I have always wanted built-in bookshelves. I love books. Every place I’ve ever lived I’ve had bookshelves filled with books and photos, another love of mine. But never built-ins. So when we were able to renovate our home 10 years ago I knew I wanted built-in bookshelves. Over the years I have loved filling them. I have learned a few things along the way. As our family has grown the photos have become the main focus of the shelves but there is still plenty of room for books!
Here are my favorite tips:
1. It’s a big job but completely empty all the shelves.
2. Clean! It’s so much easier to clean when they are bare.
3. Touch up your paint. I know that after 10 years the shelves were in need of a fresh coat. I have a pure white that is the trim color all over my house and I went over all the spots that really needed it without having to paint every inch. You’d never know and it looks fresh and clean.
4. Decide what you can part with and sell or donate it.
5. Organize items in groups. Books, pictures, knick knacks, in my case, mirrors and trays. I love the old mirrors with the etching on them. I have a collection and the old silver trays! Books I separated by color and some by theme.
6. Get baskets or pretty storage. I am a big fan of baskets. I was so happy to find six for the bookshelves on PB and they were on sale so they ended up being nearly what a Target basket might cost. I love the rich color and they are super study. The six baskets hold mostly books. I grouped them by size so they fit nicely.
7. I took the shelves section by section, grouping like items together. In years past I would separte a collection but I love the impact they have when left together. I removed all my ironstone so I had room to really reinvent the way the shelves were styled.
8. Every now and then, stand back and see if the arrangement looks balanced. I have all different frames but tried to keep things that matched together on a shelf giving the overall effect of cohesiveness.
9. Less is more. I’m a big fan of this idea. I don’t have something in every nook & cranny of my house. I like a litlle open space and a more casual feel. For me simple works.
10. Don’t be afraid to move things around until you’re happy. It doesn’t cost anything to try different ways of styling your shelves. Try stacking books to create height or turn them around to add interst.