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I'm not an interior designer. I don't have an eye for pulling together the perfect curtain and rug combination, or mixing prints on sofa pillows. But I appreciate good design, and I could (and often do) lose myself poring over design magazines and Instagram accounts of beautifully put-together lofts and apartments and homes.
Not only is it challenging to execute great interior design without an innate sense of style, it can also be expensive. It's easy to feel like you'd have to invest in lots of new furniture or art or textiles in order to change up how your home looks. As a recent first-time homeowner, this is particularly relevant. We have a new, empty house to design and I've struggled with how to achieve maximum impact with minimal investment (both time and money).
Happily, I've picked up one excellent interior design trick that I'll be using for the rest of my life. It's the most commented-on aspect of our apartment in New York, and I've used the same method in our new home to similar effect (although as you can see, the bookshelves at our house are very much a work in progress and still quite bare!). Both of our spaces are similar in style: white, clean lines, modern. But it'll work in any space and with any sort of style or personality that your house or apartment has.
Best of all, it's incredibly easy and uses what you already have: books! All I do is rearrange all of my books by color. That's it. Your bookshelves will have the most impact if you keep them pretty streamlined, so I suggest doing away with as many little tchotchkes and decorative objects as possible. As you can see, I have a few (candles mostly), so it won't necessarily detract from the overall look, but it's smart to try and group those things together with other like items.
You might be thinking that you don't have enough books of each color. Here's a tip: Try removing the jackets from your books (I always save mine so I can switch the color theme later). Often the actual book cover is a different color from the book jacket.
Your color organization can be loose; try and keep similar hues together but don't stress about making it perfect. When you step back, the look is striking even if it's more of a shaded ombré effect. Another smart technique is to switch up the direction of your books. Keep some stacked on their sides, and others vertically arranged. This helps to break up the shelves visually and makes the arrangement by color even more prominent.
And there you have it! The perfect project to revamp your home for the new year.
Vachetta Leather-Bound Reference Books
Book Display Shelf
Do you have a favorite way of organizing your bookshelves? Share your tips with us here.