Even when the weather is taking a turn for the better in the early summer months, in this corner of the world there’s still the certainty of the odd rainy afternoon or chilly evening when you are best staying out of the garden and tackling an indoor job instead. So here’s the perfect task for you: restyle a bookshelf. It’s creative, it gives your room’s overall look a wee refresh and you can declutter old books and magazines along the way. Practical and fun too – what’s not to love?! And it’s not only the simple restyle of a bookshelf that you can put your mind to; there are many spaces in the home that can be easily converted into a little book nook or library corner, too. That awkward area under the stairs, at the end of a landing, on the side of a chimney breast or under a bay window seat all make for perfect book storage spots.
I’ve collated some interesting and ingenuous bookshelf ideas to inspire you further. So without further ado…
Some people will tell you that colour coded book styling has had its day, but I have to disagree, I love this look! It easily dresses up a blank wall space, creating visual interest and acting as a focal point in the room. For this look, stick to simple white book shelving and dedicate one space on an otherwise bare wall for this display to avoid losing the overall visual impact. Don’t be afraid to play about with the arrangement – devote the length of each bookshelf row to a different block colour, working your way through the spectrum from white to black, or as seen below, create individual colour ranges within each section of a bookcase. Alternatively, stick to one or two colours only; an entire bookshelf in blue books for example, but try to break it up a little with different shades of the one colour, otherwise you end up with too uniformed and rigid a look. I love how the slightly battered blue chair here not only brings out the colour in the books, but its dishevelled finish is a nice contrast to the tidiness and order of the book arrangement behind.
Image source: apartmenttherapy.com
I really like this idea where the bookshelf has been elevated to free up precious floor space in this beautiful bedroom. Books stacked tightly together like this create visual appeal and here they are a quirky, standout feature of their own in this muted bedroom setting.
Image source: casasugar.com
Books don’t always have to be arranged in the traditional manner! Show off the front covers and display them facing out along a group of picture ledges as shown here. This arrangement works well with a limited number or type of book, e.g. a selection of cookery books in a kitchen or children’s books in a nursery. On a practical level, the books are easy to locate, which is handy when you’re in a hurry! I have done something similar to this on my own kitchen wall – see a picture in my previous post here.
Image source: unknown
How about ditching the traditional bookshelf altogether in favour of an alternative more unconventional home for your reads. I love the industrial vibe given by these wire baskets mounted on a wall. If you love repurposing objects to give them new life, this look is for you.
The natural alcoves created on either side of a chimney breast were just made to be filled with tomes and novels. Stack them up to ceiling height for a welcoming, cosy feel or lighten the look by tucking objects of interest in between the piles of books. Set against a neutral, pared down backdrop, the books in this sitting room exude warmth and colour and, despite being suggestive of an eclectic, haphazard layout, the whole look is actually perfectly balanced and well thought out. Love this.
Image source: Cassandra Ellis
Use up empty space around a doorway between rooms to store and display your books. This look works equally well in both traditional and eclectic settings or in a period property with nice high ceilings.
Create a cosy reading nook under the stairs as shown below. Take it a step further with built-in seating and task lighting so all you have to do is curl up, choose a book and chill in your little space. This idea would work brilliantly in a small home as an integral and clever utilisation of space.
Image source: peteginkeyifdukkani.com
Or why not utilise the unused space under a window? For a more economical alternative, you can find similar bookcases to these at Ikea, just lie them on their side rather than placing upright.
Image source: Decoist.com
If you live in a contemporary home, try to stick to hardback books when creating a bookcase display in order to keep in line with the sleek, sophisticated look so central to your decor. For more traditional settings, piled up paperbacks look right; the more dog-eared the pages, the better!
Books shouldn’t have to be stored away behind closed cupboard doors or in boxes under the bed. With a little styling and imagination, you can use their multicoloured spines to add vibrancy to a room or make an eye catching display with them as a stunning focal point. Whether it’s a collection of dusty, leather bound encyclopaedias or the entire Twilight Saga (I’ll admit to it), they can all look good when arranged with thought.
How will you be restyling your book collection?