DIY Bookcase Decorations: Easy Recipes That Really Work!

Having trouble figuring out how to furnish a bookshelf? Here are some of my tried-and-true methods for enhancing bookshelves with minimal effort on your part.

We had very few closets and shelves in our last house, but many built-in bookcases, so I had to get creative if I wanted any of the rooms to look bare and boring. With these six formulas, I hope to demystify the process of shelf decoration for you as well. If you've been irritated by some empty shelves in your home, hopefully this article will provide you with the motivation and information you need to fill them. First, let's go hang out in the living room (this post contains affiliate links; for more information, click here).

Simple formulas for how to decorate shelves and bookcases! SO easy!!

Satin bronze chandelier | sectional | patterned gray pillow covers | black and white polka dot pillow covers | tasseled pillow cover | plaid throw | rug | similar acrylic coffee table | similar plaid throw | similar rug | similar coffee table tray | similar grasscloth wallpaper behind shelves | similar acrylic coffee table | similar grasscloth wallpaper behind shelves | similar acrylic coffee table

Those of you who have been reading my blog for any length of time have probably already seen this room, but if you are just now stopping by, you can get a better look at the room and the placement of the two bookcases in it by clicking here. The designers of this bookcase saved me a lot of time and effort by dividing the shelves in such a way that the space on either the left or right side is optimal for displaying a single ornament or accessory.

So many great ideas of how to decorate shelves and bookcases!

The middle shelves are more difficult, but I've figured out a few foolproof formulas that you can use:

Simple formulas for decorating your shelves - SO helpful!!

#1 Stack of books used as a bowl stopper

Select 5–8 books (you can add color to the room by selecting ones with spines in your favorite colors or by wrapping them in a favorite fabric) and a decorative object, such as a candle, to display together. A Decorative Bookend Etsy is my go-to whenever I need a pair of bookends that no one else has. Set a bowl (it need not be wooden; metal, woven, etc.) next to it. ) Stuff it with a pretty object Here are some of my top picks:

You could use anything from decorative ceramic balls to fake flowers to shells, but I threw in some fake cabbages I had lying around from when I decorated my fireplace mantel for autumn. everything else

#2 Ball-shaped accent propped up on books/box next to vase

Start by leaning a few tall books against the end of the bookcase, and then add a ball-shaped accessory like my oyster shell ball (or one like it, available here) to balance the books out. In retrospect, the rope thing on the right side of my bookcase would have been a better fit there. Place a medium-sized vase (I got mine at HomeGoods) and a shallow box or two stacks of books next to it. ) on top

#3 Place a tray or work of art in the center, and arrange the other accessories in a staggered fashion around it.

Get a large, shallow tray (I got mine at a thrift store, but a tray like this would work too) or a mirror (it doesn't have to be round; a square or rectangular one would work just as well) While a tall object would be preferable, I cheated by placing some books underneath mine to achieve the desired effect. Put a tall object, like a plant (this one is my favorite; it's a snake plant and it thrives in complete darkness and complete neglect), to one side. on the other, a relatively short-statured accessory As an example, I used this dried star pod, which sounds weird but is actually really cool and which I have also displayed on the mantel of my fireplace. I also have a copy of this formula on the other bookshelf, so let's go check it out.

Built-in bookcases flanking desk and window in middle - a great arrangement for a family room!

Exactly which shelf do you think it belongs on? On the left side of the shelf, in the center, I have a print (something like this Let's Stay Home printable) flanked by a small plant and a large accessory (something like this candelabra, which is very much like mine) on the other side:

Love the styling of the shelves in this large built-in bookcase - click through for lots of helpful tips and formulas for decorating your own shelves!

Two additional easy formulas can be borrowed from the second shelf:

SUPER helpful tips for decorating shelves and bookcases!!

#4 An elongated, slender accent next to a more modest framed print.

To begin, select a tall, thin piece of decor, like a vase (I got mine at HomeGoods). ) and adorn the front and sides with a minimal accessory Adjacent to it, place a framed photo, artwork, or mirror. Having a few inches of difference in height between your accessories is ideal (my vase is closer in height to my framed photo than I'd actually like - having a several inch difference is best). )

#5 Next to the decorative box, place the large accent. On top, place the smaller accent.

You could begin with a large piece of adornment, such as one of my sculptures, a bust, or a ceramic horse head. whatever you want Then, next to it, put a horizontal stack of books or a decorative box (like "this black and white striped box that I have"), and finally, put a tiny accent piece (like "this small piece of coral") on top of the box.

We're going to head into our office now, but before we do, I wanted to make sure you saw the formula #1 on the top middle shelf. Until I started writing this post, I had no idea that I had decorated two shelves in exactly the same way; clearly, this is a winning formula.

Super helpful formulas for decorating bookshelves and built-in bookcases!

The gallery wall on the other side of the room is what I usually post pictures of on the blog and Instagram, but this time I thought I'd show you our home office. Now we'll turn our attention to that massive built-in bookshelf:

Loving all of the tips on how to decorate bookcases and shelves! These are beauties!

To recreate this look in your own home, try shopping for the following items: a rug, a faux cowhide, a semi-flush ceiling light, a wingback desk chair, acrylic curtain rods, and curtains (no longer available).

There was still plenty of shelving that needed styling, despite the fact that a TV and two speakers took up a good portion of the available space, and that I had filled the little wood cubbies above the desk with "these IKEA KVARNVIK boxes."

Super easy tips on how to decorate shelves and bookcases!

Here are two more formulas I developed for styling shelves that can serve as inspiration for your own arrangement:

Seven simple formulas that make styling shelves and bookcases SUPER easy!

#6 Use a tall, thin vase as a bookend for your library.

You can use a vase or some other decorative item as a bookend after you've placed a few books upright at the end of the shelf. It's a great place for something unusual and/or sentimental, as long as it's tall enough and weighty enough to hold the books; examples include I've used my old saddle stirrups as bookends because I love to ride so much. Some of my favorite vases that would be perfect for the job are as follows:

Place a long, skinny basket next to it to hold books, fill with decorations, hold office supplies, etc. (I keep a few of the million fabric swatches I own in mine.) Increased height diversity (i.e., a wider range of individual e Books of varying heights and a vase of varying heights would make for a more pleasing arrangement on a shelf than what I have here (do as I say, not as I do, ha

#7 Books standing on end Books lying flat Small decorative object

Including the shelf above the TV in this bookcase, I frequently employ this as one of my simplest yet most effective shelf styling formulas. In order to make this bookend, you stack about four to six books vertically on one end, lay down another one to two books next to it, and then perch some decorative object on top. It can be anything, from sentimental pieces like those huge ceramic pieces kids make in art class and you don't know what to do with to something you just really like (in my case, white coral) and are using on top of the book. Next to my little shelf arrangement, you can put anything you like; I layered a plaid painting my youngest daughter made with a brass pig to satisfy my strange obsession with brass animals.

Awesome tips on how to style your bookcase and shelving!

Update I've started arranging things on the shelves of our new home; maybe you'll get some inspiration from what I've done so far:

So in love with the wallpaper lining the back of her bookcase!

What to Stock Your Bookshelves With: Suggestions and Advice

I'm a girl who likes to spell it all out, so I hope those formulas were helpful. To conclude, I'd like to offer a few last suggestions for how to best arrange your bookshelves:

  • There is a general trend toward the use of odd numbers in mathematics; you may have noticed that most of my formulas involve working in groups of three.
  • Use a variety of textures (such as woven wicker, coral, and other natural elements) to add visual interest. ) and coatings (various metals, hues, etc. )
  • Let there be some white space without worrying My large jug on the bottom shelf in our family room is all alone on a shelf that’s a couple feet long but it works
  • Present your unique interests, traits, etc. Displaying photos of loved ones, mementos, and other items that bring joy on shelves is a great idea. You can put books in them if you like, but it is not required. Each time I post an Instagram photo of our bookcases, at least one person comments, "bookshelves should be for books." Nope The house is your sanctuary; decorate it however you please.
  • You should vary the heights of your objects (but you knew that already). )
  • Choose artificial plants instead of real ones if there isn't enough light for real ones to survive on your bookcase. You can find some real gems, such as
  • Decorate the back of your bookcase by wallpapering the space between the shelves. This grasscloth wallpaper was used to cover shelves in the family room.

Are you following me so far? Leave a comment if you have any questions or if I've completely lost you.


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