How to Make Your Book Collection Shine in Any Bookcase

Books are meant to be read, displayed, and loved. With these decorating tips, you and your guests will be enjoying the sight of your book collection in no time.

By Angelica Delucca


Bookcases have the power to make or break your home. In an age where tangible books are becoming rarer to use, book collections deserve to shine. One of the best ways to show your own book collection the love it deserves is by displaying it in a beautiful way. With these simple and easy tips, you’ll be on your way to styling a bookcase that is both clutter-free and trendy.




Organizing and styling your bookcase can seem like a challenge. With a large collection of books, clutter can easily take over a space. With a small collection of books, a bookshelf can look underwhelming if not decorated with care. In reality, any small or large book collection in any bookcase can shine without sacrificing design. Here’s how:


Tip 1: Organize

The key to a neat and tidy bookcase is organization. Before styling your books, you need to organize them. The best thing about organizing your book collection is that there are so many ways to do so. Some book organizing methods include organizing by author, title, genre, or even cover color. It’s completely up to your preference. One thing to keep in mind during the organizing process is that magazines look their best grouped on their own. Mixing magazines and books on a shelf can make the bookcase look both confusing and cluttered. Not a good combo.




One way to organize magazines and notebooks in a bookcase without the look of clutter is by using a fabric box to fit them in. One example of this is pictured below. For a more neutral look, use a fabric box that is a similar color as the bookshelf. For a pop of color against a darker bookshelf, choose one with a bright hue.




Tip 2: Place Wisely

After organizing your book collection, it’s time to place them in your bookcase in the most practical but decorative way. If you have an abundance of hardcover books, then your bookshelf will shine when similar colors are grouped together. The hardcover books that are color coordinated will serve as an accent and be a focal point of any room. If you have pretty books, this is the way to go.


Hardcovers also look the best and save the most space when placed vertically on a bookshelf. Smaller books or softcovers are better placed horizontally to break up the rigid look of the hardcovers, and they provide a place for accents to be on top of. Small thick softcovers also look their best when they are placed horizontally and lengthwise (see picture below for example). This is the ultimate way to save space while not cluttering your bookcase.


If the room you are featuring your book collection in has a mostly neutral color palette (like mine), with an emphasis on whites (think Scandinavian-esque design), then you might also want to consider letting the white of the pages show by turning your books' covers into the bookcase. If you have a smaller collection, and don’t mind not seeing the titles of the books, then the all-white aesthetic of the book collection could flow perfectly with the room it’s placed in. This method is also great to use if most of your books are vintage and have battered spines or covers.




Tip 3: Accent with Purpose

Accenting a bookcase with extra decorative items is not a necessity, but accents are perfect to use when your book collection is on the smaller side. Accents can help fill in empty awkward spaces, and make a bookcase look full without being cluttered. The most practical and common accents to any bookcase are bookends. Bookends painted with bright colors add a pop of color to book collections, and can also add quirk to an otherwise serious series of books. Other accents look their best alongside book collections when placed on top of books that are laying flat in a bookcase, or on their own on an empty part of a shelf.  




Books are meant to be read, displayed, and loved. With these decorating tips, you and your guests will be enjoying the sight of your book collection in no time. What tip do you plan on trying in your bookcase? Let me know in the comment section below!


For more tips on decorating with books, check out Tips For Designing Your Dream Reading Nook, and for great shelving hacks, check out The What Where and Why of Styling Wall Shelves.


Images used with permission, courtesy of Angelica Delucca

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