Bookcases probably mourn the days when they were filled with just good old fashioned books. But when the last book you read was "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" or the current reader of the house only reads ebooks, they're mostly filled with with stuff. So how do you display that stuff in a cohesive way that doesn't look junky? Let's discuss.
Since I've been sharing our home transformation little by little, I want to show how I styled our bookcase and that entire wall in general. Here's what it looked like when we first saw the house. That dijon paint was EVERYWHERE. And the decorative mantle just didn't make sense. Most of the place is clean lines and fairly utilitarian and then there was that. Maybe in a colonial with a more traditional style but not in this house. So, I bought a crowbar and tore it off. And immediately sent a picture to my mom to brag about my girl prowess. Always humble.
Here's the after of the dis-mantle. (I'm here all week, folks).
Much better in my opinion...at least for our home.
Next, I painted everything white. I'm not sure I want it to stay that color forever but I wanted to start with a clean palate. Once that was taken care of, the bookcase styling got serious. Here's how I tackled it and how you can do it, too...
1. Start with the big stuff. Books (if you do have them), larger decor pieces, art, maybe a plant. Evenly disperse them throughout your shelving.
I try to keep with a theme at least with the books from one little vignette to another so it's not total chaos. All things music in one place, art and design in another. It's not necessary but you might actually want to get to that stuff so at least you'll know where to find it.
Stick to a similar color theme if you can. I did mostly natural tones and brass. Going crazy without a color palate in mind can get you to garage sale chic quickly...in a bad way. Don't worry too much about it because if you're like me, you probably have a tendency to pick up things of a similar palate anyway. Paperbacks were arranged in a rainbow in this case just to bring some order to all of that color.
2. Add the small pieces to accent those big guys. This is where it can get tricky. Where exactly do you put those things? There's no science to it, really but as you can see I'm a fan of interesting objects on top a stack of books or little jars or sculpture next to something big. Larger framed photos or art pieces look cool with something in front to accent as well. The trick is to not go overboard with small things or it can get junky. Move stuff around and around and around until you take a step back and you like what you see.
3. Take some stuff away. It's tempting to fill every space but resist the urge. I'm learning that from Mike. And as much as I don't want to listen to my husband when it comes to something I think I'm pretty skilled at, it's good advice. It definitely feels better. Clean and calm. I'm certain I could still do less in here but it's HARD.
Here's where we're at currently. All in all, I think we achieved cohesion in that space. Some books, some decor pieces, some things that tell stories, some things that just remind me of scraping by on an all-Ikea budget. Making a house a home has a lot to do with surrounding yourself with objects of meaning to you. It can seem daunting to do it tastefully but don't take it too seriously. The great thing about this kind of decorating is that it's not permanent. If you don't like your results, keep trying until you do!