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Reclaim Your Home: Decorating Between the Spines


Bookshelves aren't just for avid readers any more. Whether it's a built-in, antique, or inexpensive IKEA staple, bookshelves can be some of the more fun and functional pieces in the home. Tunnel vision is common, however. To make bookshelves a point of interest, you have to think beyond the books.

Here's some inspiration to get you started.

Mix and match. Make some creative space by mixing and matching how you display your books. By stacking some on their side, you instantly add visual interest and create space to show off art and other mementos. Family photos, souvenirs from faraway places, and Kindergarten keepsakes are all fair game.


Photo source: Houzz: The Brooklyn Home Company


Photo source: Stella Dallas

You know I'm a big fan of thinking outside the box, and bookshelves are no exception. Consider hanging photos or artwork on the outside of shelves, obviously in a spot where they won't get knocked. This adds another layer of interest and is a great way to make use of one of my interior design faves: vertical space!


Photo source: Centsational Girl


Photo source: Freshome

Create with color. You've worked so hard to create a unique and cohesive color palette in the rest of your home, don't give up when it comes to your bookshelves. While it may be a little overkill for some of us, I just love this example of organizing by color. Talk about a statement!

If this seems beyond your grasp (literally!), consider adding a repeating pop of color throughout the shelves.


Photo Source: Freshome

You can also use art, vases, statues, or textiles to introduce a unifying color theme.


Photo source: Juniper Books

The drama of all-white can pack a punch of a statement, too. If you're really committed to this look but don't have the white books to pull it off, wrapping books in plain butcher paper will do the trick.


Photo source: Digs Digs


Photo source: Houzz

Face forward. If you have a smaller collection of books or want to show off some cool collectibles, consider facing your books forward. This works especially well with shallow shelves and with magazines, children's books, and even old LP's. As an added bonus, the book or mag you want will be really easy to find.


Photo source: Pinterest (uploaded by user)


Photo source: Simply Seleta

Go for depth. I'm guilty of this myself: putting so much attention into what goes on the shelves that I ignore all the great wall space behind! Consider adding depth, texture, and fun with wallpaper, paint, or vintage photos. In a small space, the task should be relatively easy. Talk about custom shelving!


Photo source: Houzz


Photo source: Sara Eizen


Photo source: Architecture Art Design

I love books. And I love beautiful, functional spaces. Bookshelves make a happy marriage of the two. This weekend, I challenge you to take a new look at the bookshelves in your home. Which of these easy (or more involved) ideas will get you inspired?


Sara Eizen is a Seattle-based interior designer and home organizer with a passion for helping busy families reclaim style and space in their homes on any budget. In a bi-weekly column for Seattle's Child, Sara shares creative, fun, affordable tips and tricks for clearing clutter, sprucing up rooms with minimal effort, creating systems that simplify family life, and much more.

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