Styling bookshelves to look like a pretty decor detail in your home instead of a stuffy library takes a little insight and practice. But it’s worth taking the time, as almost all homes need shelf decor ideas of some kind to keep from getting the “stiff soldier” look. (Or worse, the “stuff every loose thing into the messy shelves” look!) Here are a few quick tutorials on how to decorate a bookcase!  With some practice, you can transform those cluttered shelves into warm design details. Tip: Don’t think you have to run out to the decor store for this easy update… You can find most of the things you need to style bookshelves right in your cupboards, closets and tables tops!



Shelf Decor : How to Decorate a Bookshelf

Emily Henderson‘ has a perfect 3 step process to follow to learn how to decorate bookshelves. One of their best ideas? Introduce items other than books! Adding art, collectibles, or even a plant or two adds life to your display, and the contrast in shape and texture adds interest. Want to add plants? Awesome idea!  Check out our post on the best low light houseplants over at TGG…


Mix things up. Have some of your books vertical, and some in a horizontal stack. This one trick alone can add a professional touch to your display. ‘Room for Tuesday‘ knows all the tricks for shelf decor when you have more books, than things.


Want to learn all about shelf styling a bookcase, when you don’t actually want to use books? Liz from ‘Liz Marie Blog‘ has tons of tips to make sure you have shelves this pretty!


Built in bookshelves? These shelf decor ideas from Meg at ‘Green with Decor‘ will help you create a showstopper focal point in your room. No more old, outdated video tapes and DVD’s crowding the shelves, ok? And take note… nothing she uses to style shelves in this room are expensive pieces. That colored glass is gorgeous, all by itself!


Allow your display items to form a sort of zig zag down the shelves…in other words, don’t allow the items to line up from shelf to shelf. This allows the bookshelf decor to lead the eye in a pleasing manner, and not look stiff. Liz at ‘Love Grows Wild‘ shows you just how that works, with tons more tips on how to decorate a bookshelf.


More Shelf Decor & Styling Ideas

Leave some room between displays of shelf decor. Small amounts of space give the eye room to breathe, and allow the beauty of your books and collectibles to shine. If you have too many books or display objects, rotate them out every season to get a fresh look, or buy another bookcase! Photo by ‘Amber Interior Design’, photographer Tessa Neustadt.

Use a variety of shapes, but try to keep all your items sticking to a color, theme or style. ‘The Everygirl‘ shares perfectly done shelf decor, and maintains the color consistency with the books by turning them around. Brilliant, right? You notice that this styling actually does line up the books, against some of the tips you may have heard up until now. That’s because, my friends, they aren’t so much rules, just guidelines. And while the books may line up, the individual vignettes are less symmetrical. (The whole middle section actually does follow the “zigzag” rule!)

Don’t be afraid to move things! Remember what I said about practice? The only way to get it is to change things around, try new ideas, and to keep moving things until you find a shelf decor style you like.

Got shelves? Take 15 minutes right now, bring in a few well loved display items from other rooms, clear off the shelves and start again with the guidelines you just learned. Pretty shelf displays bring balance to any room. Give it a try, you could always put back the mess if you don’t like it. (But why would you?) Now jump right on over to our posts on 15 Home Decor Ideas That Are Free and our Boho Living Room Tour. Also check out 13 Indoor Plant Shelf Ideas over at OhMeOhMy!

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