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Beautiful Styled Bookshelves – Three Creative Ideas to Try

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Be inspired by three easy methods for beautifully styled bookshelves and follow along the step-by-step process to recreate the look.

Take the guesswork out of perfectly styled bookshelves.

Well hi there! What a day I had yesterday.  It started with a Core Barre Class (which was my first time and totally kicked my rear) and ended by completely redecorating our den.  So, needless to say, I am a little sore. 😉 

Beautiful Styled Bookshelves

Welcome back to the Love Your Space Challenge where we are making small changes for 28 days to fall in love with our homes again!

We are finishing up our living spaces today with one more task for challenge #5. I have been getting some great feedback and can’t wait to get started on our sleeping spaces tomorrow. 

Global eclectic styled  bookcase with a Moravian star light, plants, art, and chinoiserie decor.
Eclectic Styled Bookshelves

If you have completed any of the previous challenges, I would love to hear about them and see pics of your pretty spaces on Up to Date’s Facebook page.  You can find all of the challenges in the links at the bottom of this post if you have missed any of them.

Three Ways to Style a Bookcase or Built In Shelves

First, let me say you can style your bookcase with what you already have and in your personal style. So if you enjoy a more minimal and neutral color palette or love a busier colorful curated collection just follow the general steps outlined below with an option that speaks to you.

The examples are all my own. They are bookcases and built-ins we’ve had in the many homes we’ve lived in so you might spot repeated items or furniture. 😉

You can reach out to me at kathy@uptodateinteriors.com or on social media and I’m happy to help!

Option 1:  The rule of thirds. 

  1. Remove everything off your shelves and dust if needed. 😉
  2. Evenly distribute 1/3 of books, 1/3 of pictures, and 1/3 of objects on a shelf at a time. Books can lean and/or be stacked. Try changing the order of where the books are on each shelf to keep the eye moving around.
  3. Use brightly colored small paintings and prints instead of photos, and color-code your books to make the bookcase styling pop! On the flip side, focus on different textures and keep everything neutral for a beautiful serene setting. Make sure you leave enough negative space so all of your pretty things have a spotlight. Less is usually more!
Styled bookshelves against a german smear fireplace wall with a large tv.
Built-In Bookshelf

Option 2:  Throw out the rules, go for a curated look!

  1. If you have a lot of lovely books, fill a few shelves with only books but add some “breathing room” with a few accessories on a couple of shelves or display pictures with command strips on the frame of the bookcase.
  2. Display music and coffee table books in stacks with a colorful print in the background.

Option 3:  Books aren’t your thing or you have more accessories than books.

  • Collect similar objects from around the house to display as a collection. Tip:  If you have a dark wood bookcase, try using white or lighter accessories and picture frames for a pretty contrast.
  • Go with a theme like coastal using seaglass and shell or boho with plants and vintage decor.
  • Create a dedicated color story by using accessories in one color family or a contrasting pair.
  • Again you can go simple, maximalist, or somewhere between. Just make sure each shelf has a similar feel with quanity and size of decorating objects.

Join me on Instagram for behind-the-scenes, DIYs, decorating tips, room tours, and home inspiration. I’ll see you over there!

Check out this white bookcase styled with books, art, and accessories from Dimples and Tangles and this lovely version from Jenna Burger Design.

Love Your Space Challenge Tasks

Week 1 Living Spaces

Week 2 Sleeping Spaces

Week 3 Eating Spaces

Week 4 Bathroom, Laundry Room, and Office

Okay, let’s do this!!

For more ideas on decorating with books, check out these creative ways to decorate with books!

This project may take a little time but is worth the result.  Are you up for the challenge?

kathy
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26 Comments

  1. Great post. I love to display a bunch of ecclectic things in my house and this is a perfect pretty way to do it. I love that little mirrow you have behind the white vase.

    1. Thanks Melanie! Did you check out the link for ideas decorating with books? There are some non-bookcase ideas in that post!

  2. I love the splashes of yellow/orange in your family room. A color I did not like for years but recently has really been an attraction for me. I have used burgundy, dark green and a royal blue. I’m ready for a change. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Dawn
    SGBC

    1. Thanks Dawn! I have mostly cool colors through the house but I fell in love with those floral pillows when I saw them 5 years ago. I do love jewel tones!

  3. Thanks for sharing the inspiration and photos of your living space! I’ve been trying to think of new ways to add more “pretty” and personality pieces to my living space and I found just what I was looking for here.

    Great challenge! I’m going to be looking back to this and pinning for reference 🙂

  4. I love the pictures of your home! You’ve done a great job & I’m loving the color scheme. I’m so enjoying this series!

  5. I love the shells in your bookcase! I pinned this to review later, but I have had “organize bookshelf” on my list for months. I need to finally take the plunge!

  6. Absolutely gorgeous! I will save this for when we move into our new house 🙂 Thank you for sharing!!!

  7. I love this. I have been itching for a new bookcase, but I’m not sure how it would work with my little one running around knocking everything over. Maybe one for the bedroom!? Thank you for linking up with the Weekend Block Party. I hope you’ll join us again this week!

    1. Thanks for the sweet comment Sarah! I always put our valuable items on the top shelves and when the kids were really young we used the bottom two shelves for toy and children’s book storage with baskets that hid the clutter.

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