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 a bookshelf. Find out more at The DIY Playbook!
It's always important to use layers when styling a bookshelf to avoid everything being the same height.

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.

Step one of my layering technique for styling a bookshelf. This is the base layer.
The plant and ampersand offers a lot of texture and color to the second layer of this bookshelf design.


The Bruce Springsteen record tucked in the back of this shelf adds depth to the whole design.
I love how these old photo booth photo strips lend a fun design element to this shelf.
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).
One of the easiest bookshelf styling techniques I use is to put like colors together on the same shelf. Here I've combined a white frame with white coral and black and white books.
If you are working with a large bookshelf or built-ins, create one or two shelves that are all books.
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.
We use accessories that speak to both of our personalities and tastes. I added the white coral, he added the baseballs, and the state of illinois embroidery is for us both!
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
Use books to decorate and also show your personality.

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

Tons of great tips and tricks on how to style a bookshelf - even a really big one like this built in!

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.

Styling a bookshelf doesn't have to be expensive. It can be super fun to use garage sale favorites to add some charm!

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.

I purchased this beautiful blue and white China and this milk glass from goodwill. Accessorizing your shelves doesn't have to be expensive!These black books look great next to one another on this bookshelf.
And one last tutorial on styling another shelf:
For the best looking bookshelf sale, combine old and new, and combine books with accessories for a funky style!
Add books to your bookshelf horizontally, using similar colored spines.


Then add books horizontally in different colors for contrast.
Add a large accessory like this vintage lamp to the books.
Find other cute accessories to fill in the space. Super simple bookshelf styling tips!
Once you have your bookshelf styled the way you want it, feel free to mix it up sometimes and add new books and accessories!
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 [email protected].