Bookshelf Styling 101 (with a little help from YHL)

We’ve all seen it – Impeccably styled bookshelves peppered across the Internet. Between Pinterest and my favorite blogs, I’m beginning to get the feeling that I’m the last novice on earth still trying to master the art of a finely arranged bookcase. Case in point, the shelf in our master bedroom.


There was certainly nothing exciting about it. Everything felt a little off-to-the-side heavy (books on the left, halfhearted stacks and accessories on the right), and it seemed like the entire set up was an afterthought. Well unfortunately, it felt that way because it was that way. (P.S. Yes…I own a “Blogging for Dummies” book – STILL feeling a bit like a dummy around these parts actually! Practice makes perfect, right?)

Despite the pessimism, there is a good ending to this story – Someone FINALLY gave me the formula that I’ve been craving. That someone is Young House Love, in the form of their newly released bestseller.

YHL book-cover-only

Believe it or not, I’m STILL working my way through this sucker, but so far I’m in love. I’m not surprised though. Their blog has always been a favorite of mine. What’s not to love? Witty humor, brilliant tips and tricks and some of the most humble Internet celebs I’ve ever had the pleasure of following!

But anyway, how they helped this little blogger achieve bookshelf serenity…

So project #104 is specifically dealing with bookcase clutter – How to get started, what steps to take from there and how to polish the entire look off. In good YHL fashion, I was given sequential pointers and was ultimately able to finish the project in under 10 minutes.


So now is where I pass the brilliance on to you – If you haven’t motored through this project already, that is…

First, I emptied my shelf of books and accessories completely to allow for a fresh, blank canvas. I also took this opportunity to do a little dusting since those pretty white shelves were looking a bit worse for wear.


After that, I started with my books, placing them in alternating vertical arrangements from the top of the bookcase to the bottom. I also did my best to keep the spines in a rainbow color formation – I’ve found that this gives the whole collection an effortlessly (stupidly simple to achieve) cool vibe in the end.


Next up came my horizontal stacks of books. Again, I kept up the rainbow arrangement and alternated the placement from side to side. I also did my best to keep these stacks fairly low, never taking the height above the tops of the vertical books. Stack them too high and things start to look a bit cluttered, plus you won’t be able to add little accessories on top, which nicely break up the boxy look.


Last but not least – The accessories. I took a few of the old pieces out (to be dispersed throughout the house to keep things new and exciting), and also added a few new pieces. The newbies to this current styling project came in the form of two new-to-me brass trinkets – A tabletop clock and one thoughtfully alluring bookend. Each cost only a buck or two at a local estate shop and continue bringing more of that warm gold sheen that I love so much into the house.





Who knew it was so simple to style a bookcase! I could look at fashionably styled shelves all day long on Pinterest (guilty as charged) without gleaning a bit of knowledge. As is evidenced today, sometimes you just need somebody to TELL you how to do it. Easy-to-follow steps in particular don’t hurt either…

Thanks John and Sherry!

What are your rules of thumb when styling shelves?

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