Bookshelves, as the name suggests, are typically for storing well, books. This, however, should not restrict you from being playful and artsy. They can be transformed into a centerpiece of any living room, as long as the owner is not scared to be imaginative. There are guidelines to be adhered to, nonetheless. The main point is elegance, and the line between elegance and clumsy is somewhat thin.
Tips to consider
There is plenty of stuff that could be displayed. The most common one is, of course, books. One has to be keen on them. One golden rule states that it doesn’t need to appear there if it’s not necessary. One should display only the main titles that have a bit of sentimental value attached to them. This will make the display less clumsy. Also, the books with perfect spines are the ones that should be put up for that elegant look. If not, however, one could consider changing the color of the shelf itself to pull the attention from the books and create a contrasting but elegant look. The same would apply if you have let’s say china that has been a little bit chipped.
Other items to consider
Not only books could be displayed, though. One could also put up their favorite ceramics, collectibles from flea markets, or even memoirs from trips. One could also decide to mix everything up and create a personalized display. One could choose to put tiny ornaments in front of the books on display or small framed photos of their loved ones to increase sentimentality.
Another great item to showcase would be plant life. Plants such as bamboo or cactus liven up the bookshelf and give it a simplistic yet elegant look. Another golden rule would be that less is more, so the less you display, the more refined it appears. Simplicity is a virtue; the more superficial the display, the more elegant it will appear.
We all look somewhere for advice as no one is omniscient when it comes to this sort of thing. Different opinions will weigh on other people hence the need for extensive research to find out what exactly will suit your needs. I found an excellent articleonhttp://journal.tylko.com/healthy-shelfishness-8-ideas-on-how-to-display-items-on-your-shelves/that enabled me to filter the chaff from the wheat.