How to: Style a Bookshelf

Do your bookshelves need a refresh? Or are they that one spot in your home that you just haven’t gotten to yet? Maybe you’ve rearranged your home to create better WFH space but still need a little styling in a few places. Whatever the reason, we have eight tips for styling your bookshelves to not only look great, but to also showcase your personality and make you feel happy every time you walk through the front door.

1. Take Everything off First 

Start styling your bookshelf with a clean slate. If you currently have books or decorations on your shelves, take everything off so you can better visualize what you want your space to look like. You may think it will be easier just to rearrange existing pieces, but starting with a blank space will inspire new ideas you may not have thought of before. 

Once you’ve moved everything off it will be easier to see what you have to work with. You might find new inspiration for your old items, or realize you’re missing a great piece of art. Take some inventory and decide what you may want to add to your home.

2. Start with Bigger, Bulkier Pieces 

Start decorating with the largest items that you have. Bigger books, baskets, frames, and pictures that are going to take up the most visual space on your shelves. Starting with these items will give you a good foundation for layering in items of different heights, sizes, and weights to create a cohesive look. Plus it will help you realize what holes you have that you may need to fill in later with plants, new artwork, or other small pieces that you can borrow from other areas of the house. 

Gathered Together Wall Art

Gathered Together Wall Art

Be Not Afraid Only Believe

Be Not Afraid Only Believe Wall Art

3. Save Larger Items for Bottom Shelves

Put those larger, bulkier items on your lowest shelves to avoid a clunkier look on middle and top shelves. This is a great place for baskets or bins that can cleverly hide storage items you don’t want on display. 

4. Layer in Smaller Pieces

Once the initial layer of larger items are in place, layer in smaller items of different heights, depths and weights to create some visual interest. This is the place to add those interesting bookends you bought on vacation, a print from your favorite artists, a small canvas wrap, or any other items or books that bring you joy to see in your home. When it comes to styling a bookshelf, a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors are going to add depth and dimension to your space. 

Floral Candle

Large Floral Candle

Let it Be A Home Canvas Wrap

Let it be a Home Canvas Wrap

All Are Alike Unto God Canvas Wrap

All Are Alike Canvas Wrap

The Gathering Home Book

The Gathering Home: Creating a Refuge of Goodness and Joy

5. Add Artwork 

Artwork creates interest, adds color, and shows your personality. In our opinion, adding artwork is one of the best ways to make your space truly feel like home. While fine art gets the reputation for being expensive and out of reach for many, the truth is you don’t need to buy expensive art to make your home feel special. Curate unique pieces that speak to you over time, and you’ll always have a collection of art that you love. Small prints can make a big impact in your home. 

Christ Portrait VII, J. Kirk Richards

Christ Portrait VII by Artist J. Kirk Richards

Angels, B Kershisnik 

Angels by Artist B. Kershisnik

Atonement, Kate Lee

Atonement by Artist Kate Lee

Angels Among Us Miniatures

She Will Find What is Lost by Artist B. Kershisnik

6. Include Plants and Cute Vases

Greenery makes such a difference in any space. Add plants and flowers to your shelf to really give it an upgrade. Small plants, flowers in a beautiful vase, and even fake plants (we won’t tell) add life to your home. These beauties will invigorate your space. The best thing about plants? You really can’t have too many. Whether you’re a one or two plant person or have a full blown plant obsession, added foliage will look fantastic in every area of your home. 

Pink Vase

Pink Color Block Ceramic Vase

Green Plant Stand

Green Color Block Plant Stand

Stripe Canister

Wood Lid Black and White Striped Canister

7. Personalize your Space 

Remember that this is your home, and it does not belong to your neighbor down the street or even the DIYer you love to follow on Instagram. Make this your space by personalizing your bookshelves with items that you love. Your favorite book? Add it. An art print that you saw and couldn’t live without? You better believe it belongs there. Anything that makes you happy can go up. These rules about styling your shelves? These are just ideas to help. The important part is that you feel good in the space you live in. So remember that the pieces you put up on your bookshelves aren’t just there to look good, they need to make you happy too. 

Nesting Houses

White Decorative Nesting Houses

Most Important Work Canvas Wrap

Most Important Work Canvas Wrap

His Prayer, Brenda Bird 

His Prayer by Artist Brenda Bird

8. Try Something New 

If you’re anything like us, you lean towards a neutral and safe zone in a lot of your decorating. We get it! Making new decisions or going with bolder options can be daunting, and it can be scary! Decorating bookshelves is a great time to try something bold and new because it can always be taken down or switched out if you change your mind. 

The Gift, The Word, The Love of God

The Gift, The Word, The Love of God by Artist Shari Lyon

Water to Wine

Water to Wine by Artist Victoria Mathews

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