Bookshelves are a great way to combine storage with style. They show off your personality and aesthetic! But getting your bookshelf’s presentation right can be challenging. Fear not; we are sharing some helpful pointers to step up your styling game and make your shelves picture-worthy.

How to Style Your Bookshelves

– All photos are from projects by Beth Haley Design (BHD).

Start with the books.

Mix vertical rows with horizontal stacks to create visual interest. Vary the placement of books on the left, right, and center of your shelves while still leaving room for additional objects and accessories.

BethHaley Crestridge Bookshelf1

Stacking books vertically and horizontally adds movement.

Layer in artwork and/or framed photos.

Tilt large pieces of art or deco against the back wall to add depth. Another idea is to hang art or photos on the bookshelf frame itself or in front of your books.

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Bookshelves are a fantastic way to showcase family photos — old and new!

Incorporate tall, eye-catching objects.

Tall, eye-catching objects, such as vases or candlesticks, anchor your shelving arrangement. One of our favorite tips is to incorporate unique sculptural forms, meaningful items from your travels, or vintage heirloom pieces.

BethHaley Crestridge Bookshelf2

Grouping elements of similar colors and materials helps to create a cohesive arrangement.

Add in natural elements.

Natural elements like flowers, small plants, or seashells add texture and liveliness. Place these elements atop stacks of books, or use them to fill in large gaps.


A vase of fresh flowers brings life to this bookshelf.

Finally, stand back and assess your work! The key to bookshelf styling is to ensure you have a good balance of books and objects while still leaving some breathing room, so your shelves don’t look too cluttered.

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