Bookshelf decor

Bookshelf Decor — How to Decorate Bookshelves

Bookshelves are just for books, right? It may say “book” in the name, but bookshelves are the perfect way to bring a variety of decor into your home in a practical way. Staging a bookshelf may seem simple, but finding the right balance can be pretty tricky. 

Here are our top tips on how to decorate bookshelves for your home

1. Keep things clean

The worst thing you can do when decorating any room is to fill every square inch of space. This rule is true of decorating bookshelves as well. Don’t try and cram a book or a decorative vase into every nook and cranny. Remember, unlike storage units and closets, a bookshelf is open and available for all to see. Use this valuable storage space to display some of your most prized items and have them out for all to see. 

how to decorate bookshelves
Source: Hooker Furniture

2. Rule of thirds and odd numbers

There are a few tricks of the trade when decorating shelves:

  • The rule of thirds
  • Odd number groupings
  • Off-centre placements

The rule of thirds dictates looking at a space, cutting it into thirds, and placing items on these lines. This trick goes hand-in-hand with off-centre placement. Don’t place things in the centre of the shelf horizontally or vertically. Play with levels by placing tall vases beside short candles or books stacked horizontally. Remember, our eyes are drawn to odd-numbered groupings, so pair five books with one bowl full of potpourri or a picture and two small items. Odd-numbered placements don’t mean having exactly three candles. It means pairing a candle with two other things nearby. 

how to decorate bookshelves
Source: Hooker Furniture

3. Think of the colours

Resist the urge to fit every colour and shade onto one shelf. Instead, intentionally decorate with a one-colour or tone-on-tone approach. Consider the colour scheme of your home and pull the room’s colours together on the bookshelf to create a feeling of cohesion. 

Another fun thing to try is grouping books together based on the colour of their spines. If this isn’t possible, consider flipping the books around and having the pages facing out for a muted off-white backdrop that could help your decorative aspects pop. Another great idea is opting for a bookshelf in a vibrant and fun colour or painting the back of the shelving to make it really pop. 

how to decorate bookshelves
Source: Luxe

4. Try it out & play around

Ultimately, design is a visual art. You have to get things on the shelf and move them around until you like their groupings and placements. Layer items behind each other for an illusion of depth, or try hanging photos on the back of the shelf and placing items in front of them. 

how to decorate bookshelves
Source: Fourhands

5. Ask for help

If something still feels like it’s off or missing, take photos and ask for a friend or a professional. A fresh set of eyes can help you find what’s lacking when you are trying to determine how to decorate bookshelves. Our team of designers is here to help. Come into the showroom and ask for that new set of eyes to give you some advice. Our complimentary design services are incredibly beneficial when you may be a little too close to the design.