Bookshelf Styling Tips and Tricks To Sell Your Home

October 1, 2019
Bookshelf styling

It’s the simple things that can make a house feel like a home. Bookshelf styling is a simple yet effective way to change the décor of a room and bring a sense of homely comfort to any space. Arrange your room with a focal point reflecting the things you love and complementing the space you’re in.

Declutter and design


A cluttered bookshelf can leave you feeling claustrophobic and without any sense of where to look first. If your goal is to achieve a place of Zen, bookshelf styling is a good place to start.

Start with a blank canvas, remove all items and group them together. There are many ways to do this, including arranging by size, colour or theme. Look at essential items, or as Marie Kondo would say, keep those that “spark joy”.

Try to maintain balance with your bookshelf display and consider donating unused items so others can benefit from the things you’ve enjoyed but no longer use.

If you’re finding it hard letting go, manage clutter by investing in a set of wicker baskets. Place these lower on the bookshelf to keep them out of your direct line of sight.

Painting your bookshelf

Bookshelf Styling Tips and Tricks To Sell Your Home

Keep in mind that the colours you choose will set the tone and atmosphere of your room. A simple white bookshelf will look light and bright and allow items to pop in a modern space.

Muted tones like pale pinks and rose gold, combined with vintage inspired pieces can add character to any room, while mixing a black painted bookshelf with metallic accents like copper or brass can add a masculine element and may work best in a home office setting.

For a rustic look, consider combining a metallic background with wooden décor. Depending on the bookshelf you’re working with, if it’s an older piece, instead of repainting, look at other options.

You may be able to sand and lacquer it, taking advantage of any grains and colours in the wood to create additional depth and feature the bookshelf itself.

Styling your books

Vintage books on shelf

Look at the style of your books. For example, if they’re traditional and you have a few key books of value, consider featuring them on floating bookshelf to highlight their importance. Doing this can create a focal point which can be complimented throughout the room with additional décor items.

Sentimental pieces

You don’t need to follow the crowd and adhere to guidelines when styling your bookshelf. Consider what you own that carries sentimental value.

Floral hair pins used at your wedding could be displayed in a small pewter vase. A brooch could be placed on a horizontal stack of books. A bookmark with a special message could be showcased in a photo frame, or a pendant within a shadow box.  The are no rules when it comes to creativity.


Bookshelf styling

What colour is your bookshelf? If it’s in a neutral colour, consider complimenting with pastel colours. Group books of similar sizes together and lay some horizontally to increase the visible white space and compliment the palette.

Create a sense of interest with angles and décor items. Keeping it simple will ensure you can focus and appreciate the style and arrangement of your items.

A bookshelf is also a great way to reinforce an accent colour throughout a room. With a colourful rug, consider bringing out a secondary colour onto your wall through books. This helps to ensure the room remains cohesive, without committing to a potentially expensive purchase of new artwork or wall paint.

You can also achieve this bookshelf style by showcasing existing artwork. The key is to place it at the back of your bookshelf with one or two small decorative items in front to create interest.

Using colour, your books, artwork and décor items can easily change the look of any room according to your mood, social trends or change of seasons.  

Try bringing the great outdoors inside with a vase and plants to add life to your display and soften the overall look. The added health benefits of improving air quality and creating a calm environment also provide an advantage that goes beyond mere aesthetics.


If your bookshelf is in a dark corner, consider adding lighting. You can do this with fairy lights, a small lamp or LED lighting. A strategically placed floor light or one that’s wall mounted can also help to make a dark space inviting.

Shape and size

Modern bookshelf

Bookshelves don’t need to be traditional in design. Often the ones that make the most impact are unique. Do your research and look at places like Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration.

Bookshelves with varying segmented spaces allow you to feature and stack sentimental items. Including photo books, a framed photo or an item you picked up while travelling can personalise your bookshelf and ensure it’s not left looking like you’re in a library. It’s also a great way to create talking points when guests arrive.


Bookshelf tree

Get creative. Look at the style of the room and let your imagination set the theme when positioning your display items. With children’s rooms, get down low and choose a fun or quirky design to really set the tone. Books don’t need to be vertical, so play around with the positioning of books and decor items.

Where positioning and ease of access is your goal, be careful not to over-clutter or detract from special feature items of your bookshelf.

If you’re thinking about selling your property, bookshelf styling can also provide an affordable way to let your property stand out from the crowd and attract buyers. It’s a great way to appeal to agents and ideally get your property featured in advertising and visible to a wider audience. 

The above are just some areas to consider when styling your bookshelf, but let your personal style reflect what you do with the space. Whether your style is quirky, sophisticated, modern or classic, the choice is yours, so have fun with it.

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