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The Fall/Winter issue’s “Shape Up Your Shelves” story offered advice for facelifting your bookshelves. It’s a tricky thing to get right—all that surface area and open shelving makes for an awfully high-profile spot. Local interior designer and guest blogger Angie Hranowsky offers a few additional tips from her own restyling adventures:

Bookcases are first and foremost functional, but they can also serve as key design elements in a room. Each begins a story about its owners, offering a window into their interests and what they value most. How clearly that story comes through depends on how you style them. Some tips:

*Try grouping books according to category: I do this by subject matter, but you can also group them by color or just stack them according to what looks best.

* When stacking books vertically, mix up their heights. No shortest to tallest—this can look like your books are climbing all over the place. By letting the heights intermingle you create more of a sculptural feel.

* Mix in horizontal stacks to break things up a bit. Also, this creates additional surface area for photos, vases, sculptures, or whatever objects you want to display.

* Paint the inside of your shelves a different color than your wall.

* Remove the dust jackets from books for a more even, muted mix (just be sure and hold on to the dust jacket in case you should ever want to donate or sell the books in the future).

*Don’t have built-ins? Check out inexpensive shelving options at places like Ikea and West Elm. These can be freestanding or wall mounted.

Angie Hranowsky is a Charleston-based interior designer whose work has been featured in Metropolitan Home, Domino, Charleston Home, Home, and House Beautiful. In the summer of 2004, she studied at Parsons School of Design in New York, before that earning a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Cincinnati. She is also a graduate of the Portfolio Center in Atlanta, specializing in graphic design.



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