As a former fashion stylist, I always enjoy the finishing touches of a design project, such as styling rooms, or more specifically bookcases.
For some it may seem like a daunting task that can easily go wrong, sometimes causing a room to go from chic to cluttered with the placement of a single object. The good news is that styling a room or a wall unit is the perfect opportunity for a client to express their unique interests, hobbies, and of course collections.
The highlighted wall unit above is from a home we designed in New York. The couple are both creative and travel extensively—one is more bohemian, and the other chic. This wall unit is the marriage of the two style types and each of their unique finds. I chose to hang this mid-century abstract on the shelves to add another layer to the puzzle. I will add that it was important to be able to reference items without too much trouble.
Below are a few tricks and tips to help you perfect your own bookshelves.
1. Lighting is Key
Lighting the wall unit is a great idea, you can use picture lights in front or if custom light from behind.
2. The Pyramid Trick
The pyramid trick is a great place to start, place the objects in the middle and go down from there.
3. The Slanted Triangle Trick
Start on the side with the highest point and allow objects or books to cascade down. Try to find symmetry, not on a particular shelf but with the wall unit as a whole.
4. Tell a Story
Create groupings or themes with books and objects that go together to create conversation. For example, place pieces with contrasting shapes in similar materials together.
5. Create Color Themes
Color themes are pleasing to the eye. A few examples are books and objects in one or three colors. Try all black or white objects or tell a story using a backdrop in colored paint or printed wallpaper.
Below are some examples and inspirations to get you started.
A bohemian-chic backlit masterpiece highlights the gorgeous objects and random shapes, while still serving as a serious library.
A bohemian, industrial chic wall unit combining wood and metals in an understated way with a mix of books and organic shaped objects is chic and unexpected.
I love this moment in black and white by Bespoke Interior Design in New York City.
An avant-garde VT Home client would love this architectural wall unit made from marble and metal.
For the whimsical, playful style type, adding color to the background of a wall unit is always a great idea. I love the look of these blue lacquered bookshelves.
This vintage inspired wall unit with brass trim is incredibly luxurious, while still remaining cozy and approachable.
A very chic and clean custom wall unit with perfect lighting and a sleek mix of special interest books and glass objects, looks beautiful and polished.