I have recently re-styled the bookcase in my lounge as the room has been re-decorated, and oh boy, what a difference it makes! Storage units can at times be overlooked and forgotten, however they can make a difference in the overall look of our rooms. There are solutions to hide the clutter away (some of which I share here), instead of using a bookcase as a 'it's-out-of-the-way-on-the-shelf-so-it's-fine' kind of unit. I'd rather think of it as a unit to display your personality and add character to a room! I am sharing my tips here so you can achieve the same results at home.
1- Chose items that mean something to you, some items that will bring good memories and things that you have collected over the years. You don't want your bookcase to look show-homey, so make sure to add personal items that will scream personality. In our bookcase we have items we collected when on a trip away, when we got engaged, we have our wedding cake topper (cheesy I know! but it suits our home), some photos that mean the world to us.
2- A good selection of books, group them by subject, and then by size and arrange them in piles. Place some horizontally, some vertically on the shelves. This will make it easy to look at, and will not make your shelves overwhelming, keeping the visual balance. Don't forget to add some book ends or book weights, or place objects that will do the job. Finally, place them on different positions on the shelves to create balance and interest. You don't want every shelf to have books on the left and ornaments on the right - that would look boring so mix it up!
3- Think Green! Add some fresh (or faux) plants, and place them in pots that will fit your colour scheme. Just remember that if you are using the real thing you need to water them frequently and maintain them always fresh looking, or your bookshelf will not look as loved. I am really into faux plants at the moment, with a hectic lifestyle it's the best way to add some life into my rooms without the added work! It's also good Feng Shui - if you are into it!
4- 3 letters: ART. Whatever is meaningful to you counts. Whether it is something small placed in a frame, or something big leaning against the back of the bookcase or the wall. As long as it is meaningful to you!
5- Organise your items. Find some useful ways to group similar items together, I have chosen a trio of baskets to organise mine. When placing your items on the bookcase, think of creating balance, contrast and movement. An easy way to start is to place your books on the shelves by following #2 above, and then start adding different items around them such as your art and plants. Make sure similar items are not placed straight under each other, and play with your colours the same way. Finally, place the larger baskets on the bottom shelves.
This is a really good way to start and I am happy with the way it looks so far. However a designer's job is NEVER finished. And that is a good thing, as moving a few things about here and then will always keep your rooms fresh and new!