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Oct 14

Susan Shiney

Creative Bookshelf Decorating Ideas


I have been cultivating my reading lifestyle more as I venture into bookstagram (here is an article about why I decided to do that as an author) and buying more books and being more thoughtful about how I use my bookshelf and thinking of ideas for decorating it. I bought this billy bookcase from ikea and placed it on top of a dresser for added height. I wanted the white one, but they were all out of it. So, I promised myself I would decorate it to give it some more umph.


This article is written to help me research and find ideas for decorating it. I want to make my bookshelf look pretty and creative, something that motivates me to read more and feel inspired as a writer. As I build my author platform on social media and do small videos and book photos, a stylish bookshelf in the background is something I need to take into consideration. I also try to feature it for my new IG Live series (here is an article explaining IG Live for writers) in the background and as a surreal / magical realist / low fantasy writer I want my bookshelf to reflect my genre more.


I am also on the hunt for more creative ways to add to my reading and writing journey. I like doing stuff with my hands for a productive reason. Bookstagram has been great to have artistic play while still quasi working toward marketingish goals. I also had so much fun binding my manuscript and decorating it for revisions, that will be a staple of my writing process going forward. If I spend a little extra time decorating something it serves to focus my intention on using it.


In the above pictures are some initial bookshelf decorating ideas. Organizing books by color, flipping the books to play with the textures, and adding plants within the shelves. There are also ideas for adding book ends for the top of a bookshelf or even within the bookshelves. Etsy has some beautiful bookends that I have my eye on. I also found this article by Carla Aston with ideas for decorating the tops of cabinets that could easily be used for the top of bookshelves.


I wanted to find ideas beyond just bookshelf styling and here is what I found:

Book nooks / Bookshelf Inserts / Bookshelf Dioramas

There are a couple of different names for these little treasures. They are small mini-street designs or dioramas that are inserted between books on a bookshelf and add a sense of wonder. From what I have seen so far, these book nooks seem pretty expensive. I am on a mission to figure out how to create my own for my bookshelf. There are also some diy booknook kits that seem reasonable and I might check them out as well. The video that I have embedded below has a template included for a book nook made from cardboard and the video takes you through the steps. It makes my inner crafter very happy. Here is a list of a collection of gorgeous bookshelf inserts.

Wallpaper inside and Painting your Shelf

When I explore bookshelves on pinterest there are definitely a lot of wallpapered gorgeous shelves there. Here is a list of bookshelves that were decorated with wallpaper. I love the effect the wallpaper has for adding color, but my concern is finding the right design that wouldn't clash with my books. If you are interested, I found this video that takes you through the steps of adding wallpaper to your bookshelves.

Decals around the Bookshelf

I love wall decals in general. I am thinking about adding some extra floating shelves to my wall around my main bookshelf because I like the way that looks. I also think wall decals can add a nice touch to the area around or next to the bookshelf. They could also be adapted to being used on the back of a bookshelf like wallpaper or on the sides. In the video I have embedded below it discusses how to use a tree wall decal with floating bookshelves.

Wall Shelf Ideas

I am not at a place now to include these but I would love to carefully design a more alternative bookshelf with one of the ideas in this video below. I like the idea of having the bookshelf be a form of sculpture.

Painting on the Edges of the Bookshelf

Another possibility is to paint the back of the bookcase or along the side. You could use stencils or project an image on the bookshelf and paint over it. Here is a video about how to paint wood panels, but it could be applied to bookshelves as well.

Wrapped Books

The video below talks about how to linen wrap your books. It would also be possible to use gift paper, tissues, or even magazine pages. It could be an interesting way to add a bit of color to your book collection. I also have several books that are old and the spines are all wrinkled, wrapping them could be a good way to give them a second life on my bookshelf.

I am still working on brainstorming ideas for my own bookshelf. I will make sure to blog my journey to having more creative bookshelf decor.

What creative bookshelf decorating ideas have you found or that you use? Please leave a comment below.

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