Examples of a Well Styled Bookcase



SOMEONE MAKE ME GET OFF PINTEREST! Seriously that place has to be the biggest rabbit hole of the time sucking variety since my once upon a time addiction to playing the Sims…but no seriously, if you haven’t tried it get on it right now but only if you have 3 hours to kill.

So anyway back to my why I was on pinning like a fool. Our Bedroom Makeover has been on a roll lately since we painted and added some awesomely DIY’d by me (if I do say so myself) curtains to change and brighten up the space. With that in the bag I have decided it’s time to turn my attention to the bookcases that flank the window on both sides and create the little seating nook with our 2 vintage chairs while they await reupholstering (soon hopefully, keep your fingers crossed).


Since Bryan built these with his father the color on the bookcases is staying put, no painting allowed. But anyway since everyone else is doing the painted shelves thing sometimes I think it’s nice to be unique and keep the stain. But it’s definitely time to switch up what’s on the bookcases, it’s looking a little bit sparse in places.

And that’s where Pinterest came in. I have been on the lookout for some bookcase inspiration and I thought I’d share so you could be inspired too. I love me a well styled bookcase.

Clarendon Street eclectic family room

#1 via

These are painted a nice rich dark color with tons of books and no knick knacks the lighting highlights the contents of the shelves and keeps the contents from getting lost in the dark space. 

image#2 via

I love the styling on these shelves from The Art of Doing Stuff her whole blog is awesome but check out this post on 7 ways to stack books. Who knew?
Lindy Donnelly traditional living room

#3 via

Another set of wonderful dark stained bookcases. Again there is a minimal amount of “stuff” on the bookshelves other than well placed stacks of books.

Living room eclectic living room

#4 via

I love this entire room and all of the colorful books and accessories, and if notice they’re not afraid to display their paperbacks right along with their hardcover books and pretty accessories. That’s my kind of styling.

image#5 via

Here’s another wonderfully styled set of dark bookshelves. The bold colors in the other areas of the room and the coloring of the books themselves help to keep the bark tone of the bookshelves from feeling too heavy.


#6 via

And finally this is another great example how a careful selection of accessories combined with what feels likes a natural selection of books and objects stacked throughout leads to a wonderful and inviting space.

So what do I hope to take away from all this?  In my mind I’m thinking of mostly books, minimal accessories, a place where my fun summer beach reads can be at home with my hardcover classics. I want a casual collected over time feel. I’m also thinking some great bookcase lighting is in order.

So which ones are you favorites? I’m loving #4 and #5 a lot but they’re all great! Do you like tons of books with minimal accessories or are you all about showing off all your stuff?

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  • dee dee

    All the bookcases are styled so well it is hard to pick a favorite! The shear size of number 1 is dramatic! I don’t think you could go wrong using any of them as inspiration!
    My blog friend Sue just added fabric wrapped foam board to the back of her dining room case to lighten it up! Like you she was unable to paint it, but the lighter fabric added something different to the piece! I think with your great inspiration photos and the excellent head start on your cases (they already look beautifully styled to me!) you couldn’t go wrong no matter what you do!
    Dee Dee

    • Maria

      Hey Dee Dee, I love all of them too. I like the idea of fabric on the back. I hadn’t thought of the foam board so that’s an awesome tip. Thanks for sharing. Candice Olsen also slides mirror into the back which I was thinking of too. But that’s probably a project for another day.

      I’ve been tweaking and retweaking the shelves over the pat couple days. I’m really liking the new look. I’ll take photos soon and share. I promise.

      🙂 M

  • Syndi @ Beachnut Lane

    Hi Maria, I love bookcases, but I don’t have one. I am trying to find 2 for my living room to go on each side of the fireplace, but I haven’t had any luck. If I can’t buy them I am determined to teach myself how to make them! Looking forward to see how you styled yours!

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