How to Style Bookshelves with Lots of Books

When you have an overflowing bookcase, it can be difficult to know how to make the most of your shelf space while still showing off your collection. While bookshelves with a lot of books can become cluttered quickly and look disorganized, there are many stylish ways that allow you to combine form and function—all without sacrificing the personal touches that come along with displaying your beloved reads.

How to Style Bookshelves with Lots of Books

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of how to style bookshelves with lots of books and shelves filled with budget-friendly options for creating a neat and organized library display that reflects your personality. So grab a cup of tea (or a glass of wine!) and get ready to maximize both storage potential and decor style today!

Is It Better to Store Books Horizontally or Vertically?

When styling bookshelves with lots of books, you may wonder whether it’s best to store your books horizontally or vertically. The answer largely depends on the size and type of book that you own.

For hardcover books, storing them horizontally will help maintain their shape and keep them from warping over time. Additionally, because of their heavy weight and thick spines, it’s usually best to store them horizontally. On the other hand, paperback books can be stored either way since their spines don’t have as much risk of warping.

When styling with a mix of hardcover and paperback books, you may want to consider alternating between horizontal and vertical stacks. This will give your shelves more visual interest while also helping keep your books in good condition over time. Additionally, if you have some larger or smaller books than average sizes, it might be best to store them horizontally so they fit together better and avoid taking up too much space on the shelf.

No matter how you decide to arrange your bookshelves, be sure to keep a balanced and organized look. Arranging books in neat rows or columns will create a pleasing, cohesive appearance that can also help you easily find the book that you’re looking for. Also, don’t forget to add some “breathing room” between stacks of books so your shelves don’t look too crowded or cluttered.

Overall, styling your bookshelves with lots of books can be a fun way to express your style while providing easy access to all of your favorite reads. With careful consideration of how best to store them, you can ensure that your books stay in excellent condition as they gracefully adorn your shelves!

9 Methods How to Style Bookshelves with Lots of Books

1.  The Library Look

One way to style a bookshelf with a lot of books is to go for the “library look.” To achieve this look, start by sorting your books by color. Then, arrange the books on the shelves so that the spines are all facing out. This will create a clean and cohesive look that is reminiscent of a library. To add a bit of texture, place several bookends around the shelves.

If the books are all the same size, consider arranging them in a pattern to create a visually interesting display. While the library look is simple and elegant, it can also be quite eye-catching. Try to break up the look by alternating between vertical and horizontal stacks of books.

2.  The Rainbow Effect

Another way to style a bookshelf with a lot of books is to create a rainbow effect. To do this, start by sorting your books by color. Then, arrange the books on the shelves so that each shelf features a different color. This will create a bright and cheerful look that is sure to make any book lover happy.

Create a Rainbow Effect

For an extra touch, you can add a few accents of the same color as one of the books, such as a picture frame or plant. This will unify the whole look and make it even more eye-catching. Be sure to keep the shelves neatly organized so that they look their best. With a little bit of creativity, you can create a beautiful rainbow effect that will make your bookshelf stand out.

3.  The Mix-and-Match Method

If you want your bookshelf to have a more eclectic look, try the mix-and-match method. To do this, start by choosing one or two colors that you want to use as your base. Then, mix and match different book covers and spines to create an eye-catching and unique display.

You can also add in a few items that have nothing to do with books, such as decorative boxes or vases, for added texture and interest. Don’t be afraid to get creative! The mix-and-match method is all about bringing in pieces that you love and making it your own. You can even go a step further and paint the book covers to give your bookshelf an extra pop of personality.

4.  The Minimalist Approach

If you prefer a more minimalist aesthetic, try styling your bookshelf with only a few select items. Start by removing any clutter from the shelves. Then, choose one or two colors that you want to use as your base and build from there. Try adding in some greenery or other decorative items to add interest without overwhelming the space.

You can also leave some shelves empty to create a more airy, minimalist look. For an added touch of style, try installing some simple shelf brackets to frame the books. By taking a minimalist approach, you can make your bookshelf look modern and stylish without the need for too many accessories.

5.  The Maximalist Approach

If you love color and pattern, then going for a maximalist approach is the way to go. Start by sorting your books by color and arranging them on the shelves in rainbow order. Then, add in some brightly colored accessories and decor items to really make the space pop. To continue the maximalist theme, consider adding in more patterns to your accessories.

This could be a floral throw pillow, geometric wall art or fun fabric curtains. An eye-catching area rug or brightly colored curtains can also add a little something extra. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different styles, patterns and textures. By combining different elements, you can create a truly unique look that’s sure to be the envy of your guests.

Geometric Wall Art on Bookshelf

6.  The “Shelfie” Look

If you’re looking for a way to style your bookshelf that is both stylish and functional, try the “shelfie” look. To do this, start by removing any items from the shelves that you don’t use on a regular basis. Then, arrange your remaining items in an aesthetically pleasing way that also makes them easy to reach when you need them.

For example, you might want to group all of your cookbooks together if you’re an avid home chef. You could also arrange your books by color or subject, such as arranging all of your travel books together. When finished, you’ll have a beautiful and organized shelf that is sure to make a statement.

7.  The Curated Collection

If you consider yourself a collector of sorts, then displaying your collection in an artful way is key. Start by choosing one or two colors that you want to use as your base and build from there. Try grouping items together by theme or subject matter to create a cohesive display.

Use various books and objects to give your shelves an eclectic look that speaks to your own personal style. Incorporate pieces, both big and small, and don’t forget to add some pops of color with the help of plants, artwork, or small decorative objects. Your bookshelf should not only be functional but also give insight into your personality and interests. Don’t forget to sprinkle in some sentimental pieces as well!

Use Various Books and Objects

8. Organize by Subject

If you want to make it easy to find specific books on your shelves, then organizing them by subject is the way to go. This method is especially helpful if you have a large collection of books, as it can help you narrow down your search. To do this, simply group together all of the books on one subject, such as history or science fiction.

You can then arrange these groups from most to least relevant or vice versa. You can also label the individual shelves or baskets to make it even easier to find what you’re looking for. This is a great way to keep your bookshelves organized while still finding a way to showcase your favorite reads.

9. Create Visual Interest with Height

If you want to add visual interest to your shelves, then try arranging your books at different heights. This method is especially effective if you have a lot of tall books, as they can help to fill in any empty spaces on the shelves.

To do this, simply arrange your books from tallest to shortest or vice versa. You can also experiment with different arrangements, such as grouping together all of your hardcover books or all of your paperback books. This will create an eye-catching display that is sure to draw attention.

Things to Look for When Styling Bookshelves with Lots of Books

1. Choose a Color Scheme:

Pick colors that will bring visual unity and cohesion to the bookshelf, such as shades of blues and white or monochromatic black and white.

2. Group Similar Items Together:

Group items by color, size, type, or genre. This will help create a neat and organized look on the bookshelf.

Create a Neat and Organized Look

3. Mix Up Your Books:

Don’t be afraid to mix up different sizes, shapes, colors, and textures of books. Having uniformity can be boring. Adding in some visual interest will make your bookshelves more interesting.

4. Add Decorative Objects:

Intersperse accessories like sculptures, plants, and small pieces of art to break up the monotony of the books. This will also add more visual interest to your shelves.

5. Use Positioning for Interest:

Position books at different angles and heights to create depth and height on the shelf. Don’t be afraid to stack books or stand them up vertically.

6. Be Creative:

Bookshelves are a great place to display your personal style and creativity. Have fun with it! Try arranging the items in different ways until you find something that works for you.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to create a visually appealing bookshelf that is also functional and organized. It’s the perfect way to show off your book collection in style!

Some Common Mistakes When Styling Bookshelves with Lots of Books

1. Not Considering the Weight of Books:

A bookshelf full of heavy books can cause it to become unbalanced or even break over time. When styling a bookshelf with lots of books, be sure to consider the weight and potential stress on the shelves.

2. Not Grouping Similar Books Together:

Grouping similar books together can help create a more organized and pleasing look on the bookshelf. It will also make it easier to locate titles when you are looking for something specific.

3. Not Utilizing Vertical Space:

When styling a bookshelf with lots of books, utilize vertical space – don’t just stack them horizontally. This will help make the most of the limited space and also create an interesting and visually pleasing display.

Styling a Bookshelf

4. Overlooking Design Details:

Many people overlook details such as adding accessories or art to the bookshelf. Even small touches can create a more dramatic and eye-catching display that will make the bookshelf stand out.


We hope that this article on how to style bookshelves with lots of books gave you some great ideas and tips on improving your shelving display. Books can add an important and inviting aesthetic to any home, and they should be highlighted and cared for as such.

Utilize these pointers when styling your bookshelf, move beyond what looks aesthetically pleasing, and get creative with how you showcase your reading materials. If done right, you’ll be proud of showing off the carefully curated treasure trove you’ve created!

So get those books out of their storage boxes and start putting them in a beautiful new home of their own today – it’ll be worth it! It’s up to you: inspired creativity awaits… How will you arrange your library?

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Angela Ervin

Angela is the executive editor of officefixes. She began her career as an interior designer before applying her strategic and creative passion to home and office design. She has close to 15 years of experience in creative writing and online content strategy for Office design and decor,home decorations as well as other efforts. She loves her job and has the privilege of working with an extraordinary team. She lives with her husband, two sons, and daughter in Petersburg. When she's not busy working she spent time with her family.

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