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Upgrade Your Video Chat Background With a Bookcase

How to organize your shelves before your next Zoom call

A woman working from home

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En español | 2020 has been the Year of the Bookcase. We've noticed journalists and celebrities on TV, perched in front of their titles and trinkets. You just know they put great care into what will make them seem smart, friendly or funny. Take note: Whether through a computer camera or in person (you'll have visitors again, eventually), people assess you by your shelves.

1. Think thematically

Arrange by subject? Size? Color? The answer: How you organize books isn't as important as just being organized. “Once you really start looking at books, you notice all these decorative elements,” says Marie Proeller Hueston, author of Decorating with Books.

2. Pull out a favorite

Don't just line up all the books as if in library stacks. Place one or two front-side out. “If there's a cover that's really beautiful — if it's a vintage dust jacket, for instance — it's almost a shame to have it hidden,” notes Proeller Hueston.

3. Sprinkle in Tchotchkes

“My approach is to fill the shelves two-thirds full of books and one-third with meaningful objects,” says Juniper Books’ Thatcher Wine, whose company has spruced up book collections for celebrities. So let your flair flag fly.