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December 27, 2023 4 min read

A thoughtfully styled bookcase is not just a showcase of literature but a reflection of your personal taste and cherished memories.

Bookcases and shelving tend to provide a lot of space, so knowing how to utilise them is essential, particularly if you want to achieve a stunning focal point.

Find out how to style your bookcase by following the tips in this blog.

Assess Your Book Collection

assess book collection for styling bookcase

Before you style your bookcase, pick the books you wish to display.

Select books not just for their content but for their aesthetic appeal, sentimental value, or the cherished memories they evoke. 

Be ruthless in curating your collection, allowing only those that truly resonate with you. Consider parting with books that no longer have a purpose, whether you've already read them or lack sentimental value. 

This curation process enhances the visual appeal of your bookcase and ensures that each book on display is a meaningful addition to your space.

Don't Completely Fill It

correctly styled bookcase

When styling your bookcase, embrace a minimalist approach by leaving spaces alongside your books to showcase other decorative items. So, give your shelves room to breathe, allowing the curated selection to shine without feeling overcrowded. 

Resist the temptation to add unappealing clutter, opting instead for a carefully chosen display that reflects your personal style. 

Consider incorporating a mix of textures, heights, and colours to add visual interest while maintaining a harmonious aesthetic. Prioritise cherished objects and trinkets that evoke joy, ensuring that each item on display holds a special place in your heart.

Pick a Colour Palette

pick a colour palette for a bookcase

For a neutral aesthetic in your room, consider turning book spines inward, revealing the pages to the room. This idea works well with a natural-looking bookcase like a teak wood bookcase

Create cohesion by selecting one or two dominant book colours to strategically place throughout the bookcase, arranging them artfully or even grouping books by colour for a visually striking effect. 

Consider removing the jackets of hardback books to align with your chosen colour scheme seamlessly. 

Enhance the aesthetic by incorporating complementary elements such as vases that match the colour scheme – imagine a tangerine bowl beside a collection of orange Penguin Classics.

Vary Heights and Depths

vary heights and depths of book collection on a bookcase

Play with the arrangement of books by laying some flat and standing others vertically to create visual interest. 

Vary the placement of decorative pieces, positioning some towards the back and others towards the front on different shelves for a dynamic display. 

Introduce height by incorporating vases strategically, breaking up the uniformity of the shelves. 

Experiment with stacked books, placing trinkets atop them for added dimension and charm. 

Utilise substantial objects as bookends to anchor the collection and maintain a sense of balance.

Use Sentimental Items

displaying sentimental items on a bookcase

Personalise your bookcase by incorporating framed photos and special mementoes from holidays, infusing it with your unique experiences and memories. 

This addition transforms the bookcase into a reflection of your personal journey and brings warmth and individuality to the space. 

If you aim for a boho look, consider adding objects and much-loved items collected during travels, creating a treasure of textures, colours, and cultural influences.

Display your Vinyls

displaying vinyls on a bookcase

Achieve an eclectic and visually engaging bookcase by incorporating vinyl records. 

This approach caters to audiophiles and contributes to the overall aesthetic, providing a quirky and distinctive look. 

Particularly effective in boho-style or artistic rooms, this eclectic display method allows you to blend genres seamlessly, combining literature, music, and creative elements for a harmonious yet unconventional presentation.

Organise Books by Weight

organising books by weight

Strategically place bigger and heavier books on the lower shelves to provide a solid foundation and add stability to the overall arrangement. This will anchor the display and ensure easy accessibility to weightier volumes. 

Opt for a vertical arrangement with smaller books on higher shelves to create a sense of balance and visual interest.

Create Visual Balance

creating visual balance with a bookcase

When arranging your living room furniture, you must consider the visual balance; the same goes when styling your bookcase.

Elevate your bookcase's aesthetic by strategically introducing organic-shaped items to soften the vertical edges and add a touch of natural beauty. 

Consider placing real or faux plants on various shelves to infuse your space with a refreshing green vibe and break up the linear structure of the bookcase. 

The combination of organic shapes and vibrant foliage creates a harmonious balance, making your bookcase a visually appealing focal point within the room. 

Additionally, incorporating nature brings a sense of tranquillity while complementing the literary world within the shelves, merging the realms of the organic and the intellectual for a well-rounded display.

Choosing a reclaimed bookcase is another way to bring you closer to nature, decreasing your carbon footprint.

Now you understand how to style a bookcase with books and other elements to achieve a stunning focal point. As a side note, a substantial bookcase can elevate your books and objects, making it an excellent feature for a room and enabling a more straightforward layout when styling it. 

Explore the solid yet stylish bookcases that Hemming & Wills offers, such as our Williamsburg reclaimed bookcase. By opting for a piece made from reclaimed wood, you'll make a sustainable choice and bring unique character to your home. Furthermore, reclaimed and sustainable furniture is a trend that isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

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