Styling a Bookcase

Most everyone has some sort of a bookshelf in their home. Some people’s sit empty because they are not sure where to start. Some people’s overcrowded bookcases are cryin’ for help. If you are not sure where to start, or what to eliminate, here are some tips.

Functional and Stylish- this is the goal when styling a bookcase. But if the items are not selected and organized properly, the outcome will be cluttered and chaotic.

Here are some tips to help:

  1. Consider your color scheme. What color is your shelf? If your shelf is painted dark or wood stained, light and neutral colors look best. If your shelf is white you have more options. You can either choose to stay with neutrals for a light and airy look, or you can choose darker items, perhaps with a few pops of color. Whatever way you choose, you want the colors to be collectively cohesive, as well as coordinating with the rest of the items in the room. Limit your color “pop” items to 1 or 2.
  2. Choose Curated pieces. Consider what room of the house this is in. You will use different types of items for a bookshelf found in the living room than one found in the kitchen or office. Small candleholders, frames, geometric shapes, trays, cake platters, baskets. Any of these items are great. Include meaningful items as well. And since it’s a bookshelf, don’t forget the books! You can use books you currently have, or pick some up at a thrift store. Take the dust jackets off for a clean look. You can also play around with turning the spine to the back to show the pages. 
  3. Greenery. This is a game changer. Small potted plants and succulents look so amazing on bookshelves. They really add life to the space and they go with every style, in every room. 
  4. Create visual triangles. You want to create vignettes using highs and lows. You can create this by using items of varying heights, or laying books flat and setting items on top.  
  5. Less is more. A bookcase filled to the brim is very chaotic. Be sure to leave empty space between groupings. It’s okay to have a shelf with only one vignette on it. Make sure to alternate the groupings on the different shelves. On one shelf, have a grouping in the center, the next shelf group your items on the ends. 

My best advice is to hold off decorating until you have collected all the items you will be using. Then, have fun with it! It’s ok to mess up. It’s ok if you stand back and decide you hate it. Take it all down and start over! It’s just a bookshelf. Eventually you will get it just the way you like it. 

Here are a few beautiful examples of different styles and decor.


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