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Styling Your Bookshelves Like the Pros

Styling your bookshelves like the pros is a combination of art and science. Bookshelves are a perfect place to display your favorite items, books, photos, or things you have collected over the years.  You need to consider what it will look like decorated as well as its functionality. After it is decorated, it should look and feel balanced, interesting, and elegant.

It may take a few tries and some planning to style your bookshelves to look the way you want them. I hope to inspire you as I share 5 tips I use for styling bookshelves like the pros. 

Make Your Selections

Tip #1 –  Start with a blank slate, remove everything for the shelves!  When planning your bookshelf design, go for fewer, but larger items.  Lots of smaller items can make a shelf look cluttered. Don’t overcrowd your shelves. Overcrowded shelves are not visually appealing. Try to evenly balance your shelves. In other words, you don’t want any large gaps or obvious empty spaces.  

Some items you can display include: vases, baskets, framed art, books, mirrors, flowers, etc.

Create Item Groupings

Tip #2 – Group items in odd numbers, typically in groups of three. Odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye. Your items should be of various sizes. For example, use one tall item, a medium items, and a small item to complete your grouping.  

Use Variety For Contrast and Interest

Tip #3 – Keep it interesting by using lots of different textures (chunky baskets, seashells, etc.) and a variety of finishes (different types of metals, colors, etc.). Stagger the heights of your objects. You can even line the back of your bookshelves with wallpaper!

Here are a few of our favorite wallpaper companies. If you need samples let us know, we’d be happy to help:

Thibaut Design



Layer Your Accessories

Tip #4 – Layering items on your bookshelves gives a depth and collected look. Consider using artwork as a backdrop for smaller items. Use small accent pieces in front or, or on top of, books. It’s important to use different shapes in the background and foreground of the shelf.

Stand Back and Look

Tip #5 – Stand back and look at your completed masterpiece! It ay take rearranging a few items before you achieve the perfect look you were striving for.  Don’t get discouraged if it takes a few times to get that perfect look you were hoping for….even the pros don’t always get it right the first time! *pro tip- take a photo and analyze your item placement. 

It doesn’t have to be perfect! Your bookshelves are yours to personalize. Display what makes you happy and change your displays periodically. Keep working on them, you will decide what arrangement(s) makes you happy!  

Eager to get an expert’s advice about your space? That’s what we love! We are always here to help!  Contact us and we are all yours 🙂



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