Tips & Tricks to Styling a Bookshelf

I’ve gotten quite a few questions lately on how I style my book shelves. My biggest advice: there is no right or wrong way to do it, the best thing is to make sure your shelves fit your style. 
But for all of you who still need a little assistance or some helpful hints…here are the tips I try and follow, while adding my own style along the way.
Tips and Tricks to style bookshelves

No matter which shelf you’re styling, always add layers! Layers eliminate that bare look that make accessories look like they’re swimming on a wide open shelf. No swimming here. Check out my step-by-step layering technique.

Each layer added a little something until the shelf was completely filled. Start with the bigger accessories and work until you’ve added your final touch (usually the smaller, more personal items like the photo strips).
If you have lots of shelves to fill (like I do) adding an entire row of books is a great space filler. It’s great because if you add accessories to every single shelf, sometimes the accessories start to look like a big mess of clutter. An entire bookshelf adds color, while eliminating that crazy clutter look that we try to avoid around here.
It’s all about the compromise around here. It’s always good to add a little bit of his and a little bit of hers to make a new home “ours”.
Ladies, I know it’s sometime hard to add a little bit of “his” but if you use your imagination, you can make even some old baseballs look cute! Plus, major brownie points for displaying a little bit of “his” proudly. #winwin

Books can say a lot about a person, so adding a few of your favorites in a prominent spot is a must!

Adding sentimental value is also a must. I added my grandparent’s wedding picture because it reminds me of them. I’d like to add my parent’s wedding picture alongside my own wedding picture up here some day too.

Seriously, don’t. Stacking these shelves with accessories can definitely become pricey, and pricey is not always better. My advice: scour the shelves of your local thrift shops, vintage stores, and garage sales to add charm to these shelves without breaking the bank. You’ll thank me later.

And one last tutorial on styling another shelf:

Regardless of what tips work for you, always remember… there is no right or wrong answer in styling your shelves. As long as you love the look, that’s all that matters. 
I love my look and my shelves are still constantly changing. It’s okay to change the look when you find a new treasure or re-do an old one… that’s what decorating is all about. Arranging, re-arranging, and continuously changing to love the space you’re in: that’s what we’re all about here @ the Playbook. 
Good luck styling your shelves! If you have a stylin’ shelf that you’d like to share, we’d love to feature you. Email us your pictures at diyplaybook@gmail.com.

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  • Our Wolf Den

    Very well written.
    Sometimes it can be overwhelming to style shelves. We are building some around our TV and I am a
    little frustrated because 75% of it is going to be taken up in DVDs but it is
    what we need to they aren’t in boxes in the spare bedroom.

    You did a very beautiful job on yours!

    -Manda @ Our Wolf Den
    ourwolfden.wordpress.com

  • Thanks @Manda! Functionality trumps style… but with a little creativity, there’s no reason why we all can’t have functional style! =) Thanks for stopping by. Good luck!!

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  • Diana

    I always appreciate help styling shelves. Thanks for the step by step breakdown at the end!