Beyond the Books
The art of styling a bookshelf

They say you can tell a lot about a person from the books they read. But why stop at displaying books alone on your shelves? We find that bookshelf styling should go beyond the pages and also include your favorite decorative items. From artwork to objets, plants and antiques- layers of these pieces with your favorite reads come together for a visual representation of you. Read on to see two of our favorite ways to style bookshelves.

Casual & Contemporary

The vertical lines and natural wood of this shelf called for pieces that could complement its contemporary feel while adding dimensions, textures and a hint of color.

Art Books: Large art books, stacked from large to small, adds height while also providing inspiration within their pages.

Pop of Color: The overall neutral look lends itself to versatility in the details- like a small dose of color. We find adding color with items that can be moved, changed or taken away as easily as they can be added allow for more creativity and frequent editing (if you enjoy changing your layout from time to time). This small introduction of yellow from a book ties in with the surrounding artwork.

Artwork: Art that is meaningful adds personality to your space and can take the form of paintings, carvings or sculptures or anything that provides joy. Display your favorite pieces as a collection or choose your favorite piece to stand on its own, letting it take center stage.

Greens: Plants, flowers or stems bring life and fresh color to your look. Small bunches for a slight earthy touch or a large planter acts as an anchor point in a vignette. Incorporate shade plants in dimly lit areas for easy upkeep.

Wall Art: Consider all areas of your shelving space to create a look that feels full and intentional. That includes thinking of what goes behind the main vignette. For floating or open back shelving, hanging an unexpected and eclectic piece of wall art adds dimension and interest- serving as a textured backdrop but also as a way to fill negative space while avoiding overcrowding. Pieces like the Ceramic Urchin balance the fine art paintings with a contemporary element.

Decorative Boxes: Whether you store your belongings in them or use them to add interest, boxes provide anchoring surfaces. Stack a couple boxes or place an objet on one to create a layer to your look.

Frames: What is more personal than your most treasured memories? While your favorite photos bring a personal touch, frames are an easy way to add colors, tones and textures.

Onda Spheres

Ceramic Urchin

Faux Bois Planter

Ceramic Sailboat

Bud Vases

Bone Beads

Rattan Frame

Madaket Boat

September Goldenrod

The Collector's Shelf

This darker and more sophisticated look is centered on showcasing pieces with a story behind them and collections of handmade items from island and afar. Vintage pieces, are paired with curiosities and historical art forms that create a one-of-a kind look and an abundance of conversation starters.

Collections: At Nantucket Looms, showcasing collections is a home essential. A collection can be anything from fine art to things found along the shore, anything that you find beauty in and speaks to you. What draws you to collect something can be a good story or certain aesthetic, or it can be something you can quite put into words- a feeling or connection to the object.

Curiosities: A curiosity possesses a sense of mystery- it's definition, use or purpose undetectable at first glance- and provide mostly visual interest. Much like collections, the reason you choose to incorporate it into your home does not need to be for any other reason than how it makes you feel when you look at it. A curiosity is an unexpected pairing with your favorite reads, making your shelves feel unique and special.

Dark Tones & Mixed Materials: While the dark tones give this shelf a more sophisticated style, a mix of various materials like dark straw, neutral grass, and ivory colored resin, give the decor a more organic touch.

Lightship Baskets: The Lightship Basket is Nantucket’s most iconic craft, originally created by those who were on watch on the lightships patrolling the shoals off Nantucket for weeks on end. Woven to be used to for utilitarian purposes and later adapted to be collected as an art form. Today, they can be found on the shelves of hundreds of island homes or on as purses, on the arms of women who have purchased them from famous basket makers, such as José Reyes or Karol Lindquist. We love incorporating them into bookshelves or mantels as an homage to the history of the island and to those artisans dedicated to keeping the craft alive.

Stone Fruits: Decorative stone fruit first became popular in the Victorian Era when decorative bowls were filled with incredibly lifelike handcrafted Italian marble fruit. Throughout the years, stone fruit have made a comeback. These Alabaster Grapes offer an effortless and affordable way to pay homage to design ideas of antiquity.

Dried Mushroom Coral

Onyx Bowl

Alabaster Grapes

Tibetan Fish Net


Shell Art

Four Pears

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