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Who says your bookshelves should look just like the stacks at your local library? Home libraries have much more leeway to turn away from the uniform and instead make a bookshelf more colorful, more fun and more YOU! A few decorating tips can take this utilitarian piece of furniture beyond the basics to become a bastion of your favorite books...and more.

 

Highlight your hobbies

Books may be windows to your soul, but your hobbies and interests say a lot about you, too. Combine them both on your bookshelves! Strategically place collections of your favorite items beside and in front of your books. Turn stacks of books into stands for small objects that you adore. Make every bookshelf represent the things that you and your family care about most.

 

Go beyond alphabetical

If your books are arranged from Austen to Zafón, you aren't alone. But look past strict alphabetization (and the Dewey Decimal system, for that matter!) and instead group your books in a way that's pleasing to the eye – by size or by color. Mix things up by lining some books horizontally, stacking others vertically or even turning them spines-in! Don't worry: We won't tell your librarian!

 

Leave empty space, too!

Even if you have enough books to fill the Grand Canyon, squeezing them all onto your bookcase may not be the way to go. Leave some space and give your books room to breathe. Empty space on your shelves can not only give your bookcase a clean look, but it can even make a small room appear larger. (Best yet, this may be the perfect excuse to get a new bookcase!)

 

Forget the books

Believe it or not, books aren't even a requirement on every shelf. Instead of banishing photos and artwork to the top of a bookshelf alone, try surrounding the books that you love with the people that you love! Set framed photos, pieces of art, houseplants and even layer empty frames to add personality and show off the items you love.

 

Hide the clutter

Of course, bookshelves often are very practical places to hold important papers and other items to be kept close at hand. But who wants to see a bunch of folders lining a bookcase? Use baskets to hide the mess within, and containers to keep files handy while portraying a much more pleasing facade.

Choose a Fold N' File in one of your favorite Thirty-One prints to line up on your shelves, or a Close to Home Décor Box or Close to Home Caddy to add a natural wood accent to your bookcase.

 

Look at what's behind

Pay attention not only to what’s on your shelves, but what’s behind them, too! Hanging wallpaper or painting the space behind your bookcase is a great way to add some zing and draw eyes to the shelves. Unsure about which color to choose? Start by looking at the hues that already fill your room on items like chairs and pillows.

 

How have you made your bookshelves uniquely your own? Do any Thirty-One products line your bookcase? What are your favorite items on your shelves? Share your thoughts by using the #thirtyone hashtag – and get a few new ideas of your own!