Some people may think that a book nerd’s indecision only extends as far as, but do I really need to buy this book right now? Those people would be wrong. Because as any reader knows, once you’re in possession of that book that you definitely bought, you need to figure out where it’s going to live when it’s not in your hands. There are approximately one million ingenious bookshelf ideas out there, and when you’re stocking your shelves, you might look toward Pinterest, Instagram, or some friends for inspiration. Have no fear, reader, because we’re here to help!
We don’t mean to brag, but we’re pretty much professionals.
Okay, I guess we’re literally professionals. But we want to spread that knowledge to you, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite tips and tricks to help you style your bookshelf in an epic way.
Top 7 Bookshelf Ideas
GUARANTEED TO HELP YOUR SHELVES
1. Make sure you organize the books
This is probably the most important step you’re going to need to take, because the most beautiful bookshelves are the ones in which you’re actually able to find the books you’re looking for. You can do it aesthetically—by color, as we’ve done in those few shelves above—or by genre, or author, or something else that calls to you. Mix and match, organize the case by genre and then books by color within shelves… the possibilities are endless! This is your bookshelf, so make sure you personalize it to your own preferences.
Something else we love, when we have the space, is to curate a special shelf with some of our favorites. You know you can’t go wrong with that, so start experimenting!
2. Rotate decor with the seasons
Adding things like succulents, character figures, and candles to your bookshelves are an easy way to give them personality, so we suggest taking this a step further if you’re able and changing them out—plus rotating some books around—with the seasons! Are the days turning sunny and hot with summer vacation on the horizon? Then beach it up with coral, shells, or pictures from last year’s adventures at the lake as you turn the latest Sarah Dessen book face-out. Winter coming on strong? Fight the grays outside by bringing the most colorful of your books to the forefront and pair them with sleek silvers and whites.
You do not have to break the bank for this. Bring the outdoors inside in the spring or fall with found items like wildflowers or colorful leaves. Press them between a frame with two glass panes, et voilà, instant art! Greenery adds interest any time of year too, whether it’s a potted fern, mini pine tree, or romantically trailing ivy.
3. Change up your book stacking
Don’t keep all of your books standing straight, tucked in, their spines out in a row. Even the most visually appearing book stripes can get repetitive! Try mixing them with some horizontal piles, and even turn the occassional book to face out. We know there’s no such thing as negative space on a book nerd’s shelf—we just don’t have enough room for that aesthetic—but turning a book so that its cover faces out from within your row of spines can have the same effect.
4. Light it up
Lighting can easily change the mood of any setting from blah to cozy. When applied to bookshelf design, inexpensive lighting hacks can add warmth, highlight beauty, and instantly make the whole case feel utterly complete. If you’re not sure where to start—or are fighting every instinct that screams what do you mean I need to configure lights?!—we’ve got some tips that can help! It’s not complicated at all.
Battery-operated picture lights, under cabinet lights, and flickering candles are some great options that come with convenient remote controls, LED bulbs, and long-lasting batteries. Small paper lanterns and cute little lamps are two wired lighting accessories that are easy to add as well, especially if your bookcase has an open back or an inconspicuous opening for wires. Just make sure you’ve positioned it in front of, or near, an outlet. You want to try to avoid wires criss-crossing all over in front of your gorgeous books.
5. Keep an eye out for special editions
Whether you’re keeping them in line with the others in their section or turning them face out, special editions and collector’s editions are usually designed to stand out from the usual fare. This can mean more elegant spines, more highly designed covers, and even special specs like stained page edges or alternate colors. If you invest in these for your absolute favorites, they’re pretty much guaranteed to grab attention.
6. Personalize it with pictures
One of the most important bookshelf ideas to keep in mind is that it really is a reflection of your mind, your taste, and your space. So while the books themselves are a collection that reflects what you like, adding picture frames and polaroids are the perfect way to bring that home.
If you have picture frames you want to display, it’s easy enough to just line them along the shelves in front of, or beside, your books. If you have polaroids, you can get creative and maybe string them along lights, tape them onto the shelves, or find a way to do a little of both! Even as other accessories come and go, pictures of you, your friends, and whoever else are the perfect anchor to keep your bookshelves feeling like you.
7. Never stop browsing for more inspiration
Trends come and go, and outside of these basic tips, you can find more specific (and visual) ideas everywhere from Pinterest to Instagram. Most importantly, lean into your own style intuition and play around with the ideas you find! Make it your own and you’ll be sure to crush the aesthetic.
How do you style your bookshelf? Let us know below!