Simple Tips for Styling a Bookshelf

Styling a Bookshelf

Hey, friends! As we’re getting settled in our new place, one of the things I worked on was turning our bookshelf  which used to be purely functional into a decorative statement piece in our gorgeous family room. I’ve never really had a decorative bookshelf before, so here are a few simple tips for styling a bookshelf that I used to get the effect I wanted. All you need are books and some coordinating accent pieces…


Choose a color palate.
My family room is a mixture of yellow, grey, and turquoise.  So, I sorted through our book collection to find books that were shades of those colors or neutrals.

Styling a Bookshelf

Sort your books by topic/type.
Once I had my books selected, I sorted them into groups that naturally seemed to go together. For example, I grouped religious/devotional/theological books together. Then, I made a stack of our family photo books. Finally, I put together a few books about DIY projects and my sketch book.

Styling a Bookshelf

Stack books both vertically and horizontally. 
It may seem odd at first, but take some of your piles and stack them sideways with the largest book on the bottom and the smallest on top. Of course, you can still stack books in the traditional way too, especially if you have a fun bookend to make sure they stay upright. You can even stand up a book if there’s a cover you want to feature, like I did with one of our photo books on the middle shelf.


Remember that less is more.
There is no right or wrong number of books to have in a stack; it really depends on the height and depth of your shelves. Play around with it until it looks right to you, but don’t feel the need to fill an entire shelf with books. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but you actually want to create space so that you have room for accents and can draw attention to the books you’ve chosen to feature. If your shelves are too crowded, you lose the stylized effect.



Stay with your color palate.
Just as you did with your books, stick to the colors you’ve chosen for your room.

Try a general theme.
I’m kind of obsessed with the cute little birds and bird cages at Michaels right now, so I got a few and interspersed them throughout my display for some continuity.

Gather various decorative items you already own to see if any of them are a good fit!
You don’t have to go out and buy all new things to get the look you want. I used a wooden box I painted two years ago because it was the perfect color combo and even had a bird stenciled on it. I also found that a little jar I bought a few months ago went with the decor as well.


Accent Ideas:
Here are some things you can try – jars, vases, live or silk flowers, figurines, candles, bookends, globes, small boxes, bowls, mugs, candle holders, succulents, photo frames, small painted wooden blocks or signs. The sky’s the limit!



Balance, balance, balance!
Try to have a good mixture of horizontal and vertical things, as well as varying heights and sizes. Make some of your book stacks straight and others askew. Avoid having things that are too similar next to or directly above/below one another. Play around with the objects until you create a visual balance that’s pleasing to the eye.

Styling a Bookshelf

Ideas to try…
Try placing your accents on top of your book stacks, positioned as book ends, and free standing.

Styling a Bookshelf

The best advice I can give you is to play around and re-position things until you’re happy with the way your shelves look. Here is a quick look at more of the room where this shelf “lives”…


More house pics to come, I promise, as we get settled in! In the meantime, hope these tips help you to style a bookcase of your own!

Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.