notes on design....

How To Create Balance In Your Book and Decor Displays

Whether you are trying to pull your room together after a complete overhaul, or are just refreshing the style factor before hosting a party, or maybe it’s a Tuesday night and you are out of things to binge watch and suddenly the clutter on the shelves in theliving room is really bothering you…
Burke Décor has some great tips for you on how to display and balance your books, curios and art.
Let's play with symmetry and asymmetry, height, color and texture to create some stylish vignettes that show off your interests and aesthetics.
modern floating wall shelf
Because we want you to stay right there on the couch, bingewatching and thinking,
“Wow, my shelves are
looking EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD.”
modern renaissance style bookcase
And we want your party guests to come over and admire your high style displays of eclectic and intriguing pieces as they wander around, making cracker crumbs everywhere.
Also, if you have invested in redoing a room, or an incredible shelving unit (more on those in a minute), or a console table, you really want to maximize its design potential in your home or office space.
We talked once before about layering, creating “vignettes” and telling a story when displaying art pieces (remember our fantastic guide on How To Create a Magazine Worthy Room?), and the same principal applies here as well.
Think about choosing some kind of unifying thread of theme (global heritage, vintage, object type) and then mixing it up with objects of varying heights, textures, colors and patterns. You’ll want to have a combination of both books and curios, and you can arrange them to create a harmonious balance, whether or not you decide on a symmetrical or asymmetrical layout.
art books
design books
Books can be stacked or shelved vertically to create different heights and plateaus.
Burke Decor has a great collection of high quality, luscious art books by Assouline
stone pyramid modern bookend
Bookends in all shapes and sizes
There's a bookend for any style. Bookends are a great trick as well as a practical tool for maximizing space, showcasing your library, and also adding some depth and style to your shelves.
Here are some great geometrical and playful options from Cyan Design (stone pyramids), Interlude Home (rustic pagodas) and imm living (shiny metallic dog).
shiny toy dog bookend
rustic pagoda bookends
Shelving
So where exactly will we be arranging all of these lovely items? Burke Décor has a great selection of shelving and we are featuring some of our faves below…
metallic bookcase asymmetrical
Hand forged iron frame: shown in Antique Gold also available in Antique Silver, Blackened Iron.
Solid hardwood: shown in Taupe - standard light distress.
turned spindle shelf
A versatile shelving unit, features scalloped edging and turned spindles. Finish in Crossroads Rosa.
modular wood and steel shelving system
Wooden sticks and joints of steel are the components that transform the versatile Stick System into a shelving system, a clothing rack and a worktable; strong constructions that are easily assembled and offer multi-functional solutions.
Shelving Units that don’t need to be affixed to the wall are a fabulous choice and as a piece of fixed furniture (albeit one that you can move around as your design needs change) should have their own personality and style to compliment the rest of your room.
These are some options by a number of our favorite vendors that range in style from glamorous to modern to traditional, as well as meeting different needs for affordability and size.
modern steel walnut bookshelf
No assembly required, steel welded construction to hold extra heavy loads, walnut wood shelves.
turned end shelf mid century modern
And BD MOD is beyond modern
tall bookshelf two drawers doweled legs
Fully assembled book shelf with solid wood doweled legs. Two drawers pull out for smaller items, construction by using solid Indonesian mindi wood.

A few more knockouts, we can't resist

The Delano Etagere by Currey and Company and the Stacked Bookcase by Lazy Susan are so glamorous and add some panache to whatever you'd like to display on them.
modern gold etagere
metal and glass asymmetrical shelf
These consoles are too fab to be a consolation prize
Console tables are ideal because of their relatively small footprint, but outsized potential for displaying a smartly curated collection – arrange a dish of found stones from your travels with a vase or two of different heights, an interestingly textured sculptural piece, an art book, and top the whole thing off with a gorgeous
mirror hanging above. You’ll still have room to rest the day’s mail on the edge when you walk in the door to your style oasis.
wood and glass curio
Bounded on all six side by clear glass, the front of the Rogaland curio has four sliding doors that provide both ready access and enclosed protection for your display items.
wood and glass curio
The Buskerud Curio is made from dark stained, solid walnut frame with a glass enclosure that begins at mid-height. Bounded on all six side by clear glass, the front has two sliding doors that provide both ready access and enclosed protection for your display items.
modern wood bookcase
Powder coated steel frame and solid wood shelves with a Walnut finish.
modern industrial console
The Cunningham Console by Cyan Design is a traditionally beautiful wood top with a spare industrial base. Chic and timeless style that's perfect for both modern and traditional interiors.


modern acrylic console
The Ava Console by Interlude Home is a flexible favorite with miles of style. Slim and modern geometry mix with a little luxe lucite for a great look.

Now what to put on display?

Burke Decor has you covered for vases, mirrors, wall shelving and fabulous objets that you want want to look away from. Mix up the organic, modern, traditional and glam styles below to create a layered display that shows off the range of your eclectic style.
Vases are a perfect beginning
Vases are so lovely when you arrange them in multiples. The varying heights and levels will create a strong visual intrigue that keeps the eye moving. You don’t have to have flowers in each, or even at all! Try them with some feathers, a dried branch or seed pod, or some ferns.
glass and brass vases
Mouth-blown clear glass vases with a modern aesthetic have a sleek tapered shape and satin-finished brass cuff detail. Ideal for minimalist arrangements of flowers and foliage or for terrarium gardening.
stoneware vases
Stoneware vases in three different patterns that suggest delicate textures and subtle technique changes.
glass and metal hinged vases
Put these glass and metal vases in a row for a dramatic effect on the table or along the wall. Change your flowers seasonally for a new look as often as desired. 

Wire Wall Shelf and Planter
Use the vertical space!
Consider adding artwork or a mirror that can lean or utilize the vertical space above shelving and furniture. Display your favorite items on this minimalist Cubist Large Shelf and wall planter by Umbra. A multifunctional cup holds succulents and flowers, and a removable shelf makes it easy to accommodate different orientations. Inspired by Piet Mondrian and his iconic compositions, this wall shelf brings function and design to every room of the house. Available in two sizes.
floating wall shelves
These Aluminum Picture Rails from Gus Modern (above) hold artwork and other objects, are available in 3ft and 5ft lengths and come with the mounting hardware.
Mayfair blue modern mirror
The Mayfair Circles Squares Mirror by Selma is the ideal mirror for above an entry table, console or shelf.
Circles and Squares - one of Florence Broadhurst's iconic designs. The combination of 1960s Pop Art and oriental geometry inspires the hand routed trim design.
Lacquered in a Mayfair Blue finish.
 round metallic mirror

The Blush Round Wall Mirror by Tozai
is a great size for above a shelf, and can pair nicely with so many other kinds of artwork or objets. Made of wood with a metallic finish.
keystone frame mirror
This Outline Mirror by Cyan Design is a modern classic and would be equally at home above a shelf of books, global treasures, or an elegant bud vase.
wood and steel wall shelf
Wall Shelves are so great for small spaces because you can work vertically and stack them above furniture to maximize your display potential. The options are myriad – shelves that pack a punch, shelves that disappear, shelves that can hold the heaviest art books, and shelves that are better for your delicate treasures.
This Stone Shelf by Fort Standard is so deeply impressive in the way the black granite fills space while still maintaining a small footprint (below, right).

The Steel and Ash Wood Cage Shelf by the talented Stockholm based design studio, Form Us With Love (FUWL) for Menu, with its wooden lid, is the perfect place to store your keys, wallet, or phone. Raise the lid and fill the basket with scarves, gloves, hats, or hang your sunglasses from the wires on the side of the cage. Hang the cage/shelf in your entryway, bedroom, guest room or bathroom (below, left).

The Lewen Book Shelf by Aidan Gray (right) is made of Elm Wood and Steel and is sleek and stylish and perfect for making a modern statement in your home. At 59" tall, you can display many books, collectibles, framed photos or artwork, and still have room left over to set down a drink on the edge if you want to have a look-see.
The Gridy Fungi Shelf by Menu is petite enough that you could put one, or three, in the kitchen, living room or by a bed.

The Cloud Shape shelf by BD Mini is available in two sizes and we dare you to say it's just for a kid's room!


wood and metal bin and shelf
small granite shelf
A little texture keeps life exciting
Adding some objects or pieces of decor to your mix that are definitively and uniquely textured will give your displays a sense of purpose, and keep your shelves or surfaces dynamic and interesting to look at. Used by themselves, or with other pieces in contrasting textures and finishes, these sculptural, natural and hand crafted pieces can hold their own, stand tall on a stack of books, or invite someone to reach out and touch them.
quartz crystal decoration
This particularly striking form of naturally transparent and luminous quartz from Brazil has beautiful, unusual inclusions and color variations. These grand obelisks are cut to follow the lines of natural hexagonal quartz crystals and polished to a high shine, revealing the unique colorations and intricacies in each one.
pyrite decor accessories
Pyrite is also known as fools gold for its shimmer and color ranging from platinum to bronze / gold. These fine specimens come from Peru where they occur in mineral rich pockets. The naturally occurring isometric crystals take many forms from simple cubic to more complex icosahedral shapes. Some specimens may contain quartz crystals and other trace minerals. Each piece is unique.
silver decorative wishbone
We love the authentically rough finish on this wishbone sculpture.
brass dice decoration
These brass dice invite someone to pick them up and give them a shake.
white porcelain decorative accessories
The concept for MEMORABILIA is in its slogan “Fishing for my Memories”. Designed by SELAB + Alessandro Zambezi for Seletti, using “childhood memories”, re-proposed as cult objects
in a fine and timeless porcelain.

A subtle word play in its translation, where decoration becomes consolation, bookmarking time, crystallizing memories, the past becoming the present.

We think these smooth white pieces are fabulous in a group or on their own, and would like incredible on a display or against a colorful wall, as pictured here.


bronze decorative sphere
Eye-catching and bold, the marble and antiqued bronze Eva Sculptural Sheres make an impact whether clustered together or placed artfully throughout any space.
shell decorative sphere
Try an Oyster Shell Ball by Twos Company for a really organic and unusual addition of texture and shape (and it comes in 2 sizes).
gold birdcage
has a porcelain base and invites you to either put something really special inside (a white sculpture, or a small stack of black and white photographs) or it could stand empty on a shelf and create intrigue.
glass paperweights
is available in 5 different colors and made of hand blown glass. Split them  up around a room to create a them, or cluster them together to draw focus to their different translucent colors and shapes.
white foo dogs
are also available in a flambe red glaze and at a foot tall, are a glossy pair you want hanging around.
Try the Lotus Buddha by House Parts in a different vignette across the room from them. Hand crafted and hand painted in the USA.
hammered metallic decorative bowl
The shine of this Hammered Nickel-Plated Brass Bowl by Lazy Susan is stunning. Filled with decorative accessories, it illuminates and commands attention. Sophisticated finish with a hint of the rough-hewed texture.
Stand back and consider moving two things around
Nicely done! You've got a vibrant mix of old and new, different heights and textures and a theme playing with color or finish. Now maybe switch two things around. Okay, switch them back. You can decide later, while you are trying to bingewatch and not just gaze in admiration at your balanced display.

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