10-Minute Fix to a Styled Bookcase

Styled Bookcase Quick Fix

I learned something recently that rocked my whole world. My husband informed me that not everyone gets as excited about interior decorating as I do. What?!? You mean, it can actually be overwhelming for some people to decorate their homes? Y’all, I’ll decorate your whole house for you, I’m not even kidding. I love it so much!

For those of you who don’t enjoy decorating as much as I, and who don’t want a hyperactive blonde bouncing around their homes, I’m starting to put together some quick-fix blogs to help you make changes to your home in bite-sized pieces. This is the first blog in that series.

I decided to focus on bookcases first because I feel like we all have them, they are massive pieces of furniture in any room that they reside, and they tend to be just shoved full of books with no real design.

I love books. I probably own hundreds. It has been my goal since I was a little girl to have a library in my home with beautiful mahogany built-ins full of leather bound classics, so I started collecting “pretty” books early in life. I also really enjoy reading (when time allows), so I have a decent collection of not so pretty books as well.

Unfortunately, like most normal American families, I do not have the big beautiful library in my home that I envisioned. I do, however, have a cute little office with space for 2 bookcases that I painted navy blue (my first attempt at painting furniture… I probably need to redo them…) and stuck pretty wallpaper to the back that looks like rustic white wood planks. Even though I can see the places where the paint is peeling (I didn’t know about chalk paint back then), I love these 2 bookcases that flank the big, bright window behind my desk.

Because my office is small, these bookcases take up a lot of real estate, so it’s important to me to have them designed in a way that is both functional and appealing. This is completely achievable and can be done in 10 minutes or less with the right tips, tricks, and attitude.

In my mind you really have two options for which design direction you would like to go. The first is good if you have A LOT of books and no room for anything else on your shelves. The second option allows you to mix some design elements in with your books.

Option 1: Books, Books, and More Books

Take all of your books off of the shelves and sort them. Sort them by color – combining like colors into piles. That’s the most time-consuming part of this option. Next, put your styled color-blocks back onto your shelves. This adds depth and texture in a visually appealing way.

The 2019 HGTV Dream Home has the best example I’ve seen of this recently. The color-blocks are so lovely. And, notice how they mixed the different book heights to add to the depth. I wouldn’t recommend sorting them smallest to largest or vice versa because it won’t be as visually appealing.

Option 2: Books Mixed with Decor

This second option is typically my go-to. If you have more bookcase than actual books, this is a great option for you. With this process, you will spend less time sorting your books and more time shopping your house.

Shopping my house is one of my favorite pastimes. Based on what I’m working on styling, I’ll walk around my house with a basket and “buy” pieces of decor from different areas of my home to use in a new space. This hobby helps keep your decor fresh (bonus) and saves a ton of money (super bonus)!

Don’t spend more than a few minutes on your shopping. The point of this project is to complete a quick fix. Now, remove the books from your bookcase so you have an empty space to work with. Next, you’re going to layer your books and decor items back onto the shelves of your bookcase.

This part is probably the most worrisome for those of you who don’t love decorating. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few tips for decorating your bookcases with this option.

Placing your books:

  1. Stack books in sets of 3-6 pieces.
  2. Place book stacks in a zig-zag design from the top shelf down to the bottom shelf.
  3. On every other shelf, starting from the second shelf from the top, place a stack of 2-3 larger books on their side, so they are laying flat on the shelf and stacking upwards instead of side-to-side.

Placing your decor:

  1. Place larger decor items on the shelves that only have one stack of books. So, for example, the top shelf only has one stack of books, currently standing upright on the left side of the shelf. This is the perfect shelf to include a bookend next to the books, if you have one. If you don’t, it’s not necessary. Then fill the big open space with one of the larger pieces of decor that you collected.
    1. Examples include a big filled bowl, a ball-shaped accessory, a big glass jug, or a large plate or platter on a display stand.
  2. If you don’t have large decor pieces, that is a-okay. You can use this space to display two smaller decor pieces next to one another. My suggestion would be to place a taller piece next to a shorter piece to add dimension.
  3. On the shelves with 2 stacks of books, you’re going to use the book stack that is laying flat to display your smaller decor pieces. The books become a bit of a pedestal to showcase these pretties.
    1. Examples to include here are small sculptures, little plants in pretty planter pots, vases, or picture frames.

Try not to overthink things. Remember – you can always move things around if you don’t like it!

Here is a great example that I found for this quick bookcase fix. These bookcases show a very minimalist version of this option. If you don’t have many books, you can use this as an example.

It probably took you longer to read this blog post than it will to complete this 10-minute fix, so go for it! You got this!!

Styled Bookcase Design

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