Bookshelf Decor Ideas

Shelf styling seems so effortless in the inspiring images we see across social media, right? But we all know that certainly isn’t the whole truth! This guide full of bookshelf decor ideas aims to take the stress out of the process.

Learn how to style the perfect combination of books, pottery, art and more! This is a step by step guide that will allow you to enjoy the process and create a look you absolutely love.

Because I am something of a minimalist, bookshelf decor is actually quite difficult for me. I want it to feel organic, organized and soothing to the eye, but I also want it to feel refined and elegant!

Clutter is my nemesis! When I decided it was time to re-work the built-ins in our neutral living room I knew they needed to be simple, but still feel intentional and pretty. Luckily, I think we nailed it after some trial and error!

The end result is full of texture, the soft neutral colors that I love, and the perfect collected feeling that is still very restful at a glance. It’s personalized and tells our story, but feels soothing in the space overall.

Bookshelf Decor

These are the most common elements used in bookshelf decor. However, remember: there are no rules! And if there are bookshelf rules, they are certainly made to be broken!

Whether you have built in shelves, floating shelves, or any kind of decor shelves, these design ideas are perfect for your shelf styling!


Pottery pieces add such a soft, handmade look to your bookshelf styling. They come in a wide variety of finishes, colors and styles, of course, so this is a flexible accent that can work in all types of homes, from modern to traditional.

This category encompasses everything from stone-look pieces to terra cotta and porcelain. Think of vintage pieces or ultra-modern high glass accents.


Art is so personalized to every individual’s tastes. Adding art work to your bookshelf decor is a great way to tell your family’s story!

You can also use family photos in your favorite picture frames, of course, to bring a personalized element to your shelves.


Books are such an important part of bookshelves, of course! Because we keep the books we actually read in different areas of our home, I like to think of our bookshelf styling books as decorative.

I tend to gravitate towards two styles for books for decorating our living room. First, I use my favorite decorating books from interior designers, which you can find under Coffee Table Books


For years, I’ve been preaching about design and style meeting function. It’s so important in our home! It’s rare that I choose an object just for beauty… I love when it has multiple functions and serves a true purpose.

That’s where baskets come in! Those baskets on our bookshelves have been used to store everything. We’ve used them for TV accessories like remotes and signal boosters, games for the girls, random toy storage and more.

Not only do they look nice and tidy on our shelves, but they serve an important purpose.


Similarly, boxes are such a great element for bookshelf styling. They can hide unattractive items or simply be used as a prop to give you more height as you’re styling.

They are sturdy, textural, and help tell the story. Here, I’ve used both a raw wood style box and brass boxes that elevate the look of our shelves while keeping in line with the warm, neutral look of the living room as a whole.


This is another area that is so easy to personalize! These decorative items can be anything from the brass knot we used on top of books, to a piece of coral or a collection of sea shells.

Small bowls, figurines and other decorative pieces fit into this category as well. Use them sparingly and with intention to create the look you’re after – clutter serves no one in this situation!