By Aarzoo Naeem Chaudhry
e usually tend to overlook the fine points of a room because we consider it a waste of time to go into the details. Not all of us are perfectionists and it’s the overall look that matters the most to us. However, there is one interesting detail in a room that you would not want to overlook – bookshelves. Bookshelves add character to a room, particularly if they actually contain books rather than your best china. The most appealing bookcases feature an eye-catching mix of books and other decorative items. So, take out a day for the long-forgotten bookshelves and jazz them up according to your living style. Incorporate your bookshelf into the decorating scheme of your room and remove the eyesore of cluttered books.
Prep up a boring bookshelf: Paint or wallpaper the interior of the bookshelf in a way that would reflect your personal taste and style. If you like funky patterns then you can try multi-colored polka dots wallpaper or paint it in stripes. For a classy touch, you can varnish your mahogany wooden shelves and add stylish wrought iron supports to reinforce them.
Try paint: Paint the inside back wall of your bookcase to match the room’s wall color or an accent color – or use both and alternate between them. A pale color can light it up to show off your book or art collection to perfection.
Make innovative arrangements: Arrange the bookshelf in a way that you like best; whether you like it in the corner of a room, in a zigzag manner or three shelves over each other.
Organize by color or size: Next, organize your books by size or color. Organize them randomly where small sized books may be placed in between larger ones. However, if you are an organized person you can just arrange them based on size or subject or even alphabetically! For a cute, funky touch make a rainbow arrangement. Arrange your books so that spines with a similar color are bunched together. Next, arrange the groupings from rainbow order to neutrals: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, gray, and then white. You’ll love how pretty your books look arranged this way.
Stack them up: As you arrange the books, keep in mind that you can stack them up as well as stand them up end to end. Vertical stacks of books add interest. They allow you to display oversized books that might not fit in the bookcase. You can use the stacks as bookends.
Be creative: Find bookends from old book shops, gift shops or even Sunday bazaar. Anything that is heavy enough to support your books can be used.
Add special touches: Place decoration pieces in the center or at the end of each shelf. Hang small mementos from the shelves. Childhood or memorable pictures in pretty frames can be placed on the book shelf as well. Personalize with photographs. Creatively display your family photos. If you include picture frames on your shelves, use all of the same color or finish, such as all gold frames or all black frames. The frames can be varying styles and sizes. This color coordination technique allows the subject of your photos to take center stage, not the frames.
Out with the old: Keep your display updated. Clear away books and other objects you no longer use or have sentimental attachment for. An uncluttered bookcase gives prominence to the things you care about most.
Add accent lighting: Attach battery operated click lights to the underside of a shelf to provide light for objects below. Light shining down upon glass objects creates a stunning effect.
Acceossorize: After you are finished accessorizing the shelf, take a few steps back to evaluate the overall look and make changes if required. ■
This article was originally published in the print edition of Valuemag, issue 3 – July 2008