Bookshelves aren't just for books, anymore. Get creative!

kickers/iStockphoto.com

"So many books, so little time." There are hundreds of thousands of books in and out of print. You've no doubt read a few you wish you hadn't. For the bibliophile, nothing is more delicious than shelves stocked full of books. But the joy quickly turns to frustration if you can't find the one you want. Row upon row of book spines wedged together in unrelenting formation is also wearying to the eye, not to mention detrimental to the books and horrifying to interior decorators.

One of the first decisions you'll have to make about organizing shelves is what you want to display. For the most attractive arrangement, don't use these shelves as storage areas to hold everything you own. Instead, choose books and items that you love and that have meaning for you.

As you arrange your treasured books on your shelves, consider their appearance. Leave the shabby paperbacks in a back room. If you're displaying a collection of books, display them together. For like-bound sets, alternate between standing and stacking the books on the shelf. Experiment with different arrangements until the color and design of the spines work together to make patterns that please you. If art is the focus of the books on your display, as in a collection of vintage picture books, arrange the books to draw attention to the artwork. Place a couple of books cover forward, perhaps on easels, in front of the other books. Display one open to a particularly captivating painting. To keep the arrangement fresh, change the display volumes when you dust.

You can achieve a balance between storage, function and artistic display on the shelves throughout your home and office. We've gleaned some tips and tricks from design professionals to guide you.