Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lesson #6

The art of good shelf and book case decor and accessorizing.

Most of you are looking at the cross and saying what on earth is she talking about? I thought this was about decorating? It is! The basic and simplest way to explain the concept is by using a cross as your reference point.

So first you take everything off the bookcase shelves, you sit staring at the pile of "stuff" on the floor and wonder how am I going to set this up so it looks most appealing? Then like most of us we end up just piling stuff up on the shelves hoping it finally looks good. We try hard to keep things rather assymetrical never realizing there is a slight "unknown" art to doing this. This is simply the art of following the basic cross guideline.

First, your largest and most prized piece should be at the top of the cross...

Second, your "fillers", books and smaller items on the second shelf...

Third shelf again should repeat something of a similar size to the first shelf but these should be on either end of the shelf rather than the middle, again using the cross as your guideline...

Fourth, and so on continue the pattern, trying to keep in mind size and scale...

Your final look should have the over all look of a "cross"!

This is the best tool for tackling those bookcases and shelving units! Follow these guidelines, try to keep things somewhat symmetrical in appearance. All books can be stood on end or layed down with titles facing outwards...don't be afraid to try and keep colors and sizes of books similar, again always thinking of the balance of the shelves.

Decorating a bookshelf is entirely about balance. While you definitely want to beautifully display the books you have, you should do so with a modicum of poise. The problem that many people face when decorating a bookshelf is that they don't have enough books. Sound familiar? If so, you need to become more creative. Rather than shove all of your books on one shelf, use other accessories to break up the monotony and make the most of the space. Always keeping balance and symmetry in mind. Books are a decorators friend... they are great fillers in so many ways, be it book shelves, coffee tables, mantle accessories, they are perfect for giving height to lamps at the bedside, or height for candle holders to trick the eye into believing they are of varying heights. Large books can also be used as side tables with a simple piece of round glass on the top!

The most important thing to remember is that size, balance and assymetry are the key to good bookcase design, largest items front and center first shelf, items to the far left and right on the third shelf and so on...again I suggest taking pictures, shuffling things around, and view it from the lens of a camera. If you keep these ideas in the back of your mind then the process becomes easier and starts to evolve delicately over time and voila with a slight shuffling it suddenly looks better! Happy shelving everyone and best of luck!

For those that may have any questions regarding this post or any of the others please ask and I will try to answer those questions tomorrow!




Ladydeembee said...

French Fry!!!!!! I am truly loving your lessons! I get up every morning to check and see what's new! :) I love the whole "follow the cross" tip! Thank you!!!! Me love you long time! LOL! Donna

Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity said...

I love this lesson, Lisa!! I don't really have shelves. But, I'll keep this in mind if I ever do.
Hugs, Terrie

Deb said...

Lisa, I was wondering about the cross, what a great lesson, only thing I don't have any bookshelves, but you made me wish I did. :O) Deb

Anonymous said...

Hey there my favorite Frenchfry.... I've always tried to follow the CROSS but now I'll apply it to bookshelves. I can't wait for the next lesson! Carol

Rue said...


I have failed miserably at this for years. Wanna come do this for me?? ;)

love you,

Rue said...

Oh and congratulations to you on her graduation! :)

Chari said...

Hello Lisa! hit the nail right on the head with this lesson!!! A few lessons back...I asked the very to arrange shelves! All of my questions were answered in this lesson!!! I have to admit that I have never heard of "The Cross" was sooo interesting!!! Thank you so much friend!!! Each lesson just gets better and better...I am thoroughly enjoying every little tidbit!!!

Lisa, I really appreciate all of your time and effort in teaching these design lessons!!! Just want to encourage you...and didn't want it left unsaid...Thank you!!!
Chari (Happytodesign)
PS...Now I'm off to tweak those shelves in my living room..hehe!!!

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South Carolina, United States
Never say what if... Just do. Live life without regrets...RN /Author/Interior Decorator