Our Best Bookshelf Decor Ideas

Do you struggle when it comes to styling bookshelves? You are not alone! A lot of people have this problem. But don’t worry, I’ve got some tips that should help. In this article, I’m sharing our best bookshelf decor ideas! With a little creativity, you can make your bookshelves look great and showcase your personality and style. So let’s get started! These bookshelf decor ideas will help you turn that cluttered or empty bookshelf into a work of art!

First Step: Clean Slate

Before you figure out how or what to style your bookshelves with, always start with a clean slate. This means taking everything completely off the shelves and starting with a completely empty space. This is easy if you are moving into a new home.

This also doesn’t mean you can’t use any of your current shelf decor. It just gives you a clean slate to look at and come up with ideas not based on anything that is already there. Hopefully, this will also help you resist the urge to clutter and pack tons of things on your shelves. Shelf decor should be simple and clean, not cluttered!

Bookshelf Color and Backdrop

Consider the color and material of your bookshelf before you start buying or choosing the decor. This will make a difference in what colors and materials you will use to decorate your bookshelves. For instance, our office bookshelves are the color Sherwin Williams Inkwell, which is a darker color with white oak wood backing. This means I will not be using lots of wood for my bookshelf decor. Instead, I will use more gold, white, and even some black elements. You want to make sure the items don’t blend in with the background.

A white bookshelf allows you to use a wider variety of materials and colors, unlike a darker bookshelf. A white bookshelf is a perfect backdrop to display wood tones, brass, and even black. I do suggest using textures when using lighter colors on white bookshelves. This will allow the items to make more of an impact.


Getting inspiration is huge before starting to decorate your bookshelves. I suggest coming up with three or four photographs from either Pinterest, Instagram, or even a book as a guide for your decor. After you compile your inspiration, you can start looking for your decor items. Some of these items you may already have at home and if not I suggest looking at Target, Tjmax, and Home Goods. These are places where you can find affordable shelf decor without breaking the bank.

Don’t Over Do It

I know I say this a lot, but less is more. I think this applies to any type of design, and in this case, bookshelf decor. So when you are planning what items to place on your shelves, make sure not to overdo it. In other words, don’t put too many decor elements on each shelf. Give the items room to breathe.

Decorating With Books

What would a bookshelf be without books? Books are my number one item for decorating bookshelves. I love using books to decorate with because they add height and dimension, and it just makes sense. You can use books in different ways, but a couple of my favorite is to use in between two cool bookends or to lay them flat and stack them.

Decorating With Boxes and Baskets

Using decorative boxes and baskets is also a great way to add style to a bookshelf. I actually like starting with the large things such as boxes and baskets and then filling in with smaller things. If the boxes or baskets are pretty large, this may be the only decor item you need to fill that particular shelf. Another great thing about using larger boxes and baskets is that it gives you storage options for your bookshelves.

Decorating With Vases and Greenery

Vases are another option to use in decorating bookshelves. Large vases are great for using as single items on shelves and smaller vases are for pairing with other objects of different heights. Using different textured vases also can add visual interest to your shelf.

If you want to add some greenery to your bookshelf, a vase is a great place to do this. I’m not a fan of faux greenery that is really bright or looks fake. So I suggest buying some type of darker stems such as eucalyptus and then breaking off the size of what works best for your vase.

Decorating With Bowls and Beads

I also like incorporating different shapes and sizes of bowls into the bookshelf decor. According to the size of the bowl, it can be solo or paired with other items. One item that is great to pair with a bowl is decorative beads. I prefer using beads that contrast with the bowl such as using wood beads with a black bowl or wood beads with a marble bowl.

Decorating With Small Artwork

Small framed art is another great addition you can add to bookshelf decor. This can definitely add more visual interest to your shelves along with some color. Art can be a backdrop paired with other items in front of it or even on a shelf by itself.

A well-decorated bookshelf can add so much personality and style to a room. There are many different ways to decorate a bookshelf, and the possibilities are endless. Hopefully, these bookshelf decor ideas will help you choose the right items to decorate your bookshelf with your style and make it your own!

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