A well-organized bookshelf acts as an attractive, functional home accent. To make your bookshelves look more appealing, experiment with their arrangement. Sort books by size and stack them both horizontally and vertically. Intersperse stacks of books with curios and small pictures.
If you already have bookshelves, but you just don't like their look, consider redecorating these instead of making new shelves from scratch. Painting the insides of bookshelves in striking shades, such as red or turquoise, will make your books pop. You can achieve this same effect without the commitment and mess of paint by covering the inside backs of bookshelves with colored paper. You can also add visual pizzazz to bookshelves by ordering your books by color. Break up stacks of books with baskets and vases that echo your decor scheme's accent colors. For best results, use a variety of differently shaped objects in just a couple of key shades.
The mainstay of college students everywhere, cinderblock and plank bookshelves remain popular because they take little time, effort or money to construct--all you need to do is arrange cinderblocks and planks in alternating layers. However, these shelves needn't look as cheap as they cost. To make these bookshelves fade into the background, paint both cinderblocks and planks in a quiet neutral, such as cream white or dove grey. Alternately, you can play up the industrial qualities of cinderblock shelves by painting each component in a different neon shade. For an interesting variation, substitute old door halves for planking. Cover cinderblocks with fabric or plastic for a mod-style effect.
A fashionable trend in shabby-chic decor, drawer bookshelves exemplify recycled style at its finest. Drawer shelves also save valuable floor space. To make drawer bookshelves, salvage wide, deep drawers from an old bureau or hutch. Using a stud finder, locate the best place to mount your drawers and screw them directly into the wall. Drawer bookshelves can be hung singly or they can be grouped in appealing arrangements. Maximize space by stacking books horizontally or by filling any empty spaces at the top with framed photos.
With the use of bookends, almost any flat surface can become a bookshelf. Open, wall-mounted shelves can be transformed into bookshelves with purchased or homemade bookends. Make the books themselves into bookends by stacking them horizontally at the edges of open shelves or use heavy vases or boxes to accomplish this purpose. Paint the wall behind your open shelves in a bright hue to create a visual frame.
L-brackets can be purchased for very little at any hardware store. Use these to create "invisible" bookshelves. Measuring carefully, screw two of these at the same height into wall studs. Stack them horizontally with books. The books will appear to be floating shelfless on the wall. Use these in rows or place them in unexpected areas of your home.
Wooden crates can sometimes be obtained for free from wine stores or grocery stores. These make for instant bookshelves. Just stack crates against the wall in towers or line them in long rows. Top them with plants or decorative bowls to blend them into the rest of your decor.