Bookshelf Styling: 4 Ways

We’re big fans of bookshelves and built-ins. They’re the perfect place to show off your personality with items you’ve collected throughout the years. Maybe you want to feature family photos, collectables, or accessories you’ve accumulated from traveling across the world. Here’s a few tips for creating four types of styled shelves that look cohesive and curated, not chaotic.

rustic styling

1. Keep an underlying concept in mind that unifies the collection. For example, the above image could be categorized as rustic. Common threads can easily be identified: natural materials, a soft neutral color palette with contrasting earth tones, equestrian elements, etc.


2. Categorize by color. If you own lots of colorful books and objects, sort them by hue. Limit yourself to four or five colors that match the existing decor in your space. The bright, saturated tones can often become too busy. Be careful to stick to your intended palette or you run the risk of entering the chaos zone.

styling color


3. Just as you can style shelves based on hue, you can do the same monochromatically. When arranging objects with zero saturation or color… pattern, texture, and shape become the key factors. Vary your shapes and sizes. You don’t want small items to get lost and you certainly don’t want larger items to feel cramped. Pair objects that contrast by stacking smaller accessories on top or in front of the bigger pieces. The same goes for shape – mix organic and geometric shapes until you achieve a good balance.



4. Keep shelves functional. What’s the point of having a specific place for your things if they aren’t easy to access? Remember that vintage ice bucket you just had to have, but never remember to use? Display it on a shelf you can reach; next time you’re entertaining, you’ll definitely remember to put it to good use. Or what about the designer bag that’s sitting in your closet? Show it off and switch it out every once in awhile. Sometimes the unexpected items are the best conversation pieces. Most importantly, don’t forget to use shelves for their primary purpose: storage! Tuck keepsakes or items inside of containers, boxes, or baskets.

styling eclectic


Regardless of which aesthetic you prefer, your styled shelves are sure to show off your personality, interests, and style. We love looking at other people’s tchotchkes and accessories on display. They often lead to really great conversations and can tell a lot about the inhabitants of a home.

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