Styling Tips for a more Beautiful Bookshelf

Built-in bookshelves make an instant statement, filling a room with warmth, color, and interest. We love to incorporate them throughout our design plans, in the living room, the study, the playroom. or as a way to fill an empty nook or corner. Shelves are a perfect way to organize a collection of books or to display art, photos, artisan ceramics, and family heirlooms. When you thoughtfully style them with items you love, you create a curated look with a personalized feel. Although there are no set rules when it comes to shelf styling, you do want your shelves to feel intentional and clutter free. Here are a few different tips you can try to beautify your bookshelves.

Group Similar Items Together to Create Balance

Calle Aveituna Project / Autumn Grace Photography

The symmetrical shelves of our Calle Aveituna Project feel pretty and balanced with like items grouped together. Photographs on bottom, groupings of sculptural items in the middle, and a single warm woven accent on each top shelf ties the two sides of the built-ins together for a cohesive look.

Collected Art, Family Heirlooms or Favorite Photos Make the Shelves Meaningful

Vidriosa Project / Autumn Grace Photography

Although you can always find cool pottery and printed art at your favorite home store, layering in storied items makes the shelves meaningful. Here, a collection of favorite family moments celebrates and captures time spent together. Use various sizes and frame styles to keep the collection interesting. Bonus, blowing up photo prints is usually much more affordable than buying original art.

An Empty Shelf Can Make a Statement

Beach Front Project / Rebekah Westover Photography

Just because you have a built-ins shelf, does not mean that you have to fill it. Here in our Beach Front Project, a single floating wood shelf on each side of the fireplace works to frame the art hanging above. Although we could fill it with sculptural items or books, left alone it keeps the emphasis on the art.

Illuminate your Shelves to Create a Warm Glow

Family Ties Custom Build / Rebekah Westover Photography

Illuminate your shelf styling with a warm glow. In a new build or remodel, plan to install sconces. If adding electrical isn’t in your plans, use a lamp. It’s an unexpected look that creates a warm, welcoming vibe.

Use Baskets to Add Storage and Conceal Clutter

Summit Creek Project / Rebekah Westover Photography

Your bookshelves can be a great place for extra storage. Get beautiful baskets that hide electronics, craft supplies, magazines, mail, or toys.

Mix in Greenery for Color and Organic Beauty

Desert Oasis Project / Rebekah Westover Photography

Pops of green always keeps a display feeling fresh and vibrant. Add a few plants on different shelves. If you know the space receives little light, go faux. Fake greens have gotten pretty good and still make for a beautiful look.

Bookshelves are a way to organize keepsakes, display favorite new finds, and show off your personal style. Proud of your shelf styling? We’d love to see! Share with us, #BeckiOwensFeature.

Happy Styling!


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