Styling Your Bookcase And Concealing Your Murphy Door

Creating visual interest in your bookshelves can add style and function to your interior space. If you are looking for a few ways to incorporate artwork, decorative objects, plants, and of course books into your shelves we have broken it down into a few easy steps. When you include a Murphy Door into your interior, these approaches will make your secret door blend seamlessly into your space.

Image of a section of a library with tall bookcases filled with books.

Filling Your Shelves

The first thing to consider is how full you will want your shelves to be. You may want to have a full library of books or simply highlight a select few as part of the decor. When you begin to fill the shelves, consider breaking up the way you stack them to add visual interest. Bigger tomes that don’t quite stand upright on your shelves can be the basis for a horizontal stack of books. If you start with larger books and go smaller as you stack, the visual weight of the graduated sizes will enhance the overall look of your bookcase. You can also encourage a diagonal lean to vertically stacked books, some people often purposely use this to create a pattern in their book stacking.

Considering Negative Space

Image of two shelves on a wall with decorative pieces

 

Allowing negative space (the space around an object or form) in your styling is an important part of bringing focus and breathing room between the items on your shelves. One way to use negative space is to crowd together some items while leaving space around pieces that you would like to showcase. As Study.com explains, “When used creatively and intelligently, positive and negative space together can tell a story using visual composition alone.” A photo, an award, a signed baseball, or artwork can become a focal point on a shelf by increasing the negative space around it in comparison to other objects.

Incorporating Decorative Items

Image of a black bookshelf along a wall filled with books, board games, and decorative pieces

If you plan on a fuller library, you can add a few touches of decorative items tucked in with the books. Consider adding small objects or bookends, especially if you have a long row of similarly sized or colored books on a single shelf. For shelving that concentrates more on the overall styling and less on creating a library, incorporate decorative pieces that are sculptural in shape, especially ones that contrast the form or color of the books around it. Vases, small clocks, tchotchkes, and memorabilia can easily be featured this way. You can create a little vignette of items nestled on the shelf between stacks of books, or add them to a small pile of horizontally laid titles.

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Bringing in the Green

Image of a white shelf on a wall with decorative pieces.

Bookshelves are a great opportunity for adding plants to your decor. You can have a little bit of the natural world in your home without taking up floor space or overwhelming a table. A cascade of leaves or a well-edited potted plant can add to the decorative elements of your bookshelves. It is important to consider the amount of light that will reach the plants on your shelves. You don’t want full sunlight for shade-seeking plants, and you don’t want plants that will droop due to lack of light. Also, when it comes to watering (and spillage), make sure items surrounding your plant won’t be affected by an errant drop or two.

Displaying Art

Image of two long shelves with decorative pieces and portraits of different art.

 

Artwork is an excellent way to dress up your shelves. You can play with color, motifs, and sizes of art to create a unique and visually appealing display. Shelves that are at eye level are the best spot for featuring art or photographs. If your shelves are near a sitting area (such as a dining or living room), consider displaying at a seated eye level rather than a standing one. You can also incorporate repetition with your artwork. By repeating sizes, patterns, or layout over adjacent shelves you can pull the whole bookshelf look together. Repetition is a principle of design that is proven to create visual emphasis or focus.

Playing with Color

Image of two shelves on a wall filled with books and decorative pieces.

 

The human brain responds acutely to color and color combinations. You can use that to your advantage when styling your bookshelves. A new trend with this in mind is to group books by color, and many people have taken to creating a rainbow effect across their bookshelves. Other people use a single bold color sprinkled throughout their display. If you want something that is eye catching, you might choose a warmer color; two-thirds of the cones in your eye are used to process the longer wavelengths of color (like reds, oranges, and yellows). This means that you can see a wider variation in color. Consider incorporating a surprising pink or a high chroma yellow sprinkled into your bookcase decor.

 

 

Once you decide on a style direction, the shelving on your Murphy Door will blend seamlessly into your space and make your hidden doorway tucked away more than ever before.