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Booked up? Add a a personal touch to your home with well-styled bookshelves

Booked up? Add a personal touch to your home with styled bookshelves

7575 Chandos Interiors bookshelves February 2015
When styling with books, stack them vertically and horizontally, as shown here in a media room by Chandos Interiors. Photo courtesy of Chandos Interiors
Chandos Interiors bookshelves February 2015 head shot
Chandos Dodson Epley of Chandos Interiors. Photo courtesy of Chandos Interiors
6554 Chandos Interiors bookshelves February 2015
A variety of curated objects keeps the bookshelves interesting as with this hall bookshelf by Chandos Interiors. Photo courtesy of Chandos Interiors
3594 Chandos Interiors bookshelves February 2015
Incorporate family photos to personalize the space. Use groupings and collections to unify the shelves. (Design by Chandos Interiors) Photo courtesy of Chandos Interiors
4477 Chandos Interiors bookshelves February 2015
Try to balance shelves from left to right with spacing and similar objects. Chandos Interiors achieves this goal as seen with these built-ins flanking a fireplace. Photo courtesy of Chandos Interiors
7575 Chandos Interiors bookshelves February 2015
Chandos Interiors bookshelves February 2015 head shot
6554 Chandos Interiors bookshelves February 2015
3594 Chandos Interiors bookshelves February 2015
4477 Chandos Interiors bookshelves February 2015

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.

Shelf Placement
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.

Groupings
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."

Texture
"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."

Variety
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.