Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The ABC's of arranging shelves

Arranging shelves can often foil folk, but it need not! Let's look at a couple of tricks to trick out your bookshelves!

First off, there is The Last Supper. Really. You remember in your art appreciation class in college when they flashed up an image of The Last Supper and then started going on about the perspective and all the triangles? Now, let's put that art appresh class to use.

Above is an image of The Last Supper with colorful triangles. Each triangle creates a vignette in the image. Just as Michelangelo created triangles in his painting to create a pleasing composition, so can you on the bookshelf. Choose one of the triangle shapes- Equilateral, Isosceles and Scalene and build the bookshelf with your building blocks.

Below is a chart with the building blocks of a good bookshelf- The ABC's.

A stands for accents. These are your one-of-a-kind items you want to use in the bookcase. Great items that you do not collect, they simply stand on their own, like a lamp, some art glass, or you favorite aunt's soup tureen.

B represents books. It is a book shelf, after all. You want to appear well read. Books add gravitas, repetition, and an air of intellectualism to bookshelves. Don't have books because you read everything on your kindle? Buy them! Antique stores, online book sellers, some really good thrift stores- all have new and old books. Mix them up, or do all old books. All new books can be expensive to purchase... and risky if people start asking you about the plot!

~~* Book shopping tip *~~
Estate sales are great places to find books. The ones I shop offer hardbacks for $2-$4 and paper backs for $1-$2.
SUPER TIP-go on the second day of the sale, or toward the end of the sale, typically everything is half price! If you are not planning on reading them, half price day is an instant collection on the cheap!

C is for collections. Here is where your personality shines. Most people collect something and they are usually personal. From a Star Wars collection you started in 3rd grade to vintage camera because you dabble in photography. Pull out your best of the best and make your triangles!

Remember books are not just for making you look smart. In the design world, they are also used as risers on bookshelves. Much like the phone book you sat on for holiday dinners at the "big" table when you were 5, books are a great source for adding height and repeating colors in you collection. By creating various heights, thus triangles,  you create a more visually interesting and pleasing bookshelf.

Let's look at a couple of good book shelves and their triangles.

Less Is More
Great space from Better Homes and Gardens. Now let's see those triangles.

Note that a vase of flowers is upside-down triangle!

Really lovely space! You can click on the image without the triangles to see the space on  I particularly like the shelf that the triangle is actually the "negative" space, though I drew the triangles as two over the positive space (the part with the stuff).

If you like what you see in the ABC's chart, all those items art available in Interiors and Antiques in Vestavia Hills! Please follow my blog to see and read more design techniques, great shopping, and green living ideas. If you would like help with your shelves and you are near the Birmingham area, please send me an email ( I'd love to help you make your space the best it can be.

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