10 super-stylish bookshelf decorating ideas

Clever ways to display your favourite reads.

A well-styled bookshelf is a thing of beauty. Whether your style is minimalist, quirky or elegant, having your books and collected objects thoughtfully displayed on shelves pleases the eye and gives each room a more deliberate, decorated look.

Here are 10 stylish bookshelf decorating ideas that are sure to inspire you.

1. Colour-coordinated shelves

colour-coordinated bookshelf
(Credit: John Downs)

Colour-coordinated bookshelves have been around for some time, and some may say they’re a little dated, but there’s something incredibly satisfying about them, particularly in a kids’ playroom where colour stimulates imaginative play.

2. Ceiling-to-floor bookcases

Library living room with blue and white upholstered sofas
(Credit: Tim Salisbury)

What bibliophile hasn’t dreamed of ceiling-to-floor bookcases in a room dedicated to the love of books?! This combined living room library is the stuff dreams are made of and brings a tactile warmth to the space, showcasing artworks and objects in the mix, with table lamps positioned to while away the hours on a plump sofa.

3. Family favourites display

Beautiful bookshelf decorating ideas

Why not combine your home bar, travel treasures and favourite family photos together with an ever-changing library of books currently on your reading list? Short of having a ceiling-to-floor bookcase complete with a ladder to access it, we can never have enough bookshelves, so combining everyday items in an artful display brings all of your worlds together.

4. Colourful bookshelf

Green sunroom with floral upholstered chair and bookshelves
(Credit: Tim Salisbury)

Think outside the box when it comes to storing and displaying books. This sunroom is drenched in colour and pattern giving a lived-in-and-loved feeling to the sophisticated space. The inclusion of comfortable seating invites relaxation, while a decorative tray highlights a current favourite literary treasure.

5. A dedicated library room

Federation home library room with ottoman
(Credit: Dave Wheeler)

Can you dedicate an entire room to your collection of books? If space allows, this is a beautiful way to use a converted verandah, sunroom, or surplus space made available when re-assigning rooms in a renovation. Even the smallest room can become a cosy book nook with the addition of narrow shelves and a comfy ottoman to perch on.

6. Floating bookshelves

floating bookshelves with indoor plants and entertainment unit
(Credit: John Downs)

These floating bookshelves do double duty as a focal decorating point with vases and decorative knick-knacks displayed in between the books, a healthy indoor plant cascading down the shelves and leaving room on the entertainment unit below, providing extra storage. Another perfect solution for small spaces.

7. Under-stair bookcase

bookshelf under the stairs
(Credit: Chris Warnes)

A clever way to make the most of your space is to build bookshelves under or beside a staircase. There may even be enough space for an office nook! Style it up to inspire, but don’t be surprised if you get distracted and begin reading every time you go up or downstairs!

8. Home library + reading nook

living room with fireplace and reading nook
(Credit: Ema Peter)

Without a sunroom or small study to convert into a dedicated home library, try including a reading nook in your living room. This space is tucked into the fireplace recess next to cosy armchairs, where the reader has some privacy while remaining close to the action.

9. Bookcase as an art installation

contemporary living room with art-filled bookcase
(Credit: Jody D’arcy)

By extending the timber from custom cabinetry upwards to shelves in the recess, this humble bookshelf has been transformed into an artistic focal point – ripe for a rotating curated display of sculpture and ceramics.

10. Coastal chic bookcase

coastal living room with black fireplace and white bookshelves
(Credit: Brigid Arnott)

A pair of bookshelves in this revived beach house makes the most of the space on either side of an old fireplace. Simple shelving is painted white to blend into the walls and serve as a blank canvas for the display of objects, while a more sturdy structure is below for wood storage.

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