Decorators say that bookshelves should have a significant amount of bookless space. Ideally, some of this space should be for objects d’art, while some should be empty. Aesthetically, I agree with them. In a practical sense I struggle just to avoid double-shelving. (In all honesty, sometimes I struggle to avoid book piles stacked on the floor!).
Certainly interspersing decorator items and blank space gives rest to the eye. It breaks up the linear monotony of spine after spine of beloved tomes. But for a bibliophile like me, the idea sacrificing valuable bookshelves for dust collecting knickknacks is… unfathomable!
Can booklovers combine form and function? I gave it a stab this week. I squeezed another small bookcase into our living room, and needed a less bookish look; something just a shade more decorative and formal. The end result falls short of the Pottery Barn catalogs, but I’m pleased with it. Sturdy baskets blend with the shelves and minimize clutter. Grouping similar themes together gives cohesiveness, and a few horizontally stacked volumes provide linear variety.
Give your own bookshelves a face lift–homeschool style. Perhaps painting the backboard an eye-popping color will liven things up. Or maybe a less used serving bowl could mingle with the reference books. Please comment with links to your bookshelf facelifts to inspire us all!
(This article was also published in my Taming The Chaos column on the HSB Company Blog)