Tackling the Bedroom Bookcase Head On: Part Three

….Or “Six tips for arranging your accessories and book on a bookcase.

If you haven’t read the first two parts yet, please read about the initial bookcase dilemma and the real problem with the room.  Today is the big, okay well it’s not very big, so I will refer to it as a modest reveal.  After moving the bookcase between the two doors and playing around with the displays, I think I had it down.  I wanted everything to be very personal but to also reflect the room. 

Let’s see how I did.  Here’s where it initially started before I tried to revamp it the first time.


Here it is after the failed revamp.

image  Here is the finished bookcase in all its chocolate brown glory.

imageimage What do you think?  Any commenters from yesterday still think it needs some contrasting element in the back?  The only thing I am afraid of is that it will stand out too much.  I think it functions well as it is right now as being a display and if I added more pattern or color it might stand out more than I would like.  However, I could purge some of the accessories which would look good with a different background.  I am pleased with it since I have so much stuff I want to display, but if ever I add more shelving to the room I may spread everything out more. 

Now I can’t just show you a reveal without telling you what I learned from working from the before to the after.  Here are six tips I learned throughout my time moving things around about creating a bookcase display that still functions as a bookcase.

1. Pick a color scheme and stick with it as much as possible.

image I tried to use blues, creams, white, silvers, and deep blacks/browns.  A few other colors are thrown in (like the green and red above) but overall, the color scheme is consistent on the bookcase as well as in the room.  This brings each shelf together and helps it to feel more unified.

2. Treat each shelf as its own display.

image Even though I stuck to the same color scheme on each shelf, I wanted each to feel unique in its arrangement.  I tried not to copy anything from shelf to shelf (besides the three boxes which I alternated which side they were on).  Some have books stacked, some upright.  Some have more focus on the right, some on the left.  I decorated each one as its own because people will be looking at it up close now that it is a focal point and arranged better, so I wanted each shelf to feel a little different than the rest.

3. Once each shelf looks good, see how it looks next to the ones around it.

image Once I arranged each shelf, I took a step back and looked at the whole thing.  If two consecutive shelves had more weight on the right side, like the middle shelf, then I changed things around.  I wanted them to play off of one another by being different, not cookie-cutter.

4. Use varying heights, textures, and sizes to achieve a unique but still unified look.

image This is the key to much of decorating and arranging accessories.  To make things feel “right” they need to be high and low, left and right, smooth and textured, big and small.  For example, many of the objects appear to be about the same height on this shelf, but since the box is like a mini-shelf on it’s own, the eye goes up and notices the small glass rose in front of the taller photo album. There are three glass pieces, but they are all of different colors and sizes and juxtaposed with the other textures.  Also, I added a feather boa to this shelf for more texture to balance out all the hard surfaces but it doesn’t stand out too much, which I like.

5. Make use of the entire space on each shelf.

Sometimes I have a tendency to push everything to the back or the front, or to let everything hover in the middle.  I think the biggest impact can be made when all parts of each shelf are utilized.   This doesn’t mean that you have to fill everything completely, but most of the general area should be accounted for in some way.  Try sending some bigger items to the back and smaller items in the front.  You can still see them clearly but the depth makes it cohesive.

6. Pay special attention to the shelf at eye-level.

image Most people that will be in my room will see the second shelf down at eye level.  Because of this I wanted more symmetry on this shelf in comparison to the rest.  I placed the white frame in back with the picture inside it.  Then I put a quote plaque centered in front of that.  On each side, the weight of the items is fairly similar and the color is consistently balanced on both sides.  I believe this creates an anchor that the eye is drawn to first without being too distracted by the other shelves initially.

Those are my tips for creating display arrangements on a bookcase.  It truly does make a huge impact now once a person steps into the room.  The key was to not make it the first thing anyone sees.  I can’t wait to have friends over and see what they think and let them look around.  Each shelf says a lot about me and is a little mini story about my life. 

So, do you have any tips for me?  Anything I could’ve done differently?  Also, do you let bookcases function for books only or do you arrange them with other accessories?

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2 comments to Tackling the Bedroom Bookcase Head On: Part Three

  • Valerie

    I love the boxes they are very attractive! My favorite shelf is the one with the frame in the middle. It may be because I tend to like balance/symmetry. I think you did a good job with the colors and making each shelf stand on its own. You may have to edit a little more for a more calm look, totally up to your taste. I have to admit that I use bookcases mostly for books (function) instead of for display. I love books and like looking at them. Again a matter of function and taste.

  • I love the bookcase… and the boxes! They definitely pull things together, huh? And I like your use of color! I used some white stuff from Ikea on mine, but it’s always changing so who knows how long they’ll stay. Come on over and look at mine if you want!

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