Bookcases are a common way to organize books and other decorative items. But because the shelves are open, your “stuff” is on display. So it is often a challenge to make everything look attractive. In a library or office, book are frequently arranged by subject and stuffed in the shelves – with little attention paid to the look of the arrangement. But most of us would like our bookcases to be visually appealing, especially if they are located in a public space in our home. So here are a few secrets for creating a stylish bookshelf… Arrange books by height. Order your books from tallest to shortest on one shelf. Vary the direction from shelf to shelf, placing the largest hardcovers to the left on some and to the right on others. Separate paperbacks. Put paperback books on a separate shelf instead of combining them with hardcovers. Add interest with accessories. Place a few attention-grabbing figures on your shelves. You can use them as book-ends, or place one atop a pile of horizontally staked books. Hide magazines in decorative magazine holders. Although magazines aren’t overly attractive when plainly piled in a stack, they can still be a part of your bookcase. Choose a fashionable container, or cover a simple cardboard version with fabric or wallpaper. Label the front so you know which periodicals are hidden inside. Create a focal point. Place a single item on one of the shelves to create real drama. If you have a beautiful sculpture or a souvenir from a memorable trip, give it the honor it deserves by allowing it to have its own space. Don’t forget to stack. As you arrange your books, mix in stacked piles with the books that are standing up. This adds visual interest by varying the layout. It also allows you to display oversized books that might not fit standing up. You can use your stacks as bookends or to raise the height of a pretty accessory. Remember that your bookcases are functional. You want to be able to use your books. But by following a few design rules, your shelves don’t have to look utilitarian. They can be a delightfully attractive part of your home, as well. We have helped many clients design and build custom shelving and bookcases. Call us for an in-home consultation!