InspirationStyles and trends

How to decorate a bookshelf

You have your new bookcase in front of you. The shelves are white, shiny and untouched. They have yet to see stacks of magazines or rows of books. It’s basically a blank canvas, waiting to be filled with the weird and wonderful. But it’s not as easy as it looks. My bookshelf desperately needs a re-vamp, the few books that I have sitting there only makes the living room look disorganised. So what can I do to make it look better?

Image source: Design Sponge


Image source: A Safe Mooring

Image source: Sphaha

What I’ve found is that books that are of the same size look better grouped together, so this will be my first task. Some neat freaks organise the spines after colour, alphabetically or thematically. I think I’ll just stick to making it look symmetrical. Stacking book horizontally as book ends work too. Now, some decorators would disagree with me and say that it’s more interesting to group things together after category, but not after height. I think this is a matter of personal. Books of different sizes paired up make me stress.


Image source: Centsational Girl

White on white might be a good look, but painting the inside of the bookshelf in a different colour from your wall makes any items stand out. You can also add wallpaper to the back and experiment with prints.


Image source: Style at Home

Like everyone else I own plenty of cables. There’s nothing worse than a mishmash of cables lying around, so I’ll be hiding these and other unsightly stuff in attractive boxes and baskets. If you don’t have enough books or accessories to fit in your bookshelf, boxes are a cheap way of using up extra space.


Image source: IKEA

I think the key to smarten up your shelves is to keep it casual. The ‘I-just-put-this-together’ approach always wins, but of course, we all know that someone has spent ages removing paper piles and other unsightly stuff.   You want to be layering photos, antiques, vases, bowls or candles to create depth, this will make it look less static. Browse antiques or flea markets for quirky items such as old cameras or even car parts, if that’s your kind of thing. That old-fashioned camera is certainly on my list, as are pictures frames with holiday photos.

Email us pictures of how you’ve decorated your bookcases. If you show us yours, we’ll show your ours.

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