5 Tips for Bookshelf Styling

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Cleaning up holiday clutter feels good but you may have noticed that certain spaces in your home are feeling more bare than usual. One area in my home that feels particularly bare are my bookshelves. I thought it would be fun to share some tips for bookshelf styling.

Bookshelf styling isn’t always easy. They are the area designated for items on display for everyone to see when they come into our home, especially if it’s a focal point or are in main living spaces. No pressure, but we want to get it right.

By not overcomplicating the process of bookshelf decorating, it’s rather easy to execute and most times you can use what you currently have on the shelves or use other items from around the house.

Tips for Bookshelf Styling

Take everything off your shelves.

I have found that it’s always easier starting with a blank slate. By taking everything off your shelves you will have a better idea of the space you have to work with and the items you want to put on the shelves.

While you are at it, give the shelves a good cleaning ( it’s time) and before you know it, you are ready to style those shelves. I do this chore with the built in shelves in my Living Room frequently throughout the year. So I have less to dust, I try to keep most of the items on my bookshelf to a minimum.

5 Tips for Bookshelf Styling

Start with anchor items such as large vases or picture frames.

Larger items always make a big statement, whether its a gorgeous rattan bowl or a pretty art print leaning at the back of your shelf. I like to use the same frame in different sizes with different prints for a cohesive look. Placing a large vase on the shelf can create a focal point for your bookshelf.

Try grouping a few pieces together for a more collected look. Remember, vases can look equally as beautiful without any greenery in them as well. Smaller vases can also serve to hold books in place on your shelves.

5 Tips for Bookshelf Styling
5 Tips for Bookshelf Styling

Coffee table books are a great item to use to layer on shelves.

Not only do books add life to any room in your home, coffee table books are also a great decorative item to use for shelf styling. They can be a good pop of color for the space or used as a layering item to create interest for your other décor accessories.

I love layering some smaller décor pieces on top of a pretty design book. Candles, a piece of art or small vases are good options for stacking books. I am linking some of my favorite coffee table books for you.

Fill in with smaller items, always use a mix of shapes and sizes.

Your bookshelves should feel like a collection of your favorite decorative objects. Vary heights of your décor items. Play around with different items, colors, and pieces that are important to you. On the topof the bookshelf (particularly with floor to ceiling shelves), place any item that is strictly for display and that you will probably not be getting down any time soon.

Always place items that are larger in the back of the shelf and any other small pieces in the front. Remember less is more when styling bookshelves. The goal is to thoughtfully place items on your shelf that are meaningful or complement the room. Overfilling the space with ‘stuff’ will create a clutter and busy look that minimizes your original intent.

Don’t forget to mix in elements of texture and faux or fresh greenery to give those shelves some life

Use a mix of elements on your bookshelf such as wood, rattan and brass items. Mix in fresh or faux greenery plants to create visual interest. If your room supports it, substitute the faux plant for a real one. There are many plants that require little to no maintenance and indirect lighting.

A good mix of these items helps to keep each shelf unique. If you do want to repeat items try to only do it once and do it on the furthest shelf from what you are repeating. This way it looks intentional and not that you ran out of items to style the shelf with.

5 Tips for Bookshelf Styling

I hope these 5 tips on styling bookshelves will inspire you to work on your own bookshelves in your home. Remember the process isn’t meant to be intimidating or magazine worthy, but rather a fun way to express the things that make you happy and smile when you walk into the room and look at your bookshelf.

Andrea Denes
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