january 18, 2018

How To Style A Bookshelf | Bria Hammel Interiors

One of the hardest tasks of design can be styling. Clients are constantly asking us for help in styling and accessorizing, especially how to style a bookshelf. Bookshelves can be overwhelming with the amount of accessories required to fill them. You have to be careful not to repeat the same accessories too much. Scale is so important, and deciding on an overall color scheme is important too! We are sharing today a few simple steps to help you style your bookshelves like a pro!

Step 1: Pick A Color Scheme

Do you want your bookshelves to feel light and airy? Colorful? Natural with a soft palette? Deciding on a color scheme will help you plan what should and should not be included on your shelves. We love to incorporate small pieces of artwork onto our shelves. A little color goes a long way, and sometimes on these large shelves you need that layer in the background. So don’t be afraid to find some beautiful smaller scale pieces to lean on your shelves!

Step 2: Pick a Theme

Once you have picked your color scheme think about a theme you would like to go with. It doesn’t have to be cheesy like an all beach theme or everything vintage. It’s just important to make sure the pieces work well together. (Might be kind of weird to have a seashell next to a Christmas decoration!)

When we styled this bookcase with the darker more masculine collection. We mixed in vintage pieces like the old books, with a few rustic pieces like the trophy mounts. It’s ok to mix frames, just make sure they are in the same family, and it’s always important to use different sizes! Even consider what pictures you are using inside of them. For the more masculine theme the images are a little darker and heavier, for the fresher lighter theme we used soft pastel images to compliment the color scheme.

Step 3: Create A Collection of Items You Love

This might be the one biggest mistake people make. They run to Homegoods and fill their shelves after 1 trip. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good Homegoods find. But it’s important to find unique pieces that individually feel special. When we shop for our clients and style, we source from all over. We order some accessories from our favorite accessory companies. We shop at some of our favorite retail stores, and we run to antique stores to see if we can find special pieces to create a collected feel.

A little trick we always use… if you have a ton of books that you are done reading but don’t necessarily love the look of them, turn them around so you are seeing the paper instead. This doesn’t work for our clients who love to re-read all of their books, but so many of them are now moving to e-readers and aren’t sure what to do with their old books! So we just flip them around! You can also take those old books and cover them with fabric like you see on some of these shelves. A tutorial on how to do that is coming soon! (so simple and pretty!)

Here are a few of our favorite go to accessories we use when styling bookshelves for our clients! We hope this helps you feel a little more prepared to tackle those tricky shelves of yours.

Do you have a favorite accessory as your go to piece when styling your bookcases? We would love to hear what you constantly find yourself using! Share in the comments below 🙂


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  • Cat Kim March 18, 2018, 8:00 pm

    Your stuff is amazing!!!! My favorite shelfie item are wooden bottles :)

  • Katie September 29, 2018, 7:56 pm

    You always have the best bookshelves! What is your general thought on how tall each shelf should be when initially building the bookshelves?

    • Bria Hammel October 4, 2018, 8:59 am

      Thanks Katie! Most of our bookshelves have adjustable shelves. Typically they are spaced between 12-14" apart. Bria

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