Home Decorating Tips: How to Style Bookshelves Like a Pro

If there’s one piece of furniture with endless style potential, it’s bookshelves. These spaces are often used for function only, but you can style bookshelves so they display your personality through meaningful objects and unique knick-knacks in addition to your reading collection.

“[Bookshelves] are the absolute architecture of a space no matter where they are on your wall,” says Ashlina Kaposta, a New York City–based interior designer and popular blogger on The Decorista. Kaposta styles bookshelves on a regular basis for clients and is never at a loss for items to fill them. “You can use anything,” says Ashlina.

Anyone can style bookshelves with Kaposta’s easy home decorating tips. Here’s how.

Begin With Empty Bookshelves
Move everything off your shelves and onto the floor. Group similar objects together to better see what you have: Try organizing books by jacket color (see below), by subject matter or by the years or places they were collected. Also gather unique objects and knick-knacks you want to display. See what fits in your plan and what doesn’t, and play with the placement of items. As far as the bookshelf itself goes, affordable units from discount stores will do just fine. But if you’re looking for showcase shelving, Kaposta’s personal favorite finishes are vintage chrome and brass, which will really highlight what they house.

Maintain a Sense of Balance and Symmetry
When you’re deciding where items should go, vary the placement to increase visual interest: Try stacking some books horizontally while lining others up vertically. Create balance and symmetry on your bookshelves by mirroring one placement pattern on an opposing shelf. Kaposta also suggests grouping things in odd numbers.


Credit: Emily A. Clark

Color Coordinate Books and Objects

Grouping items by color “instantly changes up the space,” says Kaposta. Line up book spines in a rainbow order to turn books into an eye-catching element from a distance where titles are indecipherable.

Group Collections Together
If you have a collection of similar items -- such as colorful rocks or sea shells -- keep them together in one area. Give order to your collection by placing the pieces on a lacquered or mirrored tray.  


Credit: Tim Barber LTD Architecture & Interior Design

Stack Boxes Full of Paperwork
Keep important documents within reach -- but out of sight -- by storing them inside chic boxes. Buy boxes in multiples and look for luxe textures and graphic patterns to make a stylish impact.

Include Travel Keepsakes
Remind yourself of fun getaways with objects from travels, such as volcanic rocks and carved statuettes. Mix them in with other treasures to keep it interesting.


Credit: SRM Architecture and Interiors

Use Mirrors and Artwork Sparingly
Remember, this is a bookshelf -- not a wall. Save most, if not all, of your artwork for a wall instead of hiding it away in a bookshelf. If you want one piece, that should be sufficient; use two small pieces at the most.

Make Use of Eye Level
A standout photo or detailed statuette is of no use to anyone on the top shelf of a floor-to-ceiling unit. Arrange objects that require a more detailed appreciation within eyesight.


Credit: Abbott Moon

Capitalize on Storage Opportunities
Your bookshelves can serve as functional storage for more than just your books. For example, a showpiece serving tray that’s too big to fit in kitchen cabinets can find a home among other objects. Plus, it can be appreciated at all times from this perch, instead of just a few times a year when you’re entertaining.

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Photo: Corbis Images

Tangerine Tango: How to Decorate With This Vibrant Color

Decorating with color can be tricky, and working with bright, bold colors can feel especially daunting. The color-powerhouse Pantone Color Institute recently named one such color -- “Tangerine Tango” -- the top color of 2012.

“Sophisticated, but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

Want to put this spirited reddish orange to use in your home? Try these tips to create a space full of warmth and personality.



Photo: Rebekkah Davies Interiors

Add a Pop
Commitment-phobes can still enjoy tangerine with a simple addition of one eye-catching accessory, such as a lamp, throw pillow or vase. Even the smallest pop can enliven a neutral space.



Photo: DucDuc NYC

Brighten Up
Excellent for a nursery, kids’ room or even a home office, this color adds a refreshing dose of happy when applied to walls. Reluctant to paint an entire room? Go the simpler route and opt to paint just one accent wall. Keep other colors subtle -- especially on the other walls. White is a nice, modern way to temper the tangerine, while still letting you add other colors with small accent pieces and artwork.



Photo: Elemental Design

Create a Juicy Greeting
Set the tone for your home with an energetic entry. Whether modern, traditional or even cottage chic, any style home would be right at, well, home, with a front door doused in tangerine. Here, the color adds warmth to what would otherwise be a cold, industrial entry.



Photo: CristiHolcombe6

Get to Work
If your work space is like most, it could use a shot of liveliness. So bring in some orange accents, rug and fabrics to do the job. Here, a mix of floral and graphic patterns work well together, thanks to their matching orange-and-white color palette. To prevent the room from becoming too distracting, neutralize it with soothing gray walls that allow the bold colors to shine without overpowering.



Photo: Pacific Heights Home
Winder Gibson Architects
G.Gibson

Sleep With Citrus
A few bright splashes are all you need to give a space a new look. Soothing cream walls and a gray upholstered headboard create an envelope of quiet color in this master bedroom. And the pretty punches of orange give the space a wakeup call, preventing things from becoming too predictable. Adding a sisal rug offers a neutral foundation to help keep the space calm -- just what every master bedroom needs.

 

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Window Treatments 101

Window treatments add a finished element to any room. But choosing the perfect window treatments for your space is a complex process. It’s not just about color or pattern; to find a window treatment that’s just right, you’ll need to take into consideration a number of factors -- as well as know some basic terminology.

First, let’s begin with some of the most common window-treatment terms:

 

  • Blackouts: Lined or coated window panels that are made from a heavyweight fabric with the intent of blocking light and insulating windows so that interior air doesn’t escape and outside temperatures can’t penetrate the rooms as easily. Blackout draperies may also be used to reduce exterior noise.
  • Blinds: Window treatments made of plastic, metal, wood or heavy fabric that come in horizontal or vertical slats, kept in place with string, cord or fabric tape.
  • Brackets: A piece of hardware attached to a wall or window frame to support a rod.
  • Cellular shade: A style of multi-layered or pleated shade that has a distinctive “honeycomb” fabric construction, and provides a high level of window insulation.
  • Curtains: Unlined, stationary window coverings made of lightweight fabric that are typically hung over windows using a curtain rod or decorative pole, and are often held back with tiebacks or holdbacks.
  • Draperies: Draperies -- not to be confused with curtains -- are made of heavier fabric. They can be stationary or mobile on a track, and can be paired with fabric tiebacks or fixed holdbacks mounted on either side of the window.
  • Finial: A decorative end piece that comes in a variety of shapes used to finish or cap the ends of a drapery rod or the top of a drapery holdback.
  • Grommet-top: Also known as eyelets, these are metal, plastic or rubber rings used to reinforce a hole in the fabric at the top of the drapery or curtain through which a curtain rod is placed.
  • Holdbacks: Used to hold curtain or drapery panels when pulled to the sides of the window so the panels can remain open.
  • Panel: A single curtain or drapery. Most window treatments require two panels, one for each side.
  • Rod pocket: A horizontal sleeve stitched across the top of curtains or draperies that opens to allow a rod to be slipped through.
  • Roll-up shade and roller shade: Flat shades made of fabric, plastic or vinyl that roll up onto a cylinder. Roller shades are spring loaded, while roll-up shades are drawn up with cords or strings.
  • Roman shade: The classic Roman shade has a fabric that forms pleats as the shade is raised; these pleats are formed by rings threaded with cords or tapes sewn on the back of the fabric that allow the shade to be raised and lowered. 
  • Shade: General term to describe blinds, pleated shades, roller shades and other opaque window coverings that can be adjusted to expose or cover a window. 
  • Sheers: Lightweight, translucent and finely woven fabrics.
  • Swag: A decorative treatment placed atop windows that features a soft, curving semicircle centered on the window top with fabric hanging down on both sides.
  • Tab-top: Fabric loops or tabs sewn across curtain tops through which a curtain rod is threaded creating a window treatment that hangs straight and flat.
  • Valances: Decorative window treatments that cover the top part of a window, used primarily as the top layer of a layered window treatment or alone as a decorative accent.

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to purchase your perfect window treatments. To guide you through this complex process, you’ll want to consider both function and form. Here, Sally Morse, director of creative services for Hunter Douglas, offers some tips to keep in mind when choosing window treatments.

Window Treatment Factor Number 1: FUNCTION

  • Energy Efficiency. Cold winters and hot summers are no match for window treatments that are designed to be energy efficient. Think about the direction your windows are facing and how much direct sunlight they receive to determine what level of energy-efficient coverage you might need.
  • Light. How much light do you want filtered in the room from the outside? Do you prefer to wake up to natural light in the morning or would you rather have an ultra-dark space that enables you to sleep in? Window fashions with rotating vanes or louvers can be used to direct light where it’s needed most, so consider this option if you prefer the appearance of slat treatments.
  • Convenience. If your windows are large or out of easy reach, you may want to consider remote-control-operated window treatments. Many companies offer a variation on the remote option, including Hunter Douglas -- their PowerRise 2.0 battery-powered remote control options are easy to use (and affordable), and they enable you to move your treatment to your desired position by shade, room, time of day and even activity (for instance, when reducing glare on the TV is an issue).
  • Noise. Window treatments can even help reduce noise. Consider treatments designed with features such as rear fabric air pockets that trap more air to provide sound absorption.
  • Privacy. Your home should be a private refuge from the outside world -- but not necessarily a dark cocoon blocked from natural light. Choose window treatments that provide both privacy and a view. Pair sheer fabric with fabric vanes to keep your view of the outside while maintaining variable light control and privacy both during the day and into the night.
  • Safety. Little ones running around? Keep their safety in consideration when choosing window treatments, including cordless systems.

Window Treatment Factor Number 2: FORM

  • Color. Color is always an important consideration in any home décor purchase. While white is a popular choice for window treatments, you can also add color with soft, light hues that expand the room. Coordinate your window treatments with the wall color, as low contrasts will keep the eye moving around the space. Reverse the technique to draw the eye to the window. You can also make the window or room appear smaller and cozier by using dark, warm colors and high contrast between the window and the wall.
  • Pattern. Pattern, like color, can add intensity on a large surface. Keep size and scale in mind when bringing pattern to your space via window treatments.
  • Proportion. The right window treatment (and placement of such) can help expand and enhance the feel of a room. Choose window treatments s within the overall scale of the space to maintain proper proportions. With a smaller window, try extending the window treatment higher or wider to make the window appear larger. For a window with interesting details, place the window dressing within the frame to keep the architecture visible. 
  • Texture. Texture is needed in every room, whether casual (rough, nubby or earthy) or formal (smooth, elegant fabrics). To easily integrate texture into a space, add it to your windows.
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Photo: Corbis Images

Decorating How-To: Layering Rugs

Layered rugs are a growing trend in the world of interior design; just browse Pinterest for a few minutes or open your most recent decor magazine and you’ll quickly spot the craze.

This trend creates a collected, textural feel for a room that satisfies and surprises. But trying to achieve such a look makes for tricky work. How do you confidently shop for the mismatched, yet coordinated, colors and furniture pieces required for this perfectly collected and curated design style?

One easy way to create that eclectic vibe is by topping a more neutral, natural-fiber rug with a pretty patterned option, which can put your living room on the fast track to that had-it-forever-but-works-perfectly combination. It’s a fairly easy trend to get on board, so long as you follow some simple tips!

For beginners, start with a natural fiber jute, sisal or seagrass rug. These make great rugs for busy spaces because they typically stand up well to high traffic. They’re also basic, casual and inexpensive enough to support a more fun, patterned rug on top. For the top layer, feel free to go much smaller and in a different shape. Even consider some color for a playful pop of personality.

Take a look at these inspirational photos to get motivated and layer it on!


Rebekah Zaveloff

Andrea Schumacher


Garrison Hullinger


Kate Jackson Designs



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Winter Style: Holiday on Display

Get the most out of your holiday decorations by mixing up the ways in which you display them. These easy ideas and tips will give your home an extra dose of cheer this year.

Find a New Home for Your Wreath
Just like wreaths can be made from a variety of materials, from ball ornaments to wood shims, they can also be placed in just about any area of your home. From the hallways to the kitchen, the right wreath makes for a festive helping of holiday fun.

To hang wreaths, use wide, fancy ribbon. For particularly heavy wreaths, first string hanging wire onto your wreath for reinforcement. Follow it with ribbon to hide the wire. You’ll get the best of both worlds: sturdy and decorative.

Creative Displays
Christmas ornaments aren’t just for the tree. Fill a decorative bowl with colorful balls to make a pretty centerpiece. Keep the container’s color neutral so that the ornaments truly shine.

Make the Most of Your Space
If you have limited space, or would like to carry the Christmas spirit throughout your home, consider smaller pieces. They pull more than their decorative weight with vibrant colors, plus they’re easy to move around and blend well into any holiday scene.

You can also extend your holiday décor by placing figurines and other treasures creatively throughout your home. Mantels and entryways -- and even unexpected places like powder rooms -- benefit from the festive touch.

Create a Colorful Scene
Mix it up! Traditional single-hue ornaments get extra attention when they’re paired with others that use stripes or unusual shapes. Paint faux branches and berries in complementary colors for an easy way to bring them all together.

Bring the Outside In
Bring a little of the outdoors into your holiday décor. Dip pinecones in metallic paint and thread them with gold string for a sophisticated hanging ornament. You can add a touch of the metallic paint to faux flowers and birds, too, and perch them on the tree.

Consider the Details
Pay attention to the details for maximum decorating impact. Applying glitter spray paint to just about any object will give it a textured, festive shimmer. Ribbons tied to garlands add another layer of color.

Also take pieces from your holiday theme and put them in unexpected places. Save a few pinecones and hot glue them to a centerpiece at the top of a lamp. Or make ornaments out of them and hang from doorknobs.

Safe-Keep Your Decorations
To ensure your ornaments last for years to come, wrap them in acid-free tissue papper. In a crunch, old dish towels work well, too. For further protection and organization, make a grid out of cardboard to place them inside storage boxes.

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