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16 Bookshelf Ideas for a Stylish Home Library

Book yourself a trip to decoration heaven! Here are our best creative bookshelf decor ideas to bring out the best of your tomes.

1. Rustic Charm

Forget the latest trends in whatever home magazine you subscribe to; dive deep into the world of vintage! In a bookshelf, rustic vintage decorative objects bring stories to rival the books themselves.

2. Signs and Figurines

If your shelves are feeling overlooked, call attention to them with bold sculptures, figurines and signage.

3. Treasure Trove Library

This bookcase/desk is a library modern bookshelf decor trove of books, fresh plants and conversation pieces.

4. Curvature

Sometimes, the statement décor isn’t about what’s in the bookshelf – but rather the bookshelf itself, like this home library curved statement shelf display.

5. Sharp Reader

Sharpen up your reading skills with little green thorny objects – and a matching green bookcase to boot.

6. Minimalism

If you want to let the home library books speak for themselves, keep the decorations to a minimum.

7. Bookcase Pyramid

If your reading style is eclectic, let your décor match. Opt for unusual shapes – like this triangular bookcase!

8. Traditional Decor

Travel souvenirs, close-up photography, stunning bookends alongside groupings of classic volumes. For the sophisticated reader, it doesn’t get any better.

9. Mid-Century Musings

Take inspiration from the 1950’s: turn a low console into a bookcase and infuse it with as many live plants as possible!

10. Peek-a-Book

Got a tall vase or sculpture in need of a little showing off? Look for a bookcase with adjustable shelves – or forgo the bookcase altogether and opt for a room divider to give you more room for more decor.

11. Books Lined Up

Here’s a trade secret: punctuate your bookshelves with decorative boxes; they’ll serve as focal points – and extra storage for the ‘odds-and-ends’ clutter you might need to hide!

12. Book Aesthetic

If you’re stuck with old, worn book bindings, cover them with pretty fabric for statement, one-of-a-kind bookshelf style. (To get the look: pick out your favorite colorful, patterned piece of fabric, and line it around the outside of a book cover; bind the fabric to the inside of the book’s cover using double-sided adhesive or hot glue.)

13. Top Shelf Decor

Use an airy hutch as a bookshelf in a dining room. Use it as dish storage, book storage, or both!

14. Bicycle Bookends

When it really comes down to it, books bring out our inner child. (What’s more ‘youthful’ than delving into a good story?) Whether you’re 4 or 104, these whimsical bookends are the perfect companion for a book collection. (They also work great as top of bookcase decor!)

15. Etagere

There’s something so satisfying about a cube etagere. Perhaps it’s the way it invites compartmentalization, allowing the decorator to organize in sections – by color, author or whatever pleases her. Whatever it is, it makes for stunning bookshelf décor!

16. For the Librarian

Books, books and more books. Oh, and books! For some, a bookshelf overflowing with nothing but books is the most beautiful sight of all!

Wall Bookshelf Ideas

Wall bookshelves, or shelves attached to a wall, don’t need a lot in the way of décor, especially if the same wall is painted in an accent color. The material of the shelf itself, whether wood or metal, brings contrast on its own, especially given the proximity of the shelf to the texture/color of the wall to which it is attached. Style these designs with minimalist décor. For a wall bookshelf, try one figurine and two or three books (or the equivalent for mass and the amount of space the aesthetic takes up)!

Bedroom Bookshelf Ideas

In a bedroom, a bookshelf should be more about actual books than décor. (Living room bookshelves are more about décor and presenting an aesthetic, since the living room is the space guests see and since you spend most of your time in the living room.) Here is where you will access your books – the books you reach for night after night and which hold personal meaning to you. While, in a bedroom bookshelf, you don’t have to incorporate much on the side of décor (though if you want to, you, of course, can!), there are still ways to get creative: try organizing your books by color or size – or, if you’re a self-proclaimed “book nerd,” author’s name, literary genre or order of favorites.

Living Room Bookshelf Ideas (+ How to Decorate Bookshelves Without Books)

In a living room, show off a couple of your favorite hardcover books. Try arranging books by size for aesthetic and balance, and contrasting the space with a decorative figurine or bookend on every level. If you don’t have books to display in a living room, try objects only: vases, jars, table clocks, globes, decorative boxes, smart speakers – the list of non-book bookshelf “fillers” goes on!

Bookshelf Ideas for Small Rooms

In a small room, bookshelves can take up more real estate than you may have planned for, so opt, if you can, for wall bookshelves instead. These take up no floor space and serve as décor as well as storage for books, records and other objects. If you can’t pass up a floor bookshelf design, look for small space-friendly designs that can more easily fit into awkward corners – or even serve as a bookshelf-nightstand two-in-one, multifunctional piece, if necessary! 

Home Office Library Ideas (Home Office Library Design Ideas)

Get focused for working from home by incorporating a library into your office space. Whether you use a bookcase, floating shelves or etagere, keep your resource books front and center, where they're easiest to reach. For space-saving, try lining each shelf with two rows of books – the first will be hidden behind the second row, so place your books strategically based on which ones you want to be seen!

Watch: How to Decorate a Bookshelf

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.