Tips to transform your bookshelf into something stunning.

Books are fodder for decorating just as much as they are food for the mind! But a bookshelf lined only with books can be quite drab and uninteresting. If you want to jazz up your living room bookshelf and turn a boring side piece into a stunning anchor, check out the tips and ideas below.

1. Infuse with color

Paint the interior of your bookshelf a few shades darker than the walls of the room, or paint it a tone that matches the overall palette. If you want something super bold, paint the entire shelf a high-saturated, bright color for an eye-popping look.

2. Play with size

As with decorating anything else, it’s a good idea to play with height and shape in a bookshelf. Mix and match between stacking books horizontally or vertically, and group tchotskes by contrasting heights and shape.

3. Add a shade

A pull-down fabric shade installed at the top of a bookshelf can transform the shelves into a unique and interesting storage space. By pulling the shade up or down, you can choose which shelves to expose and which to keep hidden away–fashionably reducing clutter.

4. Add a mirror backing

Installing mirrors at the back of your bookshelf is a simple way to add depth and complexity to your wall–perfect for a bookshelf in a smaller room that you’d like to “open up.” 

5. Add some wallpaper

Like paint, patterned wallpaper is an extremely easy way to add visual interest to a bookshelf. With a pattern interior, you won’t need to fill the shelves too much–some empty space will still look nice with the help of a good wallpaper design.

6. Hang some art

Turning a bookshelf into a gallery space can dramatically change a room. Switch out some books with photos to show off to your visitors. For a truly bold look–if your bookshelf is big enough–hang artwork directly over the shelves, overlapping atop the books.

7. Use baskets & pottery

Baskets can add style as well as some much-needed storage space, so use a few with your bookshelf; they also serve as great places to hold magazines. Pottery can also add visual interest with height and shape, as well as color, making them versatile decorations to dress up shelves.

8. Use it as a hearth

Don’t have a fireplace? That’s fine; use your bookshelf like a hearth! Throw an arrangement of plants, photos, candles and other tchotskes on your bookshelf. Remember tip number 2 of this list to keep the best composition!

9. Make it a bar

Boozy readers will love this: replace your books with glasses and liquor! Bookshelves are naturally similar in structure to minibars; install cabinet doors to the bottom shelves and you’re good to go!