Home - February 21, 2018

How to Style Bookshelves

If you’ve been reading BTD for a while now, you know that I purchased my first home a little over a year ago. I’ve shared some home decor slash organization posts over the past year, but I’m hoping to do even more in 2018. Y’all seem to really like it! And if you’re following along on Insta, you might remember that I was styling my bookshelves on an Insta Live over Christmas. It was so fun to bring y’all along for the practice and a lot of you said you’d like a full post on my tips. Now, I’m no Martha Stewart or an interior designer, but I do like decorating! My mama has always been great at it and has passed on some of her tips too.

brighton keller sitting on living room bookshelves, Sherwin Williams Chelsea Grey Paint color on cabinets
brighton keller standing in front of styled bookshelves sharing tips for styling bookshelves
how to style bookshelves, tips for styling your bookshelves

Shelves are always kinda hard, but they’re actually one of my favorite things to decorate. I love that it’s a quick way to spruce up a space and you can kinda change things in and out when you feel like it. Of course, all shelves are different, but in general, there are some tips below that should work!

Go vertical and horizontal

Whether you’re showcasing books or magazines, I suggest laying some flat, horizontally, and stacking some upright, or vertical. Otherwise, things can look a little too perfect, in my opinion. A mix of both keeps things interesting and the design seems to flow better. It also allows you to use bookends in certain places, and then place other mementos or decor pieces on top of the horizontal items – so again, it plays with the design a bit.

brighton keller home living room bookshelves

Use personal pieces

I’m a big fan of collecting items from travel, from local vendors, and basically from throughout my life. The items in my house range from incredibly affordable to more expensive and some of my favorite pieces are the personal ones that remind me of a place or special time – even if it was $5. When styling shelves, unless you want things to look really fancy or traditional, throw in some fun, meaningful pieces. Maybe it’s a funny picture of you and your parents from childhood, your grandma’s necklace dangling from a book, or a signed baseball if you’re a sports fan. Stuff like that really adds character!

how to style bookshelves, tips for styling your bookshelves

Add greenery

I love flowers, but shelves aren’t the best place for them since you have to constantly replace them and the air isn’t always circulated on shelves enough for delicate flowers. I personally like adding greenery (even fake if it’s a good one – Target has some really cute fake greenery items right now) instead. If you have shelves in a room with high ceilings, add some height to the shelves by placing a taller piece of greenery on the top shelf. Or, use succulents or similar pieces in dainty holders throughout your shelves.

how to style bookshelves tips

Leave white space

Shelves can feel too cluttered fast, so always go with the less is more approach. Sometimes you can’t decorate your shelves all at once, and that’s OK. Wait for the right pieces, and even when you have everything you need, leave some white spaces to keep things feeling fresh and not cluttered.


Stick to a theme or color

Y’all might have seen me go to the discount bookstore on Insta Stories before styling my shelves over Christmas. I was looking for certain color books (some just for decor and some that I actually wanted to read). But I love the look of sticking to a color scheme or theme when picking books for shelves. Or, if you are using books you already own and they’re different colors, try displaying them by color. Kinda like color coordinating your closet, it makes everything look streamlined and pretty freaking cool.

Take book covers off

A lot of book covers are glossy and cheap, so consider removing the ones that are ugly. Simple as that!

Use magazines

I already mentioned this above, but an even more budget-friendly option than going to the discount book store? Magazines! Whether you keep some with your favorite covers, or go to the store and pick up a stack tomorrow, they’re a cool look on shelves, especially when stacked horizontally and a cover is displayed. Be sure to pick some September issues up as those are usually a lot thicker and can almost double as a coffee table book – which I love stacking on shelves.

brighton keller sitting on living room bookshelves, Sherwin Williams Chelsea Grey Paint color on cabinets
brighton keller living room bookshelves

OK y’all, hope you enjoyed those tips! They’ve really worked for me.

Do y’all have anything to add?


Outfit Details: Madewell Top (wearing size XS) // Rag & Bone Jeans (high-waisted, super stretchy and comfy) // Madewell clogs (fit TTS) // Earrings from Lola & Lina (get 15% OFF with code BTD!)