How to Style Your Bookshelves: 8 Styling Tips

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    How to style bookshelves

    Styling bookshelves and bookcases is an art. For someone like me – who dreams of being a minimalist but loves collecting books, plants, and treasures – bookshelves offer a great way to display my most-loved belongings in a way that still feels purposeful and organized.

    Find inspiration for styling your own bookshelves and bookcases with tips and ideas below!

    bookshelf styled with paint
    Image source: The Zhush

    Add some background color

    Whether your bookshelf has a back or it’s open and against a wall – considering adding some background color to ground your shelves. Paint or wallpaper can add a pop behind the objects you use to style your bookcase.

    bookshelf filled with organized books
    Image source: Thistle Harvest

    Start with books

    When styling your bookshelves, start with your largest items first. This can also include books, which can be stacked horizontally, grouped with bookends, or even used as a base for other items to sit on.

    styled bookshelf with clustered groups
    Image source: Studio McGee

    Cluster objects in groups

    Make sure you’re considering how to style each shelf as its own vignette by grouping objects when styling bookshelves. Odd clusters are always pleasing, along with mixing large and small objects, or objects of different materials.

    bookshelf with artwork
    Image source: Mango Design Co

    Layer in artwork

    Add artwork in your bookcases as a large focal point, and mix different objects around each piece to ground it in the space.

    bookshelf with plants and cameras

    Bring natural elements inside

    Add texture by bringing in organic materials to style your bookshelves.

    Plants with long vines like pothos or ivy can add an interesting shape by hanging down past multiple shelves, while smaller potted plants can add greenery to your shelves. Even airplants can be popped into small spaces!

    Rocks, crystals, shells, or antlers can be placed in their own space, grouped in a bowl, or even set on top of book stacks like a paperweight.

    bookshelf with books and artwork
    Image source: Better Homes & Garden

    Add decorative shapes and forms

    Think about the different shapes you can create with stacks of books, artwork, and individual or groups objects when styling your bookshelves.

    bookshelf with mirrored discoball

    Use metal to add shine

    Adding a disco ball or other reflective objects can create gorgeous reflections of light in the room when sunlight hits your bookshelves.

    bookshelf organized by color
    Image source: SF Girl by Bay

    Group by color

    Put objects and books with similar color schemes together when styling your shelves for an effect that adds cohesion to the any collection of objects.