Tips and Guides

Achieve a Clean and Stylish Shelf in 5 Easy Steps

Avoid visual clutter when you display your favorite books and collections

Original Article: Amillah Rodil Photography: Tammy David (Main Photo)

The weekend is the perfect time to schedule a quick general cleaning of the whole house. However, if you have a lot of chores scheduled already, you may start by cleaning up your room or living area. Don't forget to include the shelves as part of the nooks that you need to work on! Spruce up your versatile shelves and liven up your reading corner with the help of these handy ideas.

Read the original article in the August 2004 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living AppLog on to for more details. 

Start with a clean slate

Remove all decor pieces and books from the shelves. Wipe the tiers and make sure it's spotless. Before returning the books, make sure you dust them also.

Group your books accordingly

Avoid filling your shelves with too many items. To help you sort through your collections, you may group them into piles or you can keep rarely used books in boxes. You can also donate some to libraries and schools.

If possible, you may also drop by secondhand stores to inquire about their processes when it comes to acquiring titles. Doing these steps will give you more shelf space.

RL Tip: Consider placing the ones you read the most in front for quick access. 

Arrange per size

Large pieces such as big books and vases should be fixed first as these grab attention easily. The large objects will determine the visual balance of the shelf. If you don't have big items, group smaller objects together to create mass. Lay objects towards the left edge of one level to balance the objects on the right edge of another level.

RL Tip: Avoid overstuffing your shelves. Too much weight may cause damages as the tiers may not be able to handle the weight of the books. You'll also have a hard time finding the books you need if you put everything on display.

Fill in the gaps

Once you've placed your books on the shelf, make sure you leave some space for accessories. Look around the house and search for decorative pieces like figurines, frames, and succulents! These accessories, if big and heavy enough, can also serve as alternative bookends.

Your shelf can match your interiors

Your furniture and accessories should go well with the overall theme of the house. If you have white walls, you may opt for colorful bookcases, shelves, and accessories to create a balanced look. 

You can create your own reading corner at home. Click here to learn how.

Photos by Paolo Feliciano.

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