Stylish Ways to Display Your Book Collection

Designing Your Bookshelf

If you’re a big reader, it’s tough to find a storage solution to house your beloved books without making your home feel like a library. Often, they’ll wind up jammed into disorganized, clutter-filled bookcases, or worse – confined to boxes in the garage or basement.

While your electronic device no doubt has the capacity to store hundreds of books to be accessed at the touch of a button, there’s nothing like holding a tangible copy – cracking the spine, turning the pages with your fingers. If you want to keep your books on paper where you can see (and touch) them, there are still plenty of trendy, creative ways to display your collection in style.


1. Add variety to your book stacks.

Rather than simply lining up your books one by one, mix things up by stacking them both horizontally and vertically – both within one shelf and separately, with entire shelves randomly switching between book orientation. This will eliminate that classic library look and makes your shelves appear a lot more interesting.


2. Sort your books by color.

Organizing your books into different color groups is an easy way to curate your shelves. For larger collections, this will be more difficult, and super-organized readers might prefer to stick to a precise Dewey Decimal system. But if you’re up to the challenge, arranging your shelves by color adds a lot of visual interest while still leaving your books easily accessible.

If you have multiple bookcases in different rooms, divide your collection among them – using specific accent colors to enhance your space. Make a bigger statement by mixing in similarly-colored accessories and really play up the rainbow effect.

For a streamlined, neutral look, flip your books around so the spines are facing in. This arrangement allows you to present your collection in an attractive way while eliminating the visual clutter that can be generated by a disorganized bookcase. For readers who are just looking for simple storage, it’s an effective and stylish solution.


3. Incorporate visual breaks.

Shelves and bookcases don’t have to be used solely for book storage. You can turn them into a major focal point for the room by mixing in decorative items like vases, framed art or photographs, woven baskets, and even organic materials like plants and rocks. This is most effective if you include a variety of shapes, heights, and textures for balance and interest.

Bookshelves can often turn into heavy blocks of similar shapes, but incorporating sculptural elements provides a stylish way to break it up. It’s also the perfect opportunity for you to include more of your own personality in your décor.

4. Use paint wisely.

A well-painted bookcase can transform your space and even add architectural detail to a boring room. Painting bookshelves the same color as your walls creates the illusion of built-ins, instantly making your space look more cohesive and organized. Or, draw attention to your curated shelves by painting the insides with a contrasting color. Get creative and choose a vibrant hue, or go with something dark that will make the colors of your book spines really stand out.


5. Display beautiful books like art.

Pick one or two of your nicest books to leave on your coffee table, or turn them on the shelf so the covers are facing out. If you have a large collection of beautiful books or even magazines that you want to feature, consider using picture ledges to create a unique accent wall that showcases some of your favorite covers.

Your books are a reflection of who you are, and a bookshelf can make a wonderful design statement. That is, of course, once you learn to style them right.