There are lots of spaces in your house/apartment/life where you get to reveal big and small glimmers of your personality—from art on the walls to magnets on the fridge to all the little details in between. But possibly no place in a person’s home divulges as much about them as their bookcase. Our bookcases are a reflection of us, they represent our dreams and desires, our interests and knowledge—they tell the world who we are as much as who we want to be (seriously, how many books on your shelf are you “meaning to read” vs. “have read already?”). Bookcases add color and personality and depth to your place, they make plain rooms seems more alive and vibrant and interesting. So today we’re celebrating the humble bookcase with some tips to give yours a killer makeover.
1. Put your books in order. . . by color
You’ve seen this done before. Mostly in fancy home-decor magazines, which makes you think it’s a fancy thing, but IT IS TOTALLY NOT. It makes your bookcase instantly brighter and more exciting. It is so fun to do in a really obsessive way. You will love this. All you need to do is group your books together by color and make sure that when you put them back on the shelf, the shades gradually blend into each other in a line.
2. Now add more color. . . and a little character
Is there such a thing as too much color? No. No, there is not. Another way to a pop of color is to add solid color or print (via wallpaper) to the inside wall of each shelf. Or look for furniture with reversible color options, like this bookcase. Then you should have a little fun with the book placement. The old-school book style is vertical, with book spines standing up straight and in an orderly line on the shelf. This is probably the most efficient way to house your books, and to fit as many as possible—but we’re going for looks here, you guys.
Give this a try. With your books already organized by color, take a section that’s currently vertical, and stack them horizontally instead. I always liked horizontal stacks better anyway, because it’s much easier to read the titles. Put a little trinket on top of the horizontal stack and BOOM, your bookcase is instantly 87 percent more fly. (“Fly” is still a relevant term, right?)
3. Toss in some trinkets
I have trinkets. You have trinkets. We all have trinkets. This is an easy one because you can showcase things you already own. Instead of packing shelves with books from end-to-end, break them up a bit with something cool that you love and have loved forever. Frame something amazing that you want to look at all the time. Pull out your childhood tchotchkes. Putting fewer books on each shelf and adding smaller items in will actually make the bookcase look less cluttered.
4. Get organized with some storage
Trinkets are the sophisticated cousin of loose junk. Instead of stuffing your rando junk into a drawer, separate it into slightly more organized piles and put those piles into small storage boxes or mason jars. This is a brilliant way to add more character to your shelves.
5. Don’t worry about color clashing
It doesn’t matter if the colors clash, or if the trinkets don’t match the storage boxes. This is YOUR. SPACE. And everything we’ve stated above is merely a set of guidelines to help you. When it comes down to it, there are no hard-and-fast rules on how to dress up your bookcase. Do it however you want. Do it however will make you happiest when you look at it. Do it how it’ll mean the most to you. Because everything on those shelves reflects the person you are and the places you’ve been, and it’ll end up looking spectacular no matter what.
You’ve essentially put your life on those shelves. Now sit back and enjoy it.
And BONUS: we’ve partnered with Sauder to giveaway the yellow Tower Bookcase above to three very lucky gigglers. To enter, all you have to do is create a Pinterest board called, “My Dream Shelf Sweeps” (here’s ours!) and fill it with pins on things you already have on your bookcase, or things you’d love to have on there someday. Then, email us a link to your Pinterest board at email@example.com. Winners will be chosen at random and contacted directly. For official contest rules, click here.