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Decor Series: How to Decorate a Bookcase

March 23, 2011 in Black, Classic, Living room, Masculine, TIPS & TRICKS!, Vignettes

Design by Phoebe Howard

Does your bookcases look a bit crowded (with books)? Need a fresh and free update? The highly ordered bookcase with books stacked neatly from left to right is a thing of the past because, lets face it; it’s not that interesting to look at. Bookcases are not just furniture for storing books anymore, it’s a blank canvas for us creative people to decorate till we drop! Let’s learn from the professionals:


bookcase decoration ideas with book stacks, picture framed and a bust

The fabulous (and free) online design magazine Lonny featured this beautiful bookcase. All books and magazines are stacked horizontally. On the top two shelves each stack is topped with decorative accents. The two bottom shelves are further from your eyes so you’d want to use larger items here for balance, like framed art, family photos and your favorite books. TIP: Lean books, artwork and framed photos against stacks of magazines and books to cover them up!


emily henderson bookcase decor

Emily Henderson, the winner of Design Star decorated this built-in bookcase in a white, royal blue and turquoise color palette, and added a touch of glamour using gold accents. Notice how she plays on layers and proportion. TIP: Group small objects together to increase the impact!


This bookcase is part of Interior Designer Anthony Gianacakos’ masculine bedroom featured in Lonny Magazine‘s second issue. An epitome of beautiful AND functional at the same time if you ask me. TIP: Pretty boxes and baskets are perfect for organizing magazines and hiding clutter!


Can’t remember who designed this, please email me if You do so I can add proper credit.

The designer of this beautiful bookcase centered all the items in this built in bookcase in little A-type vignettes (learn what they are here). She combines books with accents of interesting shapes, and sticks to a color palette of black, white, blue and silver. TIP: Open a book to a page with pretty images and use it as part of the decor!


Another beautiful yet functional bookcase, photographed by Julian Wass. Numbers, letters, and a pop of red is key here. TIP: Keep functional to the bottom shelves and beautiful to the top!


A wonderful bookcase decorated by Domicile ID. Very simple and interesting. TIP: If your books don’t have gorgeous jackets like these, wrap them up with pretty wrapping paper!


Ashley Whittaker pairs books with organic objects and pattern in this bookcase. I love how she uses the black contrast and the pops of color. You can see the rest of this room in this previous post ;) TIP: Incorporate natural elements like shells, corals and crystals with interesting shapes and beautiful texture.


After redoing my own bookcase a while ago, I was amazed by the fact that books stacked horizontally appeared to take up a lot less space. This of course depends on the height to width ratio of the shelves in the given bookcase, see for your self by drawing a few figures on paper. So what’s your take on the bookcase decor trend? Have you jumped on that train yet? Or are you planning to?

14 responses to Decor Series: How to Decorate a Bookcase

  1. fantastic post!! you always find great images!

  2. Fantastic post! Must bookmark this one! Thanks!

  3. I am really like this. I saw a bookcase today that I passed over. But I am going out to morrow to pick it up. This post was just wat I needed!

    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  4. This is so perfect. We have two new bookcases on the way and I have no idea how to make them pretty. Now, I have some great ideas!! Thanks ;)

  5. Great inspirations here – I like the idea of all the pictures stacked along the top of the shelf…looks great!

  6. What a great post. I love the information, and the images you chose are amazing!

  7. Great post. I love to decorate bookcases. Going back and editing from time to time is equally important. How is it that we just keep adding stuff?

    I did an interview with Greet Lefevre of Belgian Pearls today. She’s wonderful. It’s very interesting to hear her take on Belgian Gardens and landscape. If you get a chance, please stop by. Mona

  8. LOVE this post, thank you so much for sharing, such gorgeous inspiration, have a fab weekend xx

  9. This is a must bookmark kinda post, fantastic tips all in one place! I need to read through it all a second time! Hope you have a great weekend Linda :)

  10. Great advice. I always like to see shelves that can breathe.

  11. GP said on March 26, 2011

    I am so glad I found your blog or did you find me? Anywhoo, I love this post! I needed bookcase inspiration and this is it. Thanks!

  12. Wow I always find quite challenging to arrange bookshelves, love all these inspirations!

  13. A little slow on the uptake here – great piece! Love Emily Henderson!

  14. These are amazing ideas! We have a lot of bookshelves at home but they are just so untidy looking. I am inspired by this post to spend a day of rearranging everything in the shelves. I hope I would be able to transform our home. Thank you.

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