Ahh yes, the ‘shelfie’ – essentially a picture on your social media of your bookshelf styling. Is it a real word? Well, Collins Dictionary has it under review so while it may not officially be part of the English language, it is most certainly a part of our online world. So styling your shelves is most certainly a ‘thing’ now and while you may have understandably always regarded your bookshelves as simply a place to hold your books, perhaps including a few of my tips today will elevate that shelf to something stylish enough to be shared with this popular hashtag!

I’ve always felt the types of books a person has tells a lot about the person themselves – not unlike a CD or record collection used to do (shame it’s all digital now, you can’t exactly subtly glance through someone’s Ipod these days) – so sharing a bit of your personality with the objects you choose is all part of a way to express ourselves in the home.


Styling a bookshelf so that it both contains your books as well as personal objects is all part of the fun. I’m not going to focus too much on the books themselves in so far it’s a personal choice – both in terms of which books you choose as well as how you decide to system them – whether you like them colour-coded, alphabetical or by genre – it’s entirely up to you!

To start with, choose a few larger objects that you’d like to include in your display. Balance the larger objects within the shelf so that they are dispersed relatively evenly. In other words, you don’t want two large objects sat right next to each other or in the same place from one shelf to another. Consider things like bowls, baskets or large sculptural objects.


Then start adding your books. Lay some horizontally (no more than 3-5 in a stack, you want some room on top) and some vertically. You can do this within a single shelf or across the unit where one shelf has all the books running horizontally and another has all the books laying vertically. Mix it up!


Add your medium sized objects now, taking care to evenly disperse them around, using a few to sit on top of the horizontal stacks of books. Consider things like small pieces of artwork, bowls, vases and picture frames.


Then use your some small items to fill in some of the gaps. These can be anything from tea light votives to air plants to vintage bric-a-brac. Be sure to layer your objects as well so that the largest objects are towards the back and the smallest in the front.


Things always look better in sets of 3 so keep this in mind as you lay out your decorative objects.

Try to include organic and natural objects as well within your scheme – plants, shells, rocks, interesting branches, feathers – they all work rather wonderfully to break up and ground the look.


Stand back periodically to check the overall look and feel and rearrange as necessary.

Pay attention to ‘negative space’ ensuring the look isn’t too cluttered and that objects and items compliment each other in their position and in relation to one another.


After following these simple tips, your book shelf will be styled to perfection! Now get out your phone, snap a pic and share it! How do you style your shelves? I’d love to hear from you!