How to Perfectly Style Bookcases – 7 Things to Consider


After getting the bookcases built and painted, I’ve been excited to get to the styling of them. We’ve been surrounded by piles of books for the last few months and to be able to get things finally put away is a wonderful motivator. However, bookcase styling can be a little intimidating. The shelves are designed to be functional and provide storage, but at the same time we don’t want them to feel like we are sleeping surrounded by stuff.

Bottom line… we need the bookcases to hold as much as they can without them becoming… well, too much. Styling had to be strategic and intentional. Before starting, here are 7 things I considered…

How to Perfectly Style Bookcases – 7 Things to Consider

Select a Cohesive Palette

How to Perfectly Style Bookcases - 7 Things to Consider

Choose colors and textures in a specific palette to keep everything looking like it goes together.

How to Perfectly Style Bookcases - 7 Things to Consider

Your palette might be more high energy (lots of bold/primary colors for an office or living room), but since we want a tranquil feel in the bedroom, I went with blues and neutrals (natural wood, grey and silver metals) to work throughout the bookcases.

Baskets and Bins are Great Storage

How to Perfectly Style Bookcases - 7 Things to Consider

We’ve paired down to books that we want to keep, but may not need to access all the time. Those with bindings that did not fit within my color palette went into baskets or bins. Again you’ll want to select containers that compliment the look and feel you are trying to create. Mine are neutral, but you can easily incorporate color.

Keep it Simple

How to Perfectly Style Bookcases - 7 Things to Consider

There’s a tendency to want to overfill a shelf and so I tried to keep each area to no more than three items or groupings per shelf. For instance, books, baskets, & frames are 3 items even if I used more than 3 books in the one category.

Include Items that Reflect You

As always… your decor should tell your story. Although I went with the same overall palette and finishes for both bookcases, I selected items that were more Tyson for his side of the bed and things that were more me for my side.

How to Perfectly Style Bookcases - 7 Things to Consider

The decorative robot and art books are on his shelves, while the vintage movie reel and décor books are on mine.

How to Perfectly Style Bookcases - 7 Things to Consider

Remember to Vary Heights

How to Perfectly Style Bookcases - 7 Things to Consider How to Perfectly Style Bookcases - 7 Things to Consider

Vary the height of items on a shelf to balance the whole thing out.

Create Paths for Your Eyes to Follow

How to Perfectly Style Bookcases - 7 Things to Consider

Weaving a path of similar textures gives your eyes a path to travel as it scans the shelves and keeps areas from feeling too heavy or uneven.

Adding Plants Infuses Life

How to Perfectly Style Bookcases - 7 Things to Consider

Plants provide great texture to bookshelves and infuse life into a room. I’m currently on the hunt to add a few more plants to my husband’s shelves.

Since moving into our home and downsizing, every time we want to make one change, we inevitably have to think thru 5 other things. It feels like a giant puzzle that requires a lot of shifting around until everything clicks into place. It’s nice to have everything on this wall finally settled so we can breathe and turn our attention to the next project.

There’s always a next project, isn’t there?

How to Perfectly Style Bookcases - 7 Things to Consider

What are your favorite tips for styling bookcases? Do you have a “must have” when decorating bookshelves? Any guesses on how often I’ll be changing these up? Share your thoughts in the comments below.




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