Start off with an empty bookshelf so you've got a clean slate. Depending on what kind of unit you have you might want to consider painting or wallpapering the back of it to add some interest.
Decorating Bookshelves with Books
Obviously, bookshelves are usually used for storing and displaying books. But there's more to decorating bookshelves than just throwing books on them haphazardly.
- Use both horizontal and vertical stacks of books to create some diversity in the shelving unit.
- Consider sorting them by color and/or size to create a cohesive look.
- If the spines of your books are damaged or unattractive consider covering them in paper or fabric to make them look cleaner and prettier.
- Use a mix of hardcover, paperbacks and magazines.
Decorate Bookshelves with Accessories
Bookshelves are great for displaying all sorts of items.
- Use interesting items like small statues, vases and candlesticks to add interest to displays. Lean them against stacks of books or place them on top. An item with an interesting shape placed on top of a stack of books can create visual interest.
- Layer items in front of one another to create depth in your display.
- Think outside the box. A small mirror can look terrific when mixed in with books and other items. There are no rules as to what you can use when decorating bookshelves.
Bookshelves tend to look best when they're really full of stuff. But rather than filling them with a bunch of bitsy items that can look cluttered try adding some larger items like baskets and boxes. Not only do they look good but you can fill them with all sorts of things like remotes, manuals, and other unsightly items.
The most important thing to remember when decorating bookshelves is to fill them with items that have meaning. Don't just fill them with a bunch of impersonal items for the sake of filling them. Just like the works of literature they're usually filled with, your bookshelves should tell a story.