How To Stage Bookshelves and Built-Ins

How To Stage Bookshelves and Built-Ins

Staging bookshelves and built-ins can be tricky because most of the time, these spaces are used for storage rather than for adding visual appeal to a room. That being said, you really want to stage bookshelves and built-ins in such a way that makes them stand out and look like an appealing home feature rather than bulky shelves that will need to be removed. Use these tips from HR Staging & Design to guide you as you decorate the shelves in your home to add the most appeal to potential home buyers.

Note: these tips can be used on just about any bookshelf in your home that needs staging.

Buyers Are Buying the Built-in Bookshelves, Not the Contents

When you are trying to stage bookshelves, it’s important to remember that homebuyers are going to be purchasing the home with the bookshelves— not necessarily the items on the bookshelves. So you should focus on decorating the bookshelves in a way that highlights the decorative potential of the bookshelves. Your guiding thought throughout this staging process should be to make the bookshelves appear elegant, uncluttered, and visually pleasing rather than useful for holding every book you can find.

Thoroughly Clean Your Bookshelves Before Decorating

Before you can decorate the bookshelves and built-ins, you want to be sure that they are spotlessly clean. Remove every last item on those shelves and dust, wipe, scrub, and touch up every shelf. Only once you have done that, can you focus on decorating it with books, picture frames, or plants. Dust and stains from weeks and months of being ignored will make the bookshelves looks beat up and uncared for which is not ideal for home staging.

Align Shelves for the Most Impact

While you have all of the items off of your bookshelf, take a minute to make sure that all of the shelves are aligned and even. People typically like symmetry so it can be a visual bonus if your shelves are even. This is a small thing but it goes a long way.

Be Deliberate About How You Decorate Your Shelves

When you are placing items on the shelves of your built-ins, you want to be sure that everything you place is done so thoughtfully. Being really deliberate about what is placed on the shelves and more so how things are placed is important because you want to decorate artfully. For example, you may color-code all of your shelves or place some books vertically on the shelf and others horizontally for contrast. The last thing that you want to do is dump books on the shelves with no forethought at all because that looks messy and cluttered.

Think “Decor,” Not “Storage”

In the spirit of staging your bookshelves deliberately, you want to be sure that you leave sections empty. A bookshelf that is only half-full will be easier to decorate and you will also be able to show what the back of the bookshelf looks like. Remember that buyers are paying for the built-in bookshelves— not your book collection. So don’t stuff the shelves.