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How to style a bookcase

A well-styled bookcase can transform a bare room, especially when filled with books, collectibles and decor accessories. There are a few design tricks that you can use when styling a bookcase and look at SAS Interiors for their top tips on how to style a bookcase.

ABOVE: The beauty of this bookcase display is the common thread of colour in the books and the accessories.  The hues of gold, white, and varying shades of blue create a cohesive composition.

There is truly nothing like a well styled bookcase filled with books, accessories, collectibles, and photos that add warmth, intrigue, and uniqueness to a space. I’ve been doing some styling lately for a few clients, and it’s been so enjoyable to start with a blank slate and build from the ground up by adding different elements and layers to create an engaging and interesting composition. Whether built-in or free-standing, bookshelves can represent and showcase you and your families passions, interests, and hobbies. 





They can make a bare wall go from blah-to-beautiful and make an overall space feel larger and taller. No matter your budget, a well-styled bookcase can be achieved using random accessories from around your home, secondhand finds, collectibles, and do-it-yourself creations. The key to the overall look is how to pull the accessories together to create an aesthetically pleasing result, yet not add too much so it looks cluttered and not add too little so it appears bare.

Key elements to achieve a well styled bookcase:

  1. Layer – Add elements to the back of the bookcase and continue it to the bookcase frame.
  2. Add Varying Heights – Incorporate elements with varying heights.  Display smaller accessories in front and graduate to taller and larger pieces behind.
  3. Mix it up – Display a mixture of books, accessories, collectibles, DIY creations, and photos
  4. Books Become Art – Books are beautiful.  From their colour to their typography, books are truly art, so let them tell a story.  Display them horizontally and vertically, by colour, or by subject.

Start of with a blank canvas so that won't be tempted to leave anything in the same place. This is a good time to give them a quick cleaning too! Wipe off dust with a damp towel and get rid of any cobwebs. Arrange your items on a the floor or on a table and put them all in one spot. Take a look so you can see exactly what you have to work with. Be sure to look all around the house. Sometimes finding a new home for an item can give it new life.

My bookcases is divided into three sections. I like to tackle one section at a time and then move on to the next — almost as if each section is a stand-alone case. I find it easier to do this because it's not so daunting. You'll notice by the final photo the composition is different than it is in this shot. I decided to turn the books around on the top shelf, giving it a totally different look. I also like to mix the height of the items I use to add interest.

Displaying things in groups of threes is one of the tricks I've learned — it's visually pleasing.

I use books to add height to items. Try ordering items from the tallest to the shortest. I wouldn't do this for the entire case, because all of the tall things would end up on one side. It'll work better if you tackle each section one-by-one, and have just a few of the groupings move from tallest to shortest. Be sure to take a step back every now and then to get an overall view.