15 In decor/ farmhouse decor/ home decor

How to style your bookcase

How to style your bookcase or decorate your built in bookshelves
This post contains affiliate links meaning I make a small commission.

So many people struggle with how to style their bookcases or shelves. One of the things I get asked often is for tips on how I style my bookcases. My entertainment center and built in bookcases are a big focal point in our home and I have had so much fun styling them. I like to change out some of the items as the seasons change too. It’s a great way to freshen up the room.

Here are my tips on how to style your bookcase.

And be sure to scroll to the bottom where I’ve linked some of my favorite items to decorate with.

1.) Start fresh – First take everything off of your shelves. Gather all of your decor from your shelves and throughout your home and put it in a pile so that you can see everything in your collection.

2.) Choose your color palette – Think about the color palette in your room and choose pieces that complement it so as to make it look cohesive. I decorate my home in natural colors like white, creams, gray, and greens to give the room an open and airy feel.

how to style your bookcases, farmhouse decor, shelf decor

3.) Create balance – Balance each side with items of equal proportion. You want it to look balanced, not necessarily symmetrical. But it also doesn’t need to be “matchy-matchy” which I personally think makes it look more staged.

4.) Add books – Stack them vertically as well as horizontally, with some in the center and others to the side to create a mixture. I made these custom books with our names to add a personal touch. Head to my Etsy shop to see some of my other collections or create a personalized set of your own.

farmhouse books, farmhouse decor, personalized books, stamped books

5.) Add faux or real plants – My personal favorites are either dried hydrangeas, eucalyptus and boxwood. I added little boxwood wreaths and tied them with some ribbon to decorate the doors. This is a great way to add some color. Using different sized vases and pitchers is another great way to add dimension.

6.) Use decorative trays and baskets  – Not only is this a great way to give your items a home, but it also adds different elements and textures such as metals and woods as well. I like to store blankets in some baskets on the bottom shelves to make the room a little more cozy.

decorative stand, farmhouse decor, farmhouse books, bookshelf decor

7.) Less is more – Your shelves should not look cluttered. It’s ok to leave some shelves almost bare. It makes it appear bigger.


Shop some of my favorite decor items below:



Boxwood Wreath

Decorative beaded garland

Decorative tray

Tiered stand

For more Decor Posts check out:

Best Throw Pillow Covers on Amazon

No Sew Dropcloth Curtains

Whitewashed Brick Fireplace Reveal


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How to style your bookcases

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  • Reply
    Susanna Heiskanen
    October 2, 2019 at 6:10 am

    I love your bookcase! I wish mine would be as nice as that. Yes less is more for sure !

  • Reply
    October 2, 2019 at 6:53 am

    Love these tips! It’s exactly what I do for my shelves. Save for clutter, because I have thousands of books lol

  • Reply
    Hannah Kimmel
    October 7, 2019 at 9:11 am

    This is so beautiful! Thanks for the tips.

  • Reply
    October 7, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Love this Nicole. I’m constantly rearranging mine and haven’t ever settled on something where I think…THAT”S IT, PERFECT! I think starting fresh is totally key! Checking out your Etsy shop now!

  • Reply
    Adriane Thompson
    October 9, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    That is GORGEOUS! I want to switch to white so badly but our house is already so dark. womp womp. Super cute!!! That would definitely make me feel good being in that room!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    Definitely saving this – it’s gorgeous and matches the vibe of my house completely! Pinning ❤️

  • Reply
    Kaitlin Goody
    September 10, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    Where did you buy your bookshelf with the barn doors?

    • Reply
      September 11, 2021 at 5:28 am

      Hi Kaitlin! Our entertainment center is from Ashley Homestore! My favorite piece in our whole house!

  • Reply
    Giangi Townsend
    January 5, 2022 at 9:31 am

    Absolutely love it! Clean and fun. Love the white color and the farm doors. I am determined to do the same for my cabinet. Thank you for the suggestion

  • Reply
    January 5, 2022 at 9:35 am

    Love the book case. So pretty & love how bright it is with the white decor.

  • Reply
    January 5, 2022 at 10:11 am

    This is so pretty! Home styling is def a big thing for me after spending so much time at home the last 2 years!!

  • Reply
    February 16, 2022 at 8:51 am

    Great tips! I love your color scheme!

    • Reply
      February 17, 2022 at 6:48 am

      Thank you Heidi!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    Curious – Is this a pre-made bookshelf unit or custom? I am anxious to explore your site some more but had this question! Thank you.

    • Reply
      October 21, 2022 at 6:32 pm

      Hi Kim! It is actually an entertainment center! I got it from Ashley Furniture a few years ago. Last time I checked, it was discontinued 🙁

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