How to Style a Bookcase - Part 3

At this point in the styling process, there should be lots of books and a shelving unit that is ready to be filled. Obviously, if the shelf height is variable then start by placing tall books onto the taller shelves. Once all of the books are shelved, then make adjustments. Rearrange books by height and create some stacks. Make sure the color blocks work. In all likelihood, not every square inch of the bookcase is covered with books...which is a good thing because objets and accessories will fill in the gaps.

Before you start commingling the accessories with the books, gather the available items into a space right in front of the bookshelf. Analyze the set as a whole and weed out the things that you don't love. The items that you put on your shelves should reflect your life, style, taste, and personality.

Any number of things can be used...just be imaginative and thoughtful about what you want to see on a daily basis. If the item seems too insignificant to display (from a size standpoint), you might want to put it on a riser or stand (plates). Wisteria's risers are nice and heavy so they are perfect for creating bookends.

Without a doubt, the items that you use to style your bookcase will change and evolve over time. Mine is constantly in flux...frames and photos change and I'm constantly making room for random items picked up during shopping adventures. Right now this bookcase is filled with books, framed photos, and a couple of vases, one of which was purchased by my great aunt during a trip to Japan.

 I love the two photos in this area...one is of my dad's parents on their wedding day and the other is of my mom's parents.

On the other side I have a monogrammed silver dish that belonged to my great uncle along with a blue and white Chinoiserie vase that isn't quite as rich in history since it came from HomeGoods :)

The following are some examples of well-styled bookcases. Note the different arrangements of books and the unique assortment of accessories, I see fossils, vessels, pottery, paintings, figurines, clocks, lights,  boxes, and countless other curiosities that I'd love to hear more about!
Image via Apartment Therapy

The home shown here actually belongs to a couple that my parents are friends with...it's gorgeous and you can see more of it here. I love how Ollabelle used blue and white pottery throughout the whole display!
Image via Antique Shops & Designers, designed by Ollabelle Hall and Pam Pierce, photo by Jack Thompson

Designed by SPG Architects

Image via Architectural Digest
This person has quite a collection of Jonathan Adler pottery
Image via Traditional Home, photo by Sarah Dorio
I love this person's carved wood elephant figure and the tiny paintings...
Image via Flickr

This is a very minimal look but I think the stringent editing works perfectly with the style of the bookcase and the interior as a whole.
Image via Flamant

Now I want to hear about the objects and accessories that you have on your bookshelves. Any favorite things?

Have a great weekend!


  1. I've loved your tips on styling bookcases, as I am currently trying to style two of my own! The way you have styled yours seems effortless and collected which i love!! I just donated a BUNCH of paper back books and now only purchase hardcover, it is totally worth the investment.


  2. I have enjoyed reading this "bookcase" series. This kept me coming back for more!!
    I understand that you don't want to do this often for the sake of your paying clients, but I would much rather read about the "how" than the "what", because I cannot afford most of the "what". It is fabulous, though. Just not realistic for my season of life.

    now, I have booksheves to style :)


  3. i have artwork, foo dogs, brass bookends...vases and a few more items. I think it takes some skill to really get it right...and when done right, it looks fantastic.