Styling a Bookcase

My neighbor has impeccable taste. She is a graphic designer and I have always loved her clean lines and attention to detail. And her Ballard Design Sonoma bookcase. As sad as we were to see them leave the neighborhood in the fall, we were happy that they were only moving ten minutes away. And when she put the Sonoma up on Facebook for sale, I could not type Want! fast enough.

During the holidays, it held various Christmas decor and my Snow Village but after I packed it all away, Sonoma was barren and sad. Here and there I would pick something up in the house and move it over and today I can say that it is finally styled. I won't say curated because that word drives me bananas. Styled is borderline as it is.

So once again, I am so incredibly far from being any type of expert but I am going to share three tips today what works for me when styling our bookcase.

1. Stay away from dark colors and clutter.

It is easy to find affordable black and brown frames and decor of all shaped and sizes but I try to use them sparingly, otherwise your shelf will look dark and dated. A great place to find affordable, different picture frames is HomeGoods.My exception: My basset hound bookends from HomeGoods which are holding up my cherished Harry Potter.

I know it is tempting to cram as much as possible on your shelves, but I prefer a simple, non-layered look. Clutter makes my eye twitch.

2. Mix and match materials and don't forget the sparkle.  

As popular as gold is right now, I prefer a more classic mix of metals. Primarily because gold will eventually fall out of favor and I am too cheap to replace all of my knick knacks. But also because it adds interest. Also try to find items with texture, such as the round, studded frame below. I also like to mix and match crystal pieces through my decor to class up the joint. Crystal and animal print will look good with virtually any decor. You might be tempted to veer too match-matchy when picking out accessories. I am bad about that too. You don't have to decorate in only one color scheme, toss in a different color just for fun. Fight the urge to color coordinate!

3. Avoid the Pinterest trap. Choose items that you love, not just that look pretty and pinable.   

I love Pinterest. I love decor magazines. But I have a young family and I would rather fill up my shelves with pictures of them and things that represent us and the stage of life we are in. My biggest rule of decorating is and always will be: Decorate with what you love.

And if you want more inspiration, Tess over at Teatime with Tess is blogging today about her similar bookcase and how she styled it -- it is gorg!

In other Team Skelley news, if you are friends with me on Instagram (and if you are not, let's be), you might have seen that we have embarked on a big decor project: turning our playroom into a media/rec room. Now that we have a tween, our playroom is invaded by fifth graders every day -- seriously, they come out of the woodwork -- and we wanted to make them a space where they will be comfortable and have fun as they move into the middle school age. Having a media room has been The Engineer's dream since we moved in six years ago, so he is on board. We found an epic sectional at Costco yesterday for a steal but part of the reason that it is so inexpensive is because they do not deliver. Doh! I will keep you updated.

Happy Monday! We are taking a sick day today, this is usually my day in the Army Garrison but Little Kid has a nasty cough and we will be heading to the doctor soon. Poor munchkin sounds like a barking seal. Have a great week!

Joining up with: The lovely ladies at Best of the Nest -- go check out what they have cooking. You will find some fabulous design inspiration!


  1. Feel free to come decorate my shelves any day. Are you free on Friday?

  2. Nice! I like the eclectic style -- I know I tend to be too "matchy-matchy" and drawn to dark brown frames/random decor. I'm trying to change that but old habits die hard. I think I recognize the frame that I gave you after the baby shower that you hosted for M several years ago on one of the shelves. I'm really glad that it's been useful to you!

  3. As I read this, my daughter is on the other computer looking for a set of Harry Potter to buy! She's reading them from the library but wants her own. ;) Your shelves look great. Styling is a tricky job and you did it well! Thanks for linking up with us at Best of the Nest!


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