Bookshelf Styling Ideas to Try at Home This Weekend


The humble bookshelf. A common feature of many homes, yet one that is often underappreciated in its role in interior styling. It’s a bookshelf, after all. You put your books on it. Bookshelf styling complete, right?


With the right styling applied, a bookshelf can become so much more than its name. It can be an eye-catching focal point of your living room, a colourful addition to your bedroom, a way for you to express your personal style beyond the titles on the shelves.

Many of us are effectively stuck at home at the moment (sigh). Rearranging your bookshelves is a great weekend activity that is both fun and rewarding.

If you’re thinking maybe your shelves could use a little bit of TLC, or a little bit of a reshuffle, then check out our bookshelf styling ideas to take them to the next level.


Colour code your books

colour coded bookshelf styling ideas

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Arranging your books by colour allows you to create a vibrant wall feature that’s as good as any artwork.

Group together your red covers, blue covers, white covers, black covers and so on to create a cheerful book rainbow!

The only downfall of this colour coded system is it can make it a bit tricky to find a particular title, particularly if you’re reading books in a series and the covers are different colours.


Add small decorative pieces

bookshelf styling ideas to try

Placing small décor items amongst your books can help give your shelves personality.

Liven up your bookshelf with cute little knick-knacks, vases, succulents or even photo frames.

Bookends are an especially great option for adding a little something extra to your bookcase.


Create negative space

bookshelf styling ideas to try

If you’re an avid reader with stacks of books, then this one probably isn’t going to be an option (sorry).

It’s always tempting to fill up your bookshelves top to bottom, side to side. If not with books, then with other things, like puzzle boxes, board games and bulky photo albums. Doing this can make a space feel quite cluttered.

Try clustering your books and decorative items into smaller groups. Arranging them on different sides of the shelves and at alternating heights, with empty shelf space in between, creates a bit of “breathing room” that helps the room feel lighter.

This goes for any other kinds of shelves you might have in your home, too!

Arrange your books in different ways

bookshelf styling ideas

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The most common way of arranging your books, of course, is with the spines facing outward and lined up in an orderly fashion, left to right.

To create a bit more depth and visual interest, try arranging your books in various different ways.

Display some in the usual upright position, and others in horizontal stacks. Lean some in one direction and lean others in another to create a sense of movement.

And last, but not least…

Turn your books with the spines facing in

bookshelf styling ideas

This is a contentious one. If you ever spent time in the library as a child, you were probably taught that putting books with their spines facing inwards is an absolute crime!

These days though, turning your books around the other way can be considered a stylistic choice. The neutral tones of pages are much easier to style and a lot softer on the eyes than a chaotic mixture of different covers.

However, like colour coding your novels, this can make it tricky to find a particular book. So we recommend only trying this out if you’ve got books you’re not likely to want to pick up again any time soon!


What do you think of our bookshelf styling ideas? Got any shelf styling ideas of your own? Let us know in the comments!

Elizabeth is a digital content writer and copy editor from Sydney, Australia, with a degree in Media & Communications from the University of New South Wales. When she isn't writing for Zanui, she's usually attempting further study, burying her head in a novel (or writing her own), pestering her cat, or desperately trying to keep her small potted succulent alive.