What to put on your bookshelf? That's the million-dollar question. Aside from the obvious books, you would think it would be pretty simple. But styling a furniture piece that is often the focal point of the room can also be the most daunting. And here's the thing...there is no one right way to do it.

Luckily, we do have some tips and tricks for you to help you take your styling skills to the next level. Our only rule is whatever pieces you choose, whatever colors you highlight and whatever actual books you feature need to mean something to you.

Create a Focal Point

Bookshelves can get busy really quickly, so make sure that you find something to anchor your overall look. Layering your accent pieces instead of lining them up side by side creates depth and perspective, giving the eye a focal point to latch on to. Choose your most memorable souvenir or boldest decor item to stand out above the rest and don't worry about selecting smaller pieces to play secondary roles to build out your aesthetic.

Uniformed Palette

We don't believe that you need to stick to one design style, especially when your decor is meant to reflect your personality, which is rarely linear. But to avoid a chaotic looking array of decorations, sticking to a uniformed color palette brings cohesion to your design. Whether you keep everything neutral or select complementary shades of color, you can easily mix and match traditional with modern and vintage with abstract when you maintain a balanced color story.

Use your Books

Stacking books in your bookshelves doesn't mean transforming your room into a library. Books actually make interesting, and very personalized, stands and accent pieces when juxtaposed with your decor. Choose your favorite volumes that have book covers in your color palette and create different heights and layers by placing smaller objects on top of them. Or if you have some cherished editions you'd like to show off, line them up beside a statement vase or sculpture to draw attention to them. Books are often sentimental items we have way too much of, so pick your favorites and make decorative use of them.

Opposites Attract

Although you want to commit to a matching color scheme, don't let your bookshelves become monotonous with sameness. Pair sleek modern items with more rugged counterparts and contrast contemporary designs with rustic accents. Opposites do attract, and moreso, the variation of style in each piece helps showcase it even more. Playing with shapes and sizes can also be visually intriguing, so although vertical accent pieces stand out the most, they can be well-balanced with smaller horizontal items to offset the linearity.

Let it Speak to You

Your bookshelf is your chance to shine; an opportunity to display your favorite pieces so that you smile every time you see them. In the end, place your items, step back and see how you feel. It may take some time to move things around and find their perfect places, but only when you look at your shelf with joy do you know you've completed the task. Above all, your home is yours to enjoy, so make it personal, let it bring you happiness and make sure it always speaks to you.

April 05, 2023 — Courtney Hughes