5 Tips For Bookshelf Styling: How to Get the Ultimate Shelfie

Have you noticed that people are bookshelf styling and then taking photographs of what they’ve done? It’s called a shelfie! You see them all over social media. I’ll show you how to style a bookshelf so you can post your own gorgeous backdrop, too.

Let’s talk about the individual elements that make up a well-styled shelf. I’m going to use my friend Jamie’s bookshelf.



1. Consider existing conditions

The walls are light and the shelf has a dark stain. The floors are split brick which is a deep color. There’s an existing gallery of 12 oyster paintings on the wall.

2. Consider the must-have items

Jamie needs a place to store toys so they are accessible but out of the way and won’t look cluttered.

3. The assessment

I decided the shelves needed lighter colors, reflective surfaces to bring light to the dark bookshelf, and a few pops of color to keep the eye moving over the whole composition.

I had a huge pile of items to choose from.

4. Play with various compositions

I designed this shelf from top to bottom. I put something simple on top to go well with the gallery of oyster shells. I put a couple of items on the top but left a lot of empty space.

I played around with the rest of the shelves, too. Take a step back every so often to see what you think.

5. Pops of color

You’ll notice on each shelf there’s a bright green plant and a pop of turquoise to pull the whole composition together. The colors are placed in various places on each shelf–right, left, and center and I used stacks of items to get that shelfie look. I even managed to get two big baskets of toys to fit on the bottom shelf.

Those are the steps to styling a bookshelf. Simple, right? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • Roberta Banks Roberta Banks on May 19, 2024
    Thank you for these wonderful words of wisdom. I have a bookshelf that I’m putting books on as well as CD’s so you’ll be guiding me through this process.