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11 Simple Ways to Beautify Your Bookcase and Home Library

Cory Connor Designs, original photo on Houzz

Turn your bookshelf into a color-curated spread worthy of any interior design magazine and bring sophisticated warmth to your Hudson Valley home.

By Michelle Gage, Houzz

Bookworms, rejoice. The options for lining your walls with books are nearly limitless. Whether you are a stacker, sorter or color-coordinator, we’ve got you covered. Learn how to leave your mark and create your very best “shelfie.”

Jamie Keskin Design, original photo on Houzz

1. Pair it with paint. Try painting the back of your bookcase to provide a hit of color. Add a letter for your initial, vases or your favorite knickknacks to give it a personal touch.

Vicki Simon Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

2. Maximize space. Fit a bookcase wherever you can. If the wall is slender, as pictured here, you’ll gain some shelf space without giving up too much square footage. This is one of the best ways to take advantage of overlooked or hard-to-decorate spaces.

3. Go all the way up. If you want to add dramatic floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, make your dreams a reality. Add a library ladder to reach the highest levels while creating a classically cool look.

Kim Scodro Interiors, original photo on Houzz

 4. Mix your media. Built-in bookshelves are a great way to frame a flat-screen television. It says: “Sure, I watch TV, but I also like to read too.” They’re also a great way to add functionality to an often wasted space.

5. Integrate a desk. A desk and your books in one place make for a great pairing. By leaving a flat surface in your built-in bookcase to set up a computer and space below to slide in a chair, you can deftly create a home office.

Cory Connor Designs, original photo on Houzz

6. Add a reading nook. A window seat between two bookcases makes for an easy reading setup. For extra storage, choose a window seat that can be opened as if it were a large trunk.

7. Add a splash of color. If you prefer white walls and furniture, you can still add some color to your room by filling a bookshelf with colorful books. Switch out the books for more or less color depending on your mood.

Whitten Architects, original photo on Houzz

8. Highlight the hallway. If you have a wider hall, lining it with bookshelves frees up walls in other rooms. Try filling all the shelves with only books to reinforce your bookworm status.

9. Remember that sometimes smaller is better. If you don’t have the money or space for a large built-in bookcase, a small, low shelving unit can do the trick. Style it with your favorite vintage treasures. Stack books both vertically and horizontally for an effortless sense of style.

Lucy Call, original photo on Houzz


10. Be open to the possibilities. If you want a less traditional look for your bookshelves, consider a series of open shelves. They provide just as much space for storing books, but feel lighter and tend to work well in modern homes.

11. Get the best of both worlds. Why choose between a bookshelf or art on a wall, when you can have both? Leave an opening on the wall and display art in it to add dimension and visual interest.

Related: Warm Up Your Room With the Right Rug

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