Bookshelf Envy: 10 Easy and Functional Bookshelf Styling Ideas from the Modsy Experts

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 Bookshelf Envy: 10 Easy and Functional Bookshelf Styling Ideas from the Modsy Experts

Restyling bookshelves is an easy way to drastically impact your home’s interior design aesthetic and overall atmosphere.

Whether it’s rearranging how your books are displayed, adding colorful art, or layering in your favorite objects and collections, you can bring a completely new perspective (and vibe) to your home space by refreshing your bookshelf.

For all the bibliophiles who might be looking for some inspiration, the online interior design experts at Modsy have rounded up their best bookcase styling ideas along with quick tips on how to decorate bookshelves to be instant focal points in any space.

1.Think Multipurpose. Bookshelf space can be used to provide multi-purpose storage for books, stylish storage bins, and knickknacks, for example, low bookcases in a reading corner. With low shelves, try not to overstuff them with books and storage containers. Space things out so it doesn’t look overwhelming. Style Tip: Have a mix of baskets and containers that hide smaller items on the bottom, then layer books and accents on top for both weight and visual balance.

2. Aim For Height In Small Spaces. If you’re pressed for space, consider installing a few tall and slender open bookshelves. It’s a great way to utilize vertical wall space and decorate with shelves that are styled out instead of hanging up art. Organize your shelves by use, with everyday items and books more accessible on the lower shelves and art and display objects higher up. Style Tip: Tall open shelving has a way of adding visual height, making the ceilings appear higher and the room feel more spacious. Keep your surface styling uncluttered to maintain the open look and feel.

3. Organize In Full, Eclectic Color.Take a vibrant approach to bookshelf decorating by mixing bright accents, like colorful books, sculptures, and florals. It’s a great way to incorporate color into a space without painting or buying colorful furniture. Focus on two or three colors for your palette to create a cohesive look. Style Tip: There are no hard and fast rules for how to style a bookcase, but it’s always good to arrange accents in groupings of twos and threes for many unique focal points. Don’t be afraid to work in all kinds of shapes and sizes, too– the more eclectic your mix, the better.

4. Mix It Up, LiterallyShake things up with your bookshelf by turning your shelves into a stylish mixed-use display for books and a bar. Whether or not you have built-in wall shelving or an inlet like this little corner, you can easily create an impromptu bar space by arranging cocktail accessories and drinkware on the lower shelves, then filling the top ones with books.Style Tip: Select neutral-colored books to go with silver, copper, and brass-accented barware. It’s a surefire way to create an instantly chic look.
5. Build Out A Full-Wall Library Gallery. With wall-to-wall shelves, give yourself room to experiment and have fun with how you store and display things. Stay practical by filling the lower shelves with all your books, then use the higher shelves as showcases for sculptural pieces, art, and other decorative accents throughout.Style Tip: Beautiful book covers are artworks in themselves. Display some pretty books by placing them cover forward to give your shelves a high-end gallery vibe.

6.Go For A Monochrome Look. Bookshelf decorating doesn’t get more refined than a towering wood-and-glass cabinet. It sets a formal tone and elevates the bookshelf look by default. Play up the sophisticated look further by displaying books in monochrome white and off-whites all throughout. It will guarantee a tailored and elegant overall look.Style Tip: For balance, arrange books in horizontal rows as well as stacking them vertically. This is an easy way to create height and visual variance with just books.

7. Keep It Lean for Entryways. Bookshelves aren’t just for the living room and office. Lean a slim ladder-style bookcase in your entry, where it can function as a catchall for your in-progress novels as well as extra storage. Style larger items on the bottom shelves and go smaller as you work your way up. This will invite the eye to explore up and down.Style Tip: One bookshelf decorating idea that’s always great in an entry is to combine books with greenery. It’s a lively pairing that’s certain to set a welcoming tone.

8. Opt For A Gallery Look. A long and low bookcase in your dining or office space is the perfect display ledge for a collection of important books like first editions and artwork. Think of it as a gallery wall but with shelving and Interiorbeat’s bookcases selection will help in it. Arrange the surface with framed prints, display books on miniature easels, sculptures, and art objects, then fill the shelving below with books and practical storage. Be sure to leave plenty of open space to emphasize a gallery-like look. Style Tip: To round out this gallery approach to bookshelf decorating, hang art above your shelves, and lean larger pieces nearby to fill out the surrounding area and drive the look home.

9. Show Off Your Collections. When it comes to show-stopping bookcase ideas, you can’t beat a wall-length cabinet of curiosities. It’s all about playing up a collector’s vibe here. But instead of ephemera and taxidermy and strange objects, filling your cabinet with your book collections is just as impactful and eye-catching. If you have old books and vintage sets, this is the best way to give them pride of place in your home.Style Tip: Mix vintage and new books, sculptural vases, and other small neutral decor items that don’t overshadow your books.
10. Combine Practicality and Fun. A tall bookcase is an essential in a kids room or nursery. Make sure to choose a bookcase that’s both functional and safe for a kid’s room. One that has a combination of closed drawer storage and open shelving is best. You can store blankets and larger toys in the drawer and spread out stuffed animals and books on your shelves, which keeps it cute and stylish.Style Tip: Your bookcase should provide storage that’s easy for you to access as well as higher shelving where you can keep toys and heavier bookshelf decor out of reach from the little ones.

For more home library inspiration, explore Modsy’s gallery of bookshelf styling ideas or visit to get started designing the home library of your dreams.


  • Suzanne Magnuson

    Professional writer with 20 plus years of experience. M.A., M.B.A. Travel Editor and Social Media Manager for Splash Magazines Worldwide. Senior Editor. Member of Advertising Team.

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About Suzanne Magnuson 140 Articles
Professional writer with 20 plus years of experience. M.A., M.B.A. Travel Editor and Social Media Manager for Splash Magazines Worldwide. Senior Editor. Member of Advertising Team.

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