A beautiful set of bookshelves is about so much more than just books! Bookshelves are a design element that is both functional and decorative. They solve some of your storage issues and, at the same time, help you display decorative items, such as statuary, vases, flower arrangements, clocks, plants, framed photos, signs and yes, even books!

Bookshelves are not just for a home office or library; they can be functional and add interest to almost any room of the house, from foyer to kitchen to bedroom and more. You can also install bookshelves along a stairway or around windows or a door. Consider building a small bench in between your bookshelves so you can create a reading nook.

white built-in bookcases around a window
Bookcases built around a window to create a small reading nook. Hunter Douglas


Shelves come in almost any style, material, shape and color; some are closed in and others are open style. Bookshelves can be built-in, customized to your space from a custom cabinet company, or purchased as-is and set in place. The latter is the most cost efficient and easy DIY weekend project.

– A vintage bookshelf can add the look and feel of history to your décor.
– Industrial bookshelves add a distressed, loft-like style to any space.
– A French boulangerie creates a European feel.
– Totally modern neutral bookshelves blend into the background of your decorating style. Shelves might be made of glass or perforated metal slabs.

metal wood bookcases
Metal and wood wall mounted bookcases are a functional and stylish to create a modern style. Hunter Douglas


-For a new take on arranging books, lay books horizontally or organize your books by color. You could even consider removing the paper covers or turn the books so the pages are facing out.

-Don’t pack your shelves too tightly; leaving empty space creates a cleaner look.

-Don’t forget about bookends; some are interesting and fun. Check out these fun bookends from Crate&Barrel and West Elm

styled bookcase
Shelf styling by Liz Love Grows Wild

Consider these ideas to optimize the impact of your bookshelves:

– If your bookshelves have a closed back, paint the back a contrasting color for a splash of colour.

– Use a bookshelf as a room divider, either at waist height or full height.

mint green backboard
Mint green background on painted off white bookshelves. Eric Piasechi – Elle Decor Design by S.R. Gambrel, Inc.

Add appeal to the display of your prized possessions and family photos with a clutter-free set of bookshelves.

white floating shelves above a cabinet
White floating shelves over a built-in cabinet is the minimal version of a built-in bookcase. Design by Urban Aesthetics


If you would like help decorating your bookshelves, contact me here 

Hunter Douglas and Urban Aesthetics


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