8 Tips on Styling a Bookshelf

Vintage camera on a bookshelf

Between my love for art and design books and my husband's ever-growing collection of grad school reading material, it's safe to say that we have a lot of books. With the variety of shapes, sizes, and colors of books we've collected, it's easy for our humble white bookshelf to look cluttered. However, thanks to a few tips and tricks, we've transformed it into a stylish space where we can enjoy and appreciate our collection. Here are my top 8 tips on styling a bookshelf: 

DIY wallpaper on a bookshelf

Colorful books on a bookshelf

1. Group books by color. This is the number one piece of advice I can offer! Arranging books by color helps things flow, creates visual harmony, and just looks great. (Bonus points if you take it one step further by arranging those colorful stacks in rainbow order.)

2. Get organized with bookends. Contain your books in style with bookends. Not only do they keep your stacks of tomes orderly, they're also a great way to infuse your bookshelf with a little personal style (whether that be your penchant for puppies, your adoration of architecture, or your soft spot for sports).  

3. Leave space. A little breathing room on a shelf is a good thing. Don't cram your shelves too full, unless you're going for the "eccentric librarian" look.

4. Remove dust jackets. Dust jackets on hardcovers are designed to protect the books while on display in the store. Once the book is yours, you're free to take that cover off and appreciate the chic hardbound book beneath.

Magazines on a bookshelf

5. Go horizontal. Mixing vertical rows with horizontal stacks adds visual interest and a dose of personality. These horizontal stacks also provide a great platform to accessorize on.

6. Personalize it! Bookshelves don't have to hold just books! My collection of vintage cameras is showcased. I sometimes display rings and necklaces. I love the look of white ceramic vessels among the busy titles. Treat your bookshelf as a display, as a vignette, and make it lovely to look at. (Bonus: use spray adhesive to attach wallpaper to the inside back of the shelf - it makes even a plain white bookshelf look special.)

7. Don't forget the top. That underappreciated shelf on top is just dying for a little attention. Although it won't be the first thing that people see, it's a great place to highlight a little something special.

8. Change it up. Have fun! Move things around. Swap out accessories. Treat your bookshelf as an ever-evolving work of art and appreciate how your mundane reading material brings a solid dose of personal style to your space.

Accessories on a bookshelf

Images courtesy of Lesley Myrick