The office is finally coming together… all because of two very specific reasons. Our brand new tall, white bookshelves! As with most offices we have files to store, books that need shelves, office supplies like pens and pencils to find homes for… and that’s just the functional pieces. We also also college degrees to display, family photos to put out and sentimental pieces (like the hubby’s stained glass peacock sculpture) to display. Which means we needed a quick course in how to style a bookshelf for both form and function.
I’ve styled plenty of bookshelves in our home… the glass bookshelf in our living room is full of our nicest books with pretty dust jackets and fun decorations. With so many pretty decorations it’s easy to style an entire bookshelf.
In our craft room the bookshelves look a bit different… with so many little tiny craft supplies the name of the game there is baskets, baskets, baskets. With teeny tiny supplies grouping them together in closed storage is very important.
But what do you do in an office where the dust jackets aren’t pretty and the paperwork doesn’t fit in a pretty basket?
Start with the books:
We are avid readers in this house but on top of novels the hubby has plenty of reference text books from his education. He still uses them and needs to keep them handy but let’s be honest… they’re hideous. Putting them on the bookshelf with the spines out would completely ruin the form portion of this little assignment.
Remember we want the entire bookshelf to be functional but we also want it to look beautiful! So turn the books around so that the spines aren’t facing. This will create a cohesive color blocking effect… now all of your books work together instead of standing apart.
Of course, this won’t work if you reach for your books often but in cases like an office – where you want to keep the books for reference but only use them occasionally – it’s the perfect solution.
When you have a multitude of books it’s important to space them out evenly throughout the bookshelf. Use different configurations to help the eye move from shelf to shelf.
Use bookends to corral a large section of books. On one of the longer shelves use a set of bookends (or even two heavy items that can support weight) to hold a section of small to medium books in place.
From there scatter several sections of books throughout the entire space… corner to corner on the shelf. If your bookshelf doesn’t have partitions that will be a little harder but that’s one of the main reasons I love our new bookshelves. They have two sets of smaller shelves that make sectioning off books super easy! Looking for an extra tip? Lean a small photo or sign against the books in these smaller sections.
When mixing books with smaller decor pieces (like the hubby’s glass blown peacock) remember that books turned horizontally work as the perfect pedestal. Place three or four books in a stack (larger to small for variety) and top the stack with a fun decor piece.
My last tip for books? If you have a few books that are larger or less… shall we say beautiful? Place the less attractive books on the lower shelves where they won’t be easily spotted. It’s an easy fix… simple even but it definitely works.
Use larger file boxes to corral paperwork:
In any home office there is inevitable paperwork. Work papers or even simple family paperwork (like tax documents or shot records) keep track of them with a simple file box. We have a larger file cabinet to house most of the hubby’s and my work paperwork but we have a few folders that we need to keep easily accessible.
A larger file box like this wooden one is the perfect solution. It adds a bit of warm wood to the space while adding invaluable function… which is super important in an office. Plus it keeps those important papers right at your fingertips.
Use baskets or boxes to hide wires & extra supplies:
I don’t know about y’all but I’m pretty sure if you put a wire in a closed drawer it instantly multiples. I’m not sure how it does it (magic maybe?) but if you put one wire in a drawer the next time you go to find it there will be four or five wires there.
It’s a fact.
Either way you need a convenient place to store all of these multiplying wires. I picked a cute little basket to store our extra wires. It’s on an easy to reach shelf so out of sight but easy to access. I think they’ll probably still multiply in there but at least they won’t be messy and visible.
The last step is storing any extra supplies: rolls of tape, staples, pens and markers, computer paper. All the little things that you buy in four packs but really only need one of at a time. Organize all of these extra office supplies in a decorative box so you know exactly where they are the next time you need to re-fill the tape dispenser.
Once you’ve organized all of the important items (like paperwork and office supplies) it’s time to add family photos and pretty decorations. I loved decorating these specific bookshelves since they’re for the hubby and he’s been hoarding certain photos for this space.
Like the photo of him and his Nana on top of the bookshelf. Look at those curls! His blonde curls combined with my baby curls are going to be killer on a baby one day… little tiny blonde baby curls.
Until then I’ll keep working on this little home office makeover!