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How to Style Your Bookshelf

HOW TO STYLE YOUR BOOKSHELF

Creating a bookshelf that has that effortless, assembled-over-time look takes some planning, but it’s a style that’s easy to achieve. Follow our steps to style your bookshelf, and you’ll be taking the most magnificent "shelfies" in no time.

Begin With Books

  • Edit your books by setting aside dog-eared paperbacks or other books that have seen better days. Remove ragged dust jackets to revive your hardcover books and give them a more sophisticated look. 
  • Sort a large collection by color. If you intend to display all of your books, a color-coded system creates cohesion. If not, this exercise can help you decide which colors and books you want to showcase. Mismatched volumes can be unified by turning them around, page side out.

  • Stack your books both vertically and horizontally, varying the placement on your shelves between left, right, and center. 

Create Structure & Composition

  • Start building structure with tall items like vases, artwork, and decorative plates. Lean on heavier accessories to double as bookends.

  • Layer small items in front of larger ones to diminish the bulk and add dimension. 
  • Group similar accents of differing scales in odd numbers. 
  • Vary the orientation of picture frames into combinations of portrait and landscape. 

Add Accessories

  • Add small accessories in between gaps and on stacks of books to add pops of texture, color, and shimmer where needed. 
  • Invite the outdoors in with organic shapes and nature-inspired accents made of wood, stone, or seasonal greenery.

  • Mix shiny materials like glass and metals to add a reflective dimension to your style. 
  • Work in whimsical pieces to create “What’s that?” moments on your shelves. 


Use decorative baskets or boxes to store functional items where you can reach them. Or try nontraditional vessels like galvanized buckets or vintage tins.

  • Wallpaper the backs of your shelves to add color and contrast. 
  • Illuminate your look with candle lanterns or LED accent lamps.

  • Leave plenty of whitespace to give your look room to breathe. Too many items can detract attention away from your beautiful pieces. 

Looking for more style inspiration? Read our blog for tips and tricks to create the looks you love.

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