Tips for Staging Bookshelves

Posted On By Amanda

You might have staged your home in a great style, but what will buyers say when they see your cluttered bookcases? As a regular bookshelf redecorator, let me share some ideas on how to stage your bookshelf to impress potential buyers!

#1. Start by Decluttering the Shelves

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When you are staging your bookshelves, you might want to take a shelfie.

Now for those wondering what is a shelfie, it’s quite simply a picture of your artfully styled bookshelf that shows off your books. The image is then posted on social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram and I am sure you must have seen #shelfie somewhere.

However, it is obvious that a cluttered shelf will not be considered a piece of art but rather an eyesore. Therefore, you should start by emptying your bookshelves to have blank canvas to work with.

Now, there are certain rules, or shall I say secrets, when it comes to decluttering your bookshelves. First, remember to keep only the items that are really necessary and that make you feel something. Do not hold on to items just because they cost a lot or because you’ve had them for a long time. According to Martha Robert’s book, Shelfie: Clutter-clearing ideas for stylish shelf art, some items are simply not display-worthy.

#2. Adjust the Shelving Heights

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There are some bookcases with shelves that can be moved to different heights in order to accommodate larger objects. Let me tell you that adjusting shelves will help to bring a symmetrical look to your space and can be much more pleasing to the eye.

#3. Consider Bookcase Lighting

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You can consider installing library lights as they can not only provide more light in a room but can also add a finishing touch to the shelves. And don’t worry, library lights don’t have to be expensive.

Aside from the typical library lights, there are other creative and beautiful lighting ideas to beautify and personalize your bookcase:

  • When it comes to bookcase lighting, you can trust fairy lights and these battery-operated lights not only last long but can also add a unique touch to your home décor.
  • Another great way to add some lighting to your bookcase is through lightboxes. Lightboxes are used to illuminate graphic displays and they come in various sizes. You can customize your own message and fit a lightbox between or in front of your books. For example, on my bookshelf, you can find two lightboxes with the messages, “Want a balloon?” and “We all float down here!” next to Stephan King’s classic IT.
  • You can fill a space or even dedicate the entire bookshelf with decorative LED letters.
  • Who doesn’t want the nice aesthetic of a flickering flame next to some good classic books? So, why don’t you go ahead and decorate your bookcase with battery-operated flameless candles?
  • Another affordable way to shine a light on your books and light up your bookshelf is to add a lantern.

#4. Organize Beautiful Items for the Bookshelves

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Now, be careful about what you are placing on your shelves.

Concerning books, we recommend hardback books only. And for the placement, you can try a mix of vertical and horizontal arrangements. However, you can also arrange your books by color. Nowadays, many designers do not suggest organizing books by topic or author but rather by color. But, it depends whether you like solid rows of red and blue or a mixture of shades of color.

Furthermore, think sculptural and opt for decorative objects. According to Alison Murray Winkler, a designer in Brooklyn, “To create an interesting look to your shelves, select sculptural and design-forward pieces that are also functional, like lamps, bookends, boxes and trays.”

In addition, you definitely need to incorporate artwork into your bookshelves. Even small pieces of art can still add a certain level of depth and dimension to your bookshelf. And, we cannot forget our dear mother nature! It is a must to incorporate organic materials – whether it’s a small plant, a beautiful seashell or a bowl filled with rocks.

Will you incorporate these elements into your bookshelves? Please share your comments!



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