Let's get personal ... about bookshelves.
"Bookshelves need to be personal," award-winning interior designer Chandos Dodson Epley of Chandos Interiors says. "You don't want your home to look like a hotel. Have books you love, family photographs or art thrown in the mix."
Epley says while she does have people approach her for her expertise in styling bookshelves, typically it's part of accessories for a house as a whole. But those who do come forth face the same challenges as most clients do.
Epley shares her top five tips for making your bookshelves look organized — and even beautiful.
Adjust shelves to varied heights.
"This helps make the built-in look more unique and gives you more options on the accessories you can place on the shelves," she says.
Use a group or collection of accessories to help unify the shelves.
"I have used everything from French campaign maps to porcupine quill boxes in shelves," Epley says. "Just simple silver picture frames and books do the trick quite nicely."
"A wallpaper such as grass cloth or jute added to the back of bookshelves warm them up and can add a pop of color if needed," she says. "Ceramics and porcelain can also help a room that has a lot of glass and metal in it."
Be sure to vary the placement and size of objects.
"When styling with books be sure to stack vertically and horizontally," Epley says. "There are no rules on how books are to be placed. Try varied sizes of picture frames and porcelains. A bookshelf can look and feel too commercial if everything is too similar."
Symmetry and Balance
"Try to balance the shelves from left to right with spacing and objects," Epley says. "The items used don’t have to be a matching pair, but using a similar scale will help anchor the shelves for a finished look."
As for home libraries, Epley says she approaches these more extensive collections with the same five principles in mind. "Home libraries can still be beautiful while being functional if books need to be organized in a way so that they can be found," she says. "Books can be curated just like objects."
Take a look through the slideshow above for some of Epley's projects in styling bookshelves following her five tips.
Epley began her 15-year career after graduating from the University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in interior design. She won "Best Kitchen" honors from Southern Living magazine last year, was selected by House Beautiful magazine as one of the “Next Wave” of Interior Designers in 2010 and was recognized as a "Star on the Rise" by the Decorative Center Houston in 2010. She has design boutiques in Houston and Dallas.