Bookshelf Styling 101

Turner Styling Bookshelf

One of the most common questions we get from clients is how to style their bookshelves and built-ins. Styling bookshelves is a great way to blend your personal style and items with intentional design. However, finding the right pieces and making the design feel balanced can be very tricky! Here are some steps we take at HBD Interiors when styling this area of the home.


Remove Everything and Wipe Down: The first step is not very exciting, but it allows you to start with a blank slate and you will be able to see the space with fresh eyes. Take everything off your shelves and give them a good wipe down/dusting. If you are styling painted built-ins or bookshelves, this is a great time to tackle any small paint touchups.


Shop Your Home: Although we love a good home décor shopping spree, there is no need to purchase every item brand new. Try looking for items that are already in your home- you may find yourself appreciating these items even more once they have found their new spot on the shelf! Sometimes it is hard to visualize the final product- we love browsing Pinterest for inspiration on restyling those items we already own!


Add Books: This one is a no-brainer- books can add color, texture, and height to any shelf. Start by mixing vertical rows with horizontal stacks. Vary the placement of books on the left, right, and center of shelves. To keep a neutral color scheme, try turning the spines backward!


Add Meaningful Décor: It is tempting to fill your shelves with generic décor items from the store, but adding a few personal touches makes a big difference! These details will make your home feel even more special and guests will love hearing the story behind those meaningful items. We love incorporating mementos that will remind clients of the special moments from their life.


Mix and Match: To avoid empty-looking shelves or décor that seems “too perfect” play around with the shapes, textures, and height of your items. Place smaller objects on top of stacks of books, or fill in where needed. Try mixing a variety of greenery, frames, boxes, vases, and quirky accessories to achieve that layered look! Be sure to leave some intentional blank space so the shelves do not feel cluttered!


Switch It Up: Once you have everything in place- step back, evaluate, and adjust your styling as needed! The best thing about styling a bookshelf is how versatile they are- you can easily move things around and try out new placements. One of our favorite ways to keep these spaces feeling fresh is to switch out a few items for seasonal décor throughout the year. This way you do not need to start all over each season- just swap out a few pieces and you are good to go!


At the end of the day how you want to style your space is completely up to you- if you are struggling to find those final pieces to bring your design together or cannot seem to get past the “remove everything and wipe down” step, we would love to help! You can contact us for more information! Happy Styling!

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