Accessorizing has always been my favorite part of design. I love to add the finishing touches or the icing on the cake as I fondly like to call it. I think a styled home looks its best and the warmest when you bring in new pieces mixed with those treasured and collected pieces. When we bought our current home the previous home owners had these white bookcases built in. They are one of the reasons why I was so drawn to the home. As soon as we painted and at least beds set up I started unboxing all of the items that I had envisioned in these bookcases.
Some of my accessories were new that I had bought with the soul purpose of displaying in these bookcases. As I started to add things in, it felt too busy. Right away I changed the direction I was headed. Instead I went with my collection of white pottery and tone on tone accessories. It made the entire bookcase cohesive. Since it is a large wall of shelving, it could easily be distracting. I do switch my accessories around in this space often. But the white pottery always stays. Here are my 8 top tips for styling bookcases and you can use a lot these tips throughout your home.
Tip #1- Do not rush out and buy all new accessories! I can’t say this enough, and my friends and family have all heard me say it “USE WHAT YOU HAVE.” Maybe it is the practical person in me, or the hoarder. Whatever the case just believe me. Use what you have from books, those seashells you collected on vacation, the rocks that your kids love to collect displayed in a glass jar. Your home should tell YOUR story, not Home Goods story. In this section I have an old camera I found at a flea market for $2, my Chat Books, old books, glass cloche that came from an iron base that I didn’t care for anymore.
Tip #2- Create layers. One of my favorite things to add to bookcases to create layers is art. Command strips are the trick. It will add another layer of depth and interest. And if you have a small piece of art that can easily get lost in the back, what a better way to feature it. This is one of my favorite, timeless pieces of art from Minted you can find it HERE.
Tip #3- Use cohesive colors throughout. I don’t like using the word “theme” because I have been asked all too often, “what theme should this room be.” BUT theme is kind of a good way to describe what I did. My theme was neutral and natural elements. The reason I consider it a theme is because I repeated those same elements over and over. I used whites, books, natural elements, silver and glass. If I were to pull all of this and lay it on the floor nothing would stick out, it all blends nicely. That doesn’t mean that everyone has to do white. The same would be true if you stuck with navy and different elements, you wouldn’t want to throw in one green piece, you would want to repeat it somewhere to add balance.
Tip #4 Start collecting something. Again this does not mean rush out and buy all the white pottery at Pottery Barn. The reason I say to start a collection of something is that a large bulk grouping of the same or similar items makes a stronger impact than a lot of little different things. If you love navy and white pottery start collecting that. If you love mugs, bowls, clocks… collect that. Who knows you might even be doing it without being aware of it. If you notice you have a lot of something try grouping it together for a big statement. I mentioned I collect white pottery, I love to find a fun piece on vacation or at second hand stores. My husband has even picked up a piece or two because he knows I cherish that sort of thing. And once people know you collect it they start to look for those pieces for you too!
Tip #5- Don’t over think it. If you like it and it looks good, by all means, repeat it! I repeated my books stacked with a shoe horn in the small cubbies mainly because I liked it and wanted to make more of an impact then spreading them all over. I also repeated the stacked books in several spots as well as a grouping of the white pottery.
Tip #6- Live in your home. Everything doesn’t have to be tucked away in a perfect spot. Open up a book that you are in the middle of reading and leave it out. Put accessories in your bookcase that you actually use and can easily grab out. That same tip applies in your kitchen, decorate with your actual dishes. You don’t need separate “display” dishes. Just grab them off of the shelf then put them back after you clean them. I love to see what people are into or working on at the moment. Just display it in a lovely way, not in the box or plastic it came in. If you play cards once a week throw them in a glass jar and pull them out when you want. In the middle of a quilt? Put it in a basket on your ottoman or in your bookcase, it might help you to complete a project, it does for me.
Tip #7- Change something if it isn’t working. I had these old book boxes that were dark brown and they don’t work at all in my home now. Rather then running out to buy new lighter ones, I wrapped them in scrap pieces of wallpaper that match the neutral look I wanted. I also had some old books that the covers didn’t match and were too busy, I tore off the covers and wrapped them in twine to make bigger impact. Some books I didn’t want to tear off the covers so I just turned the covers to the back. You can even spray paint things to go with the “theme” you are trying to achieve.
Tip #8- Create Balance. I had hung the piece of art on the other side of my bookcase. To balance that out I hung these antlers on the other side. I also balanced all the other elements on both sides of the bookcase- with the glass, metal, shells, books etc.
I also created balance with another piece of art from Minted. I used the same frame when I had them custom made. Your frames do not always have to match, I was just obsessed with this style frame and wanted everything to be done in this finish. You just want the frames to coordinate nicely. You can find this painting HERE.
If you look at this photo you can find something that repeats itself or balances the opposite side. At the end of the day you want your home to be a reflection of you and those who live with you. I know that when I go into someones home I love to see their life and the things that make them happy and inspired.
Tell your story in the best way it can be seen. Take the extra time to frame that letter that you have saved for years. Pull out those pieces from your childhood and mix it with something new.
But remember to not rush out and buy the entire display from a showroom, or if you do make sure to mix in those treasured pieces that bring back found memories.
Style your home with purpose and it will a breeze to pull together. When I really like what I am decorating with, it is that much easier and enjoyable to complete.