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Bookshelf Styling Tips

My kids are finally back to school today! We had snow day 10, 11 and 12 last week (but who’s counting?!) I don’t know if I’m the only one who does this, but when I’m stuck in my house for long periods of time, I start rearranging things. Redecorating as a cure for cabin fever, try it out – it works ;) bookshelf styling tips

A living room filled with furniture and vase of flowers next to a fireplace

Our living room bookshelves have long been on my list of things to tackle because they were getting overstuffed with books. I love books don’t get me wrong. But we have a whole bookcase downstairs that really serves as more of our practical library (you can check that post out here), and I wanted the shelves up here to be a little visually cleaner. Well, and what really prompted this little redo is the new security system we had installed, so now I’m busy trying to hide little cameras that are all over our house.

A living room filled with furniture and a fire place

First, a few bookshelf styling tips in general, and then I’ll show you how I hid the camera

A fire place sitting in a living room filled with furniture and bookshelves

1. Display a collection. I love these old books I saved from my great grandmothers’ house when she passed. I’ve had them for over 10 years now. Some of them are actually my grandpa’s books from when he was a little boy and they are so fun to look at. I have some of them turned around because the spines are in rough shape. I know this annoys some people, but again my practical library storage is downstairs. I like the cleaner look of the old pages.

A bookshelf filled with books

2. Change the direction of your books. It gets pretty boring visually to have just rows and rows of books facing the same way switch it up!

Bookshelves filled with books

3. Mix in some decorative objects. These could be photo frames, bookends or pottery like I have here. I also love these baskets for hiding the tv remotes in. If you are new here, our tv is hidden in the cabinet below the baskets – you can read more about it in this post here.

Bookshelves filled with books

4. Don’t be afraid of white space. I used to think you have to have every single part of your shelves filled with something. When you give your things some room to breathe they stand out more rather than looking like clutter.

A living room filled with furniture and plants

Ok, now for how I hid our camera. I stuck it behind this planter and the cord to the outlet is pretty hidden behind the books. I talked about this on Instagram a few weeks back and you all had so many great suggestions on hiding your cameras, so I list a few others as well.

A bookshelf with books

  1. Tucked in an actual plant. I think I could have made this work with a leafier plant variety.
  2. Fake books with a hole cut out – superspy status!
  3. Decorative boxes with a hole cut out.
  4. Decorative birdcage.
  5. Putting them down low ex: under a coffee table.
  6. Or up high like on the top of our bookshelf, this wasn’t a good option because our’s need to be plugged in.

A shelf full of books

If you have cameras hidden in your house, let me know in the comments below if you have other hiding tips!

I also rounded up a bunch of fun items that would be great to display in your bookshelves if you are on the hunt for a few new pieces to add to your collection. You can shop them below.

This is probably all you will hear from me this week as we are headed down to visit my parent’s over winter break (as if my kids haven’t been out of school enough!). We are so excited for some sunshine and family time. Have a great week!

OH, and I had so many questions about my new art above my table last week! I’ve been in the middle of a huge art swap (again I blame cabin fever for all the rearranging), and I’ll be sharing that soon. This beautiful piece is a print from DeAnn you can find her work here. I’ve been an admirer of her paintings for a long time now and I am so happy I finally bought a print from her beach collection. If you missed that post you can check it out here.

Green console table coastal decor and art striped ottomans

bookshelf styling tips

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  1. Love the pops of blue tie ins on the bookshelves, especially the bird bookends. Btw I am in the process of looking for a new sofa, but am waiting to see your new one for ideas. When will you be receiving yours?…I am dying to see it! :)

  2. Love, love, love all of your design and color choices! I never tried before but now I will surely do.

  3. Hi Kelly,
    First of all, I absolutely love your style. Secondly, I have a question regarding your fireplace and mantle. My brick fireplace has a brick mantle and I would love to have a wood one like you have. Is that a solid piece of wood, or is it a cover? I am thinking I am going toned a cover. Do you happen to know where I could find one?
    Thank you so much.

    1. Hey, Sheila, this is the original mantel beam from the basement of the old cottage that used to be here so it’s solid wood. We saved all the beams from the old house so I never researched wood covers so I don’t have any suggestions for you, unfortunately. Good luck!

  4. Beautifully styled! The piece of wood is really appealing. Wherever did you find it?
    Would you do a post on styling your mantel, giving different options? I like the simplicity of your design.

  5. Love that you listed my suggestion of hiding in a book with a hole in the book.Love your posts.We are selling our house soon and need help with book shelves.

  6. I love the adorable chubby blue birds you are using as bookends. Are they available somewhere? Thanks!

    1. Hey Cynthia I have had those for about 12 years and I bought them at a local store in IA. Sorry I don’t have more info for you!

  7. Everything looks picture perfect! This particular blog really was very helpful with all your ideas and suggestions! Thanks!

  8. I love the way you styled your shelves. You found the perfect balance of just enough ‘stuff’ to be visually pleasing without looking cluttered. I think I missed out on the shelf-styling gene and when I rearrange my own, I second guess myself for days! I have a couple of tricks for taking up visual space though. I put a decorative plate on a plate stand and a small frame with a favorite saying on another. They really fill up the space nicely without looking too busy. Have a wonderful time in FL and soak up as much sun as you can! :)

    1. Good tips Lori thanks! I always have an easier time styling other peoples shelves vs. my own. I gave my mom’s a little refresh when we were down in FL ;)

  9. Kelly! The art above the console table is lovely! I like that it lets the imagination just wonder. Looks like snow, beach or mountains depending on the person. Also love the size of the coffee table! Was it built or purchased.

    1. Thanks Lora, I love that print too! You can find the coffee table linked on the shop our home page on my blog. It’s from Wayfair thanks!

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