Style A Bookshelf Like a Boss

I love bookshelves & built-ins. The charm and character they add…swoon.


There are some design tips for decorating shelving. It does take a little thought and even a little practice. So here I am to share with you my styling tips.


Mix up the book placement – try a mix of vertical and horizontal arrangements. Do this both within the same shelf and then also try mixing up the way entire shelves are arranged so that one shelf is all horizontal and another is all vertical. Stack books and use them as risers to display smaller or shorter objects.

Decorative objects – Think sculptural. A beautiful bowl, plate or even a stack of boxes.

Something natural – A lot of my favorite bookshelf incorporate organic materials. I have a bowl filled with rocks on my shelves, but you could also include a sea fan, a beautiful seashell or even an air plant.

Artwork – Definitely incorporate artwork into your shelf scheme. You can prop small pieces on the shelves and even hang larger pieces on the shelves themselves.

Layers –  Layer your objects & books. It doesn’t have to be one dimensional. Display larger items father back and have smaller picture frames or objects in front of them.

Think in odd numbers – Objects tend to look better when gathered in odd numbers, and the basic design principle of the rule of threes is easily used on shelves. Threes, fives not twos and fours. Even numbers look too planned. (even thought it’s all planned)

The Process

  1. Get all your books & objects out and within your view. It’s easiest if you can see all your options at once. Lets Live Yall Shelf styling items.jpg
  2. Start with the books. Remember all your placement options: layer, stack, vertical & horizontal.
  3. Layer in your objects. Keep it dimensional, small objects can go in front of or on top of book stacks. Lets Live Yall Shelf Styling Layering.jpg
  4. Step back and make any adjustments. Nothing is permanent, objects can be tweaked to your liking at any time!Lets Live Yall Shelf Sty,ing 1
    Since taking this photo the blue turtle has moved more inwards and I have added a taller middle flower on the top shelf

Lets Live Yall Shelf Styling 2Danny is building me a shelf to go in the middle of the bottom area that I assume was there to once hold a tube TV. Until then I have large plants covering the large outlet. Pictures to come when that’s all done!




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