10 Easy Bookshelf Styling Tips

Bookshelf styling is an art within itself. I love styling bookshelves and turning a functional piece of furniture into a stylish show case. So how do you decorate your bookcase? Keep reading to find out my 10 Easy Bookshelf Styling Tips.


Styling by Anna Chisholm for Greenhouse Interiors

Photography by Annette O'Brien for Brent Rosenberg

10 Easy Bookshelf Styling Tips

  1. Display Collections: Group collections together for emphasis. Remember that there is power in numbers and everything looks better when displayed as a collection.
  2. Highlight your Passions:  As I always say, your home should be a reflection of you, so why not put your passions on display? Highlighting your interests and passions in your bookcase is a great way to show off your personality and tell your own story. Let your accessories and mementos speak for themselves.
  3. Group Like with Like:  To have a cohesive bookcase, it's important to group similar items together. Group items by theme, color, shape, texture or material. Groupings create a stronger impact and make your bookcase feel intentional
  4. Play with Scale: Carefully mix in large and small items for balance. When you have too many small objects on your bookshelf, they feel lost when you are standing far away and will feel cluttered. Curate your bookshelf with items of varying scale by propping smaller items on boxes ora stack of books. You can also make smaller items pop by layering in more substantial items behind an item such as standing up a tray or artwork in back.
  5. Decorate in Odd numbers - You may prefer even numbers and things of symmetry but there is power in odd numbers. Decorating in groupings of 3, 5, or 7 usually are the most interesting.
  6. Varying Height: If you have adjustable shelves, opt to switch up the height instead of having all shelves at the same level. Mixing heights creates contrast and adds visual interest to your display. I like to have the middle of my bookcase have one large section for a focal point; like a great piece of art.
  7. Leave White Space - Leave negative space around a grouping so that your eye has a point of rest and so your mind can process each item. When your accessories are too close together, it will feel cluttered and disorganized.
  8. Group by Color: Arrange books by color, especially when you have a large bookcase or built-in. Following the theory of grouping Like with like; grouping by color is a great way to organize books. When there is too many color, your bookshelf can look busy but when you organize your books in stacks of color, it can be visually calmer.
  9. Experiment with Contrast: I like to contrast texture and shapes. For example, I will stack a set of books on one side of the bookshelf with something sculptural on the other side. And then the following shelf either above or below, will have the reverse arrangement, and instead of a sculpture, I may opt for a faux plant instead.
  10. Showcase Artwork: Bookcases aren’t just for books - display art as well. Aside from showcasing what speaks to you, artwork is also a good "filler" item when you have blank spots on your shelves. Lean art in the space or even mount to the front of your bookcase

Here are some inspiration photos to get your creative juices flowing so you can make your bookcases as stylish as they are useful!


Photo by Style Curator


Photo by Abigail Ahern


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