How to style a bookcase



A bookcase isn’t just a storage solution; it’s an opportunity to showcase your personality and style. Whether you have a towering bookshelf in your living room or a compact unit in your home office, styling it effectively can transform the entire look of your space. In this guide, we’ll explore tips and tricks on how to style a bookcase, merging both elegance and functionality.

1. Start with a Blank Canvas

Before you begin arranging your books and decor, empty the bookcase; this provides a clean slate and allows you to visualize the space without any pre-existing arrangement. Take this opportunity to dust and clean the shelves for a fresh start.

2. Categorize Your Books

Organize your books by size, color, or genre. Categorizing them will make it easier to create visually appealing arrangements. Consider arranging some books horizontally to break up the vertical lines and add interest.

3. Mix Books and Decor

Intersperse your book collection with decorative items such as vases, sculptures, or framed photos. This not only adds personality but also prevents the bookcase from looking too cluttered. Aim for a balanced distribution of books and decorative elements.

4. Play with Heights

Varying the height of items on your bookcase creates visual interest. Place taller items like bookends or vases next to shorter books, and vice versa. This makes a dynamic and aesthetically pleasing display.

5. Create Symmetry (or Not)

Depending on your style preference, you can opt for a symmetrical arrangement with matching items on each shelf or go for an asymmetrical look for a more eclectic feel. Experiment with both to see which suits your taste.

6. Color Coordination

Consider arranging books by color for a visually striking effect. This method not only adds a pop of color but also creates a cohesive look. Experiment with placing colors in a gradient or a more random pattern.

7. Utilize Empty Spaces

Don’t overcrowd your bookcase; leave some empty spaces to allow the eye to rest. This also provides room for future additions to your collection without disrupting the overall aesthetic.

8. Showcase Artwork

If you have small art pieces or prints, consider leaning them against the back of the bookcase. This adds depth and serves as a backdrop to your book display.

9. Personalize with Memorabilia

Incorporate personal items like travel souvenirs, awards, or sentimental objects. This personal touch makes your bookcase a reflection of your life and experiences.

10. Lighting Matters

Consider adding subtle lighting to highlight certain sections of your bookcase. LED strip lights or small LED spotlights can create a warm ambiance and draw attention to specific items.

11. Change it Up Regularly

Keep your bookcase dynamic by changing the display periodically. Swap out decorative items, rearrange books, or introduce new pieces to keep the look fresh and exciting.

12. Be Mindful of Weight

If your bookcase has adjustable shelves, be mindful of the weight of items placed on each shelf. Heavier items should be placed on lower shelves for stability.


Styling a bookcase is an art that combines creativity and practicality. By following these tips, you can turn your bookcase into a visually appealing focal point that complements your overall home decor. Experiment with different arrangements, and most importantly, have fun expressing your style through your bookshelf.

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