October 18, 2016

Styling a bookcase| 5 Essential Pieces

So, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know I recently chatted about a crazy awesome opportunity to hang out at West Elm here in Grand Rapids over the weekend. And by hang out I mean gather a group of my friends, family, and followers and talk about how to style bookcases and coffee tables! It was a pinch me moment. So HUGE thank you to Kristen over at West Elm for inviting me and giving us the warmest welcome.

Now let's talk about those bookcases!

I'm going to give you a cliff's notes version of our little chat to give you some tips and tricks for an easy-no-fail-guide to style a simple bookcase.

styling a bookcase easy and simple

So, we started with this bookcase from West Elm.

It's about 7 feet tall and has 6 fixed shelves...the perfect size to add to your home to show off your personality and accessories! 

The first step in accessorizing a bookcase is to determine your color palette.  We all have colors that we are drawn to that we incorporate into our home.  Maybe you have all neutral walls and like to accessorize with bold colors.  Or you like to have bold colors on your wall but enjoy accessories that  are white or neutral. And if you're somewhere in between peruse Pinterest and find what color palette's you're drawn to and narrow it down to about 3 or 4 colors that complement each other. Even find a piece of fabric of pillow that you're drawn to and draw colors from there that you want to stay cohesive throughout your home.
Fun Tip: Go to the hardware store and pick up paint chips of colors you have in your home and some coordinating colors that you like and hole punch them.  Slip them onto a key ring and keep them with you when you shop as a reference.  Less buyers remorse and returns and the bonus of feeling more confident in your purchasing decision! 

For the purposes of this style I went with varying shades of blue with metallic accents (gold of course) and pops of pink.  

easy guide to style a bookcase

Essential Bookcase Item #1: Decorative Elements

This is where you're personality and color palette can really shine.  Choose items that vary in size, texture, and shape. This is the most important element of the bookcase and why I chose it first.  I rounded up items that I used for this styling and substituted those not available online.  I'll show you how I used these throughout the bookcase.

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

These elements made up the first two shelves.  The sculptural orbs were the perfect color and size and filled up the first shelf beautifully. 

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

On the second shelf I added a dinner plate along with two metallic vases.  The plate was the pop of color I was looking for and added height while the two metallic vases balanced the shelf. The fun thing about using plates is that you can change them out with the season! If you want to bring in lighter spring like colors simply switch out the plate. Keep your eyes peeled at estate sales, thrift stores, and places like West Elm for unique plates that fit your style and color palette. 

On to the next shelf and our next two essential pieces.

Essential Bookcase Item #2: Books

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

I know, a no brainer right? I LOVE using books as decor throughout my home and a bookcase of course is no exception...its a must have! Now what kind of books you ask? Well, any hardcover book will work.  The key is to find books that vary in size and super bonus if the spine of the book fits your color palette.  I always remove the book cover to reveal the color underneath, so don't be fooled it the paper cover doesn't work with your color.

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

I brought some books from home but you can find them anywhere! Budget bookstores, thrift stores, estate sales, clearance sections, amazon, and of course book stores.  They are one of my favorite things to collect, especially design books. Have some books where the spine colors don't match your color palette? No problem! Just turn them around and have the pages facing out. You'll still get the depth and texture.  

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

Throughout this style I alternated between laying the books on the left side and right side of the shelves as well as centered.  This creates balance again so that one side of the shelf doesn't feel too book heavy.  Of course placing the books vertical with bookends is a great option too. 

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

You'll notice I added another decorative element onto this shelf. I placed a gold frog paperweight onto the books to create another layer but you could place any decorative element here. A vase, bowl, or candle would be great here too.  I think the frog is cheeky and fun.  Plus it's gold so win/win. 

The acrylic pillar is seriously my favorite item on this whole shelf.  I need him. 

And you can see our third essential item!

Essential Item #3: Greenery and Florals (faux or real)

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

Doesn't everything look better with flowers? Now, it's probably not practical to have fresh flowers allllll the time but adding some version is definitely essential in bringing color and life.  There are so many great faux options for succulents, air plants, silk flowers that you almost can't tell which is real! If you're bookcase isn't conducive to a live plant or maybe you have pets or small kids the faux option is the way to go.  

I added a sweet little faux plant I found at Target on top of my acrylic pillar friend and it looks so sweet. I love the added green color which pairs great with the blue/gold tones.  Even a little succulent or cactus would be cute too. 

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

On this fourth shelf I added an acrylic tray with a vase of faux silk flowers.  I LOVE the pop of pink they add and you can never go wrong with an acrylic tray.  

Alright down to the fifth and sixth shelf and our next essential elements!

Essential Element #4: Picture Frames

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

I don't know about you, but I love having pictures of my loved ones strewn about the house.  Place those pictures in a cute little frame and I'm a happy girl.  A bookcase is the perfect place to display those pictures that make your heart happy. Or maybe it's not a picture but a postcard or favorite saying that you want to frame.  This not only adds a personal touch but is also a great way to add more layers and height throughout the shelves. 

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

Now for our final shelf and bookcase essential item!

Bookcase Essential #5: Personal Mementos

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces
What makes our home special and unique are the families and people who live in it. Decorating should incorporate all of that uniqueness.  Have a favorite beach you and your family enjoy going to? Scoop up some sand and place it in a decorative jar. Collect beach glass? Place in a jar or shallow dish. Those frames and decorative bowls we talked about earlier are great for displaying personal mementos also.  Place some Photo Booth photo strips into a decorative bowl.  Have keys from your first house? Throw those into a bowl or tack onto a frame to display.  

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

So there you have my tips for a bookcase that is perfectly styled and unique.  

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

The biggest thank you to all my friends and family for coming out to support me! And to my readers for being so awesome! 

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces
Even Rebecca from Inspired Life Interiors was able to come out! (Definitely check her blog out!)

Hope you learned some useful tips today! Send me some pictures of your styled bookcases over at my email (restyleitwright@gmail.com) for a chance to be featured!

Have a great day!

how to style a bookcase with 5 essential pieces

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