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Tips for styling a bookcase
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Tips for styling a bookcase

A floor-to-ceiling bookcase has been a long-held dream for many people, preferably with its own built-in ladder. This is perhaps inspired by Belle from Beauty and the Beast, by the curious magical objects and books that sit in Professor Dumbledore’s office in Harry Potter, or by Rory’s insatiable appetite for books throughout Gilmore Girls. Whether your bookcase is large or small, styling it so that all your books have their own place without looking cluttered or disorganised can be tricky. Your shelves should always reflect your personality; therefore, it is time to unleash your creativity!

The shelves

Whether you have built-in shelves or freestanding units, painting them the same colour as your walls will create a cohesive background that will allow your books to shine as the stars of the show.

If your space is modern, adding glass doors to your shelves will keep your books protected from dust and damage and give everything a more polished and refined edge. Alternatively, if you have more than one bookshelf, you could separate your collection into different zones, keeping children’s books on one shelf, art books on another, and fiction somewhere else. You can style each shelf differently and experiment with creating different atmospheres within different living spaces in your home.

Organise your books in a way that makes sense to you

This could be alphabetical, grouped by author, or by the colours on the spine. The latter may make an individual book slightly more difficult to find; however, the rainbow-esque result will look impressive and works especially well in an otherwise neutral room.

If you have a lot of books, you could take some inspiration from libraries and bookshops by making tags to mark each genre or author. Living inside a bookshop often seems like it would be a magical experience; in this way, you can get a little taste for what this would feel like whilst still being surrounded by the rest of your home comforts.

It is all in the placement

Stacking some of your books vertically will add interest and capture the eye’s attention. Placing some of your most beautiful books so that the front cover faces outwards, perhaps on a small easel, will allow you appreciate their beauty every day, and every visitor you have will not be able to resist having a quick peek at your shelves.

Mix and match

A bookshelf certainly does not only have to house books. Souvenirs from your travels, small succulents or air plants, or even some of your favourite pieces of jewellery can all find a home on your bookshelves. Your shelves will feel extra personalised when not only displaying your favourite books but also some of your other favourite objects.

Boxes and baskets

You may have a collection of magazines that you would like to keep but don’t necessarily want to stack up on your bookshelf, or perhaps you want to keep receipts or other paperwork somewhere easily accessible. Boxes or baskets will keep these safe whilst ensuring your shelving looks sleek and clutter-free.


Books are sculptural, artistic pieces on their own; however, placing a few of your favourite framed pieces of art on your shelves, nestled amongst your books, will add extra interest. You could even stick with a bookish theme by framing your favourite book cover or quote. Monochrome art works well to break up blocks of colour created by your book spines, while placing art at eye level when seated can be a great conversation starter

If you don’t have any space on the shelves themselves, you could hang pieces of art from the front of the shelves; in this way, your books act as a beautiful background for one of your favourite pieces of art. We have all seen book spine wallpaper, but in this way you get the real deal.

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