Bookshelf Decor: How to Style Your Displays Like a Pro

Bookshelf Decor: How to Style Your Displays Like a Pro

A bookshelf is not just a place to store your books. When done right, it can be a beautiful addition to your home, a reflection of your personal style, and a work of art in itself. The key to stunning bookshelf decor is simple: striking a perfect balance between form and function. You need to curate your collection and then arrange everything in a practical yet esthetically pleasing way. Interested in learning how to decorate a bookshelf like a pro? Then read on.

Bookshelf Decor Step by Step

Elegant black and white bookshelf decor in a living room by Homilo
Elegant black and white bookshelf decor in a living room by Homilo

Whether you’re looking to add a personal touch to your home decor or make a statement in your office, there are some easy tips and tricks you can follow to achieve an expertly styled shelf. 

The bookshelf is quite a versatile furniture piece with both functional and decorative roles, depending on how you use it. So before taking any step, think about the concept. What do you wish your bookcase to be?

  • A place to showcase your favorite items. 
  • A convenient storage
  • A display for family photos
  • An exhibition of your arts, crafts, and collectibles
  • A stunning focal point in a room

Step 1: Review All Bookshelf Decor Candidates

Bookshelf decor before the Homilo designer's intervention
Bookshelf decor before Homilo designer’s intervention

First, take inventory of your collection and weed out any books you no longer want or need. Even if you are only redecorating existing shelves, you should start with a blank canvas. Remove everything from the racks and assess what you have to work with. Keep in mind the overall style of your room when choosing which items to keep. Donate or recycle any books you no longer need, and eliminate knick-knacks that aren’t serving any purpose.

Bookshelf decor after styling by Homilo decoration expert
Bookshelf decor after styling by Homilo decoration experts

Once you’ve decided what to keep, it’s time to plan your design. 

Step 2: Evaluate Overall Bookcase Styling Potential

Elegant bookshelf decor

Consider the shape and size of your shelves. Then, choose a grouping strategy that will make the most of the available space. The scale of the objects you’ll be placing on the stand will significantly affect the overall balance; in other words: make it or break it. 

A good rule of thumb for absolute beginners is to think in thirds: occupy approximately two-thirds the width of the shelf, leaving the one-third empty. Or the other way around. 

Next, decide on the overall look you want to achieve. Do you want your shelves to be eclectic, or do you prefer a more polished appeal? Should the result be streamlined and minimal, or crammed with color and texture? Define the overall aesthetic before focusing on individual items. 

Books are always good to begin with but don’t forget about sculptures, vases, and other objets d’art. Aim to create a harmonious composition that reflects your style. Once you get the basics right bookshelf decor challenge will be a breeze.

Step 3: Start Playing Around

Bookshelf ideas for small rooms and home offices

Now that you have a general idea of what you want your bookshelf to look like, it’s time for decorating! 

Begin by grouping items together based on size, color, or theme. Experiment with different arrangements and shuffle until you’re happy with the way things look. Also, use bookends to anchor your groups of books and lock them safely in place. 

Incorporate unique items like sculptures or vases to imbue the arrangement with a distinctive character. Photos, plants, and candles are always a good choice. 

If your bookcase features a variety of shelves, consider using the most prominent ones to showcase your most beloved collection of rarest editions. Then use smaller shelves to arrange more personal items and decor that suits your taste. 

Create visual interest by varying the heights of the items on your shelf. Try grouping taller items in the center, with shorter pieces arranged around them. 

Finally, don’t be afraid to mix things up! A bookshelf is a perfect opportunity to showcase your favorite collectibles, photos, and knick-knacks. So have fun with it and let your personality shine through.

Classy & Modern Bookshelf Decor Ideas

Modern bookshelf decor

Decorating a bookshelf can be a fun and easy way to add personality to your home, as long as you are conscious about the overall look you want to achieve. 

Classic Bookshelf Decor

Classic bookshelf decor

A bookshelf can be a very stylish and eye-catching addition to a traditionally designed room. If you aim for a classic look, try grouping items of different embellishments and textures together. Juxtapose them to the neat rows of book collections. Create a focal point by placing an arrangement of objects in the center of the shelf. In addition to books, try incorporating items such as vases, sculptures, or framed photographs. By taking the time to decorate your bookshelf thoughtfully, you can ensure a unique, refined flair as a result.

Boho Bookcase Styling Ideas

Boho bookshelf decor styling

To decorate a boho bookshelf, start by adding some greenery. Plants add texture and life to any space, and they can also help to purify the air. Choose a few small plants that will fit on your shelves, and arrange them in pretty pots. Then, add some natural elements like shells, feathers, or stones to boost visual interest. 

Finish with personal touches like photos, artwork, and memorabilia. If you feel crafty, this is the perfect opportunity to display your genuine work. By adding these items, you’ll create a genuine bohemian bookcase that is truly unique to you.

Modern Rustic Industrial Bookshelf Decor 

Styling bookshelves modern rustic way

A rustic industrial bookshelf can be the perfect addition to any home. This type of decor works best with a specific kind of bookshelf, typically consisting of a metal frame holding wooden racks. The distressed finish will give it a unique look. Here are some tips for decorating a rustic industrial bookshelf:

  • Start by adding some greenery. Plants and flowers can help to soften the hard lines of a rustic industrial bookshelf.
  • Place some candles on the rack or hang fairy lights around the edges. That will add a bit of warmth and romance to the space.
  • Arrange your books by color, size, or subject matter to form a cohesive display.
  • Display minimalist art pieces or similar collectibles.  

Modern Farmhouse Bookshelf Decor

Modern farmhouse bookshelf ideas

If you’re looking for ways to decorate a modern farmhouse bookshelf, here are a few ideas to get you started.

The modern farmhouse style is all about mixing and matching different textures and materials with strong accents. So consider combining different woods, metals, and fabrics. For example, you could use metal shelves with wood accents or vice versa. Adorn them with pale-hued baskets made from rattan or straw. Just be sure to keep the overall look cohesive by sticking to a limited color palette. The safe choices are whites, blacks, grays, natural woods tones, and muted pastel shades.

If you want to add a bit of vibrancy to your farmhouse bookshelf, consider using patterned fabric or wallpaper as a background. Alternatively, you could paint the back of the shelves a bright color or even hang curtains over the bottom parts.  

Incorporate natural elements such as potted plants or hanging planters. You could also use branches or twigs to create an arrangement and complement it with fairy lights, stones, shells, and pinecones.

Modern Minimalist Bookshelf Decor

Minimalist bookshelf decor

Choose simple and sophisticated pieces that will complement the bookshelf’s clean lines for a modern look. Start by selecting a few key elements that will serve as the foundation of the shelf’s design. Then, add smaller items and accessories to fill any empty spaces, but do it sparsely.

Use your imagination to create a one-of-a-kind display. While many people believe that decorating a bookshelf is all about filling it with books, there are actually many other ways to approach the task. One way to make a minimal bookcase look unique and artsy is to paint it an unusual color or add geometrical graphic wallpaper to the back panel. This will help it to stand out from the rest of the room and become a focal point without excessive ornamentation. 

In addition, consider arranging the books in a creative way. For instance, group them by color or size, or create an abstract pattern.  

Inexpensive Bookshelf Decor Ideas

How to decorate a bookshelf

Bookcase styling does not have to be a difficult or expensive task. There are many ways to achieve visually pleasing results on any budget. 

One way to decorate a bookshelf is by using Mason jars. Mason jars can hold candles, flowers, or small accessories. They are also very affordable. 

Another idea is to create a picture frame collage. Picture frames come in a variety of sizes and styles, so it’s easy to find ones that fit any design theme. Meanwhile, they are not necessarily meant for personal photos. Use them to display any visual theme you love.

A stylish yet highly functional way of styling bookshelves is using baskets and decorative boxes. Offering additional storage, these convenient items make the foundation of key bookshelf decor ideas for small rooms. Baskets can hold knick-knacks, accessories, and even throws or pillows. They can also be used to store items such as magazines or books. On top of all, they come in various sizes and styles, so they are easy to find ones that fit.

Stylish bookcase decor

Even a few well-designed bookends can make enough difference. They will create sufficient visual interest while keeping your shelves looking tidy.

Finally, wall stickers make one of the simplest, most affordable, and very cute bookshelf decoration solutions. They are easy to apply and remove, hence ideal for renters looking for a way to change the look of their racks. Wall decals come in a variety of designs and can be customized to fit any theme. So, if you are crafty and love a good DIY challenge, the possibilities are virtually endless. 

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Images sourced from: 123/4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10111213, 14