5 Unique Ways to Style Your Bookcase

Style your bookcases uniquely with these tips from Kerrie Kelly of the American Society of Interior Design.

QDT Editor
3-minute read

Bookcases are fabulous focal points in any room. Not only does their sheer size bring attention, but the options for lining your walls with books are nearly limitless. From wallpaper accents to sleek and modern floating shelving, there’s a look for everyone. Bookworms, rejoice—whether you’re a stacker, sorter or color-coordinator, here are five unique ways to style your bookcase.

1.) Reading Rainbow


Take your bookcase to the next level by arranging your books in eye-catching patterns, like an ombré of matching colors or an organized rainbow. Group black and white books for a bold statement, or neutral colors in a progressive gradient for something clever.

For extra oomph, dedicate a shelf each to a color for the ultimate rainbow display—you’ll be sure to get a smile from visitors when they see it. If your collection of books is hodgepodge with mismatched colors, take matters into your own hands and use a trick designers have been using for eons: wrap similar-sized books in stylish wallpaper for a splash of coordinator colors and patterns.

2.) Sideways Stack

Something as easy as turning your books on their side can turn a simple bookcase into a chic display. Place stacks of three to six books on each shelf as risers, then top them off with a vintage letter or knickknack. Make sure to leave some space around the books so you have room to display picture frames or larger items. Have a few books whose covers make you go “wow”? Take a cue from bookstores and display a few face-out for another beautiful element.

See Also: 8 Pieces of Furniture—Made from Pencils

3.) Dapper Themes

What better way to bring your books to life than with a themed bookcase? Show off your expansive collection of travel books by pairing them with souvenirs collected during your trips. For children’s bookcases, fairytale books and woodland toys go hand in hand. Have an affinity for art? Display your series of sketch books and art history books with wooden models or even your own art.

4.) Curated Curiosities

The beauty of bookcases is their ability to house just about anything. Don’t limit yourself to solely books—collections, antiques, plants, knickknacks and pictures of childhood memories are brilliant choices for a curated display. Need more storage? A few wicker baskets or metal bins not only add texture or sheen to a case, they can also house those pesky electronics or craft supplies you need tucked away.

5.) Pop with Paint and Wallpaper

The expansive back of a bookcase is a perfect location for a bold accent color or a uniquely patterned wallpaper. A cubby or shelf of color adds just the right amount of dimension and excitement. We recommend sticking with neutral-colored bookcases so the color can pop dramatically. When choosing a wallpaper, aim for tighter patterns so as not to overwhelm the eye. Make sure to leave at least one-third of the shelving space open so you can see your fashion-forward backing.

See Also: DIY: Bland Bookcase to Charming Shelving Unit

What ideas have you used to take your bookcases from drab to fab? From inventive themes to unique color palettes, we’d love to hear about your bookcase styling adventures! 

Stylish bookcases can add extra oomph to any room, as interior designer Kerrie Kelly notes. Kerrie writes on interior design and decor for Home Depot’s Home Decorators Collection. To research many bookcase styles available, you can visit Home Decorators’ website here.