How to Style a Bookcase


Our bookcase is the centerpiece of our home. My husband had two custom made at a bookcase shop in the Castro, and at nine feet tall, with twelve shelves, they house some of our most precious objects and memories. Like all things in your home, I find that editing is a must, especially after reading Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, and having a baby! Here are some of my favorite tips on how to style. Home guru Emily Henderson has a great tutorial if you're starting from scratch here, and this is a fab and eclectic step-by-step resource. 

1. Vertical & Horizontal– To give your bookcase some dimension and draw the eye in, place books in a variety of patterns. For a short stack of horizontal books, place a small object on top for balance. If you have a large collection of books in a variety of colors, consider grouping them by color for a bright and bold effect. 

2. Pairs - Try grouping similar objects together like a stack of boxes, candlesticks, or a monochrome collection of all white pitchers or vases. 

Deborah Needleman's  The Perfectly Imperfect Home

Deborah Needleman's The Perfectly Imperfect Home

3. Mix it Up -  Bring in a variety of objects in different heights, color, shape, and texture for visual interest. Or, if you have a large, bold item - consider letting that have its own shelf. 

4. Organic - Incorporate a couple of elements from the outside. Think plants, crystals, rocks, or sea shells like coral, or sea fans.  

5. Artwork – Whether it’s your kid’s drawings, greeting card, favorite photos or something fancier, you’ll want to incorporate artwork throughout. Sometimes the book itself can be art - prop open or lean one of your favorite covers on display. Place pieces at the back of the case to create layers and draw the eye in - making the case appear deeper.