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The Stylish Bibliophile: Tips for Choosing and Arranging Bookshelves

As a bibliophile, you may have grown accustomed to teetering towers of books growing ever higher in each room of your home. It's time to organize all those beloved volumes so they become the centerpiece of your décor — and not just a jumble on the floor.


Arranging bookshelves with style doesn't mean cramming as many books as you can fit onto the shelves. It means displaying your books with care and making them an appealing focal point in your home. When guests enter, they will immediately know reading is important to you. Here are a few tips for choosing bookshelves and making them look attractive.

 

Measurements Matter

 

Before you start shopping, be sure to measure your wall space so you can choose products that fit with the scale of your room. Locate your wall studs so you know what you're working with and if wall-mounted shelves are a possibility. (As a safety precaution, always tie back bookshelves to the wall if you have children or pets in your home.)


In addition to wall measurements, you should measure your floor space for freestanding bookshelves. If you don't have much floor to spare, then go for floating shelves mounted at eye level or arranged around a piece of art.


A large room can accommodate library-style ladder shelves and deliver some major wow-factor. If you have low ceilings, then high tower-style shelves help draw the eye upward and can frame an entertainment center or wall-mounted TV. Corner units make great bookshelves in small rooms to help you maximize every nook and cranny.

 

Find Your Type

 

When you think of a bookshelf, you probably picture a traditional tower unit. These are classic for a reason — they're very functional — but there are plenty of other styles available. If you want something with a lighter, airy feel, then an étagère (a stylish unit with open shelves) or a scaffold (horizontal shelves on vertical supports) may be just the thing.


You can opt for a lightweight unit if you plan to use it as more of a display case rather than a workhorse to house a huge library. A bookshelf with an open design can even double as a room divider. Just make sure the unit is designed to stand on its own, and consider one with wheels for extra convenience.


Cube bookcases are very popular, and many come in modular designs you can stack and rearrange to your liking. You may want your bookshelves to come with glass or solid doors on all or part of the unit so you can protect the contents and add visual variety.

 

Stock the Shelves


Many bookshelves come with adjustable-height shelves to accommodate books of different sizes. When organizing your books, you can arrange them by size, color, author, subject matter, or in any other way that strikes your fancy.


For an interesting appearance, stack some books vertically and others horizontally. Bookends keep things from getting sloppy, and they come in every style, from chic to comical. Bookends are a must if you plan to use the very top of the bookshelf. You can also use magazine holders to keep periodicals and thin paperbacks from slipping out or looking untidy.

 

Not Just for Books


The name might be "bookshelf," but that doesn't mean you can't fill those shelves with décor, china, pantry food, office equipment, or even storage bins for odds and ends. If you're going to mix in décor with your books, then follow this rule of thumb: Keep the knick knacks to a similar color scheme for a unified, classy look. That way, everything looks like it goes together rather than like random items on shelves.


Bins and baskets are your best friend if you've got a collection of odd-size books — such as children's board books — or if you simply want to hide the clutter in a room. Alternatively, fill a shelf halfway with books, and use the remaining space for a framed photo, clock, or small sculpture.


As you're searching for a home for your best reads, consider CORT Furniture Rental as a great source for book storage as well as complementary décor. You can find complete furniture sets for every room in the house and have everything delivered when you need it,and picked up when you’re ready to move on.