Thursday, September 01, 2011

{Guest Post} Erika from Small Shop: Creating Texture and Color with Bookcases

Hello lucky readers of Tamra's lovely blog! When Tamra initially asked me to fill in for her whilst she is sunning and sipping down the Amalfi (jealous!), she mentioned that she's always looking for ideas for the white-walled loft she shares with her hubbie and doggie Bella. I immediately thought of my own home, and how much our three 8' high bookcases help to fill a very long, boring wall. To my delight, the September 2011 issue of Elle Decor features my thoughts exactly...
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense: you gain multiple levels in which to layer up accessory after accessory, whether that be books, bookends, artwork, vases, picture frames -- you name it. It's a lot more personal and interesting than one piece of hanging art, don't you think?
I have a few tips on arranging your bookcase to be as splendid as these:

1) Remove everything from the shelves. Give the majority of your books to Goodwill (or move them elsewhere)...that is unless you are going for the library look, then you'll need all the books you can get!

2) Start grouping similar books together by shape and color. Ugly book jackets, feel free to remove those -- you'll be surprised how that new book just transformed into an old edition! And don't forget about your favorite mags; those can be keepers too.

3) Put your groupings on various shelves, making sure to mix up the placements (left/right/center) to keep it balanced. I always think it's fun to mix up horizontal and vertical stacks, but sometimes it's also fun to have symmetry on one or a few shelves.

4) Gather together smaller items to place on top of stacked books, as well as heavier items at the end of standing books. Think shells, coral, boxes, bowls, candles, small picture frames, and obviously bookends (you can also use smaller books as bookends to a larger row of books).

5) Fill in larger items that can sit alone, to break up the masses of books -- great for this: small statues, busts, vases, framed art, even potted plants or vased flowers.

6) Layer shorter items in front of taller items (or thinner in front of wider) for depth. Don't be afraid to cover up the items in the back if it creates a nice variety of heights, even if that item is a piece of art or a photograph. (A good rule of thumb for height: always build to a peak in the center.)

Easy right?

Bye-bye boring white walls; hello texture, color, and your own personal touch. Have fun!


  1. Love this post...I am promptly giving away David's tacky looking books and then rearranging my shelves! xoxo

  2. Thanks for the amazing tips are usual Erika !! Love the gold bookshelf and the last one..a lot ! 

  3. Love each and every one of your examples.  Bookshelf Heaven!

  4. Thanks for having me Tamra! And wouldn't you know, as soon as I sent this off to you, I found three amazing examples. Stay tuned!

  5. Bookcase styling can be tricky. These are all great tips and I think I should go back to check mine out and see if I'm missing any steps. : )

  6. Gorgeous blog and a fabulous post! Glad I stumbled upon it. Have fun in Italy! 

  7. totes bookmarking this in case the someday house has bookshelves :) lovely post, E! ox

  8. Erika is a style goddess! Seriously love these tips and examples. Perfect solution to any color wall!

  9. Love these bookshelves! I lost out on the most amazing lucite pair on Ebay - so now on the hunt for another unusual pair...great post. Happy travels, Tamra!
    -e (

  10. I am a big fan of book cases and knick-knacks. I have one in my living room and sometimes I just like to sit here and look at it. Every piece has a story (the books...quite literally) and it's good thinking time for me.

  11. Great tips! I am struggling with some shelf styling so this is a great start. Thanks so much

  12. Ok, this post has made me seriously motivated to go home and spruce up my bookshelves! I now have a weekend project! Thanks for the great tips!


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