Helpful Tips For Styling A Bookcase

The bookcase in my office was in dire need of editing, purging, and restyling. When the hosts of the Decorating Enthusiasts DIY Forum said their member challenge for September was Bookcases, it was just the motivation I needed. So in this post, I'll be sharing some helpful tips for styling a bookcase.

Bookcase Challenge for the Decorating Enthusiasts DIY Forum



Helpful Tips For Styling A Bookcase


I love a challenge and so this was the perfect motivator for finally tackling that overcrowded mess on my home office bookcase.


Normally this is where I share a before picture but I was so excited to tackle this job that me, my pj's and a cup of hot coffee got right to work.

How To Style A Bookcase for the September DIY Forum Challenge

I thought I'd share the vignettes I created on each shelf and under each photo, I'll share some helpful tips when styling a bookcase.

Tip 1 - Decide on a style

Using interesting objects to display things when styling a bookcase

Consider the style of the room when shopping the home or retail for the pieces you want to showcase. My bookcase is in my office so I used industry-related books, functional storage boxes, vintage or modern objects that relate to an office theme, and something interesting to display my business cards.

Tip 2 - Create a theme

If you have enough like-minded objects, create a theme on each shelf.

Create Themed Vignettes when styling a bookcase

Tip 3 - Incorporate stacked books

Stacking books and placing small objects on top is pleasing to the eye.

Stack books and place small objects on top when styling a bookcase

Tip 4 - Group objects in uneven numbers

Designate one shelf with only one large object or a group of three objects centered on the shelf, preferably at eye level.

Place 1 to 3 objects alone on shelf when styling a bookcase

TIP 5 - Group objects at varying heights

Create vignettes by grouping three objects at different heights. Use things like books or small trinket boxes to raise them.

Group three objects at varying heights when styling a bookcase Eg 1

Group three objects at varying heights when styling a bookcase Eg 2

Tip 6 - Balance vignettes

Create balance with objects by color, theme, pattern, or material. You can see some of my shelves are all black and white with different patterns and textures that complement one another. Others have bright colored book spines that play well with the colorful ceramic trinket box.

Group objects by color when styling a bookcase

Groups objects by color and pattern when styling a bookcase

Additional Helpful tips

  • Line your books up about an inch away from the edge of the shelf.
  • Place the largest books on the bottom shelf not only to stabilize the bookcase but it creates a visual foundation.
  • Create a zigzag pattern by placing similar objects, like books, for example on the left side of a shelf and then place them on the right side on the next shelf.
  • Create a centering pattern by always having something in the center, either on their own or flanked by books. 
  • If your bookcases are split in the center or you have two separate bookcases flanking a fireplace, for example, create a mirror image where each bookcase shelf is a mirror image of the same shelf on the opposite bookcase. Not necessarily using the same objects but a vignette with the same weight. 
  • The Most Important Step is to take a step back every once in a while to see how it looks. I find snapping a photo with my phone very helpful. A picture is worth a thousand words and it's true when styling too!

Styling an office bookcase with helpful tips

I hope you found these helpful tips for styling a bookcase helpful. The same principals apply for styling open shelving, fireplace mantels, or hutches.

Please join me in visiting the fabulous hosts to see what they did for the Bookcase Challenge.


3 Month Decorating Challenge - One space, three ways brought to you by a group of top bloggers!

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