Shelfology, or, Non-Boring Ways to Style a Bookshelf


A house filled with books is a beautiful thing, but the humble bookshelf need not be so humble! Today I’ll be sharing tips on dressing up your bookcase to make it thoroughly Pinterest-worthy.

If your shelves are lined with nothing but neat rows of paperbacks and hardbacks, it’s time to pile them onto the floor and start again. Why not make your shelves as decorative as they are functional? That’s what I did this week, and it was much more fun than you’d think. I played with my books, focusing on the colour of the covers and jackets (the only time one should judge a book by its cover),  and adding knick knacks to break up the bookish monotony. Below you’ll see the same bits and bobs arranged in different ways. I hope it inspires you to shake up your shelves!


An easy way to shake things up is to literally go up by stacking some of your books. You can be perfectly neat, or you can be a little looser, which is what I like to do.  You can then place small objects – bowls, flower pots – on top. Bonus points for selecting books with the most colourful spines! For example, a rainbow stack or a stack of all red spines can look very striking.

In amongst your books, add all manner of objects. I included items of varying heights for contrast, such as a tall candlestick next to a shorter flowerpot. If your shelves are looking empty, fill the space by propping up framed artwork in the background. Alternatively, books themselves can stand in as works of art – there are so many gorgeous covers in my collection that never see the light of day. Why not display them? Don’t forget to add fun objects in the foreground to add depth and interest. Anything goes. If you love it, put it out where you can look at it!

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The best thing about rearranging your shelves is that you will become reacquainted with your books: the ones you love to flip through but rarely do, and the ones that you intended to read but never got around to opening. I suppose this is where I must issue a warning: Although shelf styling shouldn’t take too long, you may end up spending hours on the floor, leafing through long-forgotten favourites.

Have fun and good luck!

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