Styling a bookshelf

We all have shelves, often filled with not just books but also life’s little trinkets that when not displayed properly can end up look like messy clutter. Whether you have an open bookcase, something with glass doors or a storage unit with solid doors – the difference between having those shelves well organised and styled or not can be quite significant. So here are a few tips to make your book case more appealing.
Mix small and large items – Mixing in variety of items in different sizes gives your book case a sense of scale. It’s a knack that can be quite difficult to achieve, but it’s a process that will evolve differently for everyone – keep taking a step back and editing how your shelves look. Books stacked in piles with an item placed on top will give that item a “stage” or sense of prominence which is great for small accent pieces. Larger or heavier items can be used as book ends or placed in a vignette with a few smaller items.


Allow for white space – Keep in mind that white space is just as important as filled space. White space is basically just the air space around objects – not every inch of space needs to be filled (both vertically and horizontally). Move a few items around to give feature items space to breath and create focal points.

Finding Home

Colour Block – Colour blocking is a great way to give the illusion of a tidier space.  If you are purely filling your selves with books, try stacking them or lining them up by colour blocking and you’ll instantly see a space that is more cohesive and a pleasure to look at. As a bonus, I also find this helps trick me with finding my books as I have a visual memory!

Hammer and Heels

Remember heavy items at the bottom, light at the top –  Those old laws of physics will always apply with bookshelves – whether you have your bookcase attached to the wall or not (you should for safety reasons!) keeping heavy items on the lower shelves will help keep your shelving stable. Big heavy items, be it thick books or a large accent piece also look great at lower levels, are less likely to break if they don’t have as far to fall and most importantly will prevent your shelves from toppling over or becoming top heavy!

bookshelf 2

Keep child friendly items at child friendly heights – If you have children that are using your bookshelf, keep their books on the lower shelves which are reachable for their little fingers…


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