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A Simple Guide to Decorating Shelves & Bookcases

A Simple Guide to Decorating Shelves & Bookcases

We have a lot of clients that come into the shoppe looking for guidance on how to decorate their built-in shelves and bookcases. Done correctly, well decorated shelves can really pull the room together while utilizing personal keep-sakes that make the space unique to you. In this blog post I will give you the essential tips and tricks on how to decorate your shelves and how to achieve a symmetrical and organic look. 

Use Books

I know it might sound intuitive, but books are your best friend when it comes to decorating your shelving. It is great if you have an antique collection of books with that vintage look. If not, you can still easily use the books you have collected over the years. Instead of facing the books spine out, place the whites of the pages facing out towards your space. This is a simple way to use a random variety of books that still gives a clean, neutral look. Books are also a great way to add visual interest by facing some face down while keeping others straight up. You can also stack the books and use them as risers for your smaller accessories. This will provide varying heights and visual interest without detracting your eye. 

Mirror the Top Shelf

Mirroring the top shelf is such a great way to add symmetry when decorating your shelves. The top shelf is used as an anchor that grounds the rest of the units where you don’t want to mirror each shelf exactly. Mirroring the top shelf is an easy and simple way to make your decorating look unified while giving your eye symmetry. 

Wallpaper & Paint

I love to add some flare with wallpaper or paint on the back wall behind the shelves. This is such a great way to add color, texture, and dimension into your shelving without making it a focal point of the interior design. Don’t be afraid to get outside of your box when selecting your wallpaper and paint. This is a great opportunity to experiment with looks on a small scale that adds depth and really makes your space pop. 

Remove a Shelf 

Removing a shelf is the perfect trick to give you more space to work with. I love removing a shelf and adding a gorgeous lamp, mirror, or a large arrangement. This gives you the opportunity to add height and have some fun with accent pieces.

Picture Frames

Picture frames add that personal element to your bookcases, displaying your loved ones and your fond memories together. Clients tend to struggle with where to place their picture frames and the best way to make it visually appealing. I tend to stick to odd numbers, usually not going over 3 picture frames on either side. I like to layer two together and have one stand alone. You can play around with the different sized picture frames and how they look layered together or with your other accessories. 

Zig-Zag Pattern  

Having a zig-zag pattern is key to decorating shelves. You want to avoid a linear look where your eye travels straight up and down. This is where this zig-zag pattern and symmetry come hand and hand. You want to follow in a zig-zag pattern down the shelves while mirroring certain sections. These two elements give the eye both the symmetry along with the visual interest. 

I hope these tips and tricks on how to decorate shelves and bookcases will help you at home with your own shelving. Don’t be afraid to play around with these tips and see what fits your style. We are always here to help at the shoppe and will even do a virtual call to help guide you! Have fun decorating! 



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