31 Days to A Better Dressed Nest :: Day 6~Decorating Bookshelves

Bookshelf Shakedown:

One of the most common questions I get asked is how to make bookshelves look orderly and add to the overall design of the room yet still be useful.

It is a fine line. And I try to ignore the questions if at all possible.

I’ve got a few bookshelves and bookcases myself and I find I’m constantly tweaking them. I usually watch what Pottery Barn does. They group like colored books together and even turn the chaotic binding in so you only see the whites of the inside of the book. To me that’s cheating, no one in real life can deal with that.

But, the reality is, if left to their own devices, with time, even a well purposed bookcase can become a magnet clutter.

Here’s what I’ve noticed while observing bookshelves that both look good and are useful.

  • focus on a neutral and one other color
  • if using different colors then group them together {stack all blue books, repeat}
  • if using different colors then don’t wimp out–use lots of bold color
  • add texture with baskets and metal and stuff
  • mix photos and art and baskets and books
  • repeat certain items–baskets {baskets seem to be a trend}, rocks, containers
  • stack books different ways for interest
  • back your bookshelf with paper or chalkboard paint


Today’s assignment, take a good look at your bookshelves and bookcases. If you have the time, completely clear them off and start fresh. Shop the house and experiment with a mixture of photos, framed art, baskets, natural elements, books stacked in different ways and grouping like colors. Give yourself permission to tweak it over the coming months.

all photos: Pottery Barn

Another great bookshelf read: Centsational Girl Bookcase Style

If you missed day 5 click here. If you missed the big announcement then you need to read it.

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