Bookshelf Styling 101

Are your bookshelves an eyesore? Check out these 8 tips from Domestic CEO that will help you make your bookshelves stylish, chic, and functional.

Amanda Thomas,
February 5, 2014
Episode #096

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Tip #4: Use Photo Frames

Personal photos in various frames add a wonderful hominess and personality to your shelves. Some people like all the frames to match; others like a more eclectic look, with frames of various style, color, shape, and feel. Again, choose what speaks to you. If the thought of mismatched frames makes your head spin, go for the other option.

Remember, if you have lots of different frames and they don’t match, spray paint is a great option. Rather than spending money on all new frames, purchase a can of spray paint in a color you like that works with your décor. Spray your existing frames and you’ve got a new, coordinated look!

Tip #5: Store with Baskets

Stylish baskets and boxes provide great storage options for all that little stuff that needs to be on the shelf but doesn’t need to be seen. I store our CD collection in some trendy boxes I purchased at Ikea. By adding some vintage-looking, hand-written labels, these boxes have been transformed from utilitarian storage to beautiful décor. Placing one of these storage pieces next to a stack of books makes your shelf more eye-appealing and original.

Tip #6: Display Your Collections

Do you have an interesting collection? Your bookshelf is the perfect place to highlight your treasured items. Grouping things together creates a better visual appearance. I recommend displaying items in odd number groupings; usually 3 or 5. This tactic attracts the eye so much better than displaying just a single item. If you have a collection of small things like beach glass or old wooden spools, think about filling a large glass vase or some old mason jars with your collectibles. This gives more visual weight to those little items. Place that vase or jar next to books as a bookend or top off a small stack of books with that treasure-filled container.

Tip #7: Add Accents

Finishing your shelf styling with a few knick-knacks or tchotchkes is one of the final personalization steps to your bookshelf styling. That small, jeweled box you received from Aunt Mildred can get lost on a shelf by itself, but when it’s added to the top of a small stack of books, it suddenly holds center stage.

Add belongings that pull at your heart strings and stir up memories of people and places. Even draping a beloved old necklace over a frame of grandma suddenly adds interest and evokes memories. Go ahead – use your imagination to see what you can come up with!

Tip #8: Look for Quirky

Adding something whimsical is always a fun finishing touch. I love to hunt through thrift stores for unlikely items. Have you ever looked at the big assortment of interesting figurines at the thrift store? Sometimes I love the lines and shape of one of those odd birds or modern sculptures, but the garish colors are just plain hideous.

Again, spray paint is your friend! Painting that ugly figure in one solid color gives it a new life. I love using a glossy finish paint for projects like this. If you have color phobia and are afraid to choose a bold color for your walls or sofa, this little project gives you the freedom to add that pop of color without a giant commitment!

Remember, styling your shelves doesn’t have to be a scary project. Just follow my tips and you’ll find your inner design diva! For even more ideas and a few visual guides, click here.

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

Bookshelves image courtesy of Shutterstock.


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