Home Decor Tips: How To Decorate Shelves & Bookcases With Style

Decorating bookshelves strategically can help bring a room together and give it a specific design aesthetic. Not sure where to begin with arranging your shelves? Here are some tips on how to decorate shelves and bookcases with style.


Decorate With Plants On Each Level Of A Shelving Unit

How To Decorate Shelves - Use Plants

Greenery can add life and color to any room and can typically fit in with any decor style. The types of planters and pots you use should be strategically chosen based on the main decor in the room. For instance, if you have a rustic style living room with farmhouse decor, you should go for galvanized metal planters and distressed wood pots.

Add real or faux plants to every single shelf of the bookcase to amplify an open and cheerful environment. If you want a more serene and simple look, use the same type of plant for each shelf along with the same planter. However, for a more artistic and wild look, decorate with a different type of plant on each shelf and use different sizes, colors, and shapes of planters.

You’ll want to stagger the plants so they aren’t directly under each other. This technique will make it look more stylish and interesting. Be sure to intermix some unique decorative accents and books on the shelves with the plants to complete the look.



Stack Books On Top Of Each Other For A Contemporary Shelving Style

Stacked Books On Shelf

While you can take the traditional route of standing books up in a bookcase with a decorative bookend, stacking them on top of each other can give your room a whole new style. This unique decorating method will give you a modern artsy look.

Make sure to stack no more than four books on top of each other to maintain a clean style. It’s best to use books that have neutral colored spines such as white, black, brown, or tan. You can even choose to put linen covers on each of them so they match and flow. Each shelf should be set up differently. For instant, you can place a stack of books on the right right side of your top shelf, place two different stacks of books in your middle shelf, and place another stack of books on the left side of your bottom shelf.

Fill in the empty spaces with decorative accents. Lean towards gold-toned and glass decorations to keep up with the warm artistic appearance. You can even place a decoration on top of some of the book stacks if they are short enough. Be creative with the way you display the decor but don’t go overboard.


Maintain A Minimalistic Look With One Decoration On Each Shelf Of A Bookcase

How To Decorate Shelves - Minimal Shelving Decor

If you want something easy, simple, and symmetric, then minimally decorated shelves are perfect for you! The minimalist look is very chic and stylish and works especially well in smaller living rooms and bedrooms.

To achieve the minimal look, make sure to put only one decorative accent on each shelf of your bookcase. Place your accents in the middle of each shelf to give the effect of a symmetrical and purposefully designed space. Always make sure to match the color scheme in the room when decorating your minimalist bookcase. This will help you maintain a simple look that blends seamlessly into the room.

Minimalist Bookcase Shelf Decor Ideas

  • A succulent or small plant
  • A wooden sentiment block sign
  • A monogram decoration representing the first letter of your family name
  • A thin and angular sculpture
  • A salt lamp or small decorative lamp
  • A decorative jar candle
  • A picture frame

Use Various Sizes Of Decorative Candles To Accent Shelves

Use Candles On Shelves

Candles are a classic decoration that should always be included in your decorating plans. They are incredibly versatile and can fit in well with any design style, especially if you use decorative candle holders.

Use a variety of shapes and sizes when decorating your shelves with candles. For instance, you can put candlesticks in a candle holder on one shelf and place a mixed selection of pillar candles on a plate on another shelf. White candles are neutral enough to match with any room, but you can play around with with colored candles for a bolder look.

Since you’re using so many different candles with this decorating technique, it’s best to choose unscented candles. You don’t want to have such a heavy mix of fragrances in the room; the point of this technique is to simply achieve a visually pleasing setting. However, feel free to place a scented candle somewhere else in the room.



Decorate Shelves With A Bright Color Scheme In A Neutral Room

Decorate Shelves With Bright Colors

If you’re looking for a more unique way on how to decorate shelves, using pops of colors can give you a fun, vibrant, and playful look. Before you decide on adding colors on your shelves, it’s important that you start off with a neutral room that has white, beige, or gray colored walls.

There’s not really a true strategy when it comes to a colorful bookcase because the main idea is to make it look as funky as you want. You can choose to have a specific color scheme and stay within the various shades of those colors, or you can bring in a rainbow of bright and contrasting colors.

How To Decorate Shelves With Colors

  • Lean a collection of hardcover books on a shelf. Find ones that have various colors and patterns or paint them with the desired colors.
  • Stack different colored mugs on top of each other on one of the shelves.
  • Use different sizes and colors of glass bottles throughout your entire bookcase.
  • Paint wooden frames and lean them against your shelves, or put small wall art on a picture holder.
  • Fill your shelves with a large variety of gemstones, colored rocks, and unique crystals.


Now that you’ve learned how to decorate shelves and bookcases in several ways, shop our selection of Decorative Accents to get started on the styling process!

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