As a closet nerd, I have many paper-bound books. But as an artist and visual merchandiser, a messy bookcase gives me borderline-intense anxiety. My home library contains many (Ok, mostly) books with brightly-multi-colored-eye-catching-neon spines (because I do judge books by their covers-- literally, not metaphorically), but looking at the books displayed all together in disarray stressed me out and makes me feel like I'm at an underground rave in 1980s London.
So, in order to maintain my sanity and prevent my guests from seizing upon entering my home, an organized bookcase is one of my home decorating musts. But how's a superficial book buyer like myself supposed to display her psychedelic collection?
The old school's old faithful Dewey Decimal system leaves your shelves looking more A Beautiful Mind than HouseBeautiful, and the new school's collect-by-color method is only realistic for home decorating magazine's photo shoots or blogger's well-styled "casual lifestyle" Instagram pics (no one's real-life home library only contains Mark Twain anthologies and Encyclopedia Britannica's from 1992-- even I'm not that nerdy).
Move over, Dewey, there's a new librarian in town...
To calm the chaos of my colorful collection, I first break up the collection into a few book groups, and then spread them out across a few shelves. I display some stacks horizontally and some vertically, organizing the books by height with the tallest closest to the wall (check out this pictorial for inspiration).
Then, to prevent my bookcase from looking like a literary clown car, I use neutral or mono-colored bookends that match my decor to desaturate the blindingly bright book covers, such as a jar filled with shells, marbles, or monochromatic sea glass. This is also a great way to integrate the random things you collect into your decor, and will also camouflage massive collections so you don't look like a hoarder.
But don't think of bookends just as a tool to keep your books in place-- think of them as an opportunity. A way to display yourself on your shelf. These few inches of shelf space are a canvas upon which you have the freedom to paint a portrait of yourself-- your best self-- and share it with the world!
I encourage you to take advantage of this chance, this moment!, and utilize both the left AND the right side of the book stack as an outlet for your dreams, a window to your soul. You are the artist and these are your tools.
Use your bookends as a means to give roommates, dinner party guests, potential suitors, and home insurance inspectors a glimpse of who you are, what you do, what you love, and who you want to be. Don't let this expressi-tunity (opportunity to express yourself) dry up like a raisin in the sun!
OK so I got a little carried away there. Bookends are just a tool to prevent your books from falling down, but they can still look cool (and make you look cool) while doing it.
What can you use as a bookend, my friend? Anything heavy, really. The figurines we made in this blog post would make epic bookends. Just paint a vintage sculpture, bust, figurine or toy and bright color and pop them on your shelf for an easy and awesome DIY.
When I was a kid, my friends and I decorated bricks and gave them to each other as gifts. I know what you're thinking: Who does that? Who gives a brick as a gift? Were you a street rat friend of Disney's Aladdin when you were a kid? And those are all valid questions. At least until you see this super awesome hand painted pop art bookend brick by FancyBrick... Actually, no, the questions are still valid when directed at me because our bricks weren't nearly are cool as FancyBrick's...
Trophies are a great way to keep your books in line. Plus they'll show those potential suiters that you're both brains and body AKA you're the total package.
Athletes and Math-leates can use their own trophies or if love the look but prefer not to break a sweat, you can display vintage trophies, like these ones I found on Etsy.