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Innovative Ways to Upgrade Your Bookshelf

By Sara Anderson
Share to PinterestInnovative Ways to Upgrade Your Bookshelf

You've seen those Instagram posts of effortlessly arranged titles, but if you're sitting at home with piles of knickknacks and a never-ending assortment of novels, you're well aware that styling a bookshelf is more challenging than it appears. To achieve that 'gram-approved aesthetic, you need to strike the perfect balance between art and science — it doesn't just have to look good; it has to work for you, too. Thankfully, the internet abounds with all kinds of inspiration for overhauling your office or living room shelves for maximum appeal.


Go color crazy

Getting creative with color can do wonders for your imagination and your bookshelf's aesthetic. Instead of an overly organized approach, find order in chaos through your collection's candy-colored spines. Red pairs well with green, and pink looks excellent next to blue. Better yet, think outside the box and pair pastels with brights, or ensure that every other book is a unique shade. There are no rules here, so play with color in whichever way stands out to you.


Embrace a theme

Love romance novels? Huge Harry Potter fan? A sucker for the classics? Whatever your favorite genre may be, embrace it to the fullest by theming your bookshelf around a specific topic or series. Line the shelves with every book in that collection, and add extra decorative touches crafted around that same theme. Crystals, flowers, knickknacks, and novelties all have their place here, allowing you to put your fandom on full display.


Books in every direction

Have a large collection? Show it off! Not every book will fit perfectly on the shelf, but that's part of the fun here. Place some books horizontally, others vertically, and stack one series next to another. A horizontal selection placed in the center, for instance, acts as an ideal base for books stacked vertically on either side. This look isn't just appealing to the eye; it can make finding your favorites much easier.


Barely any books at all

For a more artistic approach, take the focus off books entirely. Your shelves are the ideal display space, but they don't have to incorporate every title in your collection. Fill them with photos, plants, candles, or whatever you see fit, without any one category taking center stage. Use books as just another display piece; choose a few of your favorites and ease them in between the rest of your items. This way, only your most important titles can have their deserved shelf space without going overboard.


Play with angles

Nurture your inner aesthete with a bookshelf designed around the almighty angle. There's no hard and fast rule that says your novels must be placed straight up and down, so why not have some fun? Place your books in stacks and angle them in every direction, or take a more directed approach and lean them against other items. You'll be able to squeeze more titles into the same area, and you'll achieve a unique look while you're at it.


Let it breathe

Give your bookshelf a break by centering the design around the smallest number of tomes possible. With a more minimalist approach, you can focus the attention on the titles you love most or even just the prettiest spines. Adorn each shelf with just one stack of top novels or magazines, then leave the rest bare. Add a candle or frame in a coordinating shade for a vibe that would do Ikea proud.


Embrace the spines-in aesthetic

Arguably the most innovative trend to hit bookshelves, the spines-in approach turns traditional organization on its head. Flip every tome so that the spines face inward, then coordinate them in horizontal order the old-fashioned way. You'll achieve a uniform look with a fully modern vibe, although you might have to jot down where your favorite titles are located.


Go monochrome

With this glamourous take, you can elevate every shelf to the next level. Separate your books by spine color, then design the space around each. Better yet, embrace a shelf that's coordinated around your collection. If you have a lot of books with black spines, for example, nestle them next to each other on a noir shelf and embrace the dark ambiance. A lot of white spines? Situated on an all-white space, the monochromatic appeal is second to none.


Stacks and stacks

This play on color is sweet yet subtle. Assemble your collection into stacks organized by color, then add in an assortment of other trinkets. Rather than centering the shelving around your books, coordinate colors throughout the space. Those roses would look stunning next to your red stack, for instance, while that navy frame is more appealing next to the blue. Seek out the color in your favorite accessories and play them up; here, books are just another clever decorating mechanism.


Bring back bookends

As a book lover, you're already aware that classics exist for a reason. Bookends have their purpose, and with an endless assortment of colors, shapes, and designs, there's truly something for everyone. Select whichever aesthetic works best for you; experiment with quirky crystals, gothic skulls, playful characters, or go utterly classic with A and Z. Find the type that complements your books best, and you'll have an instant organizer that's easy on the eyes.



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