For The Love of Books… Styling Your Bookcases!


After a week long of chorusing to my family, Saturday finally arrived. I had designated it as house-cleaning day for all. As the weeks get colder, our focus on our home turns to comfort and cocooning, so a day of decluttering and cleaning is always a good place to start.

My task was to work on the bookshelves in our kitchen/diner. There were books that needed to be culled, like dog-eared copies of Diary of a Wimpy Kid to level 1 phonics books that my youngest has outgrown. As I struggled to make the shelves look aesthetic even in their busy functionality, I thought about the number of ways we can arrange our bookshelves. I don’t know about you but I grew up with books only standing upright, and nothing else went on the shelves, which is what they were made for. I finally broke the curse and stacked some books horizontally, to break up the monotony, with plant pots and pictures strategically placed to add interest. One of my favourite books is Eat. Pray Love and I had the three words carved out of wood in a large, script font, they now stand proudly on three of the shelves.

Often in busy family homes we assume there is a difference between function and form. It’s one or the other, rarely both combined. I believe that function should have a form. Here are some exciting ideas for styling your bookshelves.

bookshelf-familyMore than a Bookshelf

A bookshelf in a common area like the dining or living room should reflect the various activities and people that use that room. A large frame which spans an entire wall in a family room will be all the surface you need, as it can house lamps, pictures, decorative items and of course books. Think about little hands reaching to retrieve books when you make this arrangement, books should be within easy reach and fragile pieces should of course be out of reach.

Clever Coordination

Juniper-BooksWhile I arranged my books I had a fleeting moment when I wished they were all the same colour and size. I had fantasies of how perfect my bookcase would look if I had a say in the colours of the book covers and their sizes. Enter Juniper Books, who to our chagrin are not based in the UK, or even anywhere in Europe, but thankfully ship worldwide! These clever guys have come up with an innovative way of customising and smartening up books, you can choose a theme or colour and even add your name to as many books as you like. From flags of countries to art and photography, the options are plentiful. Feature a different wrappingcountry flag on each shelf, or a family member name per shelf, or even colours of the rainbow. With that add accessories in a coordinating colour to further beautify your space.

If budget doesn’t allow, why not purchase some pretty wrapping paper and recover worn books? That way you have complete control over the theme and colour.

tree-bookshelfMake it Child-like

Children love to read, but that love can quickly disappear if it isn’t encouraged and nurtured while they are young. One way to do so is to have a playful shelves in their bedroom or playroom, making them surrounded by books. This beautiful mural incorporates actual shelves in the branches adding well-needed fun to the bedroom.

Immerse in Colour

colour-bookcaseUsing a bold, contrast colour in the background of the bookcase will add a striking effect to your room. In the same vein, a brightly coloured shelf will have an equally dramatic effect.

empty-bookcaseMake it a feature

Often we talk about painting feature walls, how about building a bookcase around a feature wall? Leaving it undressed is not the most practical option if space and storage is an issue in your home but a great way to fill up space while creating excitement is to leave your bookcase free of all but a single art or plant set against a bright background. In my home this will be a race to see who the first person will be to dump their stuff on, so it won’t work for me.

Use it for storage

bookcases-with-wickerI styled my bookcase similar to this when the boys were tiny. I think a family home should look lived in, yet stylish, so wicker baskets (I got mine from Ikea) are a great way to store toys and books that are too little or too thin to stand upright. You can also get fabric-lined baskets, or make your own by using pretty fabrics that coordinate with your existing soft furnishings.

Toks AruotureFor design tips and inspiration join Toks on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest or visit the Punkin Patch Interiors blog