Our home tells a story about us. How we arrange our home, and the objects we place in it tell a personal narrative about who we are, what we like. It is important, therefore, that we make it a stylish one, right? 🙂
Many people, as they accumulate things, just mix them together any old way, assuming that any sort of hodgepodge on a table will turn out all right. They are dead wrong. – Billy Baldwin
Whenever I visit someone’s home, I always make it a point to glance at their books (or lack of). Books, more than anything, tell us of someone’s interests, histories, and passions. The lack of books in a home is often a total turn off for me. I can already tell we’re not going to hit it off much. But more than as an indication of what kind of person you are, I think that books make a room feel like a room. Can you imagine a room totally devoid of books? Not a single one on any surface? How boring and cold! How showroom-like! I suppose I’m deeply biased because I grew up in a home that had books stacked in every possible corner of every room. Probably why I associate books with comfort and warmth (and a sign of intelligent life, haha).
There are many schools of thought on how to organize books. Some sort them by color (an idea that doesn’t quite appeal to me), size, subject, or author. Personally, I like to arrange them by subject, and within that subject, by author, or by height. Regardless of your sorting method, shelves full of books need to be broken up by a few well-chosen objects, like framed pictures, vases, or anything sculptural.
When we saw the bookcase above at ScanTeak, I immediately fell in love with the solid wood, the fantastic workmanship, and the clean lines. I already knew it was a bit too wide for the space I planned to put it in, but I loved it too much, I said I’d make it work. This has been moved almost all over the living room, from one wall or corner to another, in the attempt to find the perfect spot. It currently stands where I initially planned to have a bookshelf, except that I had to arrange it diagonally to make it fit.
Styling a bookshelf with square shelves has its challenges and also advantages. It’s easy to style if you don’t have that many books because you can just leave some shelves devoid of books and place a big bowl or sculptural element on it. But I don’t have enough space for books as it is (half of my books are back home, and my collection of Terry Pratchett books are in the bedroom), so I can’t quite do that. Here are some tips that I did follow:
1. Mix in some horizontal stacks of books among vertical rows. Unless you’re going for the full library look, then by all means, stack them all vertically. Don’t forget to sort them by the Dewey decimal system, ok? 🙂 Kidding aside, if you have a collection of lovely leather-bound books, then the best way to show them off is to arrange them vertically. Otherwise, mix up the placement.
2. Top a low pile of books with a small object. I used a wood ampersand that I found at Typo.
3. Insert a few objects, like vases, bowls, candles, boxes, etc. Curate them carefully.
4. Add some framed pictures, either between books, or even in front of the bookshelf, like an English library.
How do you style your bookshelves? Do you have a house full of books too?