3 Simple Tips On Styling Bookshelves

Updated 10.22.2021

3 Simple Tips On Styling Bookshelves

I've always struggled decorating bookshelves! Ugh! These 3 Simple Tips made the biggest difference for me! Now the bookshelves look so pretty! 

Before we get started here are some posts to catch you up on our Master Bedroom Makeover! 

Master Bedroom Makeover
Bedroom Dresser Transformation w/o Sanding
How To Update Old Bookcases Farmhouse Style
How To Transform Your Bed Frame With Paint
How To Build A Shiplap Accent Wall

Anyway...After I finished painting all the furniture... I was ready to get into something fun like one of the wall projects I've been thinking about for our master bedroom.... 

But... Hubby tells me that he would really like it if I'd finish the bookshelves first.  What?? Really??  I can honestly say that was NOT what I wanted to hear, I was planning on doing them LAST!  He knows me so well... knowing that I will procrastinate and put off what I really don't want to work on.... although usually, I will just get involved in another project and not ever finish.  Oh the shame...... 😜😉

So, this is what I'm working with two tall bookshelves flanking the TV at the foot of our bed. This photo was taken before they got a makeover!

Empty bookshelves

Yes, I know there is a lot of controversy about having a TV in the bedroom, but we rarely use it, because we rarely go to bed at the same time.  Hubby's schedule sends him to bed right after dinner, but we like it there for the few times we want to watch TV in bed... anyways...

With little enthusiasm, I started trying to decorate these bookshelves. Then I realized, I really don't have any decor that is 'right' for this new look in our bedroom!  I had a few items, but they definitely weren't working...

Bookshelf start

Bookshelf beginnings

I needed to get out a do a little shopping to fill these bookshelves. So, I hit all the stores and bought anything I liked.  I came back with bags of stuff from Target, Ross, TJ Maxx, Hobby Lobby, Burlington.  You name it I probably went there on my hunt.

My hopes were high, especially after all that shopping!! I just knew this was going to come together in a flash! Yet...as I started unpacking all the things,  it quickly became apparent there wasn't going to be any 'lightening flashes'.... UGH!  It just wasn't coming together... I texted these photos to my daughter.

Bookshelf before

Bookshelf before 2

She said that I was trying to fit too much on each shelf.  Hmmm....  I saw her point.  I wanted it to be simple and relaxing, not a cluttered collection.

I approached Hubby.  He has a way of looking at something and seeing things completely different than I would ever see them.  So, one night we sat in bed and looked at Pinterest and looked up 'Styling bookshelves', lots of ideas popped up.

We started critiquing and pinning things we liked.  The look and feel that we wanted for our bedroom.  One thing he noticed that I didn't, was placement.  

Let me show you...  This is Tip #1.  On a bookshelf, there could be one item on one shelf, then the next shelf might have two or three or take up the entire shelf.  The next would be a bit less or back to one item.  Do you see the pattern?  I honestly never noticed this before.  Interesting...

Pattern for Styling Bookshelves

Just seeing the pattern of items per shelf really clicked in my brain!  Things finally started coming together.  

Tip #2  It's important to keep a simple color scheme.

In the photos I shared with my daughter, I knew that I was lacking greenery.  

That is Tip #3! Add plants and greenery.

Here is some progress. You can see areas that still need some work...

Bookshelves Styling struggles

Bookshelves Styling struggles

Almost there!  What an improvement!!

So, this is was we ended up with. I love how they turned out!

Bookshelf Styling Success - Shelf 1

Oh my.... all the good feels here... 💕

So simple and relaxing,  just what we wanted.  You can see I added some greens... it just softens and adds life.

Lantern greens and love shelf

Then I painted the bookends with some white paint and a dry brush, just to bring the tone down and accent the pattern of them.  What a difference a little paint can make.

Paint makes a huge difference

Then the last shelf, I painted the frame with some more white paint and added a watercolor flower I painted. 💗  Oh, I need to bring out my paints again!

watercolor print

Now quickly, let's go over the other shelf.

Bookshelf Styling Success - Shelf 2

My goodness, how those greens just liven and compliment everything! I love how simple!

greens and bottles

love pitchers and greens

pottery and books

So, what do you think?  

Bedroom Bookshelves Finished

Here are the simple tips in a nutshell, I feel you can't go wrong with these!

1. Alternate using the 1, 2, or 3 items per shelf.

2. Keep a simple color scheme.

3. Always add greenery. 

Hubby was right asking me to finish these first! Now, I get to enjoy looking at those beautiful shelves every morning! Yay! Time to get started on the next project!


Bedroom Bookshelves Finished

1 comment

  1. These turned out gorgeous!!! I have problems styling bookcases, too. I’ll definitely be using your formula for help. Thanks!


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