9 Tips For Staging Your Bookshelves To Attract Buyers

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9 Tips For Staging Your Bookshelves To Attract Buyers

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.”

I love built-ins and it is the first touch of ‘decorating’ I have done whenever I have moved into a new home. But there is a difference between the way you enjoy your bookshelves and the way you prepare them for when you are selling your home.

Here are a few tips for when you are preparing your bookshelves, prior to selling your home:

  1. It is important to remember that the buyer is buying the built-ins, not the contents. Too many books (or too many of anything) can be a distraction for the potential buyer. Though you may be an avid reader, the buyer may not be. Keep the bookshelves as neutral as possible - the same rules apply to the rest of your home - buyer is buying the home, not your stuff. The way you stage or arrange your things can make a big difference to the buyer.

  2. Take EVERYTHING off your bookshelves. Everything. Thoroughly clean the bookshelves. Consider painting the back of the bookshelves a contrasting color to add depth to the room. I have seen beautiful bookshelves that are wallpapered in the back. (Since wall paper tends to be a more personal - and pricier - choice than paint, I would save this home decor accent for your new home!)

  3. Be very deliberate about what you put back on the shelves. Stage some books horizontally - on their sides, and some vertical and  keep a rhythm. At the direction of the home stager, one client had so much fun staging her shelves and playing with variety of items, that she started helping friends! Here is an ‘after’ photo of one of her many built-ins.

  4. When you ‘stage’ your shelves, only put back about half of what you had on the shelves originally. Bookshelves should not look like they are purely for storage. Think display over storage.  You can stage books along with a collection. Here a stager used different toned blue bottles as an accent that brought out the blue in the rug, and painted the dark wooden shelves white to lighten the feel of the room.

  5. If your shelves are adjustable, make sure they are all aligned for maximum impact. It is much more pleasing to the eye.

  6. Consider installing library lights. They give a finished feel to the shelves and provide more light in the room - and ‘brightness’ is at the top of most buyers lists. Library lights don’t have to be expensive. Here  are some great examples.

  7. You should always be able to see the back of the shelves. Don’t feel compelled to fill every little bit of space. Less is more!

  8. You can hang or lean a small photo or piece of art on the shelf for visual interest. Put a small plant on a shelf. Have fun!

  9. Use these same tips for your free standing shelves that are not built into the house.

Remember: Less is more! The buyer is buying the built-ins, not the contents.

For some fun bookshelves, visit my Bookshelf Goals Pinterest board.

Katie Hauser