How to Style a Bookshelf

Looking to take your bookshelf from basic Ikea Billy bookcase to beautiful bookworm bliss but don’t know where to start? I get it, it’s not always easy when you’re staring at a blank canvas. So let me show you a few tips and tricks for styling the shelves, from best items to arranging the books themselves.

Get organized

What does this mean? Basically, determine how you want to have your books sit in the shelf. For my example I’ve gone with a rainbow gradient, grouping all the book spines by colour and then putting them in order by shade and size. Aesthetically this is a beautiful option, but if you’re looking for practicality I’d recommend the tried and true method of organizing by author last name OR by genre.

Bring in your personality

Now that we’ve got our books ready to load into the shelves we need to have a general idea of what else will be going in there so we can play with the amount of books on each level. Things to take into consideration are current style of the room that the bookshelf is in, the colour of the shelf itself, the kind of books you love and the level of functionality your bookshelf requires. All that in mind, here are a few things I love to add into my bookshelf: textured items of varying size, fake plants (because my kids and cat will likely bump things around), prints & frames, candles and fandom items.

A fun and functional item to add is a basket to hold random things you might need. I filled mine with book sleeves! Another item that I like to include is a mug or two. You can use them to hold smaller bookish items like bookmarks. I even tossed a small rug in front of the bookshelf for maximum comfort while browsing. The possibilities are endless!

Pulling it all together

There are a few ways to organize your items and books. This is where you’ll likely spend the bulk of your time, assembling and moving and redoing. You’re not going to know till you really see it in place whether you like it or not. One thing to keep in mind is to have some variety BUT also some consistency. “How the heck do I do that?” you may be asking. Let me show you with mine:

You can see I’ve used two shelves with books completely filling them and the rest are more open. I also have some books stacked (3 is the magic number for this), most are vertical though, and a few of my favourite covers are facing outward on their own. In some instances I’ve even stacked items on top of books, in others I’ve given some space around the items to breathe (like the framed bookish print).

How are your shelves organized? Do you have any tips to add?


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