3 Steps to a Super Stylish Bookcase

3 Steps to a Super Stylish Bookcase

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Nancy Mitchell
Oct 15, 2015
(Image credit: Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson)

You may know Emily Henderson as a very stylish lady with a very stylish home. Her new book, Styled, is full of inspiration and advice for getting that magazine-ready look in your own home. To coincide with its release, she's sharing with us these three steps to making your bookcases look like a million bucks.

From Emily:

Maybe you are someone blessed/cursed with built-in shelves in your home. Or maybe you are someone that can’t throw a book away. Or worse yet, an object hoarder in need of shelving to house your collection of vintage baby doll heads. Whatever the case may be, making the shelving in your home look pulled together, interesting and stylish is challenging, and poorly styled shelving is a problem riddling America. In my new book, the secrets to styling your shelves (as well as every single surface or piece of furniture in your house) is outlined, and the daunting task of making your home look pulled together and beautiful is broken down in very manageable ways.

(Image credit: Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson)

Here are three steps to styling shelves so your shelves look as interesting and pulled together as you are. Before you begin there are some universal rules to styling any surface or room in your house that I need to go over:

1. Have a clear consistent color palette.
2. Edit out what you don’t need or like. That sounds obvious but its not. If your pieces aren’t a. functional, b. sentimental or c. beautiful then please hand those suckers down or donate them.

(Image credit: Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson)

Step 1: Start with your books — maybe it's only a few books (like this), or a library full of dusty old novels. Stack them both vertically and horizontally, and pepper the colors around evenly for a more collected yet pulled together look. In other words — don’t throw all your darker books in one corner and your lighter books in another UNLESS you are doing that color coding thing, which is more for a proper bookshelf, less for a collection of pieces like this.

(Image credit: Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson)

Step 2: Add art. Not all shelving can house art but if it can, DO IT. Incorporating art into your shelves does some really good things: It adds personality, obviously, as art is one of those purchases that we make based on what we like, not based on function. It draws your eye to the back of the shelf, thus making it look deeper and bigger and creating a sense of layering. It takes up a lot of visual real estate that is otherwise hard to fill with smaller objects.

(Image credit: Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson)

Step 3: Mix it up. This is where you add all your pretty things — your objects, sculptures, vessels, collections and even lighting. Mix up the textures, sizes, styles and tones but stay within that color palette so it doesn’t look like a thrift store.

(Image credit: Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson)

A lot of people don't know where to start when decorating their own home, so in the book, Styled I break down the smaller concepts, each vignette, each art wall and if you read the book and implement the ideas you will someday soon look around and magically (it will seem) your home will have come together to look like the best version of your personality possible.

It's sure to look great with the Complete + Happy Home book on pretty much any bookshelf.
(Image credit: Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson)

You can read more about the design of the bookshelves pictured above on Emily's site.

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