My Top Tips for Styling Your Bookshelf

Although it may not seem like it’s that hard, styling your bookshelf can actually be pretty intimidating. It really doesn’t have to be as hard as everyone makes it out to be. Here are a few of my top tips to get your bookshelf in shape.

styling bookshelf

Start with the basics

Most bookshelves are going to have books on them…right? Your bookshelves do not have to be completely full of different books. Take what you have, and see how they fit into the bookshelf you are trying to do. We have two large bookshelves on either side of our fireplace, o we had to separate them out into two piles.

If you think you do not have enough books, PLEASE don’t go out and buy new books just to decorate with. Go to your local thrift store and pick up some used books and give them a good home. You can also just fill in space with different items you already have.

Go into your cabinets or other areas around your house and pick up some items that you want to decorate your shelves with. I set everything out on my kitchen island so that I could see exactly what I have to work with. From there split everything down the middle.

Start Assembling!

The first thing I do is decide where my books are going. Personally, I put them all vertical because that is what I like, but you can easily put horizontal for a different look. I have seen some shelves organized by the color or size of the book which can make everything look uniform. I’m a bit of a mess, so I just put them where I feel like it.

Once my books are in, I’ll start deciding where my decorative items are going. This is where it can take quite a bit of time. I move around statutes, vases, and any other items that I am decorating with. Sometimes moving a piece of pottery down a shelf can completely change the entire look of your shelf.

As you may know, we are plant people! The final step is to find small plants that can fit into your shelves to add a little bit of life and texture. Most of our plants are large, so we go to our local nursery or home improvement store to find great plants for shelves. Succulents, ivy, and young snake plants all make great options.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO mix things up while styling your bookshelf. Utilize different heights, colors, and textures to keep the eye traveling all around the bookshelf for the ultimate impact.
  • DO feel like you can change anything. Unless you are really dedicated, your items are not glued down! Change things around until it looks great to you.
  • DO get some inspiration from social media! Pinterest is a great place to check for some amazing bookshelves.
  • DON’T overfill your bookshelf. There is something to be said for white space in decorating, and it can keep you from styling your bookshelf into oblivion.
  • DON’T feel like you need to go out and buy anything to start styling your bookshelf. You can work with items that you already have, and you can thrift any items that you think your bookshelf may need.
  • DON’T think that everything has to be perfect! Home decor is one of those things that you can actually work on forever.
Looking for more interior posts?

How do you style your bookshelves?




  1. May 27, 2020 / 4:05 pm

    I’m such an overfiller with bookcases… but I love yours! And that plant is gorgeous! What is it?

    Katie |

    • ashleestuart
      June 9, 2020 / 9:17 am

      I just randomly found it at Home Depot. I think it is a pothos plant!

    • ashleestuart
      June 9, 2020 / 9:18 am

      Thanks so much!

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