Houzz is the new way to design your home.
Consider your shelf setup. Before you even begin filling your shelves with objects, take into consideration the setup of the actual shelves. Strike a sense of balance off the bat by installing them at varying heights and widths atypical to your standard bookshelf. It prevents a staid appearance and will help to maintain balance as you begin adding items.
Add height with artwork. When you have a shorter shelf above a longer shelf, place a taller object, such as a great piece of art, at the end of the longer shelf to achieve balance. Since it extends the height of the shelf above it, the shelves as a whole feel cohesive.
Place similar objects in opposing spaces. If you have a small shelving area that you’re filling with largely similar items, you can still make it visually interesting by placing the same items in opposing spaces. Vary the heights by adding more bowls to one stack or adding a taller liquor bottle to the glass section.
Vary the direction of the books. This is an easy trick that will instantly help you reach balance in a shelf: Place your books both vertically and horizontally, changing the presentation in each individual shelf. Intersperse them with objects, propped by the books, so your eye continues to linger on all the interesting items.
Create balance through color. These shelves are quite simplified but have achieved balance by concentrating on the placement of this pop of orange. The key was placing the orange origami piece on the left-hand corner, which pulls in the orange from the towels on the right side.
Create balance through a chosen theme of colors. Like the previous photo, this designer captured balance by focusing on jars in four similar colors: blue, yellow, white and clear. Instead of grouping similar colors together, spread them out to create an equilibrium between the objects.
Intersperse short items with tall items. Even if your objects don’t necessarily carry a theme amongst themselves, you can still create a thoughtful, balanced presentation by concentrating on the size and height of items. Complement shorter, lighter items with taller, heavier items and vice-versa, varying their placement throughout the shelves.
Mirror the shelves but don’t mirror the contents. If you have mirrored shelves across a room, as in this example, vary each shelf’s display while utilizing the same overall theme. The same items have been used to fill these shelves, some of the books turned face-forward, but because each shelf display is slightly different, they feel connected, interesting and definitely balanced.
Leave spaces empty. Just as in art class, pay attention to the negative space; sometimes it’s exactly where balance is found. This shelving unit is striking in itself; the designer enhanced the balance by placing a similar object intermittently throughout, leaving the rest empty so the unit’s architectural presence can be the focal point.
Add color to select areas of your bookshelf. Add an extra element of balance by painting the background of opposing areas of your bookshelf. Fill the painted areas with objects different than the rest of the shelving unit. It becomes more visually interesting while creating equilibrium.
Include glass. Glass fills up space without taking up much visual volume. It’s a great complement in shelving units where just a touch of something is needed to maintain balance, allowing this artwork to steal the show.
A rich coral paint lining the back of a large wall unit highlights the decorative items placed on the ledges, and somehow manages to take the emphasis away from the TV.
Boxes stacked on top of one another become a charming substitute for a bookcase when painted a pretty turquoise and lined with a floral paper.
Painting the deeply recessed wall of this wet bar a rich chocolate brown adds visual weight and interest, making this portion of the room a focal point.
An enlarged recipe lines the back of this built-in shelving, which is set up as a hot chocolate station. What a creative addition!
Simple cabinetry in a mudroom looks great when the storage unit gets a bright dose of green
The wall behind the ledge shelving in this modern rustic mudroom brings in a subtle touch of pattern, following the muted tones of the design.
On this expansive wall a combination of paint and wallpaper adds significant drama and interest. This treatment visually breaks up the long wall unit. If left all white, it would not have this impact.
A great way to add a touch of color or pattern to a room is by lining the back of bookshelves and built-ins with paint, wallpaper or fabric. Adding this contrasting element draws the eye to the area and at the same time highlights the items displayed on the shelves. The green lining the back of these bookcases adds dimension to the space, contrasting beautifully with the pale wood tone. I believe this is a wallpaper with a modern striae effect, but perhaps it is a painted treatment. Either way, this element makes the room!