Bookshelf Styling

Let’s talk bookshelves.  I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to little knickknacks, books, and random objects that aren’t actually useful…so bookshelves are like a goldmine of opportunity to me.  I get giddy whenever I even think about styling a bookcase, and the process of arranging and rearranging all the items is exhilarating.  I mean, there are just so many possibilities!  And there are so many different moods and feelings you can convey all by switching up what is on your shelves.  Ok so now that I’ve professed my love for shelves and I look a little like a crazy/obsessed person, here is my “baby”…aka my giant room divider bookshelf. 

First and foremost, you need to have books.  Most of mine are decorating, DIY, travel, art or recipe books, but if you’re lacking in the book arena and don’t want to spend a ton of money you can always go to a flea market or thrift store and buy books on the cheap. 

I like to group books by color families (but I make sure to not be too crazy about it because I like it to feel natural and not overly planned).  In the photo above you can see that I did a black and white cubby and a turquoise cubby.

If you need more filler in your bookcase, don’t be afraid to add magazines.  My favorite magazines to decorate with are House Beautiful, Southern Living and Coastal Living.  These are all magazines I read regularly, and the ones with the prettiest covers and spines get used in shelves and on cocktail and side tables.

After books, then next thing you need are accessories and knickknacks.  Mine range from sentimental (like the tin Union Jack lion I bought in the UK) to merely eye candy (disco balls).  I also add things in colors and styles that I like, such as ginger jars (I love me some blue and white), foo dogs, coral, pretty bowls and Staffordshire dogs.  I even threw in a grouping of antlers for good measure.  Seriously, a books shelf is a place for you to display things you’re interested in (or even just things that catch your eye), so don’t be afraid to layer and add some quirkiness.

I also like to use various bookends and throw in some photos/artwork.  I currently only have one framed photo in the bookshelf, but I intend to add more once we move and I start from scratch.  One neat trend that I really like is hanging things on the front of your bookshelf.  I hung (with an adhesive 3M hook) a framed print that Tom and I bought in Hawaii on our honeymoon, and it makes me smile every time I see it.

A bookshelf is also a great place to display random collections.  In the photo directly above you can see (barely) a shark tooth and a rock that I found on the beach.  I didn’t want these to just end up in a drawer, so on the bookshelf they go!

If you’re using your bookshelf as a room divider, like I am, don’t forget the backside!  I tried to decorate the back where I could, even though the front is the side that is seen more often.  On this side you can see that I added some hour glasses, a vase of flowers, and a lucite “LOVE” sign.

I also hung a mirrored star on the back because I wanted to use it and had no extra wall space for it.  3M picture hanging hooks are the best!

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of my bookshelf!  This piece will get a complete overhaul in August when we move, and it’s going to be COMPLETELY different.  I can’t wait to share with you what I have planned!

Below are some items that I love that would look great on any bookcase:

Note: All photos are by Sarah Bradshaw.  She takes amazing interior photos (obviously) but her true passion and career is in wedding photography, so if you’re looking for a talented and super nice wedding photographer then you’ve got to check her out!

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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  1. August 2, 2015 / 9:47 pm

    Oh I love this post! My bookshelves are pretty packed with books, so I'm usually limited to putting things in front of them. Unfortunately that means the little trinkets don't stand out as much. Your shelves look so bright and cheerful!

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