If you’re facing the dilemma of an over-cluttered bookshelf that just doesn’t do your room and environment any justice, we’ve got your back. We’ve put together an 8-step guide to bringing your bookshelf back to life, or for implementing a new addition to your home the right way. From start to finish, we’ll help you keep clutter under control whilst creating a stylish storage space that adds creative flair and excitement at just the right level for your own décor and tastes.
1. First Step - Decluttering
It probably sounds obvious, but the first step to getting a more organised bookshelf is to clear out the clutter. That doesn’t mean that you have to simply bin everything that you don’t want on display. Not at all. It’s more a case of planning what you do want on your bookshelf, and thinking about what you can do with the things that you don’t need there. This includes the actual books you may or may not have on the bookshelf. This stage is all about identifying what you’re keeping, and what you’re not (whether that means throwing things out, or finding them a new home).
2. Think About Colours
It might seem like a small consideration, but the right colours can make a huge difference when it comes to transforming your bookshelf from a disorganised and crowded contraption to a crisp, clean and clutter-free storage solution. Part of picking the right colour scheme involves the colours of the shelving itself. But it also extends to the items on your bookshelf too. You should think about building a harmonious colour scheme that utilises a palette that complements your existing décor and your personal style. Whether you’re opting for warm, earthy tones, bold and vibrant, or a minimalistic or industrial theme, picking the right colours is an incredibly effective way to tie your bookshelf into the rest of your space with ease.
3. Modular Magic
When it comes to maximising organisation in your space, modular furniture is a game-changer. Especially when it comes to bookshelves. Modular bookshelves are possibly the easiest ticket to organisation in your home due to the way they work. You can create a storage solution that’s built around your exact needs, and that in itself means they have a huge head start when it comes to making your space work for you. They also have the potential to evolve and adapt as your needs change, too. So, no more do you have to endure a static piece that may one day become more of a burden rather than a solution – modular shelving is the answer.
4. Balance and Symmetry
Finding the perfect balance in your bookshelf organisation journey isn’t as straightforward as it seems. To start with, the whole concept of “balance” can sound a little vague. What does it actually mean? Well, to start, it involves creating a silhouette that’s pleasing to the eye at first glance. You can often tell when something looks a little off in the first few moments of looking at it. Part of this is finding and creating a sense of order. That doesn’t always mean perfect symmetry though. Asymmetrical design and organisation can feel more natural and aesthetically pleasing in many cases. When populating your bookshelves, think about placement, and “balance” between the items you’re storing and displaying. The same concept applies to the furniture itself, too. Furniture like feature shelving often makes use of asymmetrical architecture that adds an instant sense of drama to a space whilst maintaining a fantastic overall balance. Thing about mixing up vertical and horizontal elements and intersperse your decorative objects and possessions to create a sophisticated look throughout the entirety of your bookshelf.
5. Which Way Should the Books Be Displayed?
So you’re using your bookshelf partly for its intended purpose – the storage and display of your book collection. But here’s an interesting choice you might not have thought about. Do you want to display your books with the spines facing outwards, or do you want to showcase some of the rarely seen covers? It’s a subtle method to organising a bookshelf, but mixing up the display techniques for your collection can create a unique atmosphere that helps with that balance we mentioned earlier.
6. Don’t Forget About Personal Touches
This is a step that we’ve talked about in our previous articles, such as our guide to creating inspiring alcoves. Creating a space that works in your home involves putting your own stamp on it. Displaying and reflecting your personality and interests in your home plays a huge role in making something fit, as well as making it feel right. Whether that involves framed photos, souvenirs from your travels, or creative pieces that you love – these little additions infuse your bookshelf with your own character and make it truly yours.
7. Lighting Makes the Mood
There’s nothing quite like a well-thought-out implementation of lighting when it comes to making shelving and storage work in your home. It’s all about creating and setting the mood that you want your space to reflect. Sometimes, a lack of lighting may be just what’s needed to make your bookshelf work. But you might find that a space that doesn’t currently have any lighting can look entirely different with some subtle additions. Maybe try small, portable pieces such as lamps that are styled in a similar way to your existing décor, or even try some hidden LED strips in appropriate colours and temperatures to add intricate washes of backlighting to your shelving.
8. Enjoy Your Hard Work
So, the final step is about you. It’s time to take a step back and admire your work. Much like any creative endeavour, it’s easy to overwork your bookshelf organisation, meaning you might not know when to stop. It’s important to look at the bigger picture at regular intervals to get a better idea of how your space is working instead of putting too much focus in one area. After all, the details make a difference, but they have to work together to create something great.
All in all, there’s no right or wrong way to go when organising a bookshelf. It’s all about creativity, balance, and personal expression. With our tips, your mind, and a healthy dose of creative inspiration from some of the other styling guides in our Journal, you have everything you need to transform your bookshelf into a unique feature that reflects you and your style, all whilst keeping clutter under control.