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How to Style a Bookshelf

Have you ever had a little corner that gave you trouble? Like no matter how you configure the furniture or rethink the flow, something doesn’t add up? Well, I met my match with this living room corner. It has some limitations with the fireplace, windows, and overall long shape of the room. Luckily, All Modern jumped in with this tall, leaning bookcase which solved a lot of space issues. Now, I’m showing you how to style a bookshelf with neutral decor.

styled bookshelf in living room

Bookshelf Styling Tips

  • Start with a Blank Slate – The easiest way to style any shelf is to start with an empty shelf
  • Add for Height – To keep the bookcase from feeling cluttered and short, use vertical artwork, leaf stems, vases, stacked books, and other tall objects to move the eye upward.
  • Balance Shapes – Use a mix of square, boxy, round, and irregular shaped items to keep the bookshelf from feeling flat
  • Mix up the Books – If you’re styling with books, think of ways to display them including horizontal, spine in or out, stacked, etc.
leaning bookcase in living room

While part of a bigger living room refresh, here I focused on just this small corner. While you likely wouldn’t guess it, this space has given me a lot of grief while we’ve lived here.

What once felt like an empty awkward corner, is now a grounded, balanced area with a tall bookshelf. It adds a lot of height to the space and anchors this back corner. Really a perfect solution!

As for styling, I always opt for neutral decor that is both practical and easy to incorporate. If you’re wondering how to style a bookshelf these items make it simple.

neutral bookshelf styling decor pieces

Bookshelf Styling Decor

  1. Wood and Metal Leaning Bookcase
  2. Dried Foliage – perfect for added height when live greenery is not an option
  3. Matte Black Porcelain Vase – one of my all time favorites
  4. Flight Vertical Bird Print – this art print is one of my go to prints from Juniper Print Shop
  5. Pacific Natural Coffee Table Book – inspiring natural home decor
  6. Oasis: Modern Desert Homes Book – oh, how I dream with this book!
  7. Pale Wood Chain – love this so much, I have two!
  8. Speckled White Vase
  9. Round Wood Bowl – adds warmth & depth so the shelves don’t feel flat
  10. Ceramic Jar Candle
  11. Woven Rectangle Basket – I use a variety of these to “anchor” the bottom shelf
living room corner with bookshelf and neutral home decor

I started with this ladder bookcase. It serves a few purposes. First, we’re short on storage in this house. Secondly, the angled shape gives some dimension to this boxy room and really fills up the awkward corner.

How to Style a Bookshelf Without Books?

You might be wondering if you even can you decorate a bookshelf without books! Yes, you totally can. Use a variety of other objects like artwork, vases, small plants, decorative bowls, baskets, and other special items to create a dynamic, organized bookcase.

You can also always add in a few coffee table books to keep it interesting!

bookshelf with neutral home decor

Overall, I’m really happy with this bookcase and the overall corner in our living room. Using neutral decor really makes decorating simple and I hope you found these tips helpful in learning more about how to style a bookshelf!