How to Decorate your Bookshelves

I've seen lots of articles and videos with advice on how to decorate a bookshelf, but most of them aren't created by book lovers or book collectors. The books on the shelves are scarce and seem to be accessories--such as vintage books that aren't meant to be read.


I have no problem with books being used as accessories; however, what if you have real books--lots of them? How can you make your shelf still look like it belongs in a magazine?


Over the years, I've experimented with my shelves, and I've come up with some tips to help other book lovers.


1. If you have a ton of books, you can break up the sight lines by occassionally turning some books on their sides and topping the stack with a beautiful object.

2. Use a favorite object as a bookend. Varying the height of items across the length of the shelf will add interest to your display.

3. Add a spot of greenery--either real or faux--to give your shelf life. If you use a faux plant, be sure to dust it regularly, or it will have the opposite effect.

If you don't have room for a large plant, use a succulent or smaller plant like the one below.

4. Give as much thought to the empty space as you do to the rest of your shelf. You don't want your books and other objects overcrowded or cluttered. If you have too many books for your shelf, think about using some of them elsewhere. I stack books under lamps, to give them more height on a side table. I also use books to hide the router beside my television. I display books on my coffee tables. On one, I have them on a pretty tray. On another, I topped the horizontal stack with an empty platter that's shaped like a fish. You can even add a stack to a window sill to add character, but be sure to choose books that are light and airy.

5. If you have too many books to afford space for objects--either as bookends or as displays on top of horizontal stacks--you can artfully place a few objects in front of the stacks of books--but avoid doing so on every shelf. This can be a framed photo, a figurine, or a succulent. On one shelf, I display my boxed wand from Ollivanders. This antique camera, pictured below, also does the trick.

So, there you have it. I hope you find these five tips for decorating a true book lover's shelves helpful.


© 2020 by Eva Pohler 

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