paperbacks. Have your literary cake and eat it too. Instead of putting the paperbacks on display with your other books, put them in pretty baskets (The Container Store is a great source) and put them on lower shelves for easy access.