Bookshelf Styling

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Hey there, friends! Are you sick of recipes, yet? Don’t worry, I am too. I’ve actually been trying to eat healthier / lighter / less, and all of this food isn’t helping. So I’m hoping to get back to posting about some projects and decorating. Plus, now that spring is here I need to do some redecorating, cleaning, and decluttering. Does anyone else get that urge this time of year?

Today I thought we’d start with a little decorating. When I made over my office, I added shelves, and it’s been a while since I showed them to you. I also want to explain how I put things together and note / link where I got things in case anyone is interested.

Bookshelf Styling | Inspired by Charm

First off, these shelves are always changing, and it took some time to pull things together. While I could have dressed the shelves in a few hours, I didn’t because I love the curation process. I’m also super pleased with how they turned out. To me the look is very personal and collected and it speaks so much to where my style is right now. It’s obviously not going to suit everyone, and I kind of love that, too. I don’t really want it to look like anyone else’s home.

Bookshelf Styling | Inspired by Charm

And while most of this did happen organically, I do follow a few “rules” when it comes to decorating spaces like this. You may remember these guidelines from my coffee table styling post. (You can check that out here.) Anyway, here is what I tried to keep in mind.

Function – what you need this space to do.

Color – stay within your color palette.

Shapes – use a variety of shapes to create balance and add diversity.

Texture / Pattern – use different ones to create visual interest.

Spacing – leave some empty space (It’s the difference between collected and cluttered.)

Foliage – flowers and plants complete a space.

Sparkle – add something that sparkles – glass, metallic, mirrors, crystals, etc.

Personal – incorporate things that are meaningful and special to you.

Ultimately, these bookshelves need to function as beautiful storage. I love pretty things and need a place to put them so that I can enjoy them and they can also decorate my space. Done and done. My office area has a pretty wide color scheme: bold red, teal, sunny yellow, chartreuse, and navy. For the most part, I stuck with those colors on my shelves, however because ofbook spines and other pieces, I wasn’t too particular about a few different colors here and there.


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Bookshelf Styling | Inspired by Charm

There’s obviously a variety of shapes happening here as well. I think this is one of the most important rules. Round vase, square books, geometric sculptures, and a few free-form shapes add interest. I also pulled in texture with some baskets at the bottom and included natural wood via a clock, the base of my tree sculpture, and a few other accessories.

Bookshelf Styling | Inspired by Charm

While I will continue to add things, I never want the shelves to feel cluttered. Leaving some empty space, a place for your eyes to rest, is always a good idea. Plus, open spaces help individual / important pieces stand out. While there aren’t any in-your-face botanical elements on these shelves, I did tuck in one succulent and my DIY clay cactus garden. Sparkle is always an easy addition for me. Gold and brass are my metals of choice for this space so I included them wherever possible. I even used a few of the the gold-leaf boxes I made at Christmas.

Bookshelf Styling | Inspired by Charm

Bookshelf Styling | Inspired by Charm

With this project, I added a new point to my design guidelines – something personal. As tempting as it can be to run to Target or HomeGoods and fill your shelf up with beautiful things you find there, it’s also important to make sure to incorporate items that have personal significance. This can be done with photographs, but I like to use more unique elements as well. The tiger head Christmas ornament, a gift from my friend, is one of my favorites. And, it’s the one piece that gets the most compliments. As I mentioned previously, I also put in a few of my own DIY items, plus a few mementos from trips I’ve taken over the past few years. Personal pieces are a must.


And those are my shelves.

Bookshelf Styling | Inspired by Charm

If you haven’t noticed, I’d also like to point out all of the fabulous light, even from this angle, that my new front doors let it. Amazing, right? I’m still so in love with them.

Bookshelf Styling | Inspired by Charm

I hope my explanation helps you if you struggle with decorating shelves in your space. Ultimately, just take your time with it and allow your curation to happen organically. Choose things that make your heart sing and you really can’t go wrong.

Inspired By Charm

Sources: Wall Color – Lighter Mint (main wall) Aloof Gray (entryway and around windows) from Sherwin Williams // Stairway Bookshelf, Gold Pinch Bowl, Renew Clock, Mango Wood Set, Pembetatu Dhurrie Rug, Wood Village – CB2 // Yellow Vase – Target // Banana Bud Vase – Jonathan Adler // Clay Cactus Garden, Gold -Leafed Boxes – Inspired by Charm DIY

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  1. I love your space! We’re looking at the same shelves, but unfortunately our ceilings are not tall enough…it’s frustrating! The smaller 72″ version is too low though and so we’ve thought about shortening the taller one by a foot to 84″. Do you know by any chance if the adjustable feet at the bottom can be removed?

  2. I was a little excited about this because, even though I don’t really understand the whole bookshbookshelf styling thing, I usually life your stuff… but it’s really more of the same.
    What if you actually want to use the bookshelves for bookshelves and not a large piece of stuff holder? I have enough books to fill the shelves that you have, so I wouldn’t have space to do it the way you did. I guess I just don’t get the functionality of it. And truth be told, it looks rather sparse to me.

    1. That’s the great thing about style. Everyone has their own. You could certainly fill your shelves with books if that works best for you. There are lots of great style ideas for shelves filled with books that looks really fantastic! For me, these shelves function so well for ME! Plus, I love my “stuff” – so I enjoy looking at it.

      And I do agree – these are a bit sparse. I’ve actually updated them recently which you can see here: There’s a little more action happening.

      xo Michael

  3. This was perfect timing for me! I’ve got a wall of bookcases being delivered Friday and I’m so excited to start styling them. I’m sure I will be referring back to this post many times for your rules. Your shelves look great and I always LOVE your spaces.

  4. Lovely, Michael! Your shelves look grand and the lightness and brightness of the entire room is invigorating. I like light and airy and you’ve definitely got it goin’ on! Well done!

    1. Oops! I didn’t think that came up in the pictures. It’s from CB2. I’ll add a link to the sources section at the bottom of the post.

      xo Michael