This has been on my To Do List for a long time now. When we first moved into our house EVERYTHING was white. White walls, ceiling, cabinets, etc. So I was desperate to get some color into the house. I thought painting the back of the bookshelf would be a cute and clever way to add color. And for a while it worked. (Or maybe not). It got to the point where it was so random, mismatched, cramped, and not put together that it was driving me crazy! This is literally what it looked like before I started my makeover.
It didn't always look like this but pretty darn near close. A piece of advice: when starting over clear your space out completely! A fresh canvas is always best. I kept trying to move things around and put things up randomly and it just never worked. What I discovered was that #1: the dark background color was making everything look dark and crowded and #2: NONE of it was working. So I started over.
The first thing I did was take everything off and paint the background a nice light color and then repaint the white shelves. Then I sorted my decorations into things I wanted to reuse and the things I knew I wouldn't. A good rule to follow when decorating a bookshelf is always put the "heaviest" items at the bottom. For example baskets (which I use for toys). Now I realize mine are not at the bottom but they are as close as I could get them. Unfortunately with the way my built in bookcase is made there are not baskets the right size for the bottom shelf (I would need very narrow and tall....hard to find). So To bring a little weight to the bottom I used a big wooden sign and picture frame.
Here I used books to add a little height to this tiny trunk that I filled with greenery and a small picture frame. (It's a picture of my husband when he was a little boy holding a fish he caught. So cute!)
Here I used a metal bike as a bookend and put a bird on top of a stack of books. My children like to play with this bird and it drives me crazy so I put it on the very top shelf!
Here is another way to incorporate books into your decor (because hello it is a bookshelf!)
And finally, greenery! My favorite space filler. I am terrible at keeping plants alive so I always go with the fake but adding some greenery does wonders to a boring bookcase.
And here is the After:
Now if I followed my own rules the black frame on top would be at the bottom (the black makes it "heavier") but it didn't look right with my sign and it was too tall to go anywhere else. Same with the black bike. But you get the idea. Use wood, wicker, metal, greenery, and candles for different textures. Use frames, statues, bowls, clocks and other decor to bring different shapes. And of course use lots of color.