How to style a book case

Creating a fabulous shelf display is all about filling those shelves with much more than just books. It takes planning, attention to detail and the most important element of it all – discipline. Yup, that’s right; the hardest part of decorating those large open shelves is resisting the temptation to fill it up with pretty much anything. Let it be a process and edit edit edit.

Sort your books by size, colour or author, creating groups that will live together on the shelf.  I like each group to be sorted from big to small in height. Mix up the way you place the groups in the shelves. Keep it visually interesting with some books standing vertically and some stacked horizontally.


Break up a row of books by slowly layering in interesting-looking objects.

Keep in mind.
Keep the room's aesthetic and color palette in mind when choosing items for your shelves. Add elements to your bookcase that will tie into the overall design of the room. If you're going for a nautical, beachy vibe, for example, you could add items like shells, sea glass and wicker baskets.

The trick is to make it feel like there are layers of interest. Put chosen objects on top of the book stacks or some peeking out from behind and some in front of the books. It helps to have odd number of objects as it feels more balanced to the eye, (the group of books is seen as 1 object.)

Don’t over crowd your shelf with too many trinkets. In most cases, less is more. Edit edit edit. Once you think you are done styling your bookshelf, step back and take in the whole scene. If it’s a bit too much, remove one item — sometimes that's all it takes. Step back again, and if you feel a little more pruning is in order, remove one more thing. Keep going, one item at a time, until it feels just right.

Put objects together that has meaning, and that is exactly what your bookshelf will get across.

At Mr Paintsman we design and build bespoke bookcases, wardrobes and kitchen cabinets, for all your stylish storage needs. Perfect to create a study nook for the students in the home or a home office. Call 800paint to discuss your needs.

View our web page to see bespoke book case on Palm Jumeirah See

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