How to Style a Bookshelf

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Image: Coco Lapine Design

As a designer, the biggest request that I get is to help when it comes to styling bookshelves. It can feel like a completely overwhelming task. Where should the books go? Can I display collectables? What about a color scheme? There are plenty of concerns that can arise from this type of project.

The first thing to consider is keeping your color scheme simple and only adding a few specific colors. Above we see white, light wood and grey. With keeping it simple like this, you don’t have to worry about form as much.

How to Style A Bookshelf on the Interior CollectiveImage: Design Elements

If you are dealing with a large bookcase, use some of the shelves for just books and the rest for displaying collectibles and art. Remember, when it comes to the shelves with collectibles, less is more. Limit it to just a few pieces and try to alternate the number of items from shelf to shelf. If there are two items on the top shelf, display three to four items on the next shelf.

How to Style A Bookshelf on the Interior CollectiveImage: Caisa K

The designer of this shelf, above, has done a great job with grouping items and bringing harmony even with displaying a lot of items. It’s another example of keeping the color scheme simple. You can’t go wrong with wood and white. Also, baskets are a great detail to include; they look great and they store what doesn’t need be seen.

How to Style A Bookshelf on the Interior CollectiveImage: Simply Grove

I styled this bookcase for my office. I’m a fan of bringing the outdoors inside, so I displayed a bit of green to keep things fresh. Another idea is to stack magazines (white spines look best), which you can use to set items on or just leave as is.

However you choose to style your shelves, don’t take it too seriously. Have fun and display what’s meaningful for you and your home. What would you put on your shelves?

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Kirsten Grove has always had a passion for interior design. Simply Grove is Kirsten's creative outlet for all things aesthetically beautiful. Started in 2008 as a way to show off eye catching design and decor from all over the world, Simply Grove has become a hang-out for like-minded creatives with a love of interiors and an appetite for design eye-candy. You will also find Kirsten featured in publications and sites like Better Homes and Gardens, Lucky Magazine, RealLiving Magazine, Elle, and Design Sponge to just name a few. She was also named one of Babble’s Top 50 Design Mom Bloggers of 2011 and has been a speaker at Alt Summit 2011, 2012 and 2013.