10 Ideas for Styling a Shelfscape


  1. STAND ALONE OBJECTS: don’t feel like you have to cram books solidly on every shelf. Give your shelfscape some “breathing room” by styling just a few objects on a shelf. Think about using something with a larger size (the hello! tray) or some height (the feathers) to visually give variation.
  2. DISPLAY TREASURES: I try to not just shove things on a shelf simply because they are “decorate-y.” I prefer to display things that have meaning and stories. I honestly think this makes a home seem warmer. For example, the feathers are ones I’ve gathered over the course of my childhood from around our farm.


3. USE FRAMED PICTURES: pictures on not just for walls people! They can give a nice “pop” to a shelf along side books.

4. BE A LITTLE MESSY: I personally like the look of a few books here and there lying on top of others.


5. USE BASKETS & BOXES: putting items in a box (this is a lone wooden drawer from a vintage sewing desk) make nice little “vignettes”

6. GROUP LIKE WITH LIKE: I am not concerned with having my books in alphabetical order, or even in subject groups. I am highly visual so I have no problems remembering where a book is. That being said, it gives nice little visual “pauses” when you group like with like. Whether that is a series (all Harry Potter books together), similar bound books (the Barnes & Noble Classics, above), or even grouping books by the color of the spine (I have one shelf where the books flow from blue to teal to green).

7. FAKE THOSE PLANTS: fake plants and bookshelves are a happy marriage! Try sticking one between books on a shelf (such as with the potted moss, above). I encourage you to be very picky about what fake plants you purchase. They can either bring life to your home, or bring….plastic.


8. VERTICAL & HORIZONTAL: a trick you will see in countless decorating books is to display books standing vertical and ones laying horizontal. Simple, but it seriously vamps things up!

9. MESH: It’s a personal mission of mine to not erase my husband’s personality from our home. This leads to things like geeky sci-fi toys being hung, and Pacman tins being displayed in corners. My husband appreciates this touch, but if you’re single or your partner couldn’t care less, feel free to ignore this tip!

10. THINK FREE: don’t overlook nature, and/or things you already own to fill up your shelves. “Natural” isn’t everyone’s style but I love using touches of the natural world (feathers, coral, driftwood, stones, etc. and those can be free). In addition don’t forget to “shop what you own.”

Home decorating has SO much to do with personal taste. Where any of these tips “new” to you? What shelf styling tricks or rules do you use?


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