For years, I resisted "styling" my bookshelves. It seems a particularly precocious thing to do. Shelves are for books--or games, or boxes, and maybe, maybe the occasional decorative object. In other words, shelves are places to put things, not display them.
There's no reason they can't be attractive, too. Since I first decided to pretty up my Expedit, it's been a challenge to style it so that it looks good without sacrificing any of its functionality.
Which "before" picture should I show you?
It's undergone quite the transformation this year. Here's one from January when I also had a tall Billy bookcase in the room and a wall of shelves above my desk.
I took down the shelves and moved the Billy to the basement--and, as you'd expect, a massive decluttering.
When I moved the Expedit to its new wall in the spring, I made sure to put back only what I absolutely wanted (the scrapbooks) and needed (everything else).
That didn't leave a whole lot of room for decor--though I took a half-hearted stab at styling it after the Organiz-a-thon.
I lived with it like that for a few months, poking at things and moving bits around until I took my official "before" photo for Justina's course.
And now, after much fussing about, here we are.
It's been a while since I laid out Justina's style principles. In brief:
1. Address needs.
2. Include contrasting shapes.
3. Consider placement. Fill the space--but leave room to breathe, too. Aim for balance--you don't want one shelf extremely cluttered and the next one bare.
4. Create a tight colour palette.
5. Include pattern. Books can be upright or flat. If they are flat they can be left justified, right justified or centered.
6. Include items with various textures.
7. Include objects with bling.
8. Include botanicals.
In the video, Justina suggests you sort your books by colour. I didn't. I sorted them by subject matter. My scrapbook binders are sorted by colour--and all of my working binders have white spines, so I feel I've kept the chaos somewhat controlled.
Secondly, you'll notice: no botanicals. At least, none inside the unit itself. The Expedit sits ten feet away from a north facing window. The best I could do was this Mother-in-law's tongue from Home Depot beside it. I wouldn't mind including some faux botanicals, but I didn't see any I liked. Maybe Abigail Ahern can send some of her stuff to Canada?
I definitely took her advice to stand something in front of something ugly! The duck needlepoint and the crayon painting hide those nasty little drawer units.
Applying the Principles:
So, it's pretty obvious that the Expedit serves my needs. It has almost everything I need to run my home.
Mostly everything on a book shelf is rectangular or square. I tried using bowls to add some curves, but they sat too low in the cubbies--and the low things I have already are holding important things.
Placing too many low things in the cubbies made them look sparse--which looked really weird given how tightly packed those scrapbooks are. The whole thing became unbalanced. Fortunately, it doesn't take a lot of round or curvy things to offset all the rectangles. The owl and the plate do a fair bit of heavy lifting--and they fill about 75% of the space within the cubby.
You'll notice though, that the colour is all over the place. It would be really, really hard for me to neutralize my Expedit! Because of that, I kept the arrangement of the books similar. There's only one horizontal stack--and that's because I wanted to fill the space!
I'm lucky I have that bread basket--it adds so much texture! (It holds our two cameras). The books and boxes are "rough" too which helps--cause everything else is so shiny or smooth. There's lots of bling!
I'll leave you with the wide shot:
What do you figure? About a B+?
This post is part of a series based on a course I am taking at skillshare by Justina Blakeney called Style Your Space Like a Pro.
Assignment 1: (Identifying) The Styling Principles Of Justina Blakeney
Assignment 2: Styling the Coffee Table
Assignment 3: Styling the Sofa, sort of.