Accessorizing A Bookshelf – Cluttered to Gorgeous with SIX Easy Tips!

Accessorizing a bookshelf can seem a little difficult and frustrating. Usually when I am helping a client decorate a bookshelf, the main problem is there are too many books and not enough accessories.  So you are thinking “Great, what accessories do I place on a bookshelf?  Below are six easy tips to accessorizing a bookshelf.  Believe me, it will make a world of difference!

Let’s take a look at a few beautifully decorated bookshelves first, and then go over the six easy tips to decorating a bookshelf.

Inspiring Accessorized Bookshelves

This bookshelf sits in my living room. It used to be black, but I really wanted something a little brighter, so I broke out the latex paint.

Accessorizing a bookshelf by Jenniferdecorates.comThis was a fun styled bookshelf in a Parade of Homes.  I loved the wood shoe mold sitting on an old book, and all the other vintage items.  To me, that is what makes a bookshelf stand out; having unique and interesting items!


You can accessorize a beautiful bookshelf! Jenniferdecorates.comThis is a really cool bookshelf from World Market!  I love it!


Restoration Hardware look using spray paintThis a bookshelf in my office.  I painted it with Rust-oluem spray paint.  I thought it made it look like a special Restoration Hardware piece.  For instructions on painting furniture, visit my page on Painted Furniture Ideas.

Accessorizing a bookshelf by Jenniferdecorates.comThis bookshelf is all monochromatic!  While I would like more variety on my shelves, this is a neat look!

Accessorizing a bookshelf - tons of ideas from Jenniferdecorates.comHere is another photo I took from the Parade of Homes.  These bookshelves are located in a gentleman’s study.

Okay, so ready to learn how to decorate your bookshelf like a pro?  Below are six easy tips to decorating a bookshelf.


Six Tips To Decorating A Bookshelf

Tips #1 – Choosing Your Books

Even though it is a bookshelf, don’t overcrowd it with too many books. You want to accessorize, and by that you will want to add a few display items. Do not decorate with paperback books! They usually look tacky and cheap. (sorry to be blunt.)

If you don’t have many hardback books, try finding some at an antique store, local flea market, or garage sales. You really won’t have to spend much to find some really unique books.

Take the paper covers off of some of your hardback books. Coordinate some of your books by their colors.

Tips #2 – Adding Some Faux Greenery

Add some faux greenery to your shelves. Again, sparingly is the key. If the bookshelf you are decorating isn’t particularly large, then just use one or two small faux plants. Choose a unique container to put your greenery in to add character and detail to your bookshelf.

You can also use greenery without a container like pictured above. Purchase a bush of ivy, lay it on it’s side. Be sure to pull a piece of the ivy behind anything beside it. You want to make your home decor items look “nestled” in.

Tip 3# – Add a Few Photo Frames

Accessorizing a bookshelf - 6 Easy Steps!

Bookshelves are a great place to put photo frames. Again, choose quality frames to make your photos stand out. Don’t overdo, putting too many photo frames on your bookshelf.

TIP: Try to choose close up shots for your photos, they stand out better from a distance.

Tip #4 – Add  Reflective Decor

You can accessorize a bookshelf! Jenniferdecorates.comAdd some accessories that are mirrored or made of mercury glass.  They add an element of sparkle to your bookshelves.  The light bounces off these items and highlights the shelf.  You can use two items like in the photo above, placing one item on a pair of books, and one item on the shelf.  Now, that is easy!

Tip #5 – Choosing Unique And Interesting Bookends

Accessorizing a bookshelf - 6 EASY steps

Bookends are a MUST for accessorizing a bookshelf.  Shop for bookends that have character and a splash of fun!  Make your bookshelf come alive with interesting decor.

Tip #6 – Use Baskets

If you are trying to decorate a rather large bookshelf or entertainment cabinet, baskets are a wonderful idea! Not only can you store things in them that will not be seen, but baskets are very attractive!

Make sure you buy baskets that are the same size and color. This gives balance to accessorizing a bookshelf.

Decorating a Child’s Bookshelf

Accessorizing a kids bookshelfSo, apply some of the six tips when decorating a child’s bookshelf.

Accessorizing a childs bookshelf from Jenniferdecorates.comIn this little boy’s room, I used a lot more decor items than books.  But, because it was a child’s room, I wanted the bookshelves to be fun and interesting.

accessorizing a bookshelf - from Jenniferdecorates.comFind fun decor that can spell out your child’s name, and place it on one of the shelves.

accessorizing-a-childs-bookshelfI like little items that hang over the edge.  I use poster tack to keep things from slipping off if the bookshelf is bumped.

Accessorizing a kids bookshelf - from Jenniferdecorates.comStand a book up to show off the front illustrated cover!  I found the antique blocks, and antique sheep on Ebay.  The little stuffed animal on the shelf keeps an eye on any “monkey business” going on.

Fun Shelves

You can accessorize a beautiful bookshelf! Jenniferdecorates.comThese shelves are located in a bonus room.  The jars are filled with all kinds of treats!  This is such a fun look!

Accessorizing a bookshelf by JenniferDecorates.comI had to show you this shelf!  This craft room was in a Parade of Homes I visited.  The designer had such a great idea with the metal shelves filled with all kinds of craft supplies. I love the little metal buckets!

You can accessorize a bookshelf beautifully! Jenniferdecorates.comWhat adorable open shelving in a laundry room.  I love how they filled a large jar with laundry detergent!  The white towels are yummy!

Good luck decorating your bookshelf! Remember, keep it simple, always add some of your personality in your home decor choices, and surround yourself with things you love!

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