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How to: Style your Bookshelves

August 03, 2021

How to: Style your Bookshelves

Style bookshelves in your home to add personality and make a statement. Decorate with pieces that are meaningful to you, that make you smile when you look at them, or that remind you of your loved ones. And remember, curating those perfect pieces doesn’t happen after just one trip to the store. It takes time to gather the decor that will find a place in your home. Maybe bring an art piece home from a favorite vacation, or a unique decorative bowl from your favorite antique store. Be patient with yourself, with your home, and with your style. 

We get it: you want your house to look beautiful, and knowing how to style bookshelves can play a big part in the overall feel of your home. You may be wondering: How do you make a bookshelf look nice? How do I style a bookcase without books? Try these tips, then change it up! Homes are living, breathing, and evolving just like you. They ebb and flow. So don’t be afraid to try new things, and don’t be afraid to change when the time is right!

1. Start Large

First we recommend removing all your existing books and decor from your shelves so you can start with a blank space. Give your eye the opportunity to see all the options and you may come up with an idea that you hadn’t thought of before. Once you remove everything from your shelves, start loading back up by placing your largest pieces of home decor first. From there, you can fill in the gaps with great little details.

Product 1: Bring Sunshine Wall Decor

Bring Sunshine Wall Decor

Product 2: Blue Ceramic Tray

Blue Ceramic Tray

2. Layer

As you add in new pieces, try to layer and include objects of different heights. In terms of how to style bookshelves, this is an easy way to give your shelves some visual interest and escape the monotony of everything lined up at the same height. While you’re at it, mix up your shapes too. Include a circular decorative bowl in addition to the more common rectangular books and picture frames.

Product 1:  Stripe Canister

Stripe Canister

Product 2: Large Blue Vase

Ceramic Blue Vase

3. Personalize

As you add in your books and other shelf decor, remember to make this unique, special, and personal to you! Add photos from your favorite vacation spot. Display quirky momentos and childhood memories. These little details will come and go with time, so don’t be afraid to switch out pieces when you’re feeling like an update, or when you find something new that you love.

Product 1: J. Kirk Richards, First Vision

First Vision by Artist J. Kirk Richards

 Product 2: Canvas Wrap, Do This Together

Do This Together Canvas Wrap

4. Add Plants

A little greenery goes a long way towards making your home a cozy and comfortable place that you’ll want to spend a lot of time in, and is a great way to style built-in bookshelves. Greenery is homey, welcoming, and charming and will immediately enhance your space. Pair your new plant with a cute vase and you’ll love the look you’ve created. Save space on your bookshelf for a small potted plant or a vase of flowers to bring a little extra cheer into your home.

Product 1: Pink Vase

Pink Color Block Ceramic Vase

Product 2: Plant Canister

Wood Lid Green Plant Canister

5. Try a Candle

While a great-smelling candle can be a mood booster, candles can also be a beautiful decor piece. Add a candle on top of a stack of books or a larger candle on its own for a statement.

Product 1: Large Floral Candle

Large Floral Scented Candle

6. Rearrange your Books

Try something new with the books that you do have on your shelves. Arrange by color. Flip a few on their sides. See what happens. Books of varied shapes and sizes are a great way to display your personality while also acting as a fun visual interest.    

Product 1: The Gathering Home

The Gathering Home Book

7. Add your Favorite Art 

Art isn’t just for the walls. Find a cute frame and add in an art print that you love. This is a great way to showcase your personality and make a statement with your decor choices. Great fine art is such a wonderful way to add coziness, charm, and character to your space, and is an easy must when considering how to style bookshelves

Product 1: Brian Kershisnik, They All Dance

They All Dance by Artist Brian Kershisnik

Product 2: J. Kirk Richards, Christ Portrait VII

Christ Portrait VII by Artist J. Kirk Richards

8. Add Color 

If you tend to go neutral, we get it, we do the same thing. But remember to add in a little color to really create some visual interest and showcase your personality. This can be done with a great art print, a decorative vase, or even a display of your most colorful books.

Product 1: Floral Tray

Floral Ceramic Serving Tray

Product 2: Canvas Wrap, All Are Alike

All Are Alike Canvas Wrap

9. Store Creatively 

If, like most of us, your bookshelves are doing double duty as storage units in addition to showing off your prettiest pieces, find ways to store less-than-beautiful items creatively. Large, decorative boxes can hide your collection of mismatched cords, kids’ toys, old magazines, and anything else you don’t want on full display. Store these on the bottom shelves to fit in seamlessly with the rest of your decor. This is a great way to style a bookshelf like a pro.

10. Change it up

The great part about home decor and design, you never have to be stuck with something if you change your mind or don’t like the end result. Remember that it’s ok to change your mind and your style evolves. If you’re ever feeling stuck, start with tip number one and take everything off for a blank slate. Sometimes all the same stuff in a new arrangement can be enough to make you happy again. The most important thing is that you feel at home in your space, so don’t worry about comparing your #shelfie to anyone else's.

Product 1: Shari Lyon, The Gift, The Word, The Love of God

Product 2: Kate Lee, Simple Gifts

Simple Gifts by Artist Kate Lee

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