Styling a bookcase is a great way to add color, pattern, and texture to a space. It’s also a great way to maximize storage and display meaningful collections. Here are some tips for decorating a bookcase.

What to Put on a Bookcase
Books: The books are the anchor to a well-styled bookcase, they can set a color scheme or theme for the display. Group similar sizes together and create both vertical and horizontal stacks for visual interest. Scatter the groupings of books evenly throughout the shelves.


Image from Emily Henderson

Artwork and Photos: Bookshelves are great places to display small pieces of art or framed photos. Smaller pieces can be layered in front of books or stacked on top of books. Larger pieces can lean against the back of the shelf. The layering of these items creates depth and dimension in your display.


Image from Amber Interiors

Baskets and Boxes: Baskets and decorative boxes are a great way to fill shelf space if you don’t have a lot to display. They can also hold items that you need access to but don’t necessarily want to display. Also, consider stacking smaller boxes to vary heights throughout the bookcase.


Image from Boxwood Clippings

Greenery: Mix some greenery in with the rest of your display to add life and color.


Image from Love Grows Wild

Collections: A bookcase is an excellent place to display a meaningful collection, feel free to break up the collection a bit by mixing it with the other pieces listed above.


Image from The Decor Fix

Bookcase Styling Tips
Composition: Create a strategy for displaying the items. Repeating similar items, colors, and textures throughout the bookcase moves the eye through the display. The items on the shelves should relate to each other through color, style, or theme.


Image from Kim Stephen

Layering: Create a multi-dimensional display by layering your items. Layer a few items in front of each other and stack a few items on top of each other. The tallest items should go at the back of the shelf and the smallest in the front. Elevate small items by placing them on top of other flat items. Don't be afraid to partially hide some things, what you can't see from one angle you'll be able to see from another.


Image from Made by Katy

Contrast: Consider contrasts between colors, shapes, and sizes. When things are too similar the display can fall flat. If you have a stack of rectangular boxes, add a round object on top. If you have a collection of ceramic vases, add a few leather-bound books next to them giving you a contrast between hard and soft materials as well as shiny and dull finishes.


Image from My Domaine

Negative Space: Don’t fill every inch of the bookshelf, a little negative space can go along way. The negative space allows the items on display to stand out. Without negative space everything blends and jumbles together.


Image from Mix and Match Design

Upgrade Your Bookcase
Paint: You can repaint the entire bookcase or just add a pop of color to the back of the bookcase. The paint could be neutral to fade into the background of the display or the color of the bookcase could make the statement.


Image from Centsational Girl

Wallpaper: Wallpaper is a great way to transform the inside of a bookcase. You could use a subtle tone on tone design or a bold pattern that takes center stage.


Image from HGTV

Re-styling a bookcase is a quick way to freshen a room. Is there a bookcase in your house that could use a little extra love?

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