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3 Tips For Styling A Bookcase Day to Night

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We look forward to holiday entertaining all year long—and when the holidays roll around, we want our homes to be ready to receive guests at any time. We've partnered with Sauder to share ideas for how to make your home guest-ready at a moment's notice by using all your furniture to your entertaining advantage.

We all dream of being the effortless host: the kind who can have friends drop in at a moment's notice with no stress because our home is always picture-perfect. The truth is, a good quality drink and delicious snack are all you need to successfully entertain. But it's a fine line between "effortless" and "slapdash"—because while placing the snack bowl smack in the middle of the coffee table and serving drinks straight out of the fridge is effortless, it may not be as elegant as we'd like.

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Everyday furniture pieces, like bookcases, are perfect for transforming daytime utility to a surface for evening entertaining. If outfits can go from work to play with a shoe swap or by adding an accessory, the same idea applies to furniture. Below are 3 easy tricks for turning an everyday shelf into the perfect platform for entertaining.

Make Space

Find a home for all that bric-a-brac that ends up living on top of your bookcase. If you don’t already, put keys and loose change into charming dishes or bowls; they’re the perfect catch-all and can tuck away nicely into the shelves below. For larger loose ends like unread mail and magazines, hide ‘em inside baskets, which look great as standalone objects.

In the day, the humble shelf is fabulously functional.
In the day, the humble shelf is fabulously functional. Photo by Bobbi Lin

The Art Of Composition

Treat the top of your bookshelf like a blank canvas, an opportunity to lure guests towards the spread that awaits them. Then create a visual hierarchy of objects: choose one or two statement pieces to be the focal point and surround them with a supporting cast of serving pieces that complement their color, shape, or size. Putting out a bowl of crunchy snacks? Pour a bountiful amount into a large beautiful serving bowl. Only offering drinks? Serve them out of a visually striking pitcher, carafe, or decanter. If the main element on your shelf is larger, medium- and smaller-sized objects like nesting bowls are perfect for scattering around. If what you have is mostly clear glass or monotone, mix in a few colorful glasses or serving utensils to add pop. Presenting snacks on a large serving platter can read like a flat landscape, so think of ways to balance the scene with objects of varying heights (we like using cake stands).

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At night, it transforms to an elegant entertaining surface.
At night, it transforms to an elegant entertaining surface. Photo by Bobbi Lin

The Finishing Touches

Accessories tie a whole look together, transforming the humble shelf into a completely different look by night. Tall candles can set the ambience, provide height, or be small pieces of artwork unto themselves. For a layer of earthiness and texture across your shelf, create a subtle backdrop with potted plants from your windowsill or fill a series of ceramic vases with fresh flowers. The best part is that when the party’s over, you can easily move these adornments back to where they live (or decide you like them better here anyway!).

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How do you dress up your furniture for easy entertaining? Tell us in the comments!

We look forward to holiday entertaining all year long—and when the holidays roll around, we want our homes to be ready to receive guests at any time. We've partnered with Sauder to share ideas for how to make your home guest-ready at a moment's notice by using all your furniture to your entertaining advantage.

Tags: furniture, design, hosting, tips, bookshelf