7 Creative Ways To Style Your Bookshelf

7 Creative Ways To Style Your Bookshelf

By Maz Pickering

2nd Feb 2024

A bookshelf filled with books and decoration like frames.

For some, a bookshelf is a humble storage space, serving as a place for little bits and bobs and accumulated family books. For others, they’re an essential room feature to proudly display a collection of beloved books.

And despite the name, a bookshelf need not be limited to holding books alone. They can be used to store and display a variety of items and they also don’t need to be a bookshelf – you can create bookshelves from other types of storage or place in clever places.

So, whether you prefer standing or wall-mounted shelves, follow a minimalist or maximalist style, there are many bookshelf ideas to choose from to inspire your next room update.

Embrace A Theme

A bookshelf with salt lamps and a plant

Details such as soft lighting and interesting decoration can transform a simple bookcase into a magical space.

If you’re a bookworm and enjoy reading certain genres, why not use that as inspiration to style your bookshelf? For example, if you have built up a collection of books on various countries and cultures, you can create a travel bookshelf with souvenirs from those locations.

If you love nature and the outdoors, add some plants and other natural elements to enhance the shelves. Or if you prefer delving into fantasy literature, you can create an ethereal ambience by adding soft lighting and incense to your bookshelf.

Make your bookshelf space not just an area to store your literature collection but also an inviting place where you can lose yourself in a new story.

Colourful Shelves

If you love a bold look, a bright technicoloured bookshelf is perfect. Instead of adding objects in muted colours, opt for vibrant pieces to enhance your existing book collection or give your shelves a colours makeover with a lick of paint.

This style is great for showing off personal and/or quirky items such as your children’s arts and crafts, sentimental belongings, and even those items that you haven’t quite found a place for yet. You can organise and group similar colours together or create a more chaotic look by mixing and matching hues and textures.

A bookshelf filled with books and decoration like frames.

Arrange and sort by colours or mix them up. As long as you add a few coordinating pieces, your shelf will still look organised rather than thrown together.

Style Over Substance

Wall mounted shelving with various ornaments in a lounge area

Bookshelves don’t necessarily need to be filled to the brim with books. In fact, it is possible to decorate your shelving using minimal books. You can also use other types of shelving instead of a traditional bookcase, to create a unique and eye-catching display.

Be selective with a few stylish ornaments and key pieces, paired with a complementary colour scheme to create a chic shelf. Make sure to leave plenty of space around these items to make them stand out.

This Adjustable Wall Shelving has a distinct layout, which makes it standout. And the adjustable shelves means you can display a range of items.

Busy Bookshelves

If you have a lot of books and items on your bookshelf, it’s important to put some effort into the layout. This will help ensure that your display looks well-organised and thoughtfully put together, rather than cluttered and throw together.

Consider the spacing between and around objects and books. Leave some space and breathing room around decorative pieces and place smaller books next to them. On lower shelves, you could display larger books and objects to help balance out the overall look of the shelf.

And to create an even more cohesive and visually appealing design, try grouping items and books of similar colours together. This will create points of interest and help tie a busy display together.

Wooden wall mounted shelves with a collection of books and plants

Wall Mounted Shelving is useful for adding extra storage around the home, perfect for an expanding collection of literature.

Horizontal Stacking

An industrial-style bookshelf with books and various ornaments

Books don’t always have to be arranged vertically. You could try experimenting with horizontally arranged books to create ‘texture.’ This is a clever and interesting way to add visual interest to your bookshelf, especially if it is already filled with books. You could also mix and match vertical and horizontal books to create a parquet-style design.

If you have little bits of space on your bookshelf, consider placing small ornaments on top of stacked books to break up the wall of literature and create areas that draw the eye.

Our Hygge Black & Oak Bookcase provides a beautiful base for arranging books and other favourites.

Related : Hygge Heroes

Carefully Organised

Organising a bookshelf can be a task that you love or hate. Some eagerly plan and look forward to the task of arranging their book collection, while others simply put books as the shelf as they come and leave it at that.

If you count yourself as relating more to the former, you probably know already that there are various ways in which you can organise your books. If you have a larger collection with more variety, one useful method could be to sort by genre.

Alternatively, if you are a visual person, you could arrange by height or by colour. Or for a more traditional approach, you can sort alphabetically. However, you may face another dilemma then: whether to sort alphabetically by the author’s name or the book’s title.

Just because you have a larger shelves, like our Wall Shelving, doesn’t mean you have to fill all the space. Group book collections and items together to create different zones.

Book Nooks

Wall-Mounted Shelves are helpful for adding a bookshelf to smaller spaces. Great for displaying those favourite novels!

If you’re looking for a contemporary way to display a few of your favourite books, consider adding floating or wall mounted shelves. Pick your favourite books to put on display, along with a couple of decorative items and you have a quick and simple way to create a stylish feature that’s perfect for minimalist and modern fans alike.

This is also an excellent solution if you don’t have much floor space for a freestanding bookshelf or if you just want to create a cosy little book nook or hideaway, in smaller spaces like under the stairs or in the corner of a room.

Almost every household has a bookshelf, but that doesn’t mean that it has to look like everyone else’s. You can personalise it to match your style; from a fully-fledged room feature with matching decorative items and lighting that perfectly complements and highlights your favourite novels, to a minimalistic and modern shelf. Your bookshelf deserves to have as much attention as you give to your book collection!

Want more style tips and tricks? Have a look at these posts:

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Creating The Perfect Shelfie

5 Cosy On-Trend Living Room Ideas for Autumn 2023