Odds & Ends: 5 Shelf Styling Tips

Shelf Styling

The word bookshelf is a bit of a misnomer these days. If you’ve ever been stopped in your tracks by the perfect “shelfie” on Instagram, you know that books are just the beginning. No bookshelf is complete without an assortment of decorative objects to sit alongside your hardcover collection. But styling a bookshelf is one of those tasks that seems like it would be easy until you get started. It’s truly an art form in and of itself—and if you don’t stick to a well thought-out process, it’s easy for things to fall flat or start to look cluttered. So with that in mind, today we are breaking it all down for you. Check out our tips below for beautiful bookshelf styling 101. And if you see some pieces you like, you are in luck, because most of the decorative objects we used come from the brand new !

Shelf Styling

1. Begin with Books 

Books make the best first step before you start styling out your favorite décor pieces. Place several groupings of books throughout your bookshelf, with some standing upright and others stacked horizontally.

Shelf Styling

2. Add Artwork

The second step is adding framed artwork, photographs, and prints, which will give you a better idea of what space you have to fill with other objects. Keep in mind that artwork does not necessarily have to be front and center in your shelfie. It’s also OK to layer other objects in front of a print.

3. Bring in the Bits & Baubles 

Now comes the fun part. Once you have books and art taken care of, you can begin styling your trinkets, treasures, and favorite decorative objects. If you have a collection (i.e. brass fruit you found at the flea market), a bookshelf is a great spot to display it. There is really no limit to what types of items you can include, as long as they suit your aesthetic., candles, , and are just a few of our favorite ideas.

4. Get Levelheaded

While you’re styling your shelf, keep levels in mind. To keep things interesting, you want your eye to be drawn to objects of all different heights and orientations. With books, this means stacking some horizontally instead of having them all standing upright. With artwork, this may mean placing some of your prints toward the back of the shelf, with something else layered in front, and making sure your artwork varies in scale. With decorative objects, you should consider placing some items on top of your book stacks, and also having objects of varied shapes and sizes.

5. Avoid Overcrowding 

Another tip to keep in mind throughout the process is that you don’t want to overcrowd your shelf. Unless you subscribe to a truly maximalist aesthetic, most bookshelves look better when they have some space in between books and objects. Of course this also means that you won’t be able to keep dozens of books out on display. If you have a large personal library, tuck away any dog-eared paperbacks in storage and keep only your most beautiful books and treasured objects out on your shelf.

Have you been stepping up your shelfie game?

We’d love to see photos of your own bookshelves on Instagram. Hashtag #lcdotcomloves so we can take a peek, and we used to style these shelves at Kohl’s below.

XO Team LC

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