One might think that the arrangement of items in a bookcase is not art, but it is.

Color, balance, and space all play a big part.

Here are some hints to arranging a bookcase, whether built-in or free- standing, whether you’re staging to sell or not:

1.First, remove all of the items from the bookcase.

2.Discard or pack away paperback books (especially when staging as they can be sloppy-looking).

3.Remove the dust jackets from the hardcover books, except coffee-table books to give the shelves a neater appearance (when staging).

4.Group books and accessories separately so you can more easily see what to work with.

5.Group hardcover books by color of the spine. I personally like to group books on the shelves by the spine color, but it’s really a matter of personal taste.

6.Begin to stack groups of books (say 5 to 8 depending upon the widthof the books and the width of the shelf) vertically on either the right or the left of the shelf.

7.Then, on the shelf underneath this one, group them towards the opposite end. So if you grouped them on the right on the shelf above, group these ones on the left.

8.In order to fill up more visual space on these shelves, you can append a short stack (2 to 3) of books laid down horizontally and acting as a bookend to keep the vertical books from falling down.

9.You can also place a small object on top of these horizontal books, such as a glass paperweight or anything that’s not too large relative to the height of the vertical books.

10.Balance the other side of these shelves with a taller decorative object, so that there’s height on one side with the books and height on the other side with a decorative object.

11.Continue this pattern of books right and left on alternating shelves, and intersperse some of the shelves with the horizontal books.

12.Also continue to intersperse the decorative objects on the shelves so that there is balance on each shelf and in the bookcase as a whole.

13.Just as an artist steps back from his painting, keep taking a step or two back to look at the visual you are creating – it should be uncluttered, but not too empty, and should be balanced.

Look at these before and after photos and you will see the difference. Which one is more pleasing to the eye?