How to Style a Bookcase

Designer and TV personality Tommy Smythe shares his bookcase styling tips.

If your bookcase is low and long...
Lay books flat (see below) or cluster them vertically on shelves to mix things up. Take advantage of the multi-functional upper level; use it as a TV stand or a place to display sculptures—or even more books!

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Bookcase from Elte, elte.com.

If your bookcase is open on all sides...
Otherwise known as an étagère, this shelf is the unsung hero of storage furniture. It's great for small spaces and can even serve double-duty as a room divider. Add height to the top shelf with tall accessories (see below).

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Étagère from Elte, elte.com.

If your bookcase lacks personality...
Organize your library monochromatically (see below), then add accessories in kind to suit, interspersing tchotchkes among the books. Wallpapering the back panel adds visual interest and a welcome personal touch.

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Bookcase from Ikea, ikea.com.

Furniture and accessories graciously provided by Ikea, Elte, Angus & Company, Boo Boo & Lefty, 1212 Decor and West Elm.

 

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