Sometimes designing and accessorizing the smallest places in our homes can feel the most overwhelming. However, it’s the details that make our homes special and cozy. So, when my family and I recently moved to a new home, I spent days (maybe weeks) re-arranging my bookshelves so that they would look Pinterest-worthy. I wanted them to feel stylish but lived in—perfect but not too perfect.

To ease my decorating stress and get a second opinion, I called in reinforcements—my creative sister—who helped me conquer my design fears. I’m absolutely in love with the design of my shelves and have since helped several friends accomplish the same visual. I’ve compiled a how-to list on designing bookshelves so that you can happily enjoy your bookshelves for years to come. Hopefully, these simple bookshelf design tips will make your life a little easier– and more stylish.


Matching Doesn’t Matter

Immediately throw out the idea that everything in your bookshelf needs to match. Matching is so ten years ago. Today’s design style is all about an eclectic blend of found items. The outcome of your shelves is less about matching and more about the way you group the items.

Balance Colors

While the items in your bookshelves don’t need to match, it is important to remember those color balance lessons from the art appreciation class you took in college. For example, if you have a red object in the top left corner of your bookshelf—it brings balance to add a small red or orange vase to the bottom right corner as well.

Green is Good

A little greenery adds warmth and life to your bookshelves. A few planted succulents or a small pot of artificial Benn Grass is a stylish addition to your shelves. In my bookshelves, I opted for a preserved Boxwood wreath that is leaned against the back shelf.


Eliminate the Junk

Less is more when it comes to bookshelves. While groupings of accessories look great on bookshelves, I don’t like seeing TV remotes, paper clips and stacks of unnecessary papers. Invest in attractive storage boxes that fit on your shelves—and hide the clutter.

Stack and Wrap Your Books

You may have noticed the trend of wrapping your books. Whether in music sheets, or craft paper, wrapping your books can create a monochromatic look that is cohesive. Aside from the obvious function of reading, books serve as the perfect foundation to your accessories. Lean three books to the left and stack two books next to the leaned books. On the stacked books, place a picture frame or other small accessory.

Over the holiday season, we decided to create the ultimate multipurpose room. We turned our spare room into a home office + playroom + guest room combination so that we would get the most out of this additional space. To accomplish this, we selected the Orion Console Bed with Desk and Hutch from Xtraroom. This gorgeous piece of furniture is the perfect space-saving solution for our room, and it left me with a set of shelves to accessorize.

Thankfully, because of this simple how-to list, my Orion hutch is not only functional, but it’s stylishly accessorized as well.