Tips for Styling Bookshelves

When we first posted about our Restoration Hardware inspired industrial shelves, some of you mentioned you’d like to see us break up the book rows a bit more with some accents. Well, we aim to please! So we shuffled some things around and re-styled our bookshelves.

Notice how, in the before photos, all the books are pretty much on the bottom few shelves? I hadn’t really noticed it too much in the past. Many of the books are the kids, and of course while the kids were small all the decorative stuff had to go up high. But after I thought about it, I realized the kids really aren’t that small anymore!

I spread out the books a little and added in a couple of accessories from elsewhere in the house:  an extra round wire basket for remotes, a cloche that’s currently filled with a little bird & nest. (We also added the lighting which we posted about here).

You can be sure that this isn’t the final styled bookcases – they’ll change and shift with the seasons at least. Not to mention our kids are voracious readers and we keep adding new books to our collection! {I must admit, I have already shifted a few more things around!}

Tips for a well-styled bookcase:

  • Start by emptying your shelves. This gives you a clean slate to work with.
  • Place some books vertically and some horizontally on the shelves. They don’t all have to run in a neat row. Mix it up. Add visual interest by varying the heights of stacks too.
  • Layer your items. A layer of books topped with a favourite paper weight or a ceramic animal (hello Sherry!) adds texture and a collected look to your bookshelves.
  • Arrange books by colour if you like the look of colour blocks. Or if you want a super neutral, cohesive look (and it won’t make you crazy to not see the titles) turn the spines in.
  • Remove the dust jackets from hard cover books. Often times the hardcover itself is much more beautiful to display.
  • As with most accessory decorating, use odd numbers. 3, 5, or 7 of something just looks so much better than even numbers.


Want more info on styling a bookcase? Check out these links:

House Beautiful – How to Decorate a Bookcase

Aby Garvey’s Pinterest Board Bookcase Styling

Julip Made – Bookcase Styling Tips

Have you styled any bookshelves lately? Got any of your own styling tips? Or maybe styling questions? Leave us a comment below!


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