How to Style a Bookcase With Bliss

There are 2 main steps to creating a beautifully styled bookshelf. Breaking down the process into these 2 steps takes away what sometimes can feel like an overwhelming task:

  1. Start with the big picture, and arrange the bigger pieces & elements of the bookcase following the rule of visual weight.
  2. Fill in with the smaller pieces and elements adding lots of texture and details.

The #1 essential element to consider when styling a bookcase with Bliss is VISUAL WEIGHT. 

This is the big picture of the bookcase. You want the bottom of the bookcase to to feel “heavy” and the top of the bookcase to feel “light” with the middle shelves feeling lighter as you go up. Having a heavy bottom makes the bookcase feel grounded, and having the visual weight decrease as the eye goes up is visually and psychologically pleasing.

Follow these Bliss Tips to create the correct visual weight on your bookshelf:

  • Use the bottom shelves to store large, heavy items such as large books, baskets and bins. The baskets and bins are useful for hiding clutter and storing practical items such as toys, games, puzzles, extra blankets, remote controls, etc.
  • Use the middle shelves to store smaller books and decorative items, such as family photographs, small-medium size artwork, vases and personal mementos.
  • The top shelf is for beauty – nothing practical. This is where you can have fun and be bold! Add a pop of color or some dramatic artwork. Display tall objects if you have an open shelf, but keep the visual weight of the top shelf light by displaying only 1-3 items, and remember, no heavy books or baskets up top.
Basic styling, with the correct visual weight

Next, follow these Bliss Tips for the detailed styling of individual shelves:

  • Stack books BOTH vertically and horizontally.
  • Use vases and sculptural objects to fill in spaces and add color and texture.
  • Layer objects to prevent your shelves from looking flat and boring. For example, add a small picture frame in front of some books.
  • Place small objects on top of horizontally stacked books. This is a great spot to display personal mementos!
  • Incorporate artwork. Layer frames of different sizes or place sculptural objects in front of your art. Don’t forget to add some of your children’s artwork!
  • Bring in natural elements such as beautiful stones and plants or seashells.
  • Try color grouping OR use a color scheme; this gives the eye a focal point and a place to rest as it skims the bookcase. Too much color can clutter or crowd the shelf.

    Styled with layers and a color scheme of teal/turquoise, black and gold.

See the difference? The first photo shows a bookcase with the correct visual weight, but it is flat and a little boring. The second photo shows a bookcase styled with layers, color and lots of visual interest – styled like a pro! You can do this. Have fun and don’t be afraid of doing it wrong, just don’t over clutter ; )

Your Turn! Why not give these simple styling tips a try? Post the before and after shots of your Real Home update in our comment section.

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